The Missionary Force and the Chinese Church
BEGINNINGS OF THE MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE-- THE TAI-PING REBELLION AND THE LATER DEVELOPMENT
THE first definite knowledge of the true God appears to have come to China with some Jews who are said to have entered the Empire in the third century. Conjecture has long been busy with the circumstances of that ancient migration. That the colony became fairly numerous may be inferred from the fact that in 1329 and again in 1354, the Jews are mentioned in the Chinese records of the Mongol dynasty, while early in the seventeenth century Father Ricci claimed to have discovered a synagogue built in 1183. In 1866, the Rev. Dr. W. A. P. Martin, then President of the Tung-wen College at Peking, visited Kai-fung-fu, the centre of this Jewish colony, and on a monument he found an inscription which included the following passage:--
"With respect to the religion of Israel, we find that our first ancestor was Adam. The founder of the religion was Abraham; then came Moses who established the law, and handed down the sacred writings. During the dynasty of Han (B. C. 200-A, D. 226) this religion entered China. In the second year of Hiao-tsung, of the Sung dynasty (A. D. 1164), a synagogue was erected in Kai-fung fu. Those who attempt to represent God by images or pictures do but vainly occupy themselves with empty forms. Those who honour and obey the sacred writings know the origin of all things. Eternal reason and the sacred writings mutually sustain each other in testifying whence men derived their being. All those who profess this religion aim at the practice of goodness and avoid the commission of vice."
Dr. Martin writes that he inquired in the market-place:--
"Are there among you any of the family of Israel?" "I am one," responded a young man, whose face corroborated his assertion; and then another and another stepped forth until I saw before me representatives of six out of the seven families into which the colony is divided. They confessed with shame and grief that their holy and beautiful house had been demolished by their own hands. It had for a long time, they said, been in a ruinous condition; they had no money to make repairs; they had, moreover, lost all knowledge of the sacred tongue; the traditions of the fathers were no longer handed down and their ritual worship had ceased to be observed. In this state of things they had yielded to the pressure of necessity and disposed of the timbers and stones of that venerable edifice to obtain relief for their bodily wants. . . . Their number they estimated, though not very exactly, at from three to four hundred. . . . No bond of union remains, and they are in danger of being speedily absorbed by Mohammedanism or heathenism."
There is something pathetic about that forlorn remnant of the Hebrew race. "A rock rent from the side of Mount Zion by some great national catastrophe and projected into the central plain of China, it has stood there while the centuries rolled by, sublime in its antiquity and solitude."
In his Life of Morrison, Townsend reminds us that the Christian Church early realized that it could not ignore so vast a nation, while its very exclusiveness attracted bold spirits. As far back as the first decade of the sixth century (505 A. D.), Nestorian monks appear to have begun a mission in China. Romance and tragedy are suggested by the few known facts regarding that early movement. Partly impelled by conviction, partly driven by persecution, those faithful souls travelled beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire, and rested not till they had made the formidable journey across burning deserts and savage mountains to the land of Sinim. That some measure of success attended their effort is probable. Indeed there are hints in the ancient records of numerous churches and of the favour of the great Emperor Tai Tsung in 635. But however zealous the Nestorians may have been for a time, it is evident that they were finally submerged in the sea of Chinese superstition. A quaint monument, discovered in 1625 at Hsi-an-fu, the capital of Shen-si, on which is inscribed an outline of the Nestorian effort from the year 630 to 781, is the only trace that remains of what must have been an interesting and perhaps a thrilling missionary enterprise.
The Roman Catholic effort began in 1293, when John de Corvino succeeded in reaching Peking. Though he was elevated to an Archbishopric and reinforced by several priests, this effort, too, proved a failure and was abandoned.
Two and a-half centuries of silence followed, and then in 1552, the heroic Francis Xavier set his face towards China, only to be prostrated by fever on the Island of Sancian. As he despairingly realized that he would never be able to set his foot on that still impenetrable land, he moaned: "Oh, Rock, Rock, when wilt thou open!" and passed away.
But in 1581, another Jesuit, the learned and astute Matteo Ricci, entered Canton in the guise of a Buddhist priest. He managed to remain, and twenty years later he went to Peking in the dress of a literary gentleman. In him Roman Catholicism gained a permanent foothold in China, and although it was often fiercely persecuted and at times reduced to feebleness, it never became wholly extinct. Gradually it extended its influence until in 1672 the priests reported 300,000 baptized Chinese, including children. In the nineteenth century, the growth of the Roman Church was rapid. It is now strongly entrenched in all the provinces, and in most of the leading cities its power is great. There are twenty-seven bishops and about six hundred foreign priests. The number of communicants is variously estimated, but in 1897 the Vicar Apostolic of Che-kiang, though admitting that he could not secure accurate statistics, estimated the Roman Catholic population at 750,000.
It is not to the credit of Protestantism that it was centuries behind the Roman Church in the attempt to Christianize China. It was not till 1807, that the first Protestant missionary arrived. January 31st, of that year, Robert Morrison, then a youth of twenty-five, sailed alone from London under appointment of the London Missionary Society (Congregational). As the hostile East India Company would not allow a missionary on any of its ships, Morrison had to go to New York in order to secure passage on an American vessel. As he paid his fare in the New York ship owner's office, the merchant said with a sneer: "And so, Mr. Morrison, you really expect that you will make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese Empire?" "No, sir," was the ringing reply, "I expect God will."
The ship Trident left New York about May 15th and did not reach Canton till September 8th. For two years Morrison had to live and study in Canton and the Portuguese settlement of Macao with the utmost secrecy, dreading constantly that he might be forced to leave. For a time, he never walked the streets by daylight for fear of attracting attention, but exercised by night. His own countrymen were hostile to his purpose and his Chinese language teachers were impatient and insolent. It was not till February 20, 1809, the date of his marriage to Miss Morton, that his employment as translator by the East India Company gave him a secure residence. Still, however, he could not do open missionary work, but was obliged to present Christianity behind locked doors to the few Chinese whom he dared to approach. In these circumstances, he naturally gave his energies largely to language study and translation, and in 1810 he had the joy of issuing a thousand copies of a Chinese version of the Book of Acts.
Seven weary, discouraging years passed before Morrison baptized his first convert, July 16, 1814, and even then he had to administer the sacrament at a lonely spot where unfriendly eyes could not look. At his death in 1834, there were only three Chinese Christians in the whole Empire. Successors carried on the effort, but the door was not yet open, and the work was done against many obstacles and chiefly in secret till the treaty of Nanking, in 1842, opened the five ports of Amoy, Canton, Foochow, Ningpo and Shanghai. Missionaries who had been waiting and watching in the neighbouring islands promptly entered these cities. Eagerly they looked to the great populations in the interior, but they were practically confined to the ports named till 1858, when the treaty of Tien-tsin opened other cities and officially conceded the rights of missionary residence and labour.
The work now spread more rapidly, not only because it was conducted in more centres and by a larger force of missionaries, but because it was carried into the interior regions by Chinese who had heard the gospel in the ports.
The Tai-ping Rebellion soon gave startling illustration of the perversion of the new force. Begun in 1850 by an alleged Christian convert who claimed to have a special revelation from heaven as a younger brother of Christ, it spread with amazing rapidity until in 1853 it had overrun almost all that part of China south of the Yang-tze-kiang, had occupied Nanking and Shanghai, and had made such rapid progress northward that it threatened the capital itself. It was the most stupendous revolution in history, shaking to its foundations a vast and ancient empire, involving the destruction of an almost inconceivable amount of property and, it is said, of the lives of twenty millions of human beings.
If this great rebellion had been wisely guided, it would undoubtedly have changed the history of China and perhaps, by this time, of the greater part of Asia, for it proposed to overthrow idolatry, to unseat the Manchu dynasty, and to found an empire on the principles of the Christian religion. So nearly indeed did it attain success that if it had not been opposed by European nations, it would probably have attained its object. But the weight of their influence was thrown in favour of the Government. The American Frederick T. Ward and the English Charles George Gordon organized and led the "Ever Victorious Army" of Chinese troops against the revolutionists. Most significant of all, the leaders of the rebellion itself, freed from the restraint which foreigners might perhaps have exerted, quickly discarded whatever Christian principles they had started with and rapidly demoralized the movement at its centre by giving themselves up to an arrogance, vice, and cruelty which were worse than those of the government they sought to overturn. Mr. McLane, then United States Minister, truly reported to Washington:--
"Whatever may have been the hopes of the enlightened and civilized nations of the earth, in regard to this movement, it is now apparent that they neither profess nor apprehend Christianity, and whatever may be the true judgment to form of their political power, it can no longer be doubted that intercourse cannot be established or maintained on terms of equality."
The recapture of Nanking in 1864 marked the final turning of the tide, and in an incredibly short time the whole insurrection collapsed. The rebellion, vast as it was, is now after all but an episode in the history of the great Empire. But the fact that any man on such a platform could so quickly develop an insurrection of such appalling proportions significantly suggests the possibilities of change in China when new movements are rightly directed.
Freed from this gigantic travesty of its true character, the growth of Christianity in China became more rapid. The following table is eloquent:
1807 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 communicants 1814 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 " 1834 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 " 1842 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 " 1853 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350 " 1857 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,000 " 1865 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,000 " 1876. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,515 " 1886 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28,000 communicants 1889 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,287 " 1893 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55,093 " 1887 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80,682 " 1903 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112,808 "
The number of Protestant missionaries is 2,950, of whom 1,233 are men, 868 are wives and 849 are single women. Of the whole number, 1,483 are from Great Britain, 1,117 from America and 350 from continental Europe. Other interesting statistics are 5,000,000 adherents, 2,500 stations and out- stations, 6,388 Chinese pastors and helpers, 1,819 day-schools and 170 higher institutions of learning, twenty-three mission presses with an annual Output Of 107,149,738 pages, thirty-two periodicals, 124 hospitals and dispensaries treating in a single year 1,700,452 patients; while the asylums for the orphaned and blind and deaf number thirty-two.
It will thus be seen that Christian missions in China are being conducted upon a large scale. It would be difficult to overestimate the silent and yet mighty energy represented by such work, steadily continued through a long series of years, and representing the life labours of thousands of devoted men and women and an annual expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
True, the number of Christians is small in comparison with the population of the Empire, but the gospel has been aptly compared to a seed. It is indeed small, but seeds generally are. Lodged in a crevice of a rock, a seed will thrust its thread-like roots into fissures so tiny that they are hardly noticeable. Yet in time they will rend the rock asunder and firmly hold a stately tree. Now the seed of the gospel has been fairly lodged in the Chinese Empire. It is a seed of indestructible vitality and irresistible transforming power. It has taken root, and it is destined to produce mighty changes. It was not without reason that Christianity was spoken of as a force that "turned the world upside down," though it only does this where the world was wrong side up. It is significant that the word translated "power" in Romans 1:16, "The gospel is the power of God," is in the Greek the word that we have anglicized in common speech as "dynamite." We might, therefore, literally translate Paul's statement: "The gospel is the dynamite of God." That dynamite has been placed under the crust of China's conservatism, and the extraordinary transformations that are taking place in China are, in part at least, the results of its tremendous explosive force.
The scope of this book does not permit an extended account of the missionary movement in China. It has been given in many volumes that are easily accessible." Nearly all of the Protestant churches, European and American, are represented and their missionaries are teaching the young, healing the sick, translating the Word of God, creating a wholesome literature, and preaching everywhere and with a fidelity beyond all praise the truths of the Christian religion. Self-sacrificing devotion and patient persistence in well-doing are written on every page of the history of missions in China, while emergencies have developed deeds of magnificent heroism. Men and women have repeatedly endured persecution of the most virulent kind rather than forsake their converts, and a number "of whom the world was not worthy" have laid down their lives for conscience' sake. There are few places in all the world that are more depressing to a white man than a Chinese city. The dreary monotony and squalor of its life are simply indescribable. Chefoo is usually considered one of the most attractive cities in China, and the missionaries who reside there are regarded as fortunate above their brethren. But even a brief stay will convince the most sceptical that nothing but the strongest considerations of duty could induce one who has freedom of choice to remain any longer than is absolutely necessary. Yet for forty-two years, missionaries have lived and toiled amid these unattractive surroundings, their houses on Temple Hill in the midst of the innumerable graves which occupy almost every possible space not actually covered by the mission buildings and grounds. But steadily the missionaries have toiled on, with faith and courage and love, and they are slowly but surely effecting marked changes. One by one, the Chinese are being led to loftier views of life and while the old city still continues to live in the ancient way, hundreds of Chinese families, amid the numerous population outside of the walls and in the outlying villages, have begun to conform themselves to the new and higher conditions of life represented by the Christian missionaries.
 The reader is referred to "The Middle Kingdom," Williams; "Christian Progress in China," Foster (1889); "Story of the China Inland Mission," Guinness; "China and Formosa," Johnston (1897); Record of the General Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of China held in Shanghai, 1890; Report of the Ecumenical Missionary Conference held in New York, 1900; "Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China," Gibson; "Mission Methods in Manchuria," Ross; "Women of the Middle Kingdom," McNabb; "Among the Mongols," Gilmour; "East of the Barrier," Graham; "In the Far East," Guinness; "The Cross and the Dragon," Henry; "From Far Formosa," Mackay; "Dawn on the Hills of T'ang," Beach; "China and the Chinese," Nevius; "Our Life in China," Mrs. Nevius; "Life of John Livingston Nevius," Nevius; "Rex Christus," Smith; "John Kenneth Mackenzie," Bryson; "Princely Men in the Heavenly Kingdom," Beach; "James Gilmour of Mongolia," Lovett; "Griffith John," Robson; "Robert Morrison," Townsend; "With the Tibetans in Tent and Temple," Rijnhart.
Several schools, a handsome church, a hospital, the only institution for deaf mutes in China and a wide-reaching itinerating work, are features of the mission enterprise in Chefoo. The visitor will be particularly interested in Dr. Hunter Corbett's street chapel and museum. The building is situated opposite the Chinese theatre and is well adapted to its purpose. Dr. Corbett and a helper stand at the door and invite passers-by, while a blind boy plays on a baby organ and sings. The chapel, which holds about sixty or seventy, is soon filled. Dr. Corbett preaches to the people for half an hour and then ad- mits them to the museum which occupies several rooms in the rear. It is a wonderful place to the Chinese who never weary of watching the stuffed tiger, the model railway and the scores of interesting objects and specimens that Dr. Corbett has collected from various lands. Then the people leave by a door opening on the back street, another service being held with them in the last room. Several audiences a day are thus handled. It is hard work, for the men as a rule are from many outlying villages, unaccustomed to listening and knowing nothing of Christianity. But Dr. Corbett speaks with such animation and eloquence that not an eye is taken from him. Few are converted in the chapel, but friendships are gained, doors of opportunity opened, tracts distributed, men led to think, and on country tours Dr. Corbett invariably meets people who have been to the museum and who cordially welcome him to their homes. He declares that after thirty years' experience, he thoroughly believes in such work when followed up by faithful itineration. Seventy-two thousand attended the chapel and museum in the year 1900 in spite of the Boxer troubles. The chapel is open every day, except that the museum is closed on Sundays, and the attendance is now larger than ever.
After dinner, we strolled down to Dr. Nevius' famous orchard. It is a beautiful spot. Here the great missionary found his recreation after his arduous labours. Yet even in his hours of rest, he was eminently practical. Seeing that the Chinese had very little good fruit and believing that he might show them how to secure it, he brought from America seeds and cuttings, carefully cultivated them and, when they were grown, freely distributed the new seeds and cuttings to the Chinese, explaining to them the methods of cultivation. Today, as the result of his forethought and generosity, several foreign fruits have become common throughout North China. But the orchard is deteriorating as the Chinese will not prune the trees. They are so greedy for returns that they do not like to diminish the number of apples or plums in the interest of quality.
At sunset, I made a pilgrimage with Mrs. Nevius to the cemetery, where, after forty years of herculean toil, the mighty missionary sleeps. We sat for a long time beside the grave, and the aged widow, speaking of her own end, which she appeared to feel could not be far distant, said that she wished to be buried beside her husband and that for this reason she did not want to go to the United States, preferring to remain in Chefoo until her summons came.
The scene was very beautiful as the sun set and the moon rose above the quiet sea. Standing beside the grave of the honoured dead and under the solemn pines, the traveller gains a new sense of the beneficence and dignity of the missionary force that is operating through such consecrated lives of the living and the dead.
MISSIONARIES AND NATIVE LAWSUITS
IN considering the effects of the operation of this missionary force, we are at once confronted by the complaint of many Chinese that missionaries interfere on behalf of their converts in lawsuits. This complaint has been taken up and circulated by foreign critics until it has become one of the most formidable of the objections to missionary work. The difficulty will be understood when we remember that, though the Chinese are not a warlike people, they are litigious to an extraordinary degree. The struggle for existence in such a densely populated country often results in real or fancied entanglements of rights. So the Chinese are forever disputing about something, and the magistrates and village headmen are beset by clamorous hordes who demand a settlement of their alleged grievances. Naturally the Chinese Christians do not at once outgrow this national disposition. Whether they do or not, their profession of Christianity makes them an easy mark for the greedy and envious. Jealousy and dislike of the native who abandons the faith of his fathers and espouses "the foreigner's religion" frequently hale him into court on trumped-up charges and the notorious prejudice and corruption of the average magistrate often result in grievous persecution. The terrified Christian naturally implores the missionary to save him. It is hard to resist such an appeal. But the defendant is not always so innocent as he appears to be, and whether innocent or guilty, the interference of the foreigner irritates both magistrate and prosecutor, while it not infrequently arouses the resentment of the whole community by giving the idea that the Christians are a privileged class who are not amenable to the ordinary laws of the land. When, as sometimes happens, the Christians themselves get that idea and presume upon it, the difficulty becomes acute. Speaking of the Chinese talent for indirection, the Rev. Dr. Arthur H. Smith says:--
"It is this which makes it so difficult for the most conscientious and discreet missionary to be quite sure that he is in possession of all the needed data in any given case. The difficulty in getting at the bottom facts frequently is that there are no facts available, and, as the pilots say, `no bottom.' Every Protestant missionary is anxious to have his flock of Christians such as fear God and work righteousness, but in the effort to compass this end he not infrequently finds that when endeavouring to investigate the `facts' in any case he is chasing a school of cuttlefish through seas of ink."
An illustration of this occurred during my visit in Ichou-fu. A magistrate who needed some wheelbarrows sent out his men to impress them. The rule in such cases is that only empty barrows can be seized. But the yamen underlings found the father of a mission helper with loaded barrows at an inn, stole his goods and forced him to pay them a sum of money for the privilege of keeping his barrows. The helper complained and Dr. C. F. Johnson yielded only so far as to write a guarded letter to the magistrate simply stating his confidence that if the magistrate found that injustice had been done, he would remedy it. But that letter brought the missionary into the case and he found himself forced to see it through or "lose face" with the Chinese Christians and especially the helper who was the son of the man robbed. He soon discovered, moreover, that the wronged man was telling contradictory stories about the value of goods stolen and the amount of money he had to pay to save his barrows. The situation speedily became embarrassing and the sorely-tried missionary, though he had acted from the best of motives and in the most conservative way, vowed that he would never interfere again in such disputes, as irritation and harm were almost certain to result.
I asked Sir Robert Hart whether in his opinion a missionary should seek to obtain justice for a persecuted man or should remain silent? He replied:--
"Intervention in matters litigated ought to be absolutely eschewed. Let the missionary content himself with making his disciples good men and good citizens, and let him leave it to the duly authorized officials to interpret and apply the law and administer their affairs in their own way. Individual Christianity has as many shades and degrees as men's faces. There are converts and converts, but even the most godly of them may give his neighbour just reason to take offense, and the most saintly among them may get involved in the meshes of the law. In such cases let the missionary stand aloof. There is, too, such a thing as hypocrisy, much better let the schemer get his deserts than hurt the church's character by following sentiment into interference. You ask what is to be done when there is persecution to be dealt with? First of all, I would advise the individual or the community to live it down, and, as a last resort, report the fact with appropriate detail and proof to the Legation in Peking for the assistance and advice of the minister. `Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.' "
It is customary for the friends of Protestant missionaries to answer the critic's charge of interference in native lawsuits by stating that it does not justly lie against them, but only against the Roman Catholics, the rule of the Protestant missionaries being to avoid such interference save in rare and extreme cases. Mr. Alexander Michie, however, declares that Protestant missionaries are not entitled to such exemption, and that, while they may not interfere so frequently as the Catholics, they nevertheless interfere often enough to bring them under the same condemnation.
There are undoubtedly cases of imprudence, but after diligent inquiry, I am persuaded that the Protestant missionaries as a class are keenly alive to the risks of interference in native lawsuits and that they are increasingly careful in this respect. They feel with the Rev. J. C. Garritt of Hangchow that "the most important form which prejudice has taken of late is the belief that foreigners aid or at least countenance their converts in the carrying of lawsuits through the yamens, or in the business of private settlement of disputes, and that if we can only practically demonstrate to the public that we are not in that business, we shall have overcome one very serious obstacle to our work."
"The policy of the Chinese Government during the past few years has been to avoid trouble by letting the foreigner have his own way whenever possible. More than once the Chinese official has said in substance to non-Christian litigants: `You are right and your Christian accusers are wrong; but if I decide in your favour the foreigner will appeal the case to the Governor or to the Peking foreign office and I shall suffer.' Such things are charged, justly or unjustly, to the account of both Protestant and Romanist."
A broad induction as to the facts has been made by the Rev. Dr. Paul D. Bergen, President of Shantung Protestant University. He wrote to a large number of missionaries representing all Protestant denominations as to their practice and convictions regarding this subject. Seventy-three answered and Dr. Bergen tabulated their replies. As to the results of the concrete cases of intervention cited, fifty-three are reported to have been beneficial, twenty-six are characterized as doubtful, four as mixed and sixty-seven as bad. This leaves the remaining cases "suspended in the air," and Dr. Bergen conjectures that "perhaps the missionary felt in such a confused mental state at their conclusion, that he was quite unable to work out the complicated equation of their results."
"But surely the result that only fifty-three cases are reported to have been of unmistakable benefit, while sixty-seven are set down as resulting in evil, ought to give us thought. In short, in the yamen intercession in behalf of prosecuted Christians, it is the deliberate opinion of seventy-three missionaries that, as a matter of personal experience, sixty-seven cases have wrought only evil, while only fifty-three have been productive of good. The balance is on the wrong side. We must decide, in view of these replies, that there exists in general rather a pessimistic opinion as to the advantages of applying to the yamen in behalf of Christians."
Summing up briefly the results of this inquiry, we note the following points, which will embody the views of a very large majority of the Protestant missionaries of experience in the Empire:--
"First,--That it is highly desirable to keep church troubles out of the yamen, but that there are times when we cannot do so without violating our sense of justice and our sense of duty towards an injured brother.
"Second,--Official assistance is to be sought in such troubles only when all other means of relief have been tried in vain. Always seek to settle these difficulties out of court.
"Third,--When official assistance is requested, our bearing should be friendly and courteous in the spirit, at least in the first instance, of asking a favour of the official, rather than demanding a right.... We should be extremely careful about trying to bring pressure to bear on an official.
"Fourth,--In the presence of the native Christian, and especially of those chiefly concerned, as well as in our own closets, we should cherish a deep sense of our absolute dependence on heavenly rather than on earthly protection, and remind the Christians that, as Dr. Taylor has so tersely put it, their duty is `to do good, suffer for it and take it patiently.'
"Fifth,--Only in grave cases should matters be pushed to the point of controversy or formal appeal.
"Sixth,--Christians and evangelists should be solemnly warned against betraying an arrogant spirit upon the successful termination of any trouble.
"Seventh,--Previous to the carrying of a case before the official, let the missionary be sure of his facts. Each case should be patiently, thoroughly and firmly examined. Receive individual testimony with judicious reserve. Be not easily blinded by appeals to the emotions. Be especially ready to receive any one from the opposition, and give his words due weight. Do not be too exclusively influenced by the judgment of any one man, however trusted.
"Eighth,--In the course of negotiation beware of insisting on monetary compensation for the injured Christian. In greatly aggravated cases this may occasionally be unavoidable. But should it be made a condition of settlement, see to it that the damages are under, rather than over, what might have been demanded. It is almost sure to cause subsequent trouble, both within and without, if a Christian receives money under such circumstances.
"Ninth,--When unhappily involved in a persecution case with the official, we should remember that we are not lawyers, and therefore make no stand on legal technicalities, nor allow ourselves to take a threatening attitude, although we may be subjected to provocation; we should be patient, dignified and strong in the truth, making it clear to the official that this is all that we seek in order that the ends of justice may be satisfied.
"Tenth,--It would be well on every fitting occasion to exhort those under our care to avoid frequenting yamens or cultivating intimacy with their inhabitants, unless, indeed, we feel assured that their motive is the same as that animating our Lord when He mingled with publicans and sinners."
A widely representative conference of Protestant missionaries issued in 1903 the following manifesto and sent copies in Chinese to all officials throughout the Empire:
"Chinese Christians, though church-members, remain in every respect Chinese citizens, and are subject to the properly constituted Chinese authorities. The sacred Scriptures and the doctrines of the church teach obedience to all lawful authority and exhort to good citizenship; and these doctrines are preached in all Protestant churches. The relation of a missionary to his converts is thus that of a teacher to his disciples, and he does not desire to arrogate to himself the position or power of a magistrate.
"Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that unworthy men, by making insincere professions, enter the church and seek to use this connection to interfere with the ordinary course of law in China. We all agree that such conduct is entirely reprehensible, and we desire it to be known that we give no support to this unwarrantable practice
"On this account we desire to state that for the information of all that: (a) The Protestant Church does not wish to interfere in law cases. All cases between Christians and non-Christians must be settled in the courts in the ordinary way. Officials are called upon to administer fearlessly and impartially justice to all within their jurisdiction. (b) Native Christians are strictly forbidden to use the name of the church or its officers in the hope of strengthening their positions when they appear before magistrates. The native pastors and preachers are appointed for teaching and exhortation, and are chosen because of their worthy character to carry on this work. To prevent abuses in the future, all officials are respectfully requested to report to the missionary every case in which letters or cards using the name of the church or any of its officers are brought into court. Then proper inquiry will be made and the truth become clear."
The policy of the British Government on this subject was clearly expressed by Earl Granville in his note of August 21, 1871, to the British Minister at Peking:
"The policy and practice of the Government of Great Britain have been unmistakable. They have uniformly declared, and now repeat, that they do not claim to afford any species of protection to Chinese Christians which may be construed as withdrawing them from their native allegiance, nor do they desire to secure to British missionaries any privileges or immunities beyond those granted by treaty to other British subjects. The Bishop of Victoria was requested to intimate this to the Protestant missionary societies in the letter addressed to him by Mr. Hammond by the Earl of Clarendon's direction on the 13th of November, 1869, and to point out that they would `do well to warn converts that although the Chinese Government may be bound by treaty not to persecute, on account of their conversion, Chinese subjects who may embrace Christianity, there is no provision in the treaty by which a claim can be made on behalf of converts for exemption from the obligations of their natural allegiance, and from the jurisdiction of the local authorities. Under the creed of their adoption, as under that of their birth, Chinese converts to Christianity still owe obedience to the law of China, and if they assume to set themselves above those laws, in reliance upon foreign protection, they must take the consequence of their own indiscretion, for no British authority, at all events, can interfere to save them.' "
The policy of the United States Government was stated with equal clearness in a note of the Hon. Frederick F. Low, United States Minister at Peking, to the Tsung-li Yamen, dated March 20, 1871:
"The Government of the United States, while it claims to exercise, under and by virtue of the stipulations of treaty, the exclusive right of judging of the wrongful acts of its citizens resident in China, and of punishing them when found guilty according to its own laws, does not assume to claim or exercise any authority or control over the natives of China. This rule applies equally to merchants and missionaries, and, so far as I know, all foreign Governments having treaties with China adhere strictly to this rule. In case, however, missionaries see that native Christians are being persecuted by the local officials on account of their religious opinions, in violation of the letter and spirit of the twenty-ninth article of the treaty between the United States and China, it would be proper, and entirely in accordance with the principles of humanity and the teachings of their religion, to make respectful representation of the facts in such cases to the local authorities direct, or through their diplomatic representative to the foreign office; for it cannot be presumed that the Imperial Government would sanction any violation of treaty engagement, or that the local officials would allow persecutions for opinion's sake, when once the facts are made known to them. In doing this the missionaries should conform to Chinese custom and etiquette, so far as it can be done without assuming an attitude that would be humiliating and degrading to themselves."
The question is one of the most difficult and delicate of all the questions with which the missionary must deal. On the one hand, every impulse of justice and humanity prompts him to befriend a good man who is being persecuted for righteousness' sake. But on the other hand, sore experience has taught him the necessity of caution. The pressure upon him is so frequent and trying that it becomes the bete noire of his life. The outsider may wisely hesitate before he adds to that pressure. The citations that have been given show that the missionaries themselves understand the question quite as well as any one else and that they are competent to deal with it.
MISSIONARIES AND THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS
THE relation of the missionary to the consular and diplomatic representatives of his own government is another topic of perennial criticism. Some European Governments have persistently and notoriously sought to advance their national interest through their missionaries. France and Russia have been particularly active in this way, the former claiming large rights by virtue of its position as "the protector of Catholic missions." The result is that the average Chinese official regards all missionaries as political agents who are to be watched and feared. Dr. L. J. Davies, a Presbyterian missionary, says that he has been repeatedly asked his rank as "an American official," whether he "reported in person" to his "emperor" on his return to his native land, how much salary his government allowed him, and many other questions the import of which was manifest.
The typical consul and minister, moreover, find that no small part of their business relates to matters that are brought to their attention by missionaries. Sometimes they manifest impatience on this account. One consul profanely complained to me that three-fourths of his business related to the missionary question. He forgot, however, that nine-tenths of the nationals under his jurisdiction were missionaries, so that in proportion to their numbers, the missionaries gave him less trouble than the non-missionary Americans. In answer to an inquiry by the Rev. Dr. Paul D. Bergen, of the Presbyterian Mission, seventy- three missionaries, of from five to thirty years' experience, and representing most of the Protestant boards, reported a total of only fifty-two applications through consul or minister. The Hon. John Barrett, formerly Minister of the United States to Siam, writes: "Let us be fair in judging the missionaries. Let the complaining merchant, traveller or clubman take the beam from his own eye before he demands that the mote be taken from the missionary's eye. In my diplomatic experience in Siam, 150 missionaries gave me less trouble in five years than fifteen merchants gave me in five months."
Doubtless some diplomats would be glad to have the missionaries expatriate themselves. In the United States Senate the Hon. John Sherman is reported to have said that "if our citizens go to a far-distant country, semi-civilized and bitterly opposed to their movements, we cannot follow them there and protect them. They ought to come home." Is, then, the missionary's business less legitimate than the trader's? Is a man entitled to the protection of his country if he goes to the Orient to sell whiskey and rifles, but does he forfeit that protection if he goes there to preach the gospel of temperance and peace?
Critics may be reminded that missionaries are American citizens; that when gamblers and drunkards and adventurers and distillery agents in China claim the rights of citizenship, the missionary does not forfeit his rights by a residence in China for the purpose of teaching the young, healing the sick, distributing the Bible and preaching the gospel of Christ, particularly when treaties expressly guarantee him protection in the exercise of these very privileges. It is odd to find some people insisting that a dissolute trader should be allowed to go wherever he pleases and raising a tremendous hubbub if a hair of his head is injured, while at the same time they appear to deem it an unwarranted thing for a decent man to go to China on a mission of peace and good-will.
While the individual missionary is, of course, free to renounce his claim to the protection of home citizenship, such renunciation is neither necessary nor expedient. There is not the slightest probability that our Government will require it, and if it should, the public sentiment of the United States would not tolerate such an order for a week. No self-respecting nation can expatriate its citizens who go abroad to do good. The policy of the United States was indicated in the note of the Hon. J. C. B. Davis, acting Secretary of State, to the United States Minister at Peking, October 19, 1871.
"The rights of citizens of the United States in China are well defined by treaty. So long as they attend peaceably to their affairs they are to be placed on a common footing of amity and good-will with subjects of China, and are to receive and enjoy for themselves, and everything appertaining to them, protection and defense from all insults and injuries. They have the right to reside at any of the ports open to foreign commerce, to rent houses and places of business, or to build such upon sites which they have the right to hire. They have secured to them the right to build churches and cemeteries, and they may teach or worship in those churches without being harassed, persecuted, interfered with, or molested. These are some of the rights which are expressly and in terms granted to the United States, for their citizens, by the Treaty of 1858. If I rightly apprehend the spirit of the note of the Foreign Office, and of the regulations which accompany it, there is, to state it in the least objectionable form, an apprehension in the yamen that it may become necessary to curtail some of these rights, in consequence of the alleged conduct of French missionaries. This idea cannot be entertained for one moment by the United States."
This position was given new emphasis by the note sent by Secretary of State John Hay to the Hon. Horace Porter, United States Ambassador to France, in response to a communication from the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris in 1903. In this note Mr. Hay said:
"The Government holds that every citizen sojourning or travelling abroad in pursuit of his lawful affairs is entitled to a passport, and the duration of such sojourn the department does not arrogate to itself the right to limit or prescribe."
The governments of continental Europe have repeatedly shown themselves quick to resent an infringement upon the treaty rights of their subjects who are in China as missionaries. The Hon. Thomas Francis Wade, British Minister at Peking, wrote to Minister Wen Hsiang in June, 1871:--"The British Government draws no distinction between the missionaries and any other of its non-official subjects." This sentiment was emphatically reiterated by Earl Granville in a note from the foreign office in London to Mr. Wade dated August 21, 1871:
"Her Majesty's Government cannot allow the claim that the missionaries residing in China must conform to the laws and customs of China to pass unchallenged. It is the duty of a missionary, as of every other British subject, to avoid giving offense as far as possible to the Chinese authorities or people, but he does not forfeit the rights to which he is entitled under the treaty as a British subject because of his missionary character."
But while this is the only possible policy for a government, it is surely reasonable to expect that the persons concerned will exercise moderation and prudence in their demands. The China Island Mission does not permit its missionaries to appeal to their Government officials without special permission from headquarters. Many missionaries of other societies would probably resent such a limitation of their liberty as citizens. But as the act of the individual often involves others, it might be well to make the approval of the station necessary, and, wherever practicable, of the mission. Nine-tenths of the missionaries do not and will not unnecessarily write or telegraph for the intervention of minister or consul. But the tenth man may be benefited by the counsel of his colleagues who know or who may be easily acquainted with the facts. The American Presbyterian Board in a formal action has expressed the wise judgment that "appeals to the secular arm should always and everywhere be as few as possible." It is not in the civil or military power of a country to give the missionary success. In the crude condition of heathen society, the temptation is sometimes strong to appeal for aid to "the secular arm" of the home government. Occasions may possibly arise in which it will be necessary to insist upon rights. Nevertheless, as a rule, it will be well to remember that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God," and that "the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men." The argument of the sword is Mohammedan, not Christian. The veteran Rev. J. Hudson Taylor holds that in the long run appeals to home governments do nothing but harm. He says he has known of many riots that have never been reported and of much suffering endured in silence which have "fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel," and that "if we leave God to vindicate our cause, the issue is sure to prove marvellous in spirituality."
The critics have vociferously charged that after the suppression of the Boxer uprising, the missionaries greatly embarrassed their governments by demanding bloody vengeance upon the Chinese. It may indeed be true that among the thousands of Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries in China, some temporarily lost their self-control and gave way to anger under the awful provocation of ruined work, burned homes, outraged women and butchered Chinese Christians. How many at home would or could have remained calm in such circumstances? But it is grossly unjust to treat such excited utterances as representative of the great body of missionary opinion. The missionaries went to China and they propose to stay there because they love and believe in the Chinese, and it is very far from their thought to demand undue punishment for those who oppose them. They sensibly expected a certain amount of opposition from tradition, heathenism, superstition and corruption, and they are not disposed to call for unmanly or unchristian measures when that trouble falls upon them which fell in even greater measure on the Master Himself.
It is true that some of the missionaries felt that the ring- leaders of the Boxers, including those in high official position who more or less secretly incited them to violence, should be punished. But they were not thinking of revenge, so much as of the welfare of China, the restoration to power of the best element among the Chinese, and the reasonable security of Chinese Christians and of foreigners who have treaty rights. Many missionaries feel that there is no hope for China save in the predominance of the Reform Party, and that if the reactionaries are to remain in control, the outlook is dark indeed, not so much for the foreigner as for China itself. The men who were guilty of the atrocities perpetrated in the summer of 1900 violated every law, human and divine, and some of the missionaries demanded their punishment only in the same spirit as the ministers and Christian people of the United States who with united voice demanded the punishment of the four young men in Paterson, New Jersey, who had been systematically outraging young girls.
Nevertheless, as to the whole subject of the policy which should be adopted by our Government in China, I believe that it would be wise for both the missionaries and the mission boards to be cautious in proffering advice, and to leave the responsibility for action with the lawfully constituted civil authorities upon whom the people have placed it. Governments have better facilities for acquiring accurate information as to political questions than missionaries have. They can see the bearings of movements more clearly than those who are not in political life and can discern elements in the situation that are not so apparent to others. Moreover, they must bear the blame or praise for consequences. They can ask for missionary opinion if they want it. Generations of protest against priestly domination, chiefly by Protestant ministers themselves, have developed in both Europe and America a disposition to resent clerical interference in political questions. This is particularly true of matters in Asia, where the political situation is so delicate. The opinions publicly expressed by the missionaries as to the policy, which, in their judgment, should be adopted by our Government and by the European Powers have included not only many articles of individual missionaries in newspapers and magazines, but formal communications of bodies or committees of missionaries. Conspicuous examples are the protests of missionaries assembled in Chefoo and Shanghai in 1900 against the decision of the American Government to withdraw its troops from Peking, to recognize the Empress Dowager and to omit certain officials from the list of those who were to be executed or banished, and, in particular, the letter addressed by "the undersigned British and American missionaries representative of societies and organizations that have wide interests in China to their Excellencies the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and the United States accredited to the Chinese Government."
These actions were taken by men whose character, ability and knowledge of the Chinese entitle them to great weight, and who were personally affected in the security of their lives and property and in the interests of their life-work by the policy adopted by their respective Governments. All were citizens who did not abdicate their citizenship by becoming missionaries, and whose status and rights in China, as such, have been specifically recognized by treaty. All, moreover, expressed their views with clearness, dignity and force. From the viewpoint of right and privilege, and, indeed, political duty as citizens, they were abundantly justified in expressing their opinions.
On the other hand, there are many friends of missions who doubt whether formal declarations of judgment "as missionaries," on political and military questions, were accorded much influence by diplomats; whether they did not increase the popular criticism of missionaries to an extent which more than counterbalanced any good that they accomplished; whether they did not identify the missionary cause with "the consul and gunboat" policy which Lord Salisbury charged upon it; and whether they did not prejudice their own future influence over the Chinese and strengthen the impression that the mis- sionaries are "political emissaries." In reply to my inquiry as to his opinion, Sir Robert Hart expressed himself as follows:--
"As for punitive measures, etc., I have really no personal knowledge of the action taken by American missionaries, and hearsay is not a good foundation for opinion. It is said that vindictive feeling rather than tender mercy has been noticed. But even if so, it cannot be wondered at, so cruel were the Chinese assailants when they had the upper hand. The occasion has been altogether anomalous, and it is only at the parting of the ways the difference of view comes in. That what was done merited almost wholesale punishment is a view most will agree in--eyes turned to the past--but when discussion tries to argue out what will be best for the future, some will vote for striking terror, and others for trusting more to the more slowly working but longer lasting effect of mercy. I do not believe any missionary has brought anybody to punishment who did not richly deserve it. But some people seem to feel it would have been wiser for ministers of the gospel to have left to `governors' the `punishment of evil-doers.' For my part, I cannot blame them, for without their assistance much that is known would not have been known, and, although numbers of possibly innocent, inoffensive and non-hostile people may have been overwhelmed in this last year's avalanche of disaster, there are still at large a lot of men whose punishment would probably have been a good thing for the future. One can only hope that their good luck in escaping may lead them to take a new departure, and with their heads in the right direction."
 Letter to the author with permission to print, July, 1901.
Wisely or unwisely--the former, I venture to think--the interdenominational conference of American mission boards having work in China, held in 1900, declined to make representations to our Government on questions of policy during the Boxer uprising. They necessarily had much correspondence with Washington regarding the safety of missionaries during the siege, but when I inquired of Secretary of State Hay as to the accuracy of the later newspaper charges that mission boards were urging the Government to retaliatory measures, he promptly replied: "No communications of this nature have been received from the great mission boards or from their authorized representatives."
But let us hear the missionaries themselves on this subject. An interdenominational committee, headed by the Rev. Dr. Calvin W. Mateer, prepared a reply to this criticism, which has been circulated throughout China and has received the assent of so large a number of missionaries of all churches and nationalities that it may be taken as representing the views of fully nine-tenths of the whole body of Protestant missionaries in the Empire. This letter should be given the widest possible currency, as expressing the views of men who are the peers of any equal number of Christian workers in the world. It is dated May 24, 1901, and, after discussing the question of the responsibility for the Boxer uprising, the letter continues:
"With reference to the second point--that we have manifested an unchristian spirit in suggesting the punishment of those who were guilty of the massacre of foreigners and native Christians--we understand that the criticism applies chiefly to the message sent by the public meeting held in Shanghai in September last.
"1. It should, in the first place, be borne in mind that the resolutions passed at that meeting were called for by the proposal of the Allies to evacuate Peking immediately after the relief of the Legations. It was felt, not only by missionaries but by the whole of the foreign residents in China, that such a course would be fraught with the greatest disaster, inasmuch as it would give sanction to further lawlessness.
"2. Further it must be remembered that, while suggesting that a satisfactory settlement `should include the adequate punishment of all who were guilty of the recent murders of foreigners and native Christians,' it was left to the Powers to decide what that `adequate punishment' should be. Moreover, when taking such measures as were necessary, they were urged to `make every effort to avoid all needless and indiscriminate slaughter of Chinese and destruction of their property.'
"3. By a strange misunderstanding we find that this suggestion has been interpreted as though it were animated by an unchristian spirit of revenge. With the loss of scores of friends and colleagues still fresh upon us, and with stories of cruel massacres reaching us day by day, it would not have been surprising had we been betrayed into intemperate expressions; but we entirely repudiate the idea which has been read into our words. If governments are the ministers of God's righteousness, then surely it is the duty of every Christian Government not only to uphold the right but to put down the wrong, and equally the duty of all Christian subjects to support them in so doing. For China, as for Western nations, anarchy is the only alternative to law. Both justice and mercy require the judicial punishment of the wrong-doers in the recent outrages. For the good of the people themselves, for the upholding of that standard of righteousness which they acknowledge and respect, for the strengthening and encouragement of those officials whose sympathies have been throughout on the side of law and order, and for the protection of our own helpless women and children and the equally helpless sons and daughters of the Church, we think that such violations of treaty obligations, and such heartless and unprovoked massacres as have been carried out by official authority or sanction, should not be allowed to pass unpunished. It is not of our personal wrongs that we think, but of the maintenance of law and order, and of the future safety of all foreigners residing in the interior of China, who, it must be remembered, are not under the jurisdiction of Chinese law, but, according to the treaties, are immediately responsible to, and under the protection of, their respective Governments."
The reply rather pathetically concludes:
"It is unhappily the lot of missionaries to be misunderstood and spoken against, and we are aware that in any explanation we now offer we add to the risk of further misunderstanding; but we cast ourselves on the forbearance of our friends, and beg them to refrain from hasty and ill-formed judgments. If, on our part, there have been extreme statements, if individual missionaries have used intemperate words or have made demands out of harmony with the spirit of our Divine Lord, is it too much to ask that the anguish and peril through which so many of our number have gone during the last six months should be remembered, and that the whole body should not be made responsible for the hasty utterances of the few?"
A perplexing phase of the relation of missionaries to their own governments develops in times of disturbance. Should missionaries remain at their stations when their minister or consul think that they ought to withdraw to the port where they can be more easily protected? Should they make journeys that the consul deems imprudent or return to an abandoned station before he regards the trouble as ended? This question became acute in connection with the Boxer outbreak when mis- sionaries sometimes differed with ministers or consuls as to whether they should go or stay. On the one hand it may be urged that missionaries are under strong obligations to attach great weight to the judgment of their minister or consul. If they receive the benefits and protection of citizenship, and if by their acts they may involve their governments, they should recognize the right of the authorized representatives of those governments to counsel them. The presumption should be in favour of obedience to that counsel, and it should not be disregarded without clear and strong reasons.
But the fact cannot be ignored that, whatever may be the personal sympathies of individual ministers or consuls, diplomacy as such considers only the secondary results of missions, and not the primary ones. Government officials, speaking on missionary work, almost invariably dwell on its material and civilizing rather than its spiritual aspects. They do not, as officials, feel that the salvation of men from sin and the command of Christ to evangelize all nations are within their sphere. Moreover, diplomacy is proverbially and necessarily cautious. Its business is to avoid risks, and, of course, to advise others to avoid them. The political situation, too, was undeniably uncertain and delicate. The future was big with possibility of peril. In such circumstances, we should expect diplomacy to be anxious and to look at the whole question from the prudential viewpoint.
But the missionary, like the soldier, must take some risks. From Paul down, missionaries have not hesitated to face them. Christ did not condition His great command upon the approval of Caesar. It was not safe for Morrison to enter China, and for many years missionaries in the interior were in grave jeopardy. But devoted men and women accepted the risk in the past, and they will accept it in the future. They must exercise common sense. And yet this enterprise is unworldly as well as worldly, and when the soldier boldly faces every physical peril, when the trader unflinchingly jeopardizes life and limb in the pursuit of gold--I found a German mining engineer and his wife living alone in a remote village soon after the Boxer excitement-- should the missionary be held back?
If, however, after full and careful deliberation, missionaries feel that it is their duty to disregard the advice of their minister or consul, they should consult their respective boards and if the boards sustain them, all concerned should accept responsibility for the risks involved.
But if missionaries do not permit governments to control their movements, they should not be too exacting in their demands on them when trouble comes. The Rev. Dr. Henry M. Field once said:--
"A foreign missionary is one who goes to a strange country to preach the gospel of our salvation. That is his errand and his defense. The civil authorities are not presumed to be on his side. If he offends the sensibilities of the people to whom he preaches, he is supposed to face the consequences. If he cannot win men by the Word and his own love for their souls, he cannot call on the civil or military powers to convert them. Nor is the missionary a merchant, in the sense that he must have ready recourse to the courts for a recouping of losses or the recovery of damages. Commercial treaties cannot cover all our missionary enterprises. Confusion of ideas here has confounded a good many fine plans and zealous men. It is a tremendous begging of the whole question to insist on the nation's protection of the men who are to subvert the national faith. Property rights and preaching rights get closely entwined, and it is difficult to untangle them at times, but the distinction is definite and the difference often fundamental. By confusing them we weaken the claims of both. And when our Christian preachers get behind a mere property right in order to defend their right to preach a new religion, they dishonour themselves and defame the faith they profess. To get behind diplomatic guaranties in order to evangelize the nations is to mistake the sword for the Spirit, to rely on the arm of flesh and put aside the help of the Almighty."
That is, in my judgment, stating the case rather strongly. Doubtless Dr. Field did not mean that governments would be justified in discriminating against missionaries and he would probably have been one of the first to protest if they had done so. He was addressing missionaries, reminding them that they could do in liberty what the governments could not do in law, and exhorting against any disposition to depend unduly upon the sword of the secular arm. At any rate, he was a devoted friend of missions and as such his words are deserving of thoughtful consideration.
RESPONSIBILITY OF MISSIONARIES FOR THE BOXER UPRISING
CRITICS vociferously assert that the missionaries were chiefly responsible for the Boxer uprising and for most of the prejudice of the Chinese against foreigners. As to the general accuracy of this charge, the reader has doubtless formed some impression from what has been said in the preceding chapters regarding the objects and methods of foreign trade and foreign politics. Still, it is but fair to remember that there are 3,854 missionaries in China, representing almost every European and American nationality and no less than nine Roman Catholic and sixty-seven Protestant boards. As might be expected, the standard of appointment varies. A few boards, while insisting upon high spiritual qualifications, do not insist upon equal qualifications of some other kinds, while in all societies an occasional missionary proves to be visionary and ill-balanced. But in the great majority of the boards, the standard of appointment is very high, and while occasional mistakes are made, yet as a rule the missionaries represent the best type of Protestant Christianity. They are, as a class, men and women of education, refinement and ability--in every respect the equals and as a rule the superiors of the best class of non-missionary Europeans and Americans in China.
Now it is manifest that criticisms which may be true of some missionaries may not be true of the missionary body as a whole. As a matter of fact, the average critic has in mind either the Roman Catholic priests or the members of some independent society. This is notably true of Michie. Many of the charges are not true even of them, but of the charges that I have seen that have any foundation at all, nine-tenths do not apply to the missionaries of church boards. It is always fair, therefore, to ask a critic, "To which class of missionaries do you refer?"
The clearest line of distinction is between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. The latter number 904. They have been in China the longest. They have the largest following, and their methods are radically different from those of the Protestant missionaries. It is not denied that some of the priests are high-minded, intelligent men and that some of the Protestants lack wisdom. But comparing the two classes broadly, no one who is at all conversant with the facts will regard the Protestants as inferior. I do not wish to be unjust to the Roman Catholic missionaries in China. Many good things might be said regarding the work which some of them are doing. I personally called at several Roman Catholic stations in various parts of the Empire and I have vivid recollections of the kindness with which I was received, while more than once I was impressed by the unmistakable evidences of devotion and self-sacrifice. It was pleasant to hear many Protestant missionaries declare that they had never heard a suspicion as to the moral character of the priests. I did not hear any in all north China. The lives of the Roman Catholic missionaries are hard and narrow and they have no relief in the companionships of wife and children, in furloughs or in medical attendance, for they have no medical missionaries, while not infrequently the priest lives alone in a village. Dead to the world, with no families and no expectation of returning to their native land, trained from boyhood to a monastic life, drilled to unquestioning obedience and to few personal needs, their ambition is not to get anything for themselves but to strengthen the Church for which the individual priest unhesitatingly sacrifices himself, content if by his complete submergence of his own interests he has helped to make her great. With such men, Rome is a mighty power in Asia. But the sincere, devoted man may be even more dangerous if his zeal is wrongly directed, and the question under discussion now is not the personal character of individuals, but the general policy of the Church. As to the character and effects of this policy I found a remarkable unanimity of opinion in China, and I could easily produce from my note-books the names of scores of credible witnesses to the substantial accuracy of my position.
 720,540 Roman Catholics--compare p. 223 for Protestants.
Whatever may be said in favour of the Roman Catholics, it is unquestionable that their methods are far more irritating to the Chinese than the methods of the Protestants. Led by able and energetic bishops, the priests acquire all possible business property, demand large rentals, build imposing religious plants, and baptize or enroll as catechumens all sorts of people. It is notorious that the Roman Catholic priests quite generally adopt the policy of interference on behalf of their converts. Through the Minister of France at Peking they obtained an Imperial Edict, dated March 15, 1899, granting them official status, so that the local priest is on a footing of equality with the local magistrate, and has the right of full access to him at any time. Whether or not intended by the Roman Catholic Church, the impression is almost universal in China among natives and foreigners alike that, if a Chinese becomes a Catholic, the Church will stand by him through thick and thin, in time and in eternity. There are, indeed, exceptions. Dr. Johnson, of Ichou-fu, told me of a Roman Catholic Christian who, during the Boxer troubles, stealthily moved his goods into Ichou-fu, burned his house, and then put in a claim for indemnity. The heathen neighbours, when asked to pay, informed the priest. He summoned the man, who confusedly said that if he had not burned the house, the Boxers would have done so, and he thought he had better do it at a convenient time as it was sure to be burned anyway. The priest promptly decided that he must suffer the loss himself. So the priests do not always stand by their converts whether right or wrong.
No one, however, who is familiar with the general course of the Roman Catholic Church in China, will deny that, as a rule, the priests boldly champion the cause of their converts. This is one secret of Rome's great and rapidly growing power in China, and unquestionably, too, it is one of the chief causes of Chinese hostility to missions. After many years of observation, Dr. J. Campbell Gibson writes:--
"In the missions of the Church of Rome, they (treaty rights) are systematically, and I am afraid one must say unscrupulously, used for the gathering in of large numbers of nominal converts, whose only claim to the Christian name is their registration in lists kept by native catechists, in which they are entered on payment of a small fee, without regard to their possession of any degree of Christian knowledge or character. In the event of their being involved in any dispute or lawsuit, the native catechists or priests, and even the foreign Roman Catholic missionaries, take up their cause and press it upon the native magistrates. Not infrequently a still worse course is pursued. Intimation is sent round the villages in which there are large numbers of so-called Catholic converts and these assemble under arms to support by force the feuds of their co-religionists. The consequence is that the Catholic missions in southern China, and I believe in the north also, are bitterly hated by the Chinese people and by their magistrates. By terrorizing both magistrates and people, they have secured in many places a large amount of apparent popularity; but they are sowing the seeds of a harvest of hatred and bitterness which may be reaped in deplorable forms in years to come."
 "Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China," pp. 309, 310.
In my own interviews with Chinese officials, it was my custom to lead the conversation towards the motives of those who had attacked foreigners during the Boxer uprising, and without exception the officials mentioned, among other causes, the interference of Roman Catholic priests with the administration of the law in cases affecting their converts. In several places in the interior, this was the only reason assigned.
Said an intelligent Chinese official in Shantung: "The whole trouble is not with the Protestants but with the Catholics. Protestant Christians do not go to law so often, and when they do, the Protestant missionary does not, as a rule, interfere unless he is sure they are right. But the Catholic Christians are constantly involved in lawsuits, and the priests invariably stand by them right or wrong. The priests seem to think that their converts cannot be wrong. The result is that many Chinese join the Roman Catholic Church to get the help of the priests in the innumerable lawsuits that the Chinese are always waging. And it is not surprising in such circumstances that Catholic Christians are a bad lot." When I asked the magistrate of Paoting-fu why the people had killed such kindly and helpful neighbours as the Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries, he replied:--"The people were angered by the interference of the Roman Catholics in their lawsuits. They felt that they could not obtain justice against them, and in their frenzy they did not distinguish between Catholics and Protestants." The Roman Catholic Mission in the prefecture of Paoting-fu, it should be remembered, is about two centuries old, and the Catholic population is about 12,000, so that the few hundreds of converts who have been gathered in the recent work of the Protestants are very small in comparison, while the splendid cathedral of the Roman Church, the spectacular character of its services and the official status and aggressiveness of its priests intensify the disproportion. The term Christian, therefore, to the average man of Paoting-fu naturally means a Roman Catholic rather than a Protestant.
Perhaps we should make some allowance for Oriental forms of statement to one who was known to be a Protestant. The politeness of an Oriental host to a guest is not always limited by veracity, and it is possible that to Roman Catholics the officials may blame the Protestants. But such unanimity of testimony among so many independent and widely separated officials must surely count for something, especially when the grounds for it are so notorious. Undoubtedly, there are many sincere Christians among the Roman Catholic Chinese, but judging from the almost universal testimony that I heard in China, the Roman Church is a veritable cave of Adullam for unscrupulous and revengeful Chinese.
The evidence does not rest upon the testimony of Protestants alone. If any one will take the trouble to look up the diplomatic correspondence on this subject, he will find ample and convincing testimony. February 9, 1871, the Tsung-li Yamen addressed to the Foreign Legations at Peking a memorandum together with eight propositions, the whole embodying the complaints and objections of the Chinese Government to missionaries and their work in China, and suggesting certain regulations for the future. This memorandum included the following paragraph:--
"The missionary question affects the whole question of pacific relations with foreign powers--the whole question of their trade. As the Minister addressed cannot but be well aware, wherever missionaries of the Romish profession appear, ill-feeling begins between them and the people, and for years past, in one case or another, points of all kinds on which they are at issue have been presenting themselves. In earlier times when the Romish missionaries first came to China, styled, as they were, `Si Ju,' the Scholars of the West, their converts no doubt for the most part were persons of good character; but since the change of ratifications in 1860, the converts have in general not been of a moral class. The result has been that the religion that professes to exhort men to virtue has come to be lightly thought of; it is in consequence, unpopular, and its unpopularity is greatly increased by the conduct of the converts who, relying on the influence of the missionaries, oppress and take advantage of the common people (the non-Christians): and yet more by the conduct of the missionaries themselves, who, when collisions between Christians and the people occur, and the authorities are engaged in dealing with them, take part with the Christians, and uphold them in their opposition to the authorities. This undiscriminating enlistment of proselytes has gone so far that rebels and criminals of China, pettifoggers and mischief-makers, and such like, take refuge in the profession of Christianity, and covered by this position, create disorder. This has deeply dissatisfied the people, and their dissatisfaction long felt grows into animosity, and their animosity into deadly hostility. The populations of different localities are not aware that Protestantism and Romanism are distinct. They include both under the latter denomination. They do not know that there is any distinction between the nations of the West. They include them all under one denomination of foreigners, and thus any serious collision that occurs equally compromises all foreigners in China. Even in the provinces not concerned, doubt and misgiving are certain to be largely generated."
The memorandum and its attached propositions are interesting reading as showing the impression which the Chinese Government had of Roman Catholic missionary work. The third proposition included the following statement:--
"They (Roman Catholic converts) even go so far as to coerce the authorities and cheat and oppress the people. And the foreign missionaries, without inquiring into facts, conceal in every case the Christian evil-doer, and refuse to surrender him to the authorities for punishment. It has even occurred that malefactors who have been guilty of the gravest crimes have thrown themselves into the profession of Christianity, and have been at once accepted and screened (from justice). In every province do the foreign missionaries interfere at the offices of the local authorities in lawsuits in which native Christians are concerned. For example in a case that occurred in Sze-chuen in which some native Christian women defrauded certain persons (non-Christians) of the rent owing to them, and actually had these persons wounded and killed, the French Bishop took on himself to write in official form (to the authorities) pleading in their favour. None of these women were sentenced to forfeit life for life taken, and the resentment of the people of Sze-chuen in consequence remains unabated."
Mr. Wade, the British Minister at Peking, in reporting this memorandum and its appended propositions to Earl Granville, June 8, 1871, said:
"The promiscuous enlistment of evil men as well as good by the Romish missionaries, and their advocacy of the claims advanced by these ill-conditioned converts, has made Romanism most unpopular; and the people at large do not distinguish between Romanist and Protestant, nor between foreigner and foreigner; not that Government has made no effort to instruct the people, but China is a large Empire.... Three- fourths of the Romish missionaries in China, in all, between 400 and 500 persons, are French; and Romanism in the mouths of non-Christian Chinese is as popularly termed the religion of the French as the religion of the Lord of Heaven."
June 27th of that year, Earl Granville wrote to Lord Lyons that he had said to the French Charge d'Affaires:--
"I told M. Gavard that I could not pretend to think that the conduct of the French missionaries, stimulated by the highest and most laudable object, had been prudent in the interest of Christianity itself, and that the support which had been given by the representatives of France to their pretensions was dangerous to the future relations of Europe with China."
The Hon. Frederick F. Low, United States Minister at Peking, in communicating that memorandum and the attached propositions to the State Department in Washington, March 20, 1871, said:--
"A careful reading of the Memorandum clearly proves that the great, if not only, cause of complaint against the missionaries comes from the action of the Roman Catholic priests and the native Christians of that faith.... Had they (the Chinese Goverment) stated their complaints in brief, without circumlocution, and stripped of all useless verbiage, they would have charged that the Roman Catholic missionaries, when residing away from the open ports, claim to occupy a semi-official position, which places them on an equality with the provincial officer; that they deny the authority of the Chinese officials over native Christians, which practically removes this class from the jurisdiction of their own rulers; that their action in this regard shields the native Christians from the penalties of the law, and thus holds out inducements for the lawless to join the Catholic Church, which is largely taken advantage of; that orphan asylums are filled with children, by the use of improper means, against the will of the people; and when parents, guardians, and friends visit these institutions for the purpose of reclaiming children, their requests for examination and restitution are denied, and lastly, that the French Government, while it does not claim for its missionaries any rights of this nature by virtue of treaty, its agents and representatives wink at these unlawful acts, and secretly uphold the missionaries. . . . I do not believe, and, therefore I cannot affirm, that all the complaints made against Catholic missionaries are founded in truth, reason, or justice; at the same time, I believe that there is foundation for some of their charges. My opinions, as expressed in former despatches touching this matter, are confirmed by further investigation. . . ."
On the same date, Minister Low wrote to the Tsung-li Yamen:--
"It is a noticeable fact, that among all the cases cited there does not appear to be one in which Protestant missionaries are charged with violating treaty, law or custom. So far as I can ascertain, your complaints are chiefly against the action and attitude of the missionaries of the Roman Catholic faith; and, as these are under the exclusive protection and control of the Government of France, I might with great propriety decline to discuss a matter with which the Government of the United States has no direct interest or concern, for the reason that none of its citizens are charged with violating treaty or local law, and thus causing trouble."
This tendency of the Chinese to confuse Roman Catholics and Protestants is further illustrated by the note addressed by Minister Wen Hsiang to Sir R. Alcock:--
"Extreme indeed would be the danger if, popular indignation having been once aroused by this opposition to the authorities, the hatred of the whole population of China were excited like that of the people of Tientsin against foreigners, and orders, though issued by the Government, could not be for all that put in force. . . . Although the creeds of the various foreign countries differ in their origin and development from each other, the natives of China are unable to see the distinction between them. In their eyes all (teachers of religion) are `missionaries from the West,' and directly they hear a lying story (about any of these missionaries), without making further and minute inquiry (into its truth), they rise in a body to molest him."
As for Protestant missionaries, it would be useless to assert that every one of the 2,950 has always been blameless in this matter. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that there is a sense in which the gospel is a revolutionary force. Christ Himself said that He came not to send peace on earth but a sword, and to set a man at variance against his father. There is usually more or less of a protest in a heathen land when a man turns from the old faith to the new one. The refusal to contribute to the temple sacrifices and to worship the ancestral tablets is sure to be followed by a furious outcry. The convert is apt to be assailed as a traitor to the national custom and as having entered into league with the foreigner.
To the Chinese, moreover, all white men are "Christians" and "foreign devils," and all alike stand for the effort to foreignize and despoil China. Except where personal acquaintance has taught certain communities that there is a difference between white men, the evil acts of one foreigner or of one aggressive foreign Government are charged against all the members of the race, just as in the pioneer days in the American colonies, a settler whose wife had been killed by an Indian took his revenge by indiscriminately shooting all the other Indians he could find. Any hatred that the Chinese may have against Christianity is due, not so much to its religious teachings, as to its identification with the foreign nations whose religion Christianity is supposed to be and whose aggressions the Chinese have so much reason to fear and to hate.
For this reason, the introduction of Buddhism and Mohammedanism is not parallel, and to base an argument against Christianity on the alleged fact that the other faiths easily succeeded in domesticating themselves in China is to confuse facts. Neither Buddhism nor Mohammedanism entered China as an aggressive propaganda by foreigners. The Chinese themselves brought in Buddhism, and it spread chiefly because it grafted into itself many Chinese superstitions and did not oppose Chinese vices, but rather assimilated them. Why should the people have opposed a religion which interfered with nothing that they valued and reenforced their darling prejudices? As for Islam, we have already seen that it is the faith of early immigrants and their descendants, that its followers do not propagate it, that they live in separate communities, are disliked by the Chinese and are often at open war with them. Christianity, on the contrary, comes to China with foreigners who have no intention of settling down as permanent members of Chinese society, who are classed as representatives of nations which are regarded as more or less hostile and unjust, and who preach their religion as a vital spiritual faith which opposes all wrong, uproots all superstition and aims at the moral reconstruction of every man. Of course, therefore, Christianity must expect a reception different in some respects from that which was given to Buddhism and Mohammedanism.
It is the shallowest of all objections to missions that Mr. Francis Nichols urged in the North American Review when he insisted that "the missionary is not engaged to be a reformer," but that "his mission is to preach the gospel-- nothing more."
"Is the gospel then simply a patent arrangement by which idolaters can get to heaven, without disturbing their idolatry or the vices associated with it? was not Christ a reformer? and Paul also, and his successors, who, by their preaching, gave the idols of Rome to the moles and the bats, and robbed the Coliseum of its gladiatorial shows? It is the glory of Christianity that on questions of truth and righteousness it makes no compromise. Its mission is to save the world by reforming it.... Who that understands the genius of Christianity can fail to see that China Christianized must be very different from China as it now is?"
After making all due allowance for these things, however, the fact still remains that opposition of this sort in China is usually local and sporadic. It affects a greater or less number of individuals and families and occasionally a community, but it does not move a whole population to the frenzy of a national uprising. The anti-foreign hatred of the Boxers was fierce in thousands of cities and villages where there were no missionaries or Chinese Christians at all. In the sphere of religion proper, the Chinese are not an intolerant people. They are almost wholly devoid of sec- tarian spirit. The coming of another religion would not of itself excite serious opposition, for having become accustomed to the presence and intermingling of several religions, it would not antecedently occur to the Chinese that a fourth faith would involve the abandonment of the others. They would be more apt to infer that the new could be accepted in harmony with the old in the established way. So the worst foe that the Christian missionary has to encounter is not hostility but indifference.
As a rule, the Chinese have not strenuously objected to the Protestant missionaries as missionaries. It is the policy of the mission boards to avoid all unnecessary interference with native customs. So far from coveting official equality with Chinese magistrates, an overwhelming majority of the Protestant missionaries throughout the Empire expressly declined to avail themselves of the offer of the Chinese Government to give them the same privileges and official status that was accorded to the Roman Catholic priests and bishops in the Imperial decree of March 15, 1899.
"The very thing which missionaries seek to avoid is denationalizing their converts. So far as mission schools at the ports are concerned, it is not the missionary who is chiefly responsible for what foreignizing is done. The Chinese who patronize these schools want their children to learn foreign accomplishments. Such schools, however, form but a very small part of the extensive educational work done by American missionaries in China."
Many of the missionaries, especially in the interior stations, don Chinese clothing, shave their heads and wear a queue. Everywhere the missionaries learn the Chinese language, try to get into sympathy with the people, teach the young, heal the sick, comfort the dying, distribute relief in time of famine, preach the gospel of peace and good-will, and, in the opinion of unprejudiced judges, are upright, sensible and useful workers. Not only men but women travel far into the interior, the former frequently alone and unarmed. They go into the homes of the people, preach in village streets, sleep unprotected in Chinese houses, and receive much personal kindness from all classes.
The experience of the Presbyterian mission at Chining-chou is an illustration of what has occurred in scores of communities. When Dr. Stephen A. Hunter and the Rev. William Lane tried to open a station in 1890, they were mobbed and driven out, barely escaping with their lives. But in June, 1892, the Rev. J. A. Laughlin arrived and was permitted to buy property and, in September, to bring his family and begin permanent residence. There are hereditary bands of robbers in the neighbourhood, and more than once they attacked the mission compound. But gradually the peaceful purpose and the beneficent life of the missionaries became known and active opposition ceased. When the Boxer outbreak occurred, there were about 150 baptized adults, besides a considerable number of children and adherents. During the troubles, only two of the Christians recanted, the rest holding together and continuing regular services. The mission property was undisturbed during the whole period. It is true, the officials were friendly; but even Governor Yuan Shih Kai's influence could not prevent some loss in his own capital. In Chining-chou not a thing was touched, a striking testimony to the friendliness of the people towards the missionaries whom they had learned to love. As I approached the city with the returning missionaries, a group of thirty met us with beaming faces. For nearly a year, they had been without a missionary and their joy at seeing Mr. Laughlin was unmistakable. As we passed through the city to the mission-compound in the southeast suburb, people in almost every door and window smiled and bowed a welcome. Nor was this cordiality confined to the Christians; many of all classes being outspoken in their manifestations of respect and affection.
Nor is it true that the Chinese sense of propriety is so out- raged, as some critics would have us believe, by the coming of single-women missionaries. It is true that in a land where all women are supposed to marry at an early age and where their freedom of movement is rigidly circumscribed, the position of the unmarried woman, however discreet she may be, is sometimes embarrassingly misunderstood until the community becomes better acquainted with her mission and character. But the opposition of the Chinese on this account has been grossly exaggerated by those whose prior hostility to all missionary work predisposed them to make as much capital as possible out of the small gossip on this subject. Even if the misunderstanding were as general and as bitter as some allege, it would not follow that single women should be withdrawn, for such misunderstanding grows out of a false and vicious conception of the female sex and its relation to man and society, and it is just that conception which Christianity should and does correct. For that matter, the position of the single man is also misunderstood, while no other person in all China is more fiercely hated by the Chinese than the white traders in the treaty ports who are the chief source of the criticisms upon missionaries. The experience of every mission board operating in China has shown that a Chinese town soon learns that the single-woman missionary is a pure-minded, large-hearted and unselfish worker, who from the loftiest of motives devotes herself to the teaching of women and children and to self-sacrificing ministries to the sick and suffering. No other foreigners are more beloved by the people than the single-women missionaries.
It is simply foolish to say that the missionary is responsible for the prompt appearance of the consul and the gunboat. The true missionary goes forth without either consul or gunboat. He devotes his life to ameliorating the sad conditions which prevail in heathen communities. His reliance is not upon man, but upon God. But as soon as his work begins to tell, the trader appears to buy and sell in the new market. The statesman casts covetous eyes on the newly opened territory. Christianity civilizes, and civilization increases wants, stimulates trade and breaks down barriers. The conditions of modern civilization are developed. Then the consul is sent, not because the missionary asks for him, but because his government chooses to send him. Sooner or later some local trouble occurs, and the Government takes advantage of the opportunity to further its territorial or commercial ambitions. "Missionaries responsible, indeed!" writes Dr. H. H. Jessup. "The diplomats of Europe know better. Had there been no grabbing of seaports and hinterlands, no forcing modern improvements and European goods down the throats of the Chinese, the missionaries would have been let alone now as in the past."
It is the foreign idea that the Chinese dislikes, the interference with his cherished customs and traditions. A railroad alarms and angers him more than half a hundred missionaries. A plowshare cuts through more of his superstitions than a mission school. He does not want the methods of our western civilization, and he resents the attempt to push them upon him. If no other force had been at work than the foreign missionary, the anti-foreign agitation would never have started. It is significant that those who protest that we ought not to force our religion upon the Chinese do not appear to think that there is anything objectionable in forcing our trade upon them. The animosity of the Chinese has been primarily excited, not by the missionary, but by the trader and the politician, and the missionary suffers chiefly because he comes from the country of the trader and the politician and is identified with them as a member of the hated race of foreigners.
On this whole subject, I have been at some pains to collect the testimony of men whose positions are a guarantee not only of knowledge but of impartiality.
The Hon. George F. Seward, formerly United States Minister to Chipa, declares:--
"The people at large make too much of missionary work as an occasion for trouble. There are missionaries who are iconoclasts, but this is not their spirit. In great measure, they are men of education and judgment. They depend upon spiritual weapons and good works. For every enemy a missionary makes, he makes fifty friends. The one enemy may arouse an ignorant rabble to attack him. While I was in China, I always congratulated myself on the fact that the missionaries were there. There were good men and able men among the merchants and officials, but it was the missionary who exhibited the foreigner in benevolent work as having other aims than those which may justly be called selfish. The good done by missionaries in the way of education, of medical relief and of other charities cannot be overstated. If in China there were none other than missionary influences, the upbuilding of that great people would go forward securely. . . . I am not a church member, but I have the profoundest admiration for the missionary as I have known him in China. He is a power for good and for peace, not for evil."
President James B. Angell, also formerly United States Minister to China, replies as follows to the question, "Are the Chinese averse to the introduction of the Christian religion":--
"No, not in that broad sense. They do not seem to fear for the permanency of their own religion. It is not that they object to missionaries and the Christian religion as much as it is that the missionaries are foreigners. A more serious cause of the uprising is the wide-spread suspicion among the natives, since the Japanese war, that the foreigners are going to partition China. It is not strange that all these conditions cause friction and excitement. The Chinese want to be left to themselves and the one word `foreigners' sums up the great cause of the present trouble."
The Hon. Charles Denby, after thirteen years' experience as United States Minister to China, wrote:--
"I unqualifiedly, and in the strongest language that tongue can utter, give to these men and women who are living and dying in China and the Far East my full and unadulterated commendation. . . . No one can controvert the fact that the Chinese are enormously benefited by the labours of the missionaries. Foreign hospitals are a great boon to the sick. In the matter of education, the movement is immense. There are schools and colleges all over China taught by the missionaries. There are also many foreign asylums in various cities which take care of thousands of waifs. The missionaries translate into Chinese many scientific and philosophical works. There are various anti-opium hospitals where the victims of this vice are cured. There are industrial schools and workshops. There are many native Christian churches. The converts seem to be as devout as people of any other race. As far as my knowledge extends, I can and do say that the missionaries in China are self-sacrificing; that their lives are pure; that they are devoted to their work; that their influence is beneficial to the natives; that the arts and sciences and civilization are greatly spread by their efforts; that many useful western books are translated by them into Chinese; that they are the leaders in all charitable work, giving largely themselves and personally disbursing the funds with which they are intrusted; that they do make converts, and such converts are mentally benefited by conversion." And after the Boxer outbreak he added:--"I do not believe that the uprising in China was due to hatred of the missionaries or of the Christian religion. The Chinese are a philosophic people, and rarely act without reasoning upon the causes and results of their actions. They have seen their land disappearing and becoming the property of foreigners, and it was this that awakened hatred of foreigners and not the actions of the missionaries or the doctrines that they teach."
The present United States Minister, the Hon. Edwin H. Conger, has repeatedly borne similar testimony, publicly assuring the missionaries of his "personal respect and profound gratitude for their noble conduct."
The Hon. John W. Foster, ex-Secretary of State and counsel for the Chinese Government in the settlement with Japan, writes:--
"The opinion formed by me after careful inquiry and observation is that the mass of the population of China, particularly the common people, are not specially hostile to the missionaries and their work. Occasional riots have occurred, but they are almost invariably traced to the literati or prospective office-holders and the ruling classes. These are often bigoted and conceited to the highest degree, and regard the teachings of the missionaries as tending to overthrow the existing order of Government and society, which they look upon as a perfect system, and sanctified by great antiquity. . . . The Chinese, as a class, are not fanatics in religion and if other causes had not operated to awaken a national hostility to foreigners, the missionaries would have been left free to combat Buddhism and Taoism, and carry on their work of establishing schools and hospitals."
Wu Ting-fang, Chinese Minister to Washington during the Boxer uprising, while frankly stating that "missionaries are placed in a very delicate situation," and that "we must not be blind to the fact that some, in their excessive zeal, have been indiscreet," nevertheless as frankly added:--
"It has been commonly supposed that missionaries are the sole cause of anti-foreign feeling in China. This charge is unfair. Missionaries have done a great deal of good in China. They have translated useful works into the Chinese language, published scientific and educational journals and established schools in the country. Medical missionaries especially have been remarkably successful in their philanthropic work."
The Hon. Benjamin Harrison, late President of the United States, replied to my inquiry in the terse remark:--"If what Lord Salisbury says were true, the reflection would not be upon the missionaries, but upon the premiers."
General James H. Wilson, of the United States Army, the second in command of the American forces in Peking, adds his testimony:--
"Our missionaries, after the earlier Jesuits, were almost the first in that wide field (China). They were generally men of great piety and learning, like Morrison, Brown, Martin and Williams, and did all in their power as genuine men of God to show the heathen that the stranger was not necessarily a public enemy, but might be an evangel of a higher and better civilization. These men and their co-labourers have established hospitals, schools and colleges in various cities and provinces of the Empire, which are everywhere recognized by intelligent Chinamen as centres of unmitigated blessing to the people. Millions of dollars have been spent in this beneficent work, and the result is slowly but surely spreading the conviction that foreign arts and sciences are superior to `fung shuy' and native superstition."
The Hon. John Goodnow, American Consul-General at Shanghai, emphatically declares:--"It is absurd to charge the missionaries with causing the Boxer War. They are simply hated by the Chinese as one part of a great foreign element that threatened to upset the national institutions."
Viceroy Yuan Shih Kai when Governor of Shantung, in the spring of 1901, wrote to the Baptist and Presbyterian missionaries of the province as follows:
"You, reverend sirs, have been preaching in China for many years, and, without exception, exhort men concerning righteousness. Your church customs are strict and correct, and all your converts may well observe them. In establishing your customs you have been careful to see that Chinese law was observed. How, then, can it be said that there is disloyalty? To meet this sort of calumny, I have instructed that proclamations be put out. I purpose, hereafter, to have lasting peace. Church interests may then prosper and your idea of preaching righteousness I can promote. The present upheaval is of a most extraordinary character. It forced you, reverend sirs, by land and water to go long journeys, and subjected you to alarm and danger, causing me many qualms of conscience."
A charge which has been so completely demolished by such competent and unprejudiced witnesses can only be renewed at the expense of either intelligence or candour. Dr. Arthur H. Smith truly says that "amid the varied action of so many agents it is vain to deny that Christianity has sometimes been so presented as to be misrepresented, but on the whole there had for some time been a marked and a growing friendliness on the part of both people and officials. . . . The convulsion which shook China to its foundations was due to general causes, slow in their operations, but inevitable in their results. It was the impact of the Middle Ages with the developed Christian commercial civilization of the nineteenth century, albeit accompanied with many incidental elements which were neither Christian nor in the true sense civilized. If Christianity had never come to China at all, some such collision must have occurred."
THE CHINESE CHRISTIANS
THE real effect of the operation of the missionary force is to be seen in the Chinese who have accepted Christianity. As the commercial force is causing an economic revolution and as the political force resulted in the Boxer uprising, so the missionary force is developing a great spiritual movement which is crystallizing into a Chinese Church. Much has been said about the character of the Chinese Christians and doubts have been cast on the genuineness of their faith. It is admitted that they sometimes try the patience of the missionary. But is the home pastor never distressed by the conduct of his members? I am inclined to believe that the Christians in China would compare favourably with the same number selected at random in America. A Chinese laundryman posted on his door this significant notice to his foreign customers:--"Please help us to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy by bringing your clothes to the laundry before ten o'clock on Saturdays," while in another place a Chinese servant left the morning after a card party at which much money had changed hands, stating to his mistress in explanation, "Me Clistian; me no stay in heathen house!" The Chinese Christian does not content himself with church attendance once a week when the weather is pleasant or an attractive theme is announced. He does not find himself in vigorous health for an evening entertainment, and with a bad headache on prayer-meeting night. There are of course exceptions, but as a rule, the Chinese Christians worship God with regularity in all kinds of weather. A missionary told me that the attendance at his mid-week meeting was as large as at his Sunday morning service, that every member of his church asked a blessing at the table, had family prayers and tried to bring his unconverted friends to Christ. If there is a pastor in America who can say that of his people, he has modestly refrained from making it public.
But such comparisons are, after all, unfair to the Chinese Christian for he should be compared, not with Europeans and Americans who have had far greater advantages, but with the people of his own country. "At home, you have the ripe fruits of a Christianity which was planted more than a thousand years ago. The Word of God has been among you all these Christian centuries. You have in every part of the country a highly trained ministry, a gifted and devoted eldership, and a whole army of Christian workers of all ranks. You work in the atmosphere of a Christian society, and under a settled Christian government. You have an immense and varied Christian literature, and notwithstanding all defects and drawbacks, you have on your side a weight of Christian tradition and a wealth of Christian example. Under such circumstances and in such an atmosphere, what are we not entitled to expect of those who bear the Christian name? What justice is there, or what reasonableness, in demanding as a test of genuineness the same degree of attainment on the part of Christian people, many of them uneducated, who are only just emerging from the deadness and insensibility of heathenism?"
The real question is this:--Is the Christian Chinese a better man than the non-Christian Chinese--more moral, more truthful, more just, more reliable? The answer is so patent that no one who knows the facts can doubt it for a moment. The best men and women in China to-day are the Protestant Christians. This is not saying that all converts are good or that all non- Christian Chinese are bad. But it is saying that comparing the average Christian with the average heathen, the superiority of the former in those things which make character and conduct is immeasurable. "The conscience of those who have been born into a new life is not suddenly transformed, yet the change does take place and upon a larger scale. When once it has been accomplished, a new force has been introduced into the Chinese Empire, a salt to preserve, a leaven to pervade, a seed to bring forth after its kind in perpetually augmenting abundance and fertility."
The character of the Chinese Christian will appear in still more striking relief if we consider the circumstances in which he hears the gospel and the difficulties which he has to overcome. On this subject the following remarkable passage from Dr. Gibson is worth quoting entire:--
"Out there the great issue is tried with all external helps removed. The gospel goes to China with no subsidiary aids. It is spoken to the people by the stammering lips of aliens. Those who accept it do so with no prospect of temporal gain. They go counter to all their own preconceptions, and to all the prejudices of their people. Try as we may to become all things to all men, we can but little accommodate our teaching to their thought. . . . Often and often have I looked into the faces of a crowd of non-Christian Chinese and felt keenly how many barriers lay between their minds and mine. Reasoning that seems to me conclusive makes no appeal to them. Even the words we use to convey religious ideas do not bear to their minds one-hundredth part of the meaning we wish to put into them. I have often thought that if I were to expend all my energies to persuade one Chinaman to change the cut of his coat, or to try some new experiment in agriculture, I should certainly plead in vain. And yet I stand up to beg him to change the habits of a lifetime, to break away from the whole accumulated outcome of heredity, to make himself a target for the scorn of the world in which he lives, to break off from the consolidated social system which has shaped his being, and on the bare word of an unknown stranger to plunge into the hazardous experiment of a new and untried life, to be lived on a moral plane still almost inconceivable to him, whose sanctions and rewards are higher than his thoughts as heaven is higher than earth. While I despair of inducing him by my reasonings to make the smallest change in the least of his habits, I ask him, not with a light heart, but with a hopeful one, to submit his whole being to a change that is for him the making of his whole world anew. `Credo quia impossis- ble,' I believe it can be done because I know I cannot do it, and the smallest success is proof of the working of the divine power. The missionary must either confess himself helpless, or he must to the last fibre of his being believe in the Holy Ghost. I choose to believe, nay I am shut up to believe, by what my eyes have seen.
"I do not mean that one sees the results of preaching directly on the spot. In China at least one seldom does. But by the power of God the results come. We have seen unclean lives made pure, the broken-hearted made glad, the false and crooked made upright and true, the harsh and cruel made kindly and gentle. I have seen old women, seventy, eighty, eighty-five years of age, throwing away the superstitions of a lifetime, the accumulated merit of years of toilsome and expensive worship, and when almost on the brink of the grave, venturing all upon a new-preached faith and a new-found Saviour. We have seen the abandoned gambler become a faithful and zealous preacher of the gospel. We have seen the poor giving out of their poverty help to others, poorer still. We see many Chinese Christians who were once narrow and avaricious, giving out of their hard-earned month's wages, or more, yearly, to help the church's work. We see dull and uneducated people drinking in new ideas, mysteriously growing in their knowledge of Christian truth, and learning to shape their lives by its teachings. We have seen proud, passionate men, whose word was formerly law in their village, submit to injury, loss and insult, because of their Christian profession, until even their enemies were put to shame by their gentleness, and were made to be at peace with them. And the men and women and children who are passing through these experiences are gathering in others, and building up one by one a Christian community which is becoming a power on the side of all that is good in the non-Christian communities around them. . . . Everything is hostile to it. It is striking its roots in an uncongenial soil, and breathes a polluted air. It may justly claim for itself the beautiful emblem so happily seized, though so poorly justified, by Buddhism--the emblem of the lotus. It roots itself in rotten mud, thrusts up the spears of its leaves and blossoms through the foul and stagnant water, and lifts its spotless petals over all, holding them up pure, stainless and fragrant, in the face of a burning and pitiless sun. So it is with the Christian life in China Its existence there is a continuous miracle of life, of life more abundant."
 "Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China," pp. 29-31, 240.
Is it said that these Asiatics have become Christians for gain? Then how shall we account for the fact that out of their deep poverty they gave for church work last year $2.50 per capita, which is more in proportion to ability than Christians at home gave? The impoverished Tu-kon farmers rented a piece of land and worked it in common for the support of the Lord's work; the Peking school-girls went without their breakfasts to save money for their church, and eight graduates of Shantung College refused high salaries as teachers, and accepted low salaries as pastors of self-supporting churches. "Rice Christians?" Doubtless in some instances, just as at home some people join American churches for business or social ends. But those Chinese Christians are receiving less and less from abroad and yet their number grows.
And it costs something to be a Christian in China. All hope of official preferment must be abandoned, for the duties of every magistrate include temple ceremonies that no Christian could conduct. For the average Christian, loss of business, social ostracism, bitter hatred, are the common price. Near Peking, a young man was thrice beaten and denied the use of the village well, mill and field insurance, because he became a Christian. A widow was dragged through the streets with a rope about her neck and beaten with iron rods which cut her body to the bone, while her fiendish persecutors yelled:-- "You will follow the foreign devils, will you!" And that Chinese saint replied that she was not following foreigners but Jesus Christ and that she would not deny Him!
And so on every hand there are evidences of fidelity in service, of tribulation joyfully borne, of systematic giving out of scanty resources. While sapient critics are telling us that the heathen cannot be converted, the heathen are not only being converted but are manifesting a consecration and self-denial which should shame many in Christian lands. At a Presbyterial meeting in north China, the native ministers held a two- hours' prayer-meeting before daylight. Such prayer-meetings are not common in America. Is it surprising that in that little North China Presbytery 292 baptisms were recorded that year?
Nor is this a solitary instance. Every Sunday the little congregations gather. Every day the native helpers tell the Bible-story to their listening countrymen.
The history of missions in China has shown that it requires more time to convert a Chinese to Christianity than some other heathen, but that he can be converted and that when he is converted, he holds to his new faith with a tenacity and fortitude which the most awful persecution seldom shakes. The behaviour of the Chinese Christians under the baptism of blood and fire to which they were subjected in the Boxer uprising eloquently testified to the genuineness of their faith. That some should have fallen away was to be expected. Not every Christian, even in the United States, can "endure hardness." Let a hundred men anywhere be told that if they do not abandon their faith, their homes will be burned, their business ruined, their wives ravished, their children brained, and they themselves scourged and beheaded, and a proportion of them will flinch.
It was to be expected, too, that when, after the uprising, the Christians found their supporters triumphing over a prostrate foe, some of them should unduly exult and take advantage of the opportunity to punish their enemies or to collect money from them as the price of protection. The spirit of retaliation is strong in human nature in China as well as in America. When the armies of the Allies, led by educated and experienced officers, and controlled by diplomats from old-established Christian countries, gave way under the provocation of the time to unmeasured greed and vindictive cruelty, it is not surprising that some of the Chinese Christians, only just emerged from heathenism, should betray a revengeful spirit towards men who had destroyed their property, slaughtered their wives and children, and hunted the survivors with the ferocity of wild beasts. In some places, the missionaries had a hard task in restraining this spirit. It was inevitable, also, that in the confusion which followed the victory of the foreigners, some "wolves" should put on "sheep's clothing," and, under the pretense of being Christians, extort money from the terror- stricken villagers, or try to deceive the foreigner with false claims for indemnity.
But as I visited the scenes of disaster, saw the frightful ruin, heard the stories of Christians and missionaries, faced the little companies of survivors and learned more of the awful ordeal through which they had passed, I marvelled, not that some yielded, but that so many stood steadfast. Edicts were issued commanding them to recant on pain of dire punishment, but promising protection to those who obeyed. The following proclamation posted on the wall of the yamen at Ching-chou-fu is a sample of hundreds:--
"The Taku forts have been retaken by the Chinese. Gen. Tung Fu Shiang has led the Boxers and the goddesses, and has destroyed twenty foreign men-of-war, killing 6,000 foreign soldiers. The seven devilish countries' consuls came to beg for peace. General Tung now has killed all the foreign soldiers. The secondary devils (the native Christians) must die. General Tung has ordered the Boxers to go to the foreign countries and bring out their devil emperors from their holes. One foreigner must not be allowed to live. All who are not Chinese must be destroyed."
It requires no large knowledge of Chinese character to calculate the effect of such official utterances on the minds of lawless men.
Word sped from a Chinese city that on a certain day all Christians who had not recanted could be pillaged. From every quarter, the lawless streamed in, eager for the shambles. Ruffians pointed out the women they intended to take. And there was no foreigner to protect, no regiment or battleship for the Chinese Christian.
Those poor people, hardly out of their spiritual infancy, stood in that awful emergency absolutely alone. Could an American congregation have endured such a strain without flinching? Let those who can safely worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences be thankful that the genuineness of their faith has never been subjected to that supreme test.
Those were grievous days for the Christians of China. Two graduates of Teng-chou College remained for weary weeks in a filthy dungeon when they might have purchased freedom at any moment by renouncing Christianity. Pastor Meng of Paoting-fu, a direct descendant of Mencius, was 120 miles from home when the outbreak occurred. He was safe where he was, but he hurried back to die with his flock. He was stabbed, his arm twisted out of joint and his back scorched with burning candles in the effort to make him recant. But he steadfastly refused to compromise either himself or his people and was finally beheaded.
The uneducated peasant was no whit behind his cultivated countrymen in devotion to duty. A poor cook was seized and beaten, his ears were cut off, his mouth and cheeks gashed with a sword and other unspeakable mutilations inflicted. Yet he stood as firmly as any martyr of the early Church.
One of the Chinese preachers, on refusing to apostatize, received a hundred blows upon his bare back, and then the bleeding sufferer was told to choose between obedience and another hundred blows. What would we have answered? Let us, who have never been called on to suffer for Him, be modest in saying what we would have done. But that mangled, half- dead Chinese gasped:--"I value Jesus Christ more than life, and I will never deny Him." Before all of the second hundred blows could be inflicted, unconsciousness came and he was left for dead. But a friend took him away by night, bathed his wounds and secretly nursed him to recovery. I saw him, when I was in China, and I looked reverently upon the back that was seamed and scarred with "the marks of the Lord Jesus." Of the hundreds of Christians who were taken inside the legation grounds in Peking, not one proved false to their benefactors. "In the midday heat, in the drenching night rains, under storms of shot and shell, they fought, filled sand-bags, built barricades, dug trenches, sang hymns and offered prayers to the God whom the foreigner had taught them to love." Even the children were faithful. During the scream of deadly bullets, and the roar of burning buildings, the voices of the Junior Christian Endeavour Society were heard singing:--
"There'll be no dark valley when Jesus comes."
Such instances could be multiplied almost indefinitely from the experiences of Chinese Christians during the Boxer uprising. Indeed the fortitude of the persecuted Christians was so remarkable that in many cases the Boxers cut out the hearts of their victims to find the secret of such sublime faith, declaring: "They have eaten the foreigner's medicine." In those humble Chinese the world has again seen a vital faith, again seen that the age of heroism has not passed, again seen that men and women are willing to die for Christ. Multitudes withstood a persecution as frightful as that of the early disciples in the gardens and arenas of Nero. If they were hypocrites why did they not recant? As Dr. Maltbie Babcock truly said:-- "One-tenth of the hypocrisy with which they were charged would have saved them from martyrdom." But thousands of them died rather than abjure their faith, and thousands more "had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated; wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and the holes of the earth."
Col. Charles Denby, late United States Minister to China, declared:--"Not two per cent. of the Chinese Christians proved recreant to their faith and many meet death as martyrs. Let us not call them `Rice Christians' any more. Their conduct at the British Legation and the Peitang is deserving of all praise." Beyond question, the Chinese Christians as a body stood the test of fire and blood quite as well as an equal number of American Christians would have stood it.
One of the most trying experiences of the missionaries has been the dealing with those who did recant. Some of the cases were pitiful. Poor, ignorant men, confessed their sin with streaming eyes, saying that they did not mean to deny their Lord, but that they could not see their wives outraged and their babies' heads crushed against stone walls. Others admitted that, though they stood firm while one hundred blows were rained upon their bare backs, yet after that they became confused and were only dimly conscious of what they said to escape further agony than flesh and blood could endure. Still others made a distinction, unfamiliar to us, but quite in harmony with Oriental hereditary notions, between the convictions of the heart and the profession of the lips, so that they externally and temporarily bowed their heads to the storm without feeling that they were thereby renouncing their faith. One of the best Chinese ministers in Shantung, after 200 lashes, which pounded his back into a pulp, feebly muttered an affirmative to the question: "Will you leave the devils' church?" But he explained afterwards that while he promised to leave "the devils' church," he did not promise to leave Christ's Church. The deception was not as apparent to him as it is to us whose moral perceptions have been sharpened by centuries of Christian nurture which have been denied to the Chinese.
When the proclamation ordering the extermination of all foreigners and Christians was posted on the walls of Ching- chou-fu, a friendly official hinted that if the Chinese pastors would sign a document to the effect that they would "no longer practice the foreign religion," he would accept it as sufficient on behalf of all their flocks, and not enforce the order. Warrants for the arrest of every Christian had already been written. Scoundrels were hurrying in from distant villages to join in the riot of plunder and lust. Two women had already been killed. What were the pastors to do? There was no missionary to guide them, for long before the consuls had ordered all foreigners out of the interior. The agonized pastors determined to sacrifice themselves for their innocent people, to go through the form of giving up the "foreign" religion. That word "foreign" must be emphasized to understand their temptation, for the Chinese Christians do not feel that Christianity is foreign, but that it is theirs as well as ours. Moreover, the pastors were made to understand that it was simply a legal fiction, not affecting the religion of their hearts, but only a temporary expedient that the friendly magistrate might have a pretext for giving his protection to the Christians. They were not asked to engage in any idolatrous rite or to make any public apostasy, but simply to sign a statement "no longer to practice the foreign religion." "So far from recanting," it was urged upon them, "you are preventing recanting."
Their decision may be best given in the words of Pastor Wu Chien Cheng: "When I thought of these people," he said, his emotion being so great that the tears were running down his face, "in most cases with children and aged parents dependent upon them, and thought of all that was involved for them if I refused to sign the paper--well, I couldn't help it. I decided to take on myself the shame and the sin."
As the Rev. J. P. Bruce, of the English Baptist Mission, who told me of this incident, truly says: "Who could listen to such a narrative--so sad and painful and yet not without much that was noble--without sympathy and tears?" In this spirit of tenderness, so marked in the Lord's dealings with sinful Peter, the missionaries dealt with the recanting Christians. With the impostors, indeed, they had less mercy. The Rev. R. M. Mateer secured the arrest of two scapegraces who, under pretense of being Christians, had blackmailed innocent villagers. Very plainly, too, did the missionaries deal with Christians, who, like some people in the United States after a fire, placed an extravagant valuation upon what they had lost. But these were exceptional cases.
On the whole, Christians in Europe and America may well have stronger sympathy and respect for their fellow-Christians in China who have suffered so much for conscience' sake. Purified and chastened by the fearful holocaust through which they have passed, they are stronger spiritually than ever before. Like the apostles after Pentecost, they are giving "with great power their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus." "The Chinese Church is not yet strong enough to stand entirely alone, but it is far stronger and more self-conscious of the eternal indwelling Spirit than ever before. It has learned the power of God to keep the soul in times of deadly peril, and to enable the weakest to give the strongest testimony. It has learned by humiliation and confession to put away its sins, and to gird itself for new conflicts and new victories.... Its ablest leaders are more trustworthy men than before their trials, and the body of believers has a unity and a cohesiveness which will certainly bear fruit in the not distant future."
THE STRAIN OF READJUSTMENT TO CHANGED ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
THE economic revolution in Asia, discussed in a preceding chapter, bears heavily on the Chinese Christians. So far as the pressure affects the rank and file of the membership, the mission boards cannot give adequate relief. Abroad as well as at home, it must remain the inexorable rule that a Christian must live within his income and buy new things only as he can pay for them. Any other policy would mean utter ruin. Here also, men must "work out their own salvation"; and the missionary, while trying to lift men out of barbarous social conditions on the one hand, should on the other resolutely oppose the improvident eagerness which leads a blanketed Sioux Indian to buy on credit a rubber-tired surrey.
But what about the native ministers and teachers, who find it impossible to live on the salaries of a decade ago? The problem of the ordinary helper is not so difficult. Springing from the common people, accustomed from childhood to a meagre scale of living, the small salaries which the people can pay either in full or in large part are usually equal to the income which they would have had if they had not become Christians. But some native ministers come from a higher social grade. They are men of education and refinement. They cannot live in a mud hut, go barefooted, wear a loin cloth and subsist on a few cents' worth of rice a day. They must not only have better houses and food and clothing, but they must have books and periodicals and the other apparatus of educated men. These things are not only necessary to their own maintenance, but they are essential to the work, for these men are the main reliance for influencing the upper classes in favour of Christianity. It is not a question of luxury or self-indulgence, but of bare respectability, of the simple decencies of life which are enjoyed by an American mechanic as distinguished from the poverty which, for a cultivated family, falls below the level of self-respect. But this requires a salary which, save in a very few places, cannot at present be paid by the churches. "Our pastors," writes a missionary, "are supposed to live as the middle-class of their people do, but of late years, with the great rise in prices, they are living below the middle-class."
The consequences are not only pinching poverty but sometimes a feeling of wrong, and, in some cases, a yielding to temptation. One Chinese pastor, for example, who was trying to support a wife and five children on $10 Mex. ($5) a month, shipwrecked his influence by trying to supplement his scanty income by helping in lawsuits. Can we wonder that he felt obliged to do something, almost anything?
But who is to pay the higher salaries that are now so necessary? The first impulse is to look to the mission boards in Europe and America, and accordingly missionaries and Christians are importunately calling for increased appropriations. But whatever temporary and occasional relief may be given in this way, as a permanent remedy, it is plainly impossible. If the conditions were simply sporadic and local, the case might be different. But they are universal, or fast becoming so, and they will be permanent. It is quite visionary to suppose that the income of the mission boards will permit them to meet the whole or even the larger part of the increased cost of living among the myriads of ministers, teachers and helpers in the growing churches of China. American Christians cannot be reasonably expected to add such an enormous burden to the already large responsibilities which they are carrying in their varied forms of home work and the present scale of foreign missionary expenditure. Even if they could and would, it would be at the expense of all further enlargement of the work, and at the same time it would still further weaken an already weak sense of self-reliance among the native ministers and helpers of Asia.
Moreover, the average Christian giver in America is feeling the same strain himself. The so-called "era of prosperity" has given more steady employment to the mechanic, has given better markets to the producer, and has enormously increased the wealth of many who were already rich. But the men on fixed salaries find that "prosperity" has increased the prices of commodities without proportionately increasing earnings. Millions of American church members find it harder to give than they did ten years ago, for while their incomes are about the same, they must pay higher prices for meats, groceries and clothing. True, many salaries were cut down during the financial stringency of 1896-1897, but while some of them have been restored to their former figure, few have been raised above their original level, while others are still below it. Meantime official statistics show that the average cost of food is 10.9 per cent. higher than the average for the decade between 1890 and 1899, and that there has been an increase of 16.1 per cent. as compared with 1896, the year of lowest prices. It is urged that the wages of workmen have increased in proportion. But however true this may be of organized labour, it is palpably untrue of the great middle-class who are neither capitalists nor members of labour unions. They form the bulk of the church membership and to them "Mr. Wright's statement will carry no reassurance. It is they who have been hit hardest by the increased cost of living for their incomes have not kept pace with it. Indeed, they are actually worse off to-day than they were eight, ten or fifteen years ago." Dun's Review, an acknowledged authority, declares that not in twenty years has it cost so much to live as now, and that March 1, 1904, the average prices of breadstuffs were thirty per cent. higher than they were seven years ago.
 Report of the Hon. Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labour, 1903
In such circumstances, it is clearly out of the question for the Christians of the United States to meet these enlarged demands for the support of their own families and, in addition, meet them for the churches in China.
If then, the problem of the increased cost of living in Asia cannot be solved by increased gifts from America, what other solutions are possible? As an experienced missionary says:-- "To ask for more from America seems like a step backward; but to leave matters as they are is to see our churches seriously crippled." Four possible solutions may be mentioned.
First:--Stop all expansion of the work and use any increase in receipts to raise salaries. This is undoubtedly worthy of thoughtful consideration. To what extent is it right to open new fields and enlarge old ones when the workers now employed are inadequately paid? Plainly, the mission boards should carefully consider this aspect of the question. As a matter of fact, many of them have already considered it. The Presbyterian Board has repeatedly declined urgent requests to establish new stations on the ground that it could not do so in justice to its existing work. But as a practicable solution, this method is open to serious difficulties. A living work must grow, and the living forces which govern that growth are more or less beyond the control of the boards. The boards are amenable to their constituencies and those constituencies sometimes imperatively demand the occupation of a new field, as, for example, they did in the case of the Philippine Islands, some boards which at first decided not to enter the Philippines being afterwards forced into them by a pressure of denominational opinion that they could not ignore. Moreover, the missionaries themselves are equally insistent in their demands for enlargement. Some boards are literally deluged with such appeals. The missionaries who have most strenuously insisted on the policy of no further expansion till the existing work is better sustained have sometimes been the very ones who have strongly urged that an exception should be made in their particular fields, without realizing that the argument from "exceptions" is so often pressed that it is really the rule and not the exception at all. And the churches and missionaries are usually right. God is calling His people to go forward. His voice is frequently very plain, and the boards, with all their care and conservatism, are then obliged to expand.
Second:--Diminish the number of native pastors, helpers and teachers and increase their work. In some places, this might be done by grouping congregations and fields. But the places where this could be wisely effected are so few that the relief to the situation as a whole would not be appreciable, especially as the native Christians would not give so liberally under such an arrangement. Their sense of responsibility would be weakened if they had only a half or a quarter of a pastor's time instead of the whole of it. Besides, the native force is far too small now. Instead of being diminished it should be largely increased. The great work of the future must be done by native ministers. If China is ever to be evangelized, it must be to a large degree by Chinese evangelists. To adopt deliberately the policy of restricting the number of such evangelists and teachers would be suicidal. As a solution, therefore, this method is quite impracticable, as it would be a relief at the expense of efficiency.
Third:--Require native leaders to earn their own living either wholly or in part. There is Pauline example for this method. Some of the Presbyterian missionaries in Laos have adopted it by inducing the members of a congregation to secure a ricefield and a humble house for their minister. The Korea missionaries have very successfully worked this method by insisting that the leaders of groups shall continue in their former occupations and give their services to Christian work without pay, in some such way as Sunday-school superintendents and other unpaid workers do in America. This method is deserving of wider adoption. It would give considerable relief in many other fields. It was probably the way that the early church grew.
"Two opinions," says Dr. J. J. Lucas, "have been held in regard to the basis on which the salaries of native agents should be fixed. One is that such a salary should be paid as would remove all excuse for engaging in secular work, demanding all the time of the pastor for spiritual work; another is, that acknowledging the salary to be insufficient, the pastors be expected to supplement it by what they can get from field and vineyard. If self-support is to be aimed at, at all cost, then the latter plan is the only feasible one, with the dangers of its abuse. There is no doubt, however, that a man who loves the gospel ministry and is devoted to it can, without the neglect of spiritual affairs, do enough outside to lessen materially the burden that would fall on the church in his support."
But this method of itself would hardly solve the problem. However well adapted to the beginnings of mission work, it fails to provide a properly qualified native leadership. To do efficient work, a native pastor must give his whole time to it, and to that end he must have a salary that will make him "free from worldly cares and avocations." We insist on this in the United States and the reasons for such a policy are as strong on the foreign field. The minister in Asia as well as the minister in America must have a salary. The labourer is worthy of his hire.
Fourth:--Insist upon a larger measure of self-support. The native churches must be led to a fuller responsibility in this matter. Grave as are the temporary embarrassments which the increased cost of living is forcing upon them and trying as is the permanent distress of some of them, yet as a whole the economic revolution will undoubtedly enlarge the earning capacity of the native Christians. Indeed, the new principles of life which the gospel brings should make them among the first to profit by the changed conditions, and as their wealth increases, their spirit of giving should, and under the wise lead- ership of the missionaries undoubtedly will, increase. For these reasons, the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions took the following action July 2, 1900:--
"As having reference to the question of self-support of the native churches on the mission field, and in view of the fact that some of its missions are proposing to increase the salaries of native preachers and helpers on account of the increased cost of living, the Board is constrained to look with no little apprehension upon the prospect of continuing and increasing demands of foreign aid in proportion to the contributions made by the churches themselves. Increased intercourse of eastern nations with those of the west has led and will still further lead to a gradual assimilation to western ways and western prices, and unless the self-reliant spirit of the churches can be stimulated to a proportionate advance, there is a sure prospect that the drafts upon mission funds will be larger and larger in proportion to the amount of work accomplished. In view of these considerations, it was resolved that the missions in which such increase is proposed be earnestly requested to arouse the churches to the purpose and the endeavour to meet this increased expenditure instead of laying still larger burdens upon the resources of foreign funds. The Board deems this necessary not merely to the interest of its expanding work but to the self-reliant character, the future stability and self-propagating power of the churches themselves."
There appears to be no alternative. And yet this policy, while adhered to, should be enforced with reasonable discretion and due regard to "this present distress." How can Christians, who can barely live themselves and pay a half or two- thirds of their pastor's present support, suddenly meet this call for enlarged salaries? For reasons already given, it is harder for them to make ends meet now than it was in the old days of primitive simplicity, while in many places a profession of Christianity is followed by the loss of property and employment so that the Christian is impoverished by the loss of the income that he already had. In these circumstances, both boards and missions must simply do the best they can, and neither allow the emergency to sweep them into a mistaken charity that would be fatal to the ultimate interests of the cause nor allow a valuable native worker to suffer for the necessaries of life.
"We need to bear in mind that the low salaries of China are not the product of Christianity, but of heathenism, and the ability to live on five or six Mexicans per month is not the result of a laudable economy unknown to Christian countries, so much as it is the result of a degradation of manhood to the level of beasts. The church is responsible for the knowledge of a better way of living. We have created the desire for a clean house, clean clothing, healthful food, and books, on the part of our educated young men. Shall we implant this desire for six or eight years and take the rest of the man's life in trying to squelch it? We have come as apostles of truth to a mighty empire, to the great and the small, to the rich and the poor, and if we had a native ministry which could appeal to a different class of men than most of them are now appealing to, would not the day of self-support be hastened beyond what we dare to hope? Is there not a feeling out for something better on the part of the well-to-do, the more intelligent, just as really as there is on the part of the lowest classes? Do not we have a mission to the man who can pay $100.00 a year to the church just as really as to the one who pays 100 cash? There is nothing so costly as cheap men. Let us have a higher grade of men and we shall have a higher grade of church-membership. Is it not true that nothing more stands in the way of self-support than some of our native clergy? We must not turn down better men because they must have a little more to live upon than poor men."
 Mr. F. S. Brockman, Address--"How to Retain to the Church the Services of English-Speaking Christians," Shanghai, 1904.
It is idle, however, to urge as a reason for increasing the salaries of Chinese ministers that a qualified Asiatic can earn more in commercial life than in the ministry. Such arguments often come to mission boards. But religious work cannot compete with business in financial inducements either at home or abroad. It is notorious that in America, ministers and church workers generally do not receive the compensation which they could command in secular employments or professions. The qualities that bring success in the ministry are, as a rule, far more liberally remunerated in secular life. The preacher who can command $6,000 or $8,000 in the pulpit could probably command three or four times that amount in the law or in business. Men who are as eminent in other professions and in the commercial world as the most eminent clergymen are in the ministry usually have incomes ranging from $20,000 to $100,000 a year and have no "dead line" of age either. As for others, the Rev. Dr. B. L. Agnew, Secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Ministerial Relief, is authority for the statement that the average salary of Presbyterian ministers is $700 and that for all denominations it does not equal the wages of the average mechanic. A missionary writes:--"Practically all our native pastors are underpaid." The same thing might be said of all the home missionaries and of most of the pastors of non-missionary churches at home, one-third of whom receive only $500 or less.
The churches of America cannot, or at any rate will not, do for the native ministers of Asia what they are not doing for their own ministers. The world over, the rewards of Christ's service are not financial. Those who seek that service must be content with modest support, sometimes even with poverty. This is not a reason for the home churches to be content with their present scale of missionary giving, nor does it mean that mission boards are disposed to refuse requests for appropriations. The boards are straining every nerve to secure a more generous support and they will gladly send all they can to the missions on the field. But it is a reason for impressing more strongly upon the young men in the churches of Asia that they should consecrate themselves to the Master's service from a higher motive than financial support and that while the boards will continue to give all the assistance that is in their power, yet that the permanent dependence of the ministers of China must be in increasing measure upon the Christians of China and not upon the Christians of America. Hundreds of native pastors are already realizing this and are manifesting a self-sacrificing courage and devotion that are beyond all praise. Said Mr. Fitch of Ningpo to a Chinese youth of fine education and exceptional ability:--"Suppose a business man should offer you $100.00 a month and at the same time you had the way opened to you to study for the ministry, and after entering it, to get from $20.00 to $30.00 a month, which would you take?" And the youth answered--"I would enter the ministry." "He is now teaching a mission school at $12.00 a month, though he could easily command $30.00 a month in a business position." The hope of the churches of China is in such men. Mr. F. S. Brockman declares:--
"There is a wide-spread conviction among missionaries that the allurements of wealth alone are keeping English-speaking young men from the ministry. The facts do not bear out this belief. . . . In order to hold them in the ministry we need not appeal to their love of money. It is death to the ministry when we do it; we have opened the vial of their fiercest passion; we are doing what Jesus Christ never did; we are working absolutely contrary to the fundamental laws of the kingdom of God. . . . We must teach prospective ministers to look upon their lives as an unselfish expenditure of God-given power. For once make the allurement of the ministry the allurement of comfort, ease, or wealth, and we have closed up every fountain of the minister's power."
COMITY AND COOPERATION
THE Hon. Charles Denby, then United States Minister at Peking, wrote in 1900:--
"With all due deference to the great missionary societie, who have these matters in charge, my judgment is that missionary work in China has been overdone. Take Peking as an example. There are located at Peking the following Protestant missions: American Boards American Presbyterian, American Methodist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, International Y. M. C. A., London Missionary Society, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, International Institute, Mission for Chinese Blind, Scotch Bible Society, and the Society for the Diffusion of Christian Knowledge. To these must be added the Church of England Mission, the English Baptist Mission and the Swedish Mission. The above list shows that of American societies alone there are seven in Peking, not counting the Peking University, and that all western Powers taken collectively were represented by about twenty missions. A careful study of the situation would seem to suggest that no two American societies should occupy the same district."
It may be well to examine this criticism, partly because it was made by an able man of known sympathy with mission work, and partly because it relates to the city where, if anywhere, in China, overcrowding exists. In considering Peking, therefore, we are really considering the broad question of the practicability of withdrawing some missionary agencies in the interest of comity and efficiency. The Presbyterian missionaries themselves opened the way for the discussion of the question by proposing to the Congregational missionaries, after the Boxer uprising had been quelled, "an exchange of all work and fields of our Presbyterian Church in the province of Chih-li in return for the work and fields of the American Board in the province of Shantung, subject to the approval of our respective Boards." The Mission added:--
"It means no little sacrifice to sever attachments made in long years of service in fields and among a people whom God has enabled us to lead to Christ, but we feel that a high spirit of loyalty to Christ and His cause, inspiring all concerned, will lead us to set aside personal preferences and attachments, if thereby the greater interests of His Church in China can be conserved."
The whole question was thoroughly discussed during my visit in Peking. Much time was spent traversing the entire ground. Then a meeting was called of the leading missionaries of all the Protestant agencies represented in Peking.
The result of all these conferences was the unanimous and emphatic judgment of the missionaries of all the boards concerned that there is not "a congestion of missionary societies in Peking," and that no one board could be spared without serious injury to the cause. In reply to the proposal of the Presbyterian missionaries, the North China Mission of the American Board wrote--
"After considering the matter in all its bearings we are constrained to say that we contemplate with regret any plan which looks to the withdrawal of the Presbyterian Mission from the field which they have so long occupied in northern Chih-li. We think that instead of illustrating comity this would appear as if comity was not to be attained without a violent dislocation from long-established foundations, and that in this particular there would be a definite loss all around. . . . We further deprecate the proposed step because there is now an excellent opportunity for the adoption or actual measures of cooperation between our respective missions. . . . We are ready to readjust boundaries in such a way as to remedy the waste of effort in the crossing of one another's territory. . . . We are confident that the ultimate outcome could not fail to be a greater benefit than the sudden rupture of long-existing relations for the sake of mere geographical contiguity of the work of missions like yours and ours, each keeping its own district, careful not to encroach upon the other. In the higher unity here suggested we should expect to realize larger results in the promotion of comity not only, but also in the best interests of that kingdom of God for which we are each labouring.
"ARTHUR H. SMITH, "D. Z. SHEFFIELD, "Committee."
Moreover, several of the agencies enumerated by Colonel Denby, such as the Y. M. C. A., the International Institute, the Mission to the Blind, the various Bible Societies, and the Society for the Diffusion of Christian Knowledge, are not competing missionary agencies at all, but are doing a special work along such separate lines that it is unfair to take them into consideration. As a matter of fact, with the exception of a comparatively small work by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the real missionary work in Peking is being done by only four Boards,--The American, Methodist, London, and Presbyterian. This is not a disproportionate number, considering the fact that Peking is one of the great cities of the world and the capital of the Empire. It is of the utmost importance that a strong Christian influence should be exerted in such a centre. Indeed, if there is any place in all China where this influence ought to be intensified, it is Peking. It is granted that Christian work is more difficult in a great city, that it is harder to convert a man there than in a country village. But, on the other hand, he is more influential when he is converted. Peking is the heart of China. Alone of all its cities, it is visited sooner or later by every ambitious scholar and prominent official. The examinations for the higher degrees bring to it myriads of the brightest young men of the country. The moral effect of a strong Christian Church in Peking will be felt in every province. If Christianity is to be a positive regenerative force in China it cannot afford to weaken its hold in the very citadel of China's power.
It should be borne in mind that the work of the missionaries stationed at Peking is not confined to the city, but that Peking is a base from which they work out on the east and south till they reach the boundaries of the Tien-tsin and Paoting-fu station fields, while on the north and west a vast and populous region for an indefinite distance is wholly dependent upon them for Christian teaching. Extensive and densely inhabited areas of the province are not being worked by any board. The Rev. Dr. John Wherry, who has lived there for a generation, says that there are a hundred times as many people in the Peking region as are now being reached, and that there are 20,000,000 in the province who have never yet heard of Christ. For this enormous field the missionary agencies now at work are really few. Hundreds of American cities of half a million inhabitants have a greater number of ordained workers than this entire province of Chih-li with a population nearly half as large as that of the United States. Indeed there is room for a great extension of the work without overcrowding.
Each denomination occupies a large and distinct geographical field in this province. For example, all that portion of the city and suburbs of Peking north of the line of the Forbidden City, with a population of about 200,000, is considered Presbyterian territory. No other missionaries are located in that part of Peking. In the country, the counties of San-ho, Huai-jou, Pao-ti, to the north and east of Peking, are also understood to be distinctively Presbyterian ground. San-ho County alone is said to have 1,200 towns and villages, while the other counties are also very populous. No other Protestant denomination is working in any of these counties. At Paoting-fu, the Congregationalists and Presbyterians have made a division of the field, the former taking everything south of a line drawn through the centre of the city and the latter everything north of that line. Each denomination thus has wholly to itself half the city of Paoting-fu and about a dozen outlying counties.
The missionaries of the three other boards concerned plainly stated that, in the event of the withdrawal of the Presbyterians, they would not be able to care for the work that would be left. They declared that they were not able adequately to sustain the work they already had and that there was not the slightest reason to hope that their home boards would find it possible to give them the reinforcements in men and money which would be required if their present responsibilities were to be increased. The large district now occupied by any given board would simply be vacated if its missionaries were transferred to other regions. The ties formed with the Chinese Christians and people in more than a generation of continuous missionary work would be broken and the influence acquired by faithful missionaries in long years of toil would be lost.
In these circumstances, would it be right for any one of these four boards to withdraw? There will, indeed, come a time when it will be the duty of the missionary to leave the Chinese church to itself. But is this the time to go, when the native church, instead of being strong and able to care for itself, is torn and bleeding after frightful persecution? These Christians look to the missionaries, who have hitherto led them, as spiritual fathers who will guide them in the future. They feel that the time has come for a new consecration to the task of evangelizing all their people. As directed by the missionaries, they may become a great influence for the conversion of their countrymen. Should they be left when other missionaries expressly state that they cannot care for them?
The question of closer cooperation, however, is worthy of careful consideration. At a conference of representatives of foreign mission boards of the United States and Canada having work in China, held in New York, September 21, 1900, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
"It is the judgment of this conference that the resumption of mission work in those parts of China where it has been interrupted would afford a favourable opportunity for putting into practice some of the principles of mission comity which have been approved by a general concensus of opinion among missionaries and boards, especially in regard to the over lapping of fields and such work as printing and publishing, higher education and hospital work, and the conference would commend the subject to the favourable consideration and action of the various boards and their missionaries."
Christian America, which ought to set the example of comity, is distractingly divided. Should it not learn something from its experience at home and, as far as possible, organize its work abroad in such a way as to avoid perpetuating unnecessary divisions? Should it not at least carefully consider whether a limited force cannot be used to better advantage for China and for Christ? I admire the ingenuity of those at home who can find good reasons for having half a dozen denominations in a town of a few thousand inhabitants. But on the foreign field, we should adopt a different policy. In the large cities--the Londons, and Berlins, and New Yorks, and Chicagos, of Asia, it is conceded that more than one Board may properly work. But with such exceptions, it should be the rule not to enter fields where other evangelical bodies are already established. Indeed it is already the rule. The Shanghai Conference of 1900 voted that missionary agencies should not be multiplied in small places, though that cities of prefectural rank should not be considered the exclusive territory of any one board. The American Presbyterian Board declared in 1900, and its action was specifically approved by the General Assembly of that year:--"The time has come for a larger union and cooperation in mission work, and where church union cannot be attained, the Board and the missions will seek such divisions of territory as will leave as large districts as possible to the exclusive care and development of separate agencies."
In several places, boards and missions are moving actively in this direction. In 1902, the American and Presbyterian Boards entered into a union in educational work in the province of Chih-li by which the Presbyterians conduct a union boarding- school for girls in Paoting-fu and for boys in Peking, while the Congregationalists educate the boys of both denominations in Paoting-fu and the girls in Peking. A medical college in Peking was agreed upon in 1903, to be supported and taught jointly by the London, American and Presbyterian missions. In the province of Shantung, a notable union in both educational and medical work was effected in 1903 between English Baptists and American Presbyterians. Instead of developing duplicate institutions with all the large expenditure of men and money that would be involved, the boards and missions concerned are uniting in the development of the Shantung Protestant University with the Arts College on the Presbyterian compound at Wei-hsien and the Theological and Normal School on the Baptist compound at Ching-chou-fu. The medical class will be taught alternately at the Baptist and Presbyterian stations until funds warrant the erection of suitable buildings, probably at Chinan-fu, the capital of the province. In Shanghai, the Northern and Southern Methodists established a union publishing house in 1902, and in several other parts of China, plans for union of various kinds are being discussed.
All these enterprises met with opposition at first. There was, indeed, little objection to union in medical education, for few questions of a denominational character are involved in the training of medical students. But it was urged by some that it would not be expedient to press consolidation in educational work, as the chief object of such work was held to be the training of a native ministry and each mission could best educate its own helpers and should do so in the interest of self- preservation. The example of the Meiji Gakuin in Tokio, Japan, which is supported by the Presbyterian and Reformed Boards, was not deemed determinative as in Japan but one native church is involved, so that the cases are not parallel. Moreover, it was thought that in a large school there would not be as good an opportunity for that close personal contact between missionary and pupil which is so desirable.
These difficulties, however, are believed by many of the mis- sionaries to be more theoretical than practical, or, at any rate, not sufficiently formidable to prevent a more effective cooperation. No plan will be free from all objections and a good effort should not be abandoned because they are found to confront it. The defects in union are less grave than those that experience has shown to be inherent in the old method of numerous weak and struggling institutions whose support requires a ruinous proportion of the mission force and the mission funds that might otherwise be available, in part at least, for the enlargement of the evangelistic work. "It certainly seems unnecessary that two missions should maintain distinct high schools looking towards a college grade side by side, when the whole number of pupils in both could be instructed more economically and perhaps more efficiently in one institution."
Nor is this all, for, wherever practicable, union of allied churches is being sought. I know we are told that Christ's words do not call for this. But when I hear the laboured arguments which defend the splitting of American Presbyterianism into more than a dozen sects, I sympathize with the child who, after a sermon in which the minister had eloquently urged that the unity for which the Lord prayed was consistent with separation, said: "Mamma, if Christ didn't mean what He said, why didn't He say what He meant?"
Premature and impracticable efforts should indeed be avoided. The deeply rooted differences of centuries are not to be eradicated in a day. We must feel our way along with caution and wisdom. To attempt too much at first would be to accomplish nothing. Work abroad is necessarily a projection of the work at home and it will be more or less hampered by our American divisions. A prominent clergyman told me that he doubted the wisdom of a union of the Asiatic churches as he feared that such a union would weaken the sense of responsibility of the home churches. He thought that a denomination in America would take a deeper interest in a comparatively small native church wholly dependent upon it than it would in an indeterminate part of a larger church. Must the unity of the foreign church be sacrificed to the divisions of the home church? Perhaps there is some ground for anticipating such objections from home. But if they are found to exist, we should not cease seeking union in Asia, but begin preaching juster views in America.
I must not be understood as depreciating the historic differences of Christendom. I am aware that each of the great religious bodies stands for some cardinal principle that is not emphasized to the same degree by others. The freedom of any given number of believers to witness to a specific truth should not be and need not be limited by union. The contention here is that the differences of the West should not be forced upon the East but that the churches of Asia should be given a fair chance to develop a unity large enough to comprehend these various forms. If they must be divided, let them separate later along their own lines of cleavage, not on lines extended from western nations. In one place, I met a swarthy Asiatic who knew just enough English to be able to tell me that he was a Scotch Presbyterian. Are we then to have a Scotch Presbyterian Church in Asia, and a Canadian Presbyterian Church, and an Australian Presbyterian Church? Is the American Civil War forever to divide communities of Chinese believers into American Northern Presbyterians and American Southern Presbyterians? Why should we force our unhappy quarrel of a generation ago upon them? The American Presbyterian Board has truly declared that "the object of the foreign missionary enterprise is not to perpetuate on the mission field the denominational distinctions of Christendom but to build up on Scriptural lines and according to Scriptural principles and methods the Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ." It has advised all its missions that "we encourage as far as practicable the formation of union churches in which the results of the mission work of all allied evangelical churches should be gathered, and that they (the missions) observe everywhere the most generous principles of missionary comity." The specific approval of this declaration, by the General Assembly of 1900, makes this the authoritative policy of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
In harmony with this general position, several significant efforts towards union are being made. The first movements, naturally, are towards a union of communions that are substantially alike in polity and doctrine. Already all the Presbyterian and Reformed Boards operating in Japan, Korea, Mexico and India have joined in the support of a united native church in those lands, and similar movements are in progress in other lands and in several churches, notably the Protestant Episcopal and the Methodist Episcopal. In China, the representatives of the eight Presbyterian denominations of Europe and America have met in loving conference and planned to unite all the native Christians connected with their respective missions into one magnificent and commanding Church.
And now unions of wholly different denominations are being discussed. The American Board missionaries intimated to the Presbyterian Mission in 1901 that there might be "no inherent difficulty in uniting the membership of the Presbyterian and Congregational churches in Chih-li in one common body." A similar question is being informally discussed by the American Presbyterian missionaries and those of the English Baptist Mission in Shantung. The fellowship between the two bodies there, as between Presbyterians and Congregationalists in Chih-li, is close.
The local difficulties do not appear to be serious. An English Baptist missionary frankly stated in an open conference of missionaries of various boards in Chefoo, that his mission, with the full knowledge of the home society, took the position that the Chinese Christians are not yet fit for congregational government, being, as a rule, comparatively ignorant farmers just out of heathenism; that it had been found necessary to select the best men in a local church and give them powers which, for all practical purposes, constituted them a session, and that the native church as a whole was being more and more directed by a body consisting of representatives from such sessions. An American Board missionary told me substantially the same thing regarding the churches of his mission. We should not infer too much from such admissions. Both Baptists and Congregationalists are loyally attached to their independent policy. Both referred, of course, to the temporary adaptions necessary in the present stage of mission work. As for Presbyterians, their Board's Committee on Policy and Methods declared, March 6, 1899:--
"It is inexpedient to give formal organization to churches and Presbyteries after American models unless there is manifest need therefor, and such forms are shown to be best adapted to the people and circumstances. In general, the ends of the work will be best attained by simple and flexible organizations adapted to the characteristic and real needs of the people and designed to develop and utilize spiritual power rather than merely or primarily to secure proper ecclesiastical procedure."
As a matter of fact, neither the representative nor the independent forms of church government are yet in unmodified operation on any mission fields, except perhaps in Japan, for the simple reason that the typical foreign missionary has thus far necessarily exercised the functions of a superintendent or bishop of the native churches. Undoubtedly, however, the Asiatic churches are being educated to expect self-government as soon as they are competent to exercise it.
Doctrinal differences may present greater difficulties. And yet there is a remarkable unanimity of teaching among the missionaries of the various denominations in China. However widely they may differ among themselves, nearly all agree in preaching to the Chinese the great central truths of Christianity so that most of the native Christians know little of the sectarian distinctions that are so well-understood in America. Such differences as are necessary in China might be provided for by recognizing the liberty of the local church and the individual believer to hold whichever phase of the truth might be preferred. The China Inland Mission has shown that this plan is feasible. It is composed of missionaries of all Protestant denominations, but they work in harmony and build up a Chinese church by recognizing the right of brethren to differ in the same organization.
Doubtless isolated cases of embarrassment would occur, but they would be insignificant in comparison with the embarrassments inherent in sectarian divisions. Denominational uniformity is bought at bitter cost when it separates Christians into rival camps. Unity in essentials and liberty in non-essentials are far better than a slavery to non-essentials which destroys that oneness of believers for which our Lord prayed. In the presence of a vast heathen population, let Christians at least remember that their points of disagreement are less vital than their points of agreement, that Christianity should, as far as possible, present a solid front, and let them devoutly join the Conference of Protestant missionaries in Japan in the ringing proclamation:--"That all those who are one with Christ by faith are one body, and that all who love the Lord Jesus and His Church in sincerity and truth should pray and labour for the full realization of such a corporate oneness as the Master Himself prayed for in the night in which He was betrayed."
It is true that an advanced position on comity sometimes operates to the disadvantage of the denomination that espouses it. But let us be true to our ideals even if some whom we might have reached do go to heaven by another route. Other churches are preaching the gospel and those who accept it at their hands will be saved. We are in Asia to preach Christ, to preach Him as we understand Him, but if any one else insists on preaching Him in a given place and will do so with equal fidelity to His divinity and atone- ment, let us cooperate with them, or federate with them, or combine with them, or give up the field to them, as the circumstances may require. The problem before us is not simply where we can do good, but where we can do the most good, how use to the best advantage the limited resources at our command. Givers at home have a right to demand this. Many of their gifts involve self-sacrifice, and they should be used where a real need exists. "There remains yet very much land to be possessed." I have seen enough of it to burden my heart as long as I live, toiling, sorrowing, sin-laden multitudes, who might be better Christians than we are if they had our chance, but who are scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. And shall we multiply missionaries in places already occupied and dispute as to who shall preach in a given fields when these millions are dying without the gospel?