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NOTE. This was written in 1885 at the request of a missionary of ten years' standing. Having printed it on the hectograph he sent me a copy, which is now offered to the readers of the RECORDER.
W. A. P. M.
1. Speaking. The first object of the missionary is to learn to communicate the Gospel message in oral form and to acquire at the same time a medium through which he may derive instruction from living teachers. This medium once at command the living teacher is preferable to a dictionary, as well for clearness as for the saving of time. For the Peking dialect Wade's books are a useful aid, but for other dialects, even within the range of the mandarin family, local vocabularies and phrase books would be preferable. Dr. Edkins' Progressive Lessons" may be easily adapted. Dr. Mateer's Book of Exercises is highly commended by those who have used it. The foundation should be well laid in the first years, but the student will continue to build on it as long as he lives in China.
2. Acquisition of the Written Characters.-This, like speaking, is a life long study, but it may be commenced by the special study of two or three collections of characters, such as the TX, 7 # †, 4 * * . The second of these may be had at the Presbyterian Press, Shanghai, with or without an English translation. The reading of the Bible, both in Mandarin and Wên-li, is also recommended as the readier way to acquire a store of characters with their meanings.
3. The reading of easy books such as the
Christian, and Pagan; the Two Friends; A Metrical Life of Christ called 耶穌言行; also Chinese Moral Tracts 善書, such as 關帝覺世 經,文昌陰文,太上感應篇, and the like.
4. Novels.—These are mostly in simple style. The £5 # a Collection of Tales; the , or Fortunate Union; the *, or Three Kingdoms, are particularly commended. The , a Collection of Fairy Tales and Anecdotes, should be read for the sake of matter and style. Though containing some things offensive to good morals the style is so elegant that imperial interdicts have failed to banish it from the book stalls.
5. Classics.-The Four Books, containing the discourses of China's greatest sages, should be read early in the course, and the more striking passages committed to memory. Nearly half their sayings have passed into proverbs, and now form part of the spoken language in use among the educated. The, Book of Rites, being easy reading and full of curious matter may also be taken early in the curriculum. The most important of the other classics are grouped under the three following heads :-
6. Histories.-The 5 is the best compend of Chinese history, coming down to the beginning of the present dynasty, or rather the fall of the preceding. The and 14 may next be read, and the large dynastic histories consulted for the details of particular periods.
7. Poetry. The
should first be read, and then the, and other collections. No man can be considered as acquainted with the literature of a country if he is ignorant of its poetry.
8. Philosophy.In this category the, or Book of Changes, should be read first, because though incomprehensible as a system its detached sentences are in constant use, and it is referred to in all later works. Next in order I would place the or Essence of Philosophy; F, the Best Thoughts of the Five Great Philosophers; the, or Encyclopedia of Philosophy (for reference) and the F, Writings of the Philosophers generally.
9. Belles Lettres.-Much that precedes belongs to this head, and in the books which I here recommend will be found something relating to each of the preceding categories-still they form a distinct class-style and not matter being the paramount object. The 古文觀止斯文精粹 aud 古文析義 are some of the smaller and more popular collections. The student should also read some specimens of of the present day.
10. Correspondence and Official Documents in general. There are numerous compilations of letters which go under the general name of R, serving as models for epistolary composition. As to other documents the best repository is the Peking Gazette, and it is more profitable to read it as it appears from day to day than to study any old bundle of memorials and rescripts. Indeed so impor
tant is the Peking Gazette in many aspects that no mission should be without a copy.
Thus far I have indicated some of the subjects of study with hints as to the best authors. I conclude with a suggestion or two as to the mode of study. The student should not write the sound and meaning of new characters in his text book, but note them as they occur by affixing a () dot to enable him to gather them up, and then review them frequently until they are fixed in the memory. He should read much, and never suffer a strange character to go numarked. In all books the choice passages should be marked and frequently reviewed. The student should also note down any chance thoughts that may occur to him in the course of reading-his own I mean, not those of the author.
As to writing. It is in general waste of time to aim at writing the Chinese characters with elegance as do the natives. They should be written, however, from the beginning with steel pen, lead pencil or Chinese brush, so that their composition may be familiar and the whole accumulated treasure should be written over several times a year.
The Attitude of American Missionaries towards the
BY REV. C. R. HAGER, M.D., CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
"Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
E who is engaged in Christian work for any length of time. will find that the Savior's words are full of meaning and fraught often with the most serious results. The same thought was in Paul's mind when he said, "I am become all things to all men that I might save some." It is so easy to say a few careless words, perform an injudicious act when the influence that we had hoped to gain, the good we had fondly desired to do, is beyond our reach, never to be regained. Hence the Master Teacher commands us to be wise in treating with sin-diseased souls. How carefully the surgeon prepares his instruments so that they may be clean, so as not to carry infection into the wound to be made; and the same care should be observed by the soul physician. If he cuts and slashes without due regard to the injunction of Christ's words he is apt to do more harm than good. Men often feel called upon to denounce certain customs and practices, but do it in a manner which does usually more harm than good.
It was but recently that one of our most earnest Chinese Sunday School teachers said to me: "We have come to look upon missionaries as a hindrance to our work, for our scholars are fre
quently offended at their words. In their public addresses in the presence of the Chinese they will hold up the Chinese customs to ridicule and thus offend our pupils. They will even go so far as to speak of their quenes or pig tails." Now it cannot be denied that the American Chinese are exceedingly sensitive, and those who teach them are probably imbued with the same spirit, and yet one weakness in the heathen Chinese does not justify another in those who really ought to do them good. Missionaries cannot afford to offend the laborers in the same work at home. We may differ widely from their methods, etc., and yet we ought to be helpful instead of iconoclasts who demolish everything that has been done or attempted to be done.
The ladies who are engaged in this work are doing all they can to bring the knowledge of the truth to the hearts of the Chinese, and they ought to be assisted rather than hindered in their work. If the missionary cannot find anything else to say before a public audience, where a number of Chinese are present, than to dwell on the deceptions practiced by the Chinese, the rats that may occasionally be eaten by the poorer classes and kindred other themes which give offence, he had better not take the platform at all.
It is well to remember the golden rule. None of us ever like the Chinese to speak of the weak points of our civilization, and whenever our faults are held up to view we feel very much like the ignorant Chinese, and wish ourselves away from such unpleasant surroundings.
It is the duty of every returned American missionary to do all he can to aid the Chinese work in America. It is not enough that he should denounce the American Exclusion Act. It would be far better if every missionary could assist a little in some of these Chinese Sunday Schools-not to overturn everything-but by wise helpful suggestion and some personal labor to advance the cause. I had rather teach an hour in one of these schools than to occupy days in platform speaking about the injustice of our government; the latter has never accomplished anything, while the former has always been productive of good if performed in the right spirit. If we have nothing good to say of the Chinese in their presence then let us rather keep silence, lest we offend one of the Savior's little ones who need our love and our sympathy.
In this way we who are called to the larger work of bringing the Gospel to the Chinese in China can help the work at home, where the laborers are toiling under many disadvantages. Let us be a little wiser in our association with the American Chinese and thus encourage both teachers and pupils, and above all honor the Master.
The Adaptation of the Christian Endeavor
BY REV. GEO. CORNWELL.
[American Presbyterian Mission.]
seems at times a deep mystery that the All-Father should have allowed such a great branch of the human family as the Chinese to be so long without the knowledge and power of the Gospel. Yet while the Church cannot offer excuse for her tardy obedience to the Lord's command we can still see a wise purpose that has allowed the slow and natural development of the kingdom in a few lands until in this fullness of time, borne on by the accumunlated material progress of the ages, yet more strengthened by the inheritance of centuries of growth and conflict, and sustained by a long history of successive victories, the children of the kingdom are now marshalled forth to the final conflict, in which they aspire to conquer all lands unto the obedience of the King of kings.
As God chose a single nation to conserve the knowledge of Himself and prepared them by long years of training for their part in His world-plan, as Christ chose a few disciples and gave Himself largely to the training of these for the greater work' which He would do through them, so is it not, fellow-Christians, that the Lord has chosen a few lands in which to work out the slow development of His Church. And now at length He has thrown open the world and summoned His Church anew to the work for which He has established and trained her. There are no gaps in the divine plan. God has not let these long years be wasted, but during them there has been a progressive revelation of His ideal Church and the incorporation of it into the actual, the gradual working out of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Do not misunderstand me; the Church has by no means attained to the ideal, but it is much nearer that than ever before, and so much better fitted than ever before for the evangelization of the world and the building up of a Christian society. I dare maintain this in opposition to those in home lands who are taking the Church to task and are proclaiming that she has failed to work out the divine ideal for redeeming society.
China is the heir of the 19th century. Yes, of nineteen centuries of progress in art, in science, in mechanics and invention. When she once really awakes she will make tremendous progress. Taking as a gift the present material progress to what may she not attain? China is as truly the heir of a Christian system of truth