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of a single small island. The lives of such are well spent, and if their hearts kindle and glow with enthusiasm in the work allotted to them, as may well be the case, how much more should the hearts of those who labor for a great nation as China be fired with a like enthusiasm? The entire population of the Sandwich Islands is not as large as that of the single city of T'ungchow. The population of China is nearly six times the population of the United States, and bears a still greater proportion to that of Great Britain, France or Germany. In round numbers it is one-fourth of the populations of the whole world. How inspiring the thought to the Christian young men of China of conveying the priceless blessings of the Gospel to such numbers of men, and these his fellow-countrymen.
III. The opportunity is one of effecting great and beneficial changes in the hearts and lives of men. Take a single case. Here is a common country farmer, one of many millions like him. He is held and bound about by superstitions of geomancy, divination, witchcraft, necromancy; by the worship of ancestors, the temple gods, and the varions parts and powers of nature. His horizon is bounded by this life, and his motives to action are such only as this life affords. This man becomes a Christian. At once all is changed. Now his thoughts soar beyond the stars to the Creator of all. He is rid of his debasing superstitions. He fetches his motives for action from the endless years. Though of simple manners and unpretending life he has fellowship in heart and feeling with the elect of mankind, with the angels of God. He strives to bring his life into accord with the principles of truth and love, with the life of Christ the Lord. How greatly changed is his conduct in his family, in his intercourse with men and in his hearty and loyal submission to the powers that be!
By the multiplication of such Christian men great transformations take place, not only in family and private life but in social and religious conditions, in public morality, and in the welfare of the state and nation. A new era is introduced, an era of light and progress. The light of the moon has become as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven-fold as the light of seven days. Compare, we will not say, ancient Britain, but ancient Rome, with the British empire of the present day, and the marvelous transformations produced by the Gospel of Christ may in some degree be illustrated and made plain. To be instrumental in such transformations is the opportunity of Chinese Christian young If the Chinese people hold in grateful remembrance the names of those who taught them agriculture, the arts, the tracing
of written characters, the art of printing, not less but still more will they revere in the centuries to come those who laid among them the foundations of the kingdom of God.
IV. By what has been said it is manifest that the opportunity is one in which Chinese Christian young men may exhibit a lofty Christian patriotism. True they may be stigmatized as aliens to their country, as those who have forsaken their native kingdom and attached themselves to some other nation. But the young Christian of China in his heart of hearts knows that he seeks only the truest, deepest, most permanent welfare of the land he loves. He believes that nothing can so benefit and exalt his native land as the Christian religion. He believes that by this religion integrity, truthfulness and uprightness will be introduced. into the daily life of men, into buying and selling, borrowing and lending, into weights and measures, into the national currency, into the manufacture and transport of goods, into the courts of justice, the offices of revenue, into the conduct of both rulers and people, and that thus lofty sayings and beautiful maxims which now adorn gateways, doors and walls, shall be no longer empty sounds, but shall be inscribed in the hearts and become living in the acts of men. In this way only can public faith be increased and the foundations laid for true national prosperity and glory.
If the great Yü in his day thought it a noble work to stay the waters of the flood, to deepen the channels of the rivers and strengthen the dikes, so that the rushing torrents might be carried off into the sea, and if he became so absorbed in his high endeavor as to forego the claims of family life and the endearments of home, so that in eight years of absence he thrice passed by the door of his own house without once entering in, will the Christian young men of China, in the light of the present age, think it any great thing if in staying the raging waves of falsehood, vice, corruption, in removing ignorance, superstition and sin, in letting in upon the land of their fathers the light of truth and love, they endure obloquy and shame, if they put forth unusual exertions, if they deny themselves and suffer wrong far beyond the measure of the noble examples of patriotism recorded in their national history?
They have before them the pattern of one, who not only denied himself everything, surpassed all others in his abundant labors, toils and sufferings, but who in patriotic love for his own nation, his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh, was willing even to lose his most precious interests in the life to come, to be accursed from Christ, if so be they might be saved. With such an example of patriotic love for his countrymen in full view, what denials and
toils, what obloquy and suffering even to death itself will not the Christian young men of China in this age be ready to endure for their native land?
V. The opportunity is one in which political obstacles are to a great degree removed out of the way, and free access is given to the people.
This was not always the case. For a long time during the present dynasty it was forbidden to teach, or to receive the Christian religion. The liberty granted in the time of Kang Hi had been revoked. Those who were Christians were not known as such. Teachers of the Christian faith were obliged to labor in secret and Fines, imprisonment, banishment, death, awaited those who violated the law.
in constant fear.
Now all this is changed. The edict of the seventeenth year of Kuang Hsü makes it lawful everywhere to teach and follow the precepts of the Christian faith.
Although the nature of the Christian religion and the obligation to spread it to every land cannot be altered by any enactments of men, nevertheless it is a great gain in the minds of the people to have their government recognize its excellence and permit its propagation. Not only then does the truth commend itself to their own consciences, but they also know that the powers that rule over them find no fault with its sacred teachings. If they do not personally embrace the Christian faith they oppose no obstacle to its spread among the people.
Such then is the present opportunity. Chinese preachers may traverse the length and breadth of the land and proclaim everywhere the good tidings of God's grace to men. If in some cases disturbances should arise the law is still on their side, and they will be sustained in the humble and faithful discharge of their duties. This is an immense advantage, and it should inspire the hearts of the young men of China to do their utmost in availing themselves of it.
VI. The present opportunity is one of the rising tide in China of Christian propagandism and of the spread of that civilization which has grown up with Christianity. The work is not in its first inception. It is already begun, and daily acquires new momentum. He who engages in it is thereby inspired with hope and good
This onward movement is apparent in four things: First, in the widening field of missionary operations; second, in the numbers already won to the Christian faith; third, in the preparation of Christian and scientific literature; fourth, in the extent to which Western arts and inventions are being adopted in every part of China.
When the writer arrived in China in 1854 there were but five open ports, from each of which a journey of one day only into the country was allowed. And this was regarded as a great advance upon the state of things twelve years previous, when residence was possible only at the single city of Canton. At the present day there are more than twenty open ports, and the work of missions. reaches to every province of the empire and to all the dependencies of China.
Then the numbers of Chinese Christians connected with the Protestant Church was scarcely above three hundred. Now it is stated as not less than 40,000 or 50,000, and it is increasing at a rapid rate. Churches are formed with Chinese pastors; many of these Churches supporting each its own pastor.
The Sacred Scriptures are translated into the general language, into the mandarin and into various local dialects, and the effort is making to translate them into yet other dialects, as well as to improve the translations which already exist. Numerous religious books and tracts have been prepared and also a large number of scientific treatises, some of them of a primary character, others more erudite and profound.
The latest catalogue of books and tracts of every description for sale at the American Presbyterian Press, Shanghai, contains a list of over eleven hundred such works, not including the standard Chinese books, also for sale there. These all belong to the new era, and are spreading light and knowledge in every direction.
One has but to lift his eyes to see the telegraph wires which now run to every province and place the control of the empire as it were in the palm of the hand of the emperor. The lines of steamers and railways, the manufactories and mining operations, opened indeed slowly and cautiously, but daily gaining in the favor of the people, and fast becoming indispensable to the transaction of business, are all harbingers of the new era, and have their value as having sprung up in Christian lands and coming with Christianity to this nation.
It is indeed a noble work to lay foundations. All honor to those who have done this work in China. The magnificent bridge over the Lan river is now completed. How long and arduous was the toil in excavating the soil, working under-ground, digging far down below the quick-sands and building upon underlying ledges the solid rock foundations which can never be moved, over which the heavy laden trains may roll in safety! Men worked in the dark, in difficulties and dangers. Even so missionaries of the Nestorian, the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Churches have toiled, as it were, under-ground in laying the foundations of the
Christian Church in China. They were willing to pass their days in obscurity, privation and suffering for the welfare of generations yet to come. All honor to them for whatever was done in accordance with the truth and in obedience to God's will!
Nor let those who come forward at this later day to carry on their work be recreant to this high duty. Mindful of the debt of gratitude they owe to those who have gone before, encouraged and stimulated to greater exertions by the present growth and prosperity of the work, let them press onward with all zeal and devotion to their appointed task and show what the sanctified learning and talent of Chinese young men can do for the welfare of their fellow-countrymen and for the honor of God.
VII. The opportunity is one in which China stands side by side with all the nations of Asia in onward movement toward the kingdom of God, or in rejecting and turning away from that kingdom. The young men of this institution are not ignorant of what is taking place in the neighboring kingdom of Japan, in Corea, in Siam, in Burmah, in India, in Siberia, in Western Asia. The time has come for the nations to awake. The blessings which God has been preparing for long ages He is now offering to all lands. Only this must not be forgotten. Men can approach God and enter His kingdom by one door only-by repentance and faith. This door men may enter, or refuse to enter, may enter gladly and with alacrity, or may enter slowly, after long hesitation and doubt. What shall be the course of China as regards this open door?
God deals with nations as with individuals. "Them that honor me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." To the believing, obedient people it is promised, "The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail, and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath." Vain will be the effort to get the civilization and not the religion of the West. The garment will not fit. The new and the old will not harmonize. The civilization has grown up with the religion. The effort to separate them will end in disaster and ruin. The bottles will burst, the wine will perish.
With what deep concern for the welfare of his people, with what loyalty of heart to his nation and to his God should the educated Christian young man of China enter upon his life work in the present crisis.
VIII. The opportunity is one in which the young men of this institution of learning have some peculiar facilities for efficient service. They are taught the English language. Through this, communication is opened up to them with all that is most valuable in religion, in learning of every sort, and civilization in its highest