« AnkstesnisTęsti »
These Scrolls were sent in some days after the Feast, and were acknowledged merely by giving the bearers the trifle named. 'When meat is cheap, customers
are particular, 肉賤鼻子聞
'It is not the Horse which costs money, but the Saddle'
This saying is widely pertinent to a great variety of Chinese affairs.
These items are not inaptly illustrated by the saying: 'To pick up a bit of board
when abroad, and at the same time to lose a door at home'ƒ ̃-И 版。家裏丢了一扇門。 the gains not equal to the expenditure 入不 抵出
§ It is to be understood that this expense was an entirely private matter with which the Mission has no concern. As already remarked it may be regarded in either of two aspects. To a Chinese, it would be money expended on the sword's edgeexactly where it is most useful 花錢要花在刀刃上. From another, and less sympathetic standpoint, however, to Borrow money to fill the mouth, is to ind every mouthful leaving a hole, (debt)借錢買嘴吃、口口是窟窿。 There is a story of a couple of English sportsmen returning from a long but somewhat unsuccessful hunting excursion in the wilds of Scotland, the contents of whose gamebag-consisting of only two grouse-they exhibited to an old Scotch farmer, with the remark: "Those birds cost us £20 a piece." "In that case," observed the thrifty Scot, "it is well for you that you got no more of
OUR NATIVE AGENTS.
BY REV. JOHN S. FORDHAM.
FIFTY years ago, a group of Islands in the South Seas was deservedly
dreaded by mariners, both on account of its dangerous-because unmarked-reefs, and the cannibal propensities of its inhabitants. Today it is a British possession, paying its revenue in kind, and in a highly advanced stage of commercial prosperity. To what is the transformation to be attributed? Few will deny that the foundation of the good work has been laid by the self-denying men who, braving danger and with intense faith in their message, have preached the Gospel in Fiji. Government Blue Books, the reports of Naval Officers and others who have visited the Islands, abundantly testify to the thoroughness and success of the work done by the missionaries. Sir Arthur Gordon, the late Governor, says that out of a population of 120,000, 102,000, are regular worshippers in connection with the English Wesleyan Church. The Executive Commissioner, in his catalogue of Fijian Exhibits for the late Sydney International Exhibition reports the "entire native population not only civilized to a large extent, but also Christianized and educated."
The methods employed to accomplish such a work are so suggestive, that it may be well for as to ponder them, especially at the present time and in view of the strong bias many missionaries in China have for the teaching of English in schools and colleges, and in the training of native helpers.
One prominent feature is that the missionaries have never sought to denationalize their converts. They aimed at changing a savage native into a Christian Fijian. No attempts have been made to compel a convert to deviate in the slightest degree from his own customs of daily life. The claims of climate and habit have been regarded, and whilst he has been required to give up everything heathenish, his amusements have not been condemned simply because they were Fijian. The mode of worship in the old heathen temples has been retained, and prostration is the attitude of prayer. The missionaries throughout have aimed at Christianizing the natives and have never sought to foist upon them foreign customs.
Education has been largely employed as an agency in the work. Even preaching has been made secondary to the more laborious work of teaching in the school. The early missionaries felt that hope centred in the young, and that if they gained them over and trained them up in the fear of God, there would result not only a strong Church, but a Church with its own pastors and teachers.
The system of education was thorough, and every village had its school, connected with the more important training school at the mission station. The more promising of the students in these training schools were passed on to the theological colleges, there to be trained as catechists or native ministers. These training institutions have been the making of the Fijian Church. The seed sown in them has brought forth a hundred fold in the remoter parts of the group. Most of the students are married, and especial care has been taken to instruct their wives, so that these in their turn have been able not only to make their own homes brighter, but to largely influence the women and children of the places in which they had been located. Valuable testimony has been given as to the efficient character of these training institutions. Let one suffice:-"The whole establishment forms a model village, whose inhabitants are trained to habits of cleanliness, order and decency, as well as method and industry....We examined the students, and were much gratified with the practical nature of the system pursued and the intelligence and proficiency of the young men. They are taught everything necessary for their position as village pastors."-Captain Hope, R. N.: quoted in Fiji and Fijians, p. 440.
And that the village work done by these trained men is equally efficient is well attested by the opinion of the captain of a French ship of war, who in an article on Fiji accounts for the non-success of the French Roman Catholic priests by the influence of the native teachers. Intelligent young men with the Bible in their hands confront the priest in every village. Perhaps in no mission has a native agency been more largely or more successfully employed. And now the real work of a missionary in charge of a Fijian circuit is that of a bishop, directing a native ministry, and superintending a widening system of education.
As may be expected the natives are proud of their countrymen in such positions and willingly support them. And had there been in Fiji a crisis such as happened in New Zealand the work would still have been maintained, just as in Tahiti, the Protestant Mission has held its own since the French occupation, because the English missionaries, then compelled to leave, were able to entrust their work to welltrained native helpers.
The secular training given to the students has been of a modest character, but thorough. English text books have been translated and are diligently studied, but the main reliance of the missionaries seems to have been on the Scriptural training the students underwent. Even the best men have not been taught English nor Europeanized in any way. With a superior education the teacher or the native minister
was still one of his people, and as such was the more looked up and supported.
It will easily be seen that such an organization would be selfextending. So it has proved. A writer in a recent number of the London Quarterly Review to whom I am indebted for much information as to the present state of Fiji, says: "Forty of the Fijian teachers have gone forth to New Britain and other islands on the coast of New Guinea. They have acquired the language of the people, and gathering congregations and founding schools, they are preaching the Gospel of peace in the midst of savages even more degraded than were their own forefathers. Of these islanders 2,300 have already been led to accept Christianity." The difficulty of missionary societies in England in securing men who will not count their lives dear unto themselves does not yet trouble the Church in Fiji. In the ardour of its first love it is stretching out helping hands to regions beyond.
Some one may ask what all this has to do with us in China. This at any rate-to encourage us in our endeavour to raise an efficient native agency. The hope of our work lies in our native evangelists, teachers, and pastors. Our need is not so much an increase in the foreign missionary staff, but an increase in the number of men, not with English at the tip of their tongues, but with a good sound knowledge of the Scriptures, able and willing to preach in their own language and in their own style the unsearchable riches of Christ. An evangelizing Church, a Church supporting its own pastors, and every member of it a witness for Christ is China's hope. The foreign missionary may be needed for many a long year, but God hasten the time. when he shall be a superfluity, and the native Church, strong as a Church of converted Chinamen, be the Missionary Society of China!
THE POPULAR RELIGIOUS LITERATURE OF THE CHINESE. BY REV. W. SCARBOROugh.
MY design in writing this article is to give an approximately correct
idea-not of classical Confucianism, Buddhism, or Taoism-but of the popularised amalgamation of the three, as found in the religious tracts commonly circulated amongst the people. And since, as missionaries, we are at present manifesting considerable zeal in the attempt to supply the Chinese with a Christian literature, it would seem that a favourable opportunity is afforded for the consideration of this, a cognate subject. In attempting to supply the Chinese with religious tracts, it is very desirable that we should know, and bear in mind,
what they already possess of that nature. Having made a study of a number of these native tracts, I propose to give to the reader a general idea of their contents.
The size of these tracts varies from 10 to 350 pages; and nearly all of them are well printed. They are intended for gratuitous but not indiscriminate distribution, since the majority of them are in easy classical style, and the rest, with one exception, in a style more difficult. Nearly all of them are in prose, a few are commented upon, and two or three are illustrated.
It is a very common custom for writers of these tracts and religious books to claim for their productions some sort of divine inspiration. This has the appearance of great presumption on their part, but it may even be modesty, or a pious trick to catch the ear, and awaken the conscience of the reader. The author mistrusts his own authority and influence, and therefore calls in the authority and influence of the gods to his aid. It is a dangerous thing to do, for the gods themselves are sometimes made to appear anything but wise. One author claims to be inspired by His Majesty the God of War. Two or three others claim the inspiration of the God of Literature. The Goddess of Mercy is claimed as the inspirer of another tract; whilst another is assigned to the great Taoist deity Hüen Tien Shang-ti; and another to Nanyoh. The only other instance I will mention is that of a tractate ascribed to Mi-leh Buddha, who for the purpose of communicating it to a certain Mr. P'en, descended at midnight, date and place all minutely given. In several instances the God supplies the text, and a commentary ten times its length is supplied by the humble scribe. This bold ascription of these religious books to the inspiration of the gods is very suggestive of the fact that some revelation or other is found necessary by universal man. It points to the conclusion that we mistrust all religious teaching which cannot base its claims on the supernatural it is a confession of need.
The general design of this class of books may be easily described; it is in fact repeatedly stated either on the title-pages or in the body of the books themselves. In the introduction of the first book examined we are told that, 'This classic is delivered and handed down by His Majesty the God of War, who is desirous that men should act virtuously, and not commit wickedness; and who herein teaches mankind how to distinguish between virtue and vice, showing also that both have their appropriate rewards, in order that he may cause men to know how to cultivate virtue and guard against vice.' Some of them aim simply at the promotion of filial piety; and others aim vaguely at saving the age, or arousing it. The two-fold design of all these books