« AnkstesnisTęsti »
teachers, matrons, and even principals of schools. The fact that they are Christians seems not to be any hindrance to their employment. At present they say reliable, efficient young women can only be secured from mission schools, and they are willing to pay almost any salary to secure them; anywhere from
i fifty to a hundred dollars a month, and with such salaries “the poor” scarcely know they are poor. These young women, less bound by custom and set free by Christianity, are going out into their China world to be and do what was never dreamed of by their grandmothers, and the success they are achieving is little less than marvellous when one reflects upon how recent the resurrection has been. One is tempted to pause and give illustration after illustration of what has been done by them, but
Until the last few years, upon this stratum of Chinese society have the energies of the Christian church been centered, not by choice but of necessity. To the slightest indication that there was an opening into the homes of the bettter classes did the missionary respond ; going herself or encouraging a Chinese friend to do so, taking with her the message of the Gospel. As soon as it was known that the children and young ladies from these homes would attend school, one was opened for them, for under no circumstances would they enter a charity school.
In 1890 the first such school of which the writer has any knowledge, was opened in Shanghai. During the first year the enrollment did not go beyond ten, and at least half these were from well-to-do Christian homes. The next year there were about twenty, and gradually the enrollment increased till the building was crowded. A second building was erected, and it also is crowded ; the enrollment for the past year being one hundred and thirty from nine provinces. The students are the relatives or daughters of governors, viceroys, ambassadors, taotais, mandarins, Hanlins, doctors, bankers, merchants, and compradores. Many are the daughters of gentlemen in the Customs, telegraph, post-office.
Others are daughters of Christian pastors and Bible-women. One little girl was the daughter of a butler, another the sister of a butcher, while yet another was the daughter of an actor. At first grave fears were entertained about the "amalgamation of this variation, but there has been little difficulty from this source. As soon as the interdependence of the school body was realized, kindness and mutual respect
were everywhere in evidence, the strongest friendships often existing between those differing most in rank.
Upon entering many have had long nails and tiniest feet; some smoked, few had ever arranged their own hair ; all these difficulties had to be overcome, and they have been overcome. None of them are matters for present consideration.
School life to a Chinese girl or young woman is her first “opening As she leaves the seclusion of ages she enters a larger or freer world through the school. Here she finds herself in the midst of surroundings hitherto unknown. Self must be regarded from a different standpoint ; others have rights and must be considered. She is tested by different standards. A plea of “sickness” counts for little, “loss of face" for less, and an imperious manner for nothing at all. Unsuspected punishment is sure to follow all deception and falsehood. Forbidden are many of the most familiar home conversations ; all is changed, and gradually she comes to realize that she, herself, is most changed of all.
She comes to know and love her school-mates, and this makes all less hard. Her teachers are her best friends. She sacrifices for those she loves, and having often more money than she knows what to do with, is generous to the point of folly. Many of these young ladies are engaged to young men of the best families in the land, others to students in foreign colleges and universities. Some who have finished in other schools are here for more advanced work. Others enter, preparing to teach or to go abroad, but at least three-fourths are regular students with no other thought but of becoming educated women. They are seeking the best and highest we can give them.
So much for the opening out from the old, but what of the opening into ? The drawing-room, social intercourse, the lecture, the concert, how is she to enter these inviting scenes ? Her education, her own heart, --these tell her she may, she must enter if her new ideals are ever realized, but how? At her mother's side ? Ah, there's the rub! Her mother's world is all so different ! She knows perfectly the customs regulating old conservative China, but of the new, nothing. One needs to be very patient and sympathetic with Chinese young ladies just as they are entering this transition period. One dear girl in speaking with me on the subject remarked, in reply to an admonition, " But really it is the daughter who must act the
role of chaperon. Mother's ideas of propriety and conversation are so different from those of the new conditions, that I am having continually to make suggestions to her."
Feeling the strangeness of her new freedom, another, talking to her teacher, said she thought at the present time young women would probably have to enter society through the professions and in that way accustom the public mind to their presence. They are all thinking on the subject, and some intensely. The profession of teaching with all its varied phases is the one most inviting to the present generation, partially because most appealing as the greatest need all over the land. On every hand teachers are being sought by the government and mission schools, by private families and individuals. Specialists, in particular, are wanted for science, music, kindergartens, physical culture, and even principals of schools. The demand is away beyond any possibility of supply.
Who is wise enough to weigh the influence of the regenerated, educated womanhood of a land like China ! When her women begin to move, the nation will move, and not till then. Listen close to that group of grown girls ; what do you hear ? (this was ten years ago) “W. C. T. U.' in America, brother says, means women ought to have the right to vote, but in China we can give the letters a different meaning, and to us we ought to make them mean emancipation from our mothers-inlaw. That's the place where Chinese young women have got to have rights. If we can get our rights there, we can get them everywhere. If we cannot get them there, we are slaves, everywhere."
Hear this young lady's heart-crushing sorrow : "Father says I must marry him, but I never, never, never will." “Why?" I asked. “Because I am a Christian in my heart, and I will never marry a man who is not a Christian and who smokes opium. Father says Mr. Wong is willing for me to be a Christian, but I have told him if I am a Christian I must have a Christian home and that no home can be a Christian home where the husband smokes opium. I told him if I was married to him, I should try to get him to give up the habit, whereupon he would probably be angry with me and bring concubines into the home, when I would surely leave it, and all my life would be ruined." A dark cloud with silver lining lowered. She never married the man. At the time of this iucident she was only fifteen years old !
Another : "It was only a few months before I was to have been married that he took a concubine into his home. I told mother I would take my life before I would be his wife. Family influence and wealth have rescued me from the worst that life could hold, and now I mean to spend years in study and afterwards give my life to helping my countrywomen.”
Another : "The young man to whom I was engaged is dead. Father says I may do what I choose with my life. You don't know what a joy it is to think I can spend it in teaching."
One other : "I have lived a lie for three years. The day I entered school brother told you I was seventeen because some one had told him one older could not enter. I knew it was a lie that day; after I had been in school a few months I felt it was a lie, and there has never been a time since when I have looked into your face but that I have suffered and wanted to ask your forgiveness," and then in a flood of tears, "please forgive me, even if you have to send me away from the school.”
From these homes of culture and refinement are coming young women who are preparing to meet the crisis in their country's history, whether by their life or by their death.
They are already being animated by the new spirit brood. ing over the nation, aud their staunchest sympathizers are their fathers and brothers. O, my sister-educators, what an opportunity is this for the Christian church in China !
BY REV. J. P. BRUCE, M.A.
you the familiar pleasantry concerning the newspaper
editor, who in the dearth of subjects for his leading article, falls back on "The Situation." Truth to confess, my case has been soinewliat of that ilk. Bricks and mortar are not specially fruitful in ideas, and the text was sufficiently safe and broad to furnish matter both for my paper and for your conference. But that does not altogether account for my choice. To begin with, the situation in China to-day is one which cannot but provoke more or less of expectancy. In a few years the Boxer rising has effected a change in the national outlook, and therefore in the outlook of the
kingdom of God, even beyond our expectations, but a change in the occupant of the throne, though ainid the most peaceful conditions, may have consequences greater even than those of the Boxer rising. In such a crisis we do well to ask, "Where do we stand ?" So far as concrete plans are concerned, there is no call even for modification as yet, but so far as our attitude is concerned, there is nothing more fitting than that earnestly, humbly, and reverently we should recall what our aims, responsibilities, and our powers.
One more consideration in justification of the commonplaceness of my text. It is not simply from the point of view of personnel that we may be said to be entering upon a new era, but also from the point of view of the work itself and its organization. We are just emerging from a transition stage in which many plans have been debated, new projects started. There has been much speaking, some keen controversy, and at the same time a great deal attempted in which we are heart and soul at one. All this has been more or less absorbing, and inevitably our minds, to a large extent, have been concentrated on practical projects for the work immediately in hand. After such a spell of the practical and concrete, it may be well to recall those principles which form the basis of our ministry.
The missionary is a many-sided individual, and men's ideas of what a missionary should be are strangely varied, changing with every changing phase of the church's progressive life.
But the variations are but on the surface, responsive to the surface variations in the environment. Down deep are certain essentials in the missionary life, answering to the never changing needs of man to whom he is sent as the divine messenger. And to learn these essentials we cannot do better than go to the old Book, whence came our inspiration at the first.
Among the many types of religious leaders presented to us in the development of the kingdom of God, there are four which stand out as characteristic of what a missionary should be. They are the apostle, the prophet, the shepherd, and the priest. Not that these exhaust the essentials of a missionary, nor that any one of these types excludes the others. Who had more prophetic fire, or of the tenderness of the shepherd, or of priestly intercession than Paul the