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missionaries in india impute their failure to the

publish 2022-08-05,browse 5
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missionaries in india impute their failure to the advantages given by government to secular education.the japanese again,[114] though their orators confess that they are no bigoted adherents of any creed, that their minds are like blank paper, fitted to receive new characters from the pen of any ready writer, decline to embrace christianity because they do not consider it a good religion; for they see that it does not prevent the english from being licentious and brutal to their coolies, and from having no reverence for old age.such excuses, and they are mere excuses, are fatally easy; and while christian practice differs so much from christian profession, will always remain a weapon of offence against the followers of christ in the hands of unbelievers.but so far from opium being a barrier to the acceptance of the christian religion, it has been the means[115] indirectly of opening the gate of the empire for the admission of western ideas, and, among them, for the introduction of the gospel of christ.the passion of the chinese for opium, says one writer, was the first link in the chain which was destined to connect them at some future day with all the other families of mankind.again, it may reasonably be asked with sir john bowring, whether the greater proportionate number of native professing christians is not to be found in those districts where opium is most consumed, and how the undoubted fact is to be explained that in siam, where the siamese do not smoke the drug, there is scarcely a solitary instance of conversion among the native population, while among the chinese and other foreign settlers in siam who habitually employ it, conversions are many.what, then, are the causes of our failure? dr.hobson, himself a medical missionary, and by no means an apologist for the traffic, says, our chief obstacle at canton is the unfriendly character of the people.and there can be no doubt that this inveterate hostility exists all over china against foreigners in general and missionaries in particular, and has repeatedly shown itself in outbreaks of brutal violence against foreign residents, culminating in the murder of m.chapdelaine in 1856, and the massacre of the french mission together with the consul and several russian residents at tientsin in 1870.later still, we have had the murder of mr.margary in yünnan.this hatred is intensified in the case of missionaries by their civil[116] and political action, and by the fact of roman catholic governments exterritorializing all their converts, _i.e._ making them for all intents and purposes their own subjects, and releasing them from all subjection to chinese authority.this establishment of an _imperium in imperio_ cannot fail to be intolerable to an independent state, even if it be consistent with the idea of a state at all.moreover, the admission of missionaries no less than of opium is a permanent badge of their defeat in several wars, and the sense of humiliation aggravates their dislike for the outer barbarians.so that we can believe prince kungs wish, expressed to sir rutherford alcock, to have been a heartfelt one: take away, he said, your opium and your missionaries, and we need have no more trouble in china.of the two, indeed, they hate missionaries most, for did not their most powerful mandarins, li hung chang[117] and tso tsung taang, say to sir thomas wade, _of the two evils we would prefer to have your opium, if you will take away all your missionaries_.sir rutherford alcock gave similar evidence before the commission in 1871: the chinese, he said, if at liberty to do so, would exterminate every missionary and their converts.[118] but cordially as they detest all missionaries, who, backed by their respective governments,[119] assume a protectorate over their converts, their bitterest hate is reserved for the romanists.these penetrate into the interior, and aggregate property, own land, and houses, and pagodas, and are now some of the largest landed proprietors in the different localities.they have even gained the right, by the french treaty, of reclaiming whatever lands and houses belonged to the christian communities when the persecution and expulsion of the jesuits took place in the seventeenth century.but besides the hostility of the _literati_ and gentry, other causes are at work to render the labours of our missionaries abortive.chief among these is one mentioned in a publication by the church missionary society itself, called the _story of the fuhkien mission_.christianity, says mr.wolfe, a missionary at foochow, would be tolerated too, and the chinese would be easily induced to accept christ among the number of their gods, if it could be content with the same terms on which all the other systems are willing to be received, viz.that no one of them claims to be absolute and exclusive truth.now, as christianity does claim this, and openly avows its determination to expel by moral force every rival system from the altars of this nation, it naturally at first appears strange and presumptuous to this people.[120] very similar in old times was the attitude of the roman polytheism towards the various religions with which it was brought into contact.it was tolerant of all religions and nonreligions except (_a_) exclusive and aggressive ones, like christianity and judaism; (_b_) national ones, like druidism; and (_c_) extravagant and mystic ones, like the worship of isis.so now the buddhists and taouists would be ready enough to associate the religion of christ with that of buddha or laoutze, seeing indeed, as they say, little difference between the doctrines of buddha and of christ.buddhism was introduced into china at the very time when in the west the fall of jerusalem had set christianity free from its dependence on judaism, and enabled it to go forth in its own might, conquering and to conquer, till it became the religion of the whole roman world.the name of christ was not heard in china till 600 years later; and it was not till 1575 a.d.that a permanent jesuit mission was established in that distant land.this being the case, it is not to be wondered at that the chinese are unwilling to renounce a religion in many respects as pure and as moral a one as the pagan world has ever seen, and one which they have held for eighteen centuries, in favour of a creed, as it would seem to them, of yesterday, and one which the hated foreigner seeks to force upon them at the point of the bayonet; for the war of 1857 _was_ a missionary war, though not by any means an opium war; and it is only by the treaty of tientsin that missionaries have any right to preach christianity in china.previously to this christianity had been forbidden by king yoongtching in 1723, and that edict had never been repealed.but though these two causes, the hostility of the people and the assumed intellectual superiority of the buddhists and confucianists, render the path of our missionaries unusually difficult, and fully account for their ill success, yet it may be asked why the roman catholic missionaries are more successful than ours.both the above reasons apply to them as strongly, or even more strongly, than to protestant missionaries.they have even an additional disadvantage in their confessional with women, a proceeding which is looked upon with the greatest suspicion by the chinese who, as far as possible, seclude their women from the sight of all men.perhaps, as has been hinted at by a correspondent to the _times_, the celibacy of the roman catholic priesthood, an institution which they hold in common with the priests of buddha, impresses the people with a favourable view of the religion.but there are other reasons.as mentioned already, the jesuits established themselves in china at the latter part of the sixteenth century.they first landed at ningpo, and thence made their way to pekin,[121] where, by good policy, scientific acquirements, and conciliatory demeanour, they won the goodwill of the people and the toleration of the government.in 1692, kang hi published an edict permitting the propagation of christianity.from the success of these jesuits, sanguine expectations were entertained in europe of the speedy evangelization of chinahopes that were not destined to be realized.various causes conspired to effect their downfall in china, principally connected with the political state of europe at that time.in 1723 christianity was prohibited, and the jesuits expelled.the extinction of the order of jesuits, says sir george staunton, in the preface to his _penal code of china_, caused the adoption of a plan of conversion more _strict_, and probably more orthodox, but, in the same proportion, more unaccommodating to the prejudices of the people, and more alarming to the jealousies of the government

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