New Forces in Old China
Part 5 out of 8
It is customary for the friends of Protestant missionaries to
answer the critic's charge of interference in native lawsuits by
stating that it does not justly lie against them, but only against
the Roman Catholics, the rule of the Protestant missionaries
being to avoid such interference save in rare and extreme cases.
Mr. Alexander Michie, however, declares that Protestant missionaries
are not entitled to such exemption, and that, while
they may not interfere so frequently as the Catholics, they
nevertheless interfere often enough to bring them under the
 Address in Shanghai, 1901.
There are undoubtedly cases of imprudence, but after diligent
inquiry, I am persuaded that the Protestant missionaries
as a class are keenly alive to the risks of interference in native
lawsuits and that they are increasingly careful in this respect.
They feel with the Rev. J. C. Garritt of Hangchow that ``the
most important form which prejudice has taken of late is the
belief that foreigners aid or at least countenance their converts
in the carrying of lawsuits through the yamens, or in the
business of private settlement of disputes, and that if we can
only practically demonstrate to the public that we are not in
that business, we shall have overcome one very serious obstacle
to our work.''
``The policy of the Chinese Government during the past
few years has been to avoid trouble by letting the foreigner
have his own way whenever possible. More than once the
Chinese official has said in substance to non-Christian litigants:
`You are right and your Christian accusers are wrong; but if
I decide in your favour the foreigner will appeal the case to the
Governor or to the Peking foreign office and I shall suffer.'
Such things are charged, justly or unjustly, to the account of
both Protestant and Romanist.''
 The Rev. Dr. L. J. Davies, Tsing-tau.
A broad induction as to the facts has been made by the
Rev. Dr. Paul D. Bergen, President of Shantung Protestant
University. He wrote to a large number of missionaries representing
all Protestant denominations as to their practice and
convictions regarding this subject. Seventy-three answered
and Dr. Bergen tabulated their replies. As to the results of
the concrete cases of intervention cited, fifty-three are reported
to have been beneficial, twenty-six are characterized as doubtful,
four as mixed and sixty-seven as bad. This leaves the
remaining cases ``suspended in the air,'' and Dr. Bergen conjectures
that ``perhaps the missionary felt in such a confused
mental state at their conclusion, that he was quite unable to
work out the complicated equation of their results.''
``But surely the result that only fifty-three cases are reported
to have been of unmistakable benefit, while sixty-seven are set
down as resulting in evil, ought to give us thought. In short,
in the yamen intercession in behalf of prosecuted Christians,
it is the deliberate opinion of seventy-three missionaries that, as
a matter of personal experience, sixty-seven cases have wrought
only evil, while only fifty-three have been productive of good.
The balance is on the wrong side. We must decide, in view
of these replies, that there exists in general rather a pessimistic
opinion as to the advantages of applying to the yamen in behalf
Summing up briefly the results of this inquiry, we note the
following points, which will embody the views of a very large
majority of the Protestant missionaries of experience in the
``First,--That it is highly desirable to keep church troubles out of the
yamen, but that there are times when we cannot do so without violating
our sense of justice and our sense of duty towards an injured brother.
``Second,--Official assistance is to be sought in such troubles only when
all other means of relief have been tried in vain. Always seek to settle
these difficulties out of court.
``Third,--When official assistance is requested, our bearing should be
friendly and courteous in the spirit, at least in the first instance, of asking
a favour of the official, rather than demanding a right.... We
should be extremely careful about trying to bring pressure to bear on an
``Fourth,--In the presence of the native Christian, and especially of
those chiefly concerned, as well as in our own closets, we should cherish
a deep sense of our absolute dependence on heavenly rather than on
earthly protection, and remind the Christians that, as Dr. Taylor has so
tersely put it, their duty is `to do good, suffer for it and take it patiently.'
``Fifth,--Only in grave cases should matters be pushed to the point of
controversy or formal appeal.
``Sixth,--Christians and evangelists should be solemnly warned against
betraying an arrogant spirit upon the successful termination of any
``Seventh,--Previous to the carrying of a case before the official, let the
missionary be sure of his facts. Each case should be patiently, thoroughly
and firmly examined. Receive individual testimony with judicious reserve.
Be not easily blinded by appeals to the emotions. Be especially
ready to receive any one from the opposition, and give his words due
weight. Do not be too exclusively influenced by the judgment of any one
man, however trusted.
``Eighth,--In the course of negotiation beware of insisting on monetary
compensation for the injured Christian. In greatly aggravated cases this
may occasionally be unavoidable. But should it be made a condition of
settlement, see to it that the damages are under, rather than over, what
might have been demanded. It is almost sure to cause subsequent
trouble, both within and without, if a Christian receives money under
``Ninth,--When unhappily involved in a persecution case with the official,
we should remember that we are not lawyers, and therefore make no
stand on legal technicalities, nor allow ourselves to take a threatening
attitude, although we may be subjected to provocation; we should be
patient, dignified and strong in the truth, making it clear to the official that
this is all that we seek in order that the ends of justice may be satisfied.
``Tenth,--It would be well on every fitting occasion to exhort those under
our care to avoid frequenting yamens or cultivating intimacy with
their inhabitants, unless, indeed, we feel assured that their motive is the
same as that animating our Lord when He mingled with publicans and
A widely representative conference of Protestant missionaries
issued in 1903 the following manifesto and sent copies in
Chinese to all officials throughout the Empire:
``Chinese Christians, though church-members, remain in every respect
Chinese citizens, and are subject to the properly constituted Chinese
authorities. The sacred Scriptures and the doctrines of the church teach
obedience to all lawful authority and exhort to good citizenship; and these
doctrines are preached in all Protestant churches. The relation of a missionary
to his converts is thus that of a teacher to his disciples, and he
does not desire to arrogate to himself the position or power of a magistrate.
``Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that unworthy men, by making insincere
professions, enter the church and seek to use this connection to
interfere with the ordinary course of law in China. We all agree that
such conduct is entirely reprehensible, and we desire it to be known that
we give no support to this unwarrantable practice
``On this account we desire to state that for the information of all that:
(a) The Protestant Church does not wish to interfere in law cases. All
cases between Christians and non-Christians must be settled in the courts
in the ordinary way. Officials are called upon to administer fearlessly and
impartially justice to all within their jurisdiction. (b) Native Christians
are strictly forbidden to use the name of the church or its officers in the
hope of strengthening their positions when they appear before magistrates.
The native pastors and preachers are appointed for teaching and exhortation,
and are chosen because of their worthy character to carry on this
work. To prevent abuses in the future, all officials are respectfully requested
to report to the missionary every case in which letters or cards using
the name of the church or any of its officers are brought into court.
Then proper inquiry will be made and the truth become clear.''
The policy of the British Government on this subject was
clearly expressed by Earl Granville in his note of August 21,
1871, to the British Minister at Peking:
``The policy and practice of the Government of Great Britain have been
unmistakable. They have uniformly declared, and now repeat, that they
do not claim to afford any species of protection to Chinese Christians
which may be construed as withdrawing them from their native allegiance,
nor do they desire to secure to British missionaries any privileges
or immunities beyond those granted by treaty to other British subjects.
The Bishop of Victoria was requested to intimate this to the Protestant
missionary societies in the letter addressed to him by Mr. Hammond by
the Earl of Clarendon's direction on the 13th of November, 1869, and to
point out that they would `do well to warn converts that although the
Chinese Government may be bound by treaty not to persecute, on account
of their conversion, Chinese subjects who may embrace Christianity,
there is no provision in the treaty by which a claim can be made on behalf
of converts for exemption from the obligations of their natural allegiance,
and from the jurisdiction of the local authorities. Under the creed
of their adoption, as under that of their birth, Chinese converts to Christianity
still owe obedience to the law of China, and if they assume to set
themselves above those laws, in reliance upon foreign protection, they
must take the consequence of their own indiscretion, for no British authority,
at all events, can interfere to save them.' ''
The policy of the United States Government was stated with
equal clearness in a note of the Hon. Frederick F. Low,
United States Minister at Peking, to the Tsung-li Yamen, dated
March 20, 1871:
``The Government of the United States, while it claims to exercise, under
and by virtue of the stipulations of treaty, the exclusive right of judging
of the wrongful acts of its citizens resident in China, and of punishing
them when found guilty according to its own laws, does not assume to
claim or exercise any authority or control over the natives of China. This
rule applies equally to merchants and missionaries, and, so far as I know,
all foreign Governments having treaties with China adhere strictly to this
rule. In case, however, missionaries see that native Christians are being
persecuted by the local officials on account of their religious opinions, in
violation of the letter and spirit of the twenty-ninth article of the treaty
between the United States and China, it would be proper, and entirely in
accordance with the principles of humanity and the teachings of their religion,
to make respectful representation of the facts in such cases to the
local authorities direct, or through their diplomatic representative to the
foreign office; for it cannot be presumed that the Imperial Government
would sanction any violation of treaty engagement, or that the local officials
would allow persecutions for opinion's sake, when once the facts are
made known to them. In doing this the missionaries should conform to
Chinese custom and etiquette, so far as it can be done without assuming
an attitude that would be humiliating and degrading to themselves.''
The question is one of the most difficult and delicate of all
the questions with which the missionary must deal. On the
one hand, every impulse of justice and humanity prompts him
to befriend a good man who is being persecuted for righteousness'
sake. But on the other hand, sore experience has
taught him the necessity of caution. The pressure upon him is
so frequent and trying that it becomes the bete noire of his life.
The outsider may wisely hesitate before he adds to that pressure.
The citations that have been given show that the missionaries
themselves understand the question quite as well as
any one else and that they are competent to deal with it.
MISSIONARIES AND THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS
THE relation of the missionary to the consular and
diplomatic representatives of his own government is
another topic of perennial criticism. Some European
Governments have persistently and notoriously sought to advance
their national interest through their missionaries. France
and Russia have been particularly active in this way, the
former claiming large rights by virtue of its position as ``the
protector of Catholic missions.'' The result is that the
average Chinese official regards all missionaries as political
agents who are to be watched and feared. Dr. L. J. Davies, a
Presbyterian missionary, says that he has been repeatedly asked
his rank as ``an American official,'' whether he ``reported in
person'' to his ``emperor'' on his return to his native land,
how much salary his government allowed him, and many
other questions the import of which was manifest.
The typical consul and minister, moreover, find that no
small part of their business relates to matters that are brought to
their attention by missionaries. Sometimes they manifest impatience
on this account. One consul profanely complained to
me that three-fourths of his business related to the missionary
question. He forgot, however, that nine-tenths of the nationals
under his jurisdiction were missionaries, so that in proportion to
their numbers, the missionaries gave him less trouble than the
non-missionary Americans. In answer to an inquiry by the
Rev. Dr. Paul D. Bergen, of the Presbyterian Mission, seventy-
three missionaries, of from five to thirty years' experience, and
representing most of the Protestant boards, reported a total of
only fifty-two applications through consul or minister. The
Hon. John Barrett, formerly Minister of the United States to
Siam, writes: ``Let us be fair in judging the missionaries.
Let the complaining merchant, traveller or clubman take the
beam from his own eye before he demands that the mote be
taken from the missionary's eye. In my diplomatic experience
in Siam, 150 missionaries gave me less trouble in five years
than fifteen merchants gave me in five months.''
Doubtless some diplomats would be glad to have the missionaries
expatriate themselves. In the United States Senate
the Hon. John Sherman is reported to have said that ``if our
citizens go to a far-distant country, semi-civilized and bitterly
opposed to their movements, we cannot follow them there and
protect them. They ought to come home.'' Is, then, the
missionary's business less legitimate than the trader's? Is a
man entitled to the protection of his country if he goes to the
Orient to sell whiskey and rifles, but does he forfeit that protection
if he goes there to preach the gospel of temperance and
Critics may be reminded that missionaries are American citizens;
that when gamblers and drunkards and adventurers and
distillery agents in China claim the rights of citizenship, the
missionary does not forfeit his rights by a residence in China
for the purpose of teaching the young, healing the sick, distributing
the Bible and preaching the gospel of Christ, particularly
when treaties expressly guarantee him protection in the
exercise of these very privileges. It is odd to find some people
insisting that a dissolute trader should be allowed to go
wherever he pleases and raising a tremendous hubbub if a hair
of his head is injured, while at the same time they appear to
deem it an unwarranted thing for a decent man to go to China
on a mission of peace and good-will.
While the individual missionary is, of course, free to
renounce his claim to the protection of home citizenship,
such renunciation is neither necessary nor expedient. There
is not the slightest probability that our Government will require
it, and if it should, the public sentiment of the United States
would not tolerate such an order for a week. No self-respecting
nation can expatriate its citizens who go abroad to do good.
The policy of the United States was indicated in the note of
the Hon. J. C. B. Davis, acting Secretary of State, to the
United States Minister at Peking, October 19, 1871.
``The rights of citizens of the United States in China are well defined
by treaty. So long as they attend peaceably to their affairs they are to
be placed on a common footing of amity and good-will with subjects of
China, and are to receive and enjoy for themselves, and everything appertaining
to them, protection and defense from all insults and injuries.
They have the right to reside at any of the ports open to foreign commerce,
to rent houses and places of business, or to build such upon sites
which they have the right to hire. They have secured to them the right
to build churches and cemeteries, and they may teach or worship in those
churches without being harassed, persecuted, interfered with, or molested.
These are some of the rights which are expressly and in terms granted to
the United States, for their citizens, by the Treaty of 1858. If I rightly
apprehend the spirit of the note of the Foreign Office, and of the regulations
which accompany it, there is, to state it in the least objectionable
form, an apprehension in the yamen that it may become necessary to curtail
some of these rights, in consequence of the alleged conduct of French
missionaries. This idea cannot be entertained for one moment by the
This position was given new emphasis by the note sent by
Secretary of State John Hay to the Hon. Horace Porter, United
States Ambassador to France, in response to a communication
from the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris in 1903.
In this note Mr. Hay said:
``The Government holds that every citizen sojourning or travelling
abroad in pursuit of his lawful affairs is entitled to a passport, and the
duration of such sojourn the department does not arrogate to itself the right
to limit or prescribe.''
The governments of continental Europe have repeatedly
shown themselves quick to resent an infringement upon the
treaty rights of their subjects who are in China as missionaries.
The Hon. Thomas Francis Wade, British Minister at Peking,
wrote to Minister Wen Hsiang in June, 1871:--``The British
Government draws no distinction between the missionaries and
any other of its non-official subjects.'' This sentiment was emphatically
reiterated by Earl Granville in a note from the foreign
office in London to Mr. Wade dated August 21, 1871:
``Her Majesty's Government cannot allow the claim that the missionaries
residing in China must conform to the laws and customs of China to
pass unchallenged. It is the duty of a missionary, as of every other British
subject, to avoid giving offense as far as possible to the Chinese authorities
or people, but he does not forfeit the rights to which he is entitled under
the treaty as a British subject because of his missionary character.''
But while this is the only possible policy for a government,
it is surely reasonable to expect that the persons concerned will
exercise moderation and prudence in their demands. The
China Island Mission does not permit its missionaries to appeal
to their Government officials without special permission from
headquarters. Many missionaries of other societies would
probably resent such a limitation of their liberty as citizens.
But as the act of the individual often involves others, it might
be well to make the approval of the station necessary, and,
wherever practicable, of the mission. Nine-tenths of the
missionaries do not and will not unnecessarily write or
telegraph for the intervention of minister or consul. But the
tenth man may be benefited by the counsel of his colleagues
who know or who may be easily acquainted with the facts.
The American Presbyterian Board in a formal action has expressed
the wise judgment that ``appeals to the secular arm
should always and everywhere be as few as possible.'' It is
not in the civil or military power of a country to give the
missionary success. In the crude condition of heathen
society, the temptation is sometimes strong to appeal for aid to
``the secular arm'' of the home government. Occasions may
possibly arise in which it will be necessary to insist upon rights.
Nevertheless, as a rule, it will be well to remember that ``the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through
God,'' and that ``the servant of the Lord must not strive, but
be gentle unto all men.'' The argument of the sword is
Mohammedan, not Christian. The veteran Rev. J. Hudson
Taylor holds that in the long run appeals to home governments
do nothing but harm. He says he has known of many riots
that have never been reported and of much suffering endured
in silence which have ``fallen out rather to the furtherance of
the gospel,'' and that ``if we leave God to vindicate our
cause, the issue is sure to prove marvellous in spirituality.''
The critics have vociferously charged that after the suppression
of the Boxer uprising, the missionaries greatly embarrassed
their governments by demanding bloody vengeance
upon the Chinese. It may indeed be true that among the
thousands of Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries in
China, some temporarily lost their self-control and gave way to
anger under the awful provocation of ruined work, burned
homes, outraged women and butchered Chinese Christians.
How many at home would or could have remained calm in
such circumstances? But it is grossly unjust to treat such
excited utterances as representative of the great body of
missionary opinion. The missionaries went to China and
they propose to stay there because they love and believe in the
Chinese, and it is very far from their thought to demand undue
punishment for those who oppose them. They sensibly
expected a certain amount of opposition from tradition,
heathenism, superstition and corruption, and they are not disposed
to call for unmanly or unchristian measures when that
trouble falls upon them which fell in even greater measure on
the Master Himself.
It is true that some of the missionaries felt that the ring-
leaders of the Boxers, including those in high official position
who more or less secretly incited them to violence, should be
punished. But they were not thinking of revenge, so much as
of the welfare of China, the restoration to power of the best element
among the Chinese, and the reasonable security of
Chinese Christians and of foreigners who have treaty rights.
Many missionaries feel that there is no hope for China save in
the predominance of the Reform Party, and that if the reactionaries
are to remain in control, the outlook is dark indeed,
not so much for the foreigner as for China itself. The men
who were guilty of the atrocities perpetrated in the summer of
1900 violated every law, human and divine, and some of the
missionaries demanded their punishment only in the same
spirit as the ministers and Christian people of the United
States who with united voice demanded the punishment of the
four young men in Paterson, New Jersey, who had been
systematically outraging young girls.
Nevertheless, as to the whole subject of the policy which
should be adopted by our Government in China, I believe that
it would be wise for both the missionaries and the mission
boards to be cautious in proffering advice, and to leave the
responsibility for action with the lawfully constituted civil
authorities upon whom the people have placed it. Governments
have better facilities for acquiring accurate information
as to political questions than missionaries have. They can see
the bearings of movements more clearly than those who are
not in political life and can discern elements in the situation
that are not so apparent to others. Moreover, they must bear
the blame or praise for consequences. They can ask for
missionary opinion if they want it. Generations of protest
against priestly domination, chiefly by Protestant ministers
themselves, have developed in both Europe and America a disposition
to resent clerical interference in political questions.
This is particularly true of matters in Asia, where the political
situation is so delicate. The opinions publicly expressed by
the missionaries as to the policy, which, in their judgment,
should be adopted by our Government and by the European
Powers have included not only many articles of individual
missionaries in newspapers and magazines, but formal communications
of bodies or committees of missionaries. Conspicuous
examples are the protests of missionaries assembled in
Chefoo and Shanghai in 1900 against the decision of the
American Government to withdraw its troops from Peking, to
recognize the Empress Dowager and to omit certain officials
from the list of those who were to be executed or banished, and,
in particular, the letter addressed by ``the undersigned
British and American missionaries representative of societies
and organizations that have wide interests in China to their
Excellencies the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and the
United States accredited to the Chinese Government.''
These actions were taken by men whose character, ability
and knowledge of the Chinese entitle them to great weight, and
who were personally affected in the security of their lives and
property and in the interests of their life-work by the policy
adopted by their respective Governments. All were citizens who
did not abdicate their citizenship by becoming missionaries,
and whose status and rights in China, as such, have been
specifically recognized by treaty. All, moreover, expressed
their views with clearness, dignity and force. From the viewpoint
of right and privilege, and, indeed, political duty as
citizens, they were abundantly justified in expressing their
On the other hand, there are many friends of missions who
doubt whether formal declarations of judgment ``as missionaries,''
on political and military questions, were accorded much
influence by diplomats; whether they did not increase the
popular criticism of missionaries to an extent which more than
counterbalanced any good that they accomplished; whether
they did not identify the missionary cause with ``the consul
and gunboat'' policy which Lord Salisbury charged upon it;
and whether they did not prejudice their own future influence
over the Chinese and strengthen the impression that the mis-
sionaries are ``political emissaries.'' In reply to my inquiry as
to his opinion, Sir Robert Hart expressed himself as follows:--
``As for punitive measures, etc., I have really no personal knowledge
of the action taken by American missionaries, and hearsay is not a good
foundation for opinion. It is said that vindictive feeling rather than tender
mercy has been noticed. But even if so, it cannot be wondered at, so
cruel were the Chinese assailants when they had the upper hand. The
occasion has been altogether anomalous, and it is only at the parting of
the ways the difference of view comes in. That what was done merited
almost wholesale punishment is a view most will agree in--eyes turned to
the past--but when discussion tries to argue out what will be best for the
future, some will vote for striking terror, and others for trusting more to
the more slowly working but longer lasting effect of mercy. I do not believe
any missionary has brought anybody to punishment who did not
richly deserve it. But some people seem to feel it would have been wiser
for ministers of the gospel to have left to `governors' the `punishment of
evil-doers.' For my part, I cannot blame them, for without their assistance
much that is known would not have been known, and, although numbers
of possibly innocent, inoffensive and non-hostile people may have been
overwhelmed in this last year's avalanche of disaster, there are still at
large a lot of men whose punishment would probably have been a good
thing for the future. One can only hope that their good luck in escaping
may lead them to take a new departure, and with their heads in the right
 Letter to the author with permission to print, July, 1901.
Wisely or unwisely--the former, I venture to think--the
interdenominational conference of American mission boards having
work in China, held in 1900, declined to make representations
to our Government on questions of policy during the Boxer
uprising. They necessarily had much correspondence with
Washington regarding the safety of missionaries during the
siege, but when I inquired of Secretary of State Hay as to the
accuracy of the later newspaper charges that mission boards
were urging the Government to retaliatory measures, he promptly
replied: ``No communications of this nature have been received
from the great mission boards or from their authorized
But let us hear the missionaries themselves on this subject.
An interdenominational committee, headed by the Rev. Dr.
Calvin W. Mateer, prepared a reply to this criticism, which has
been circulated throughout China and has received the assent
of so large a number of missionaries of all churches and nationalities
that it may be taken as representing the views of fully
nine-tenths of the whole body of Protestant missionaries in the
Empire. This letter should be given the widest possible currency,
as expressing the views of men who are the peers of any
equal number of Christian workers in the world. It is dated
May 24, 1901, and, after discussing the question of the responsibility
for the Boxer uprising, the letter continues:
``With reference to the second point--that we have manifested an unchristian
spirit in suggesting the punishment of those who were guilty of
the massacre of foreigners and native Christians--we understand that the
criticism applies chiefly to the message sent by the public meeting held in
Shanghai in September last.
``1. It should, in the first place, be borne in mind that the resolutions
passed at that meeting were called for by the proposal of the Allies to
evacuate Peking immediately after the relief of the Legations. It was
felt, not only by missionaries but by the whole of the foreign residents in
China, that such a course would be fraught with the greatest disaster, inasmuch
as it would give sanction to further lawlessness.
``2. Further it must be remembered that, while suggesting that a satisfactory
settlement `should include the adequate punishment of all who
were guilty of the recent murders of foreigners and native Christians,'
it was left to the Powers to decide what that `adequate punishment'
should be. Moreover, when taking such measures as were necessary,
they were urged to `make every effort to avoid all needless and
indiscriminate slaughter of Chinese and destruction of their property.'
``3. By a strange misunderstanding we find that this suggestion has
been interpreted as though it were animated by an unchristian spirit of
revenge. With the loss of scores of friends and colleagues still fresh upon
us, and with stories of cruel massacres reaching us day by day, it would
not have been surprising had we been betrayed into intemperate expressions;
but we entirely repudiate the idea which has been read into our
words. If governments are the ministers of God's righteousness, then
surely it is the duty of every Christian Government not only to uphold the
right but to put down the wrong, and equally the duty of all Christian
subjects to support them in so doing. For China, as for Western nations,
anarchy is the only alternative to law. Both justice and mercy require
the judicial punishment of the wrong-doers in the recent outrages. For
the good of the people themselves, for the upholding of that standard of
righteousness which they acknowledge and respect, for the strengthening
and encouragement of those officials whose sympathies have been throughout
on the side of law and order, and for the protection of our own helpless
women and children and the equally helpless sons and daughters of
the Church, we think that such violations of treaty obligations, and such
heartless and unprovoked massacres as have been carried out by official
authority or sanction, should not be allowed to pass unpunished. It is
not of our personal wrongs that we think, but of the maintenance of law
and order, and of the future safety of all foreigners residing in the interior
of China, who, it must be remembered, are not under the jurisdiction of
Chinese law, but, according to the treaties, are immediately responsible to,
and under the protection of, their respective Governments.''
The reply rather pathetically concludes:
``It is unhappily the lot of missionaries to be misunderstood and spoken
against, and we are aware that in any explanation we now offer we add
to the risk of further misunderstanding; but we cast ourselves on the forbearance
of our friends, and beg them to refrain from hasty and ill-formed
judgments. If, on our part, there have been extreme statements, if individual
missionaries have used intemperate words or have made demands
out of harmony with the spirit of our Divine Lord, is it too much to ask
that the anguish and peril through which so many of our number have
gone during the last six months should be remembered, and that the whole
body should not be made responsible for the hasty utterances of the
A perplexing phase of the relation of missionaries to their
own governments develops in times of disturbance. Should
missionaries remain at their stations when their minister or consul
think that they ought to withdraw to the port where they
can be more easily protected? Should they make journeys
that the consul deems imprudent or return to an abandoned
station before he regards the trouble as ended? This question
became acute in connection with the Boxer outbreak when mis-
sionaries sometimes differed with ministers or consuls as to
whether they should go or stay. On the one hand it may be
urged that missionaries are under strong obligations to attach
great weight to the judgment of their minister or consul. If
they receive the benefits and protection of citizenship, and if
by their acts they may involve their governments, they should
recognize the right of the authorized representatives of those
governments to counsel them. The presumption should be in
favour of obedience to that counsel, and it should not be disregarded
without clear and strong reasons.
But the fact cannot be ignored that, whatever may be the
personal sympathies of individual ministers or consuls, diplomacy
as such considers only the secondary results of missions,
and not the primary ones. Government officials, speaking on
missionary work, almost invariably dwell on its material and
civilizing rather than its spiritual aspects. They do not, as
officials, feel that the salvation of men from sin and the command
of Christ to evangelize all nations are within their sphere.
Moreover, diplomacy is proverbially and necessarily cautious.
Its business is to avoid risks, and, of course, to advise others to
avoid them. The political situation, too, was undeniably uncertain
and delicate. The future was big with possibility of peril.
In such circumstances, we should expect diplomacy to be anxious
and to look at the whole question from the prudential viewpoint.
But the missionary, like the soldier, must take some risks.
From Paul down, missionaries have not hesitated to face them.
Christ did not condition His great command upon the approval
of Caesar. It was not safe for Morrison to enter China, and for
many years missionaries in the interior were in grave jeopardy.
But devoted men and women accepted the risk in the past, and
they will accept it in the future. They must exercise common
sense. And yet this enterprise is unworldly as well as worldly,
and when the soldier boldly faces every physical peril, when
the trader unflinchingly jeopardizes life and limb in the pursuit
of gold--I found a German mining engineer and his wife living
alone in a remote village soon after the Boxer excitement--
should the missionary be held back?
If, however, after full and careful deliberation, missionaries feel
that it is their duty to disregard the advice of their minister or
consul, they should consult their respective boards and if the
boards sustain them, all concerned should accept responsibility
for the risks involved.
But if missionaries do not permit governments to control
their movements, they should not be too exacting in their
demands on them when trouble comes. The Rev. Dr. Henry
M. Field once said:--
``A foreign missionary is one who goes to a strange country to preach
the gospel of our salvation. That is his errand and his defense. The
civil authorities are not presumed to be on his side. If he offends the
sensibilities of the people to whom he preaches, he is supposed to face
the consequences. If he cannot win men by the Word and his own love
for their souls, he cannot call on the civil or military powers to convert
them. Nor is the missionary a merchant, in the sense that he must have
ready recourse to the courts for a recouping of losses or the recovery of
damages. Commercial treaties cannot cover all our missionary enterprises.
Confusion of ideas here has confounded a good many fine plans
and zealous men. It is a tremendous begging of the whole question to
insist on the nation's protection of the men who are to subvert the
national faith. Property rights and preaching rights get closely entwined,
and it is difficult to untangle them at times, but the distinction
is definite and the difference often fundamental. By confusing
them we weaken the claims of both. And when our Christian preachers
get behind a mere property right in order to defend their right to preach
a new religion, they dishonour themselves and defame the faith they
profess. To get behind diplomatic guaranties in order to evangelize the
nations is to mistake the sword for the Spirit, to rely on the arm of flesh
and put aside the help of the Almighty.''
That is, in my judgment, stating the case rather strongly.
Doubtless Dr. Field did not mean that governments would be
justified in discriminating against missionaries and he would
probably have been one of the first to protest if they had done
so. He was addressing missionaries, reminding them that they
could do in liberty what the governments could not do in law,
and exhorting against any disposition to depend unduly upon
the sword of the secular arm. At any rate, he was a devoted
friend of missions and as such his words are deserving of
RESPONSIBILITY OF MISSIONARIES FOR THE
CRITICS vociferously assert that the missionaries were
chiefly responsible for the Boxer uprising and for most
of the prejudice of the Chinese against foreigners. As
to the general accuracy of this charge, the reader has doubtless
formed some impression from what has been said in the preceding
chapters regarding the objects and methods of foreign
trade and foreign politics. Still, it is but fair to remember that
there are 3,854 missionaries in China, representing almost every
European and American nationality and no less than nine
Roman Catholic and sixty-seven Protestant boards. As might
be expected, the standard of appointment varies. A few
boards, while insisting upon high spiritual qualifications, do
not insist upon equal qualifications of some other kinds, while
in all societies an occasional missionary proves to be visionary
and ill-balanced. But in the great majority of the boards,
the standard of appointment is very high, and while occasional
mistakes are made, yet as a rule the missionaries represent the
best type of Protestant Christianity. They are, as a class,
men and women of education, refinement and ability--in every
respect the equals and as a rule the superiors of the best class
of non-missionary Europeans and Americans in China.
 The Chinese Recorder.
Now it is manifest that criticisms which may be true of some
missionaries may not be true of the missionary body as a
whole. As a matter of fact, the average critic has in mind
either the Roman Catholic priests or the members of some
independent society. This is notably true of Michie. Many
of the charges are not true even of them, but of the charges
that I have seen that have any foundation at all, nine-tenths
do not apply to the missionaries of church boards. It is always
fair, therefore, to ask a critic, ``To which class of missionaries
do you refer?''
The clearest line of distinction is between the Protestants
and the Roman Catholics. The latter number 904. They
have been in China the longest. They have the largest following,
and their methods are radically different from those of the
Protestant missionaries. It is not denied that some of the
priests are high-minded, intelligent men and that some of the
Protestants lack wisdom. But comparing the two classes
broadly, no one who is at all conversant with the facts will regard
the Protestants as inferior. I do not wish to be unjust to
the Roman Catholic missionaries in China. Many good things
might be said regarding the work which some of them are doing.
I personally called at several Roman Catholic stations in
various parts of the Empire and I have vivid recollections of
the kindness with which I was received, while more than once
I was impressed by the unmistakable evidences of devotion and
self-sacrifice. It was pleasant to hear many Protestant missionaries
declare that they had never heard a suspicion as to the
moral character of the priests. I did not hear any in all north
China. The lives of the Roman Catholic missionaries are hard
and narrow and they have no relief in the companionships of
wife and children, in furloughs or in medical attendance, for
they have no medical missionaries, while not infrequently the
priest lives alone in a village. Dead to the world, with no
families and no expectation of returning to their native land,
trained from boyhood to a monastic life, drilled to unquestioning
obedience and to few personal needs, their ambition is not
to get anything for themselves but to strengthen the Church
for which the individual priest unhesitatingly sacrifices himself,
content if by his complete submergence of his own interests he
has helped to make her great. With such men, Rome is a
mighty power in Asia. But the sincere, devoted man may be
even more dangerous if his zeal is wrongly directed, and the
question under discussion now is not the personal character of
individuals, but the general policy of the Church. As to
the character and effects of this policy I found a remarkable
unanimity of opinion in China, and I could easily produce
from my note-books the names of scores of credible witnesses
to the substantial accuracy of my position.
 720,540 Roman Catholics--compare p. 223 for Protestants.
Whatever may be said in favour of the Roman Catholics, it
is unquestionable that their methods are far more irritating to
the Chinese than the methods of the Protestants. Led by able
and energetic bishops, the priests acquire all possible business
property, demand large rentals, build imposing religious plants,
and baptize or enroll as catechumens all sorts of people. It is
notorious that the Roman Catholic priests quite generally
adopt the policy of interference on behalf of their converts.
Through the Minister of France at Peking they obtained an
Imperial Edict, dated March 15, 1899, granting them official
status, so that the local priest is on a footing of equality with
the local magistrate, and has the right of full access to him at
any time. Whether or not intended by the Roman Catholic
Church, the impression is almost universal in China among
natives and foreigners alike that, if a Chinese becomes a
Catholic, the Church will stand by him through thick and
thin, in time and in eternity. There are, indeed, exceptions.
Dr. Johnson, of Ichou-fu, told me of a Roman Catholic Christian
who, during the Boxer troubles, stealthily moved his goods
into Ichou-fu, burned his house, and then put in a claim for
indemnity. The heathen neighbours, when asked to pay, informed
the priest. He summoned the man, who confusedly
said that if he had not burned the house, the Boxers would have
done so, and he thought he had better do it at a convenient
time as it was sure to be burned anyway. The priest promptly
decided that he must suffer the loss himself. So the priests do
not always stand by their converts whether right or wrong.
No one, however, who is familiar with the general course of
the Roman Catholic Church in China, will deny that, as a
rule, the priests boldly champion the cause of their converts.
This is one secret of Rome's great and rapidly growing power
in China, and unquestionably, too, it is one of the chief causes
of Chinese hostility to missions. After many years of observation,
Dr. J. Campbell Gibson writes:--
``In the missions of the Church of Rome, they (treaty rights) are
systematically, and I am afraid one must say unscrupulously, used for the
gathering in of large numbers of nominal converts, whose only claim to
the Christian name is their registration in lists kept by native catechists,
in which they are entered on payment of a small fee, without regard to
their possession of any degree of Christian knowledge or character. In
the event of their being involved in any dispute or lawsuit, the native
catechists or priests, and even the foreign Roman Catholic missionaries,
take up their cause and press it upon the native magistrates. Not infrequently
a still worse course is pursued. Intimation is sent round the
villages in which there are large numbers of so-called Catholic converts
and these assemble under arms to support by force the feuds of their
co-religionists. The consequence is that the Catholic missions in southern
China, and I believe in the north also, are bitterly hated by the Chinese
people and by their magistrates. By terrorizing both magistrates and
people, they have secured in many places a large amount of apparent
popularity; but they are sowing the seeds of a harvest of hatred and bitterness
which may be reaped in deplorable forms in years to come.''
 ``Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China,'' pp. 309,
In my own interviews with Chinese officials, it was my custom
to lead the conversation towards the motives of those who had
attacked foreigners during the Boxer uprising, and without exception
the officials mentioned, among other causes, the interference
of Roman Catholic priests with the administration of
the law in cases affecting their converts. In several places in
the interior, this was the only reason assigned.
Said an intelligent Chinese official in Shantung: ``The
whole trouble is not with the Protestants but with the Catholics.
Protestant Christians do not go to law so often, and when they
do, the Protestant missionary does not, as a rule, interfere unless
he is sure they are right. But the Catholic Christians are
constantly involved in lawsuits, and the priests invariably stand
by them right or wrong. The priests seem to think that their
converts cannot be wrong. The result is that many Chinese
join the Roman Catholic Church to get the help of the priests
in the innumerable lawsuits that the Chinese are always waging.
And it is not surprising in such circumstances that Catholic
Christians are a bad lot.'' When I asked the magistrate of
Paoting-fu why the people had killed such kindly and helpful
neighbours as the Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries,
he replied:--``The people were angered by the interference
of the Roman Catholics in their lawsuits. They felt
that they could not obtain justice against them, and in their
frenzy they did not distinguish between Catholics and Protestants.''
The Roman Catholic Mission in the prefecture of
Paoting-fu, it should be remembered, is about two centuries
old, and the Catholic population is about 12,000, so that the
few hundreds of converts who have been gathered in the recent
work of the Protestants are very small in comparison, while the
splendid cathedral of the Roman Church, the spectacular character
of its services and the official status and aggressiveness
of its priests intensify the disproportion. The term Christian,
therefore, to the average man of Paoting-fu naturally means a
Roman Catholic rather than a Protestant.
Perhaps we should make some allowance for Oriental forms
of statement to one who was known to be a Protestant. The
politeness of an Oriental host to a guest is not always limited
by veracity, and it is possible that to Roman Catholics the
officials may blame the Protestants. But such unanimity of
testimony among so many independent and widely separated
officials must surely count for something, especially when the
grounds for it are so notorious. Undoubtedly, there are many
sincere Christians among the Roman Catholic Chinese, but
judging from the almost universal testimony that I heard in
China, the Roman Church is a veritable cave of Adullam for
unscrupulous and revengeful Chinese.
The evidence does not rest upon the testimony of Protestants
alone. If any one will take the trouble to look up the diplomatic
correspondence on this subject, he will find ample and
convincing testimony. February 9, 1871, the Tsung-li Yamen
addressed to the Foreign Legations at Peking a memorandum
together with eight propositions, the whole embodying the
complaints and objections of the Chinese Government to missionaries
and their work in China, and suggesting certain regulations
for the future. This memorandum included the following
``The missionary question affects the whole question of pacific relations
with foreign powers--the whole question of their trade. As the Minister
addressed cannot but be well aware, wherever missionaries of the Romish
profession appear, ill-feeling begins between them and the people, and for
years past, in one case or another, points of all kinds on which they are
at issue have been presenting themselves. In earlier times when the
Romish missionaries first came to China, styled, as they were, `Si Ju,'
the Scholars of the West, their converts no doubt for the most part were
persons of good character; but since the change of ratifications in 1860,
the converts have in general not been of a moral class. The result has
been that the religion that professes to exhort men to virtue has come to
be lightly thought of; it is in consequence, unpopular, and its unpopularity
is greatly increased by the conduct of the converts who, relying on the
influence of the missionaries, oppress and take advantage of the common
people (the non-Christians): and yet more by the conduct of the missionaries
themselves, who, when collisions between Christians and the people
occur, and the authorities are engaged in dealing with them, take part
with the Christians, and uphold them in their opposition to the authorities.
This undiscriminating enlistment of proselytes has gone so far that
rebels and criminals of China, pettifoggers and mischief-makers, and such
like, take refuge in the profession of Christianity, and covered by this
position, create disorder. This has deeply dissatisfied the people, and
their dissatisfaction long felt grows into animosity, and their animosity
into deadly hostility. The populations of different localities are not aware
that Protestantism and Romanism are distinct. They include both under
the latter denomination. They do not know that there is any distinction
between the nations of the West. They include them all under one denomination
of foreigners, and thus any serious collision that occurs equally
compromises all foreigners in China. Even in the provinces not concerned,
doubt and misgiving are certain to be largely generated.''
The memorandum and its attached propositions are interesting
reading as showing the impression which the Chinese Government
had of Roman Catholic missionary work. The third
proposition included the following statement:--
``They (Roman Catholic converts) even go so far as to coerce the authorities
and cheat and oppress the people. And the foreign missionaries,
without inquiring into facts, conceal in every case the Christian evil-doer,
and refuse to surrender him to the authorities for punishment. It has
even occurred that malefactors who have been guilty of the gravest
crimes have thrown themselves into the profession of Christianity, and
have been at once accepted and screened (from justice). In every province
do the foreign missionaries interfere at the offices of the local authorities
in lawsuits in which native Christians are concerned. For example
in a case that occurred in Sze-chuen in which some native Christian
women defrauded certain persons (non-Christians) of the rent owing to
them, and actually had these persons wounded and killed, the French
Bishop took on himself to write in official form (to the authorities) pleading
in their favour. None of these women were sentenced to forfeit life
for life taken, and the resentment of the people of Sze-chuen in consequence
Mr. Wade, the British Minister at Peking, in reporting this
memorandum and its appended propositions to Earl Granville,
June 8, 1871, said:
``The promiscuous enlistment of evil men as well as good by the
Romish missionaries, and their advocacy of the claims advanced by these
ill-conditioned converts, has made Romanism most unpopular; and the
people at large do not distinguish between Romanist and Protestant, nor
between foreigner and foreigner; not that Government has made no effort
to instruct the people, but China is a large Empire.... Three-
fourths of the Romish missionaries in China, in all, between 400 and 500
persons, are French; and Romanism in the mouths of non-Christian
Chinese is as popularly termed the religion of the French as the religion
of the Lord of Heaven.''
June 27th of that year, Earl Granville wrote to Lord Lyons
that he had said to the French Charge d'Affaires:--
``I told M. Gavard that I could not pretend to think that the conduct
of the French missionaries, stimulated by the highest and most laudable
object, had been prudent in the interest of Christianity itself, and that the
support which had been given by the representatives of France to their
pretensions was dangerous to the future relations of Europe with China.''
The Hon. Frederick F. Low, United States Minister at
Peking, in communicating that memorandum and the attached
propositions to the State Department in Washington, March
20, 1871, said:--
``A careful reading of the Memorandum clearly proves that the great,
if not only, cause of complaint against the missionaries comes from the
action of the Roman Catholic priests and the native Christians of that
faith.... Had they (the Chinese Goverment) stated their complaints
in brief, without circumlocution, and stripped of all useless verbiage,
they would have charged that the Roman Catholic missionaries,
when residing away from the open ports, claim to occupy a semi-official
position, which places them on an equality with the provincial officer;
that they deny the authority of the Chinese officials over native Christians,
which practically removes this class from the jurisdiction of their own
rulers; that their action in this regard shields the native Christians from
the penalties of the law, and thus holds out inducements for the lawless
to join the Catholic Church, which is largely taken advantage of; that
orphan asylums are filled with children, by the use of improper means,
against the will of the people; and when parents, guardians, and friends
visit these institutions for the purpose of reclaiming children, their requests
for examination and restitution are denied, and lastly, that the French
Government, while it does not claim for its missionaries any rights of this
nature by virtue of treaty, its agents and representatives wink at these
unlawful acts, and secretly uphold the missionaries. . . . I do not
believe, and, therefore I cannot affirm, that all the complaints made
against Catholic missionaries are founded in truth, reason, or justice; at
the same time, I believe that there is foundation for some of their charges.
My opinions, as expressed in former despatches touching this matter, are
confirmed by further investigation. . . .''
On the same date, Minister Low wrote to the Tsung-li
``It is a noticeable fact, that among all the cases cited there does not
appear to be one in which Protestant missionaries are charged with violating
treaty, law or custom. So far as I can ascertain, your complaints
are chiefly against the action and attitude of the missionaries of the
Roman Catholic faith; and, as these are under the exclusive protection
and control of the Government of France, I might with great propriety
decline to discuss a matter with which the Government of the United
States has no direct interest or concern, for the reason that none of its
citizens are charged with violating treaty or local law, and thus causing
This tendency of the Chinese to confuse Roman Catholics
and Protestants is further illustrated by the note addressed by
Minister Wen Hsiang to Sir R. Alcock:--
``Extreme indeed would be the danger if, popular indignation having
been once aroused by this opposition to the authorities, the hatred of the
whole population of China were excited like that of the people of Tientsin
against foreigners, and orders, though issued by the Government,
could not be for all that put in force. . . . Although the creeds of the
various foreign countries differ in their origin and development from each
other, the natives of China are unable to see the distinction between
them. In their eyes all (teachers of religion) are `missionaries from the
West,' and directly they hear a lying story (about any of these missionaries),
without making further and minute inquiry (into its truth), they
rise in a body to molest him.''
As for Protestant missionaries, it would be useless to assert
that every one of the 2,950 has always been blameless in
this matter. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that there is
a sense in which the gospel is a revolutionary force. Christ
Himself said that He came not to send peace on earth but a
sword, and to set a man at variance against his father. There
is usually more or less of a protest in a heathen land when a
man turns from the old faith to the new one. The refusal to
contribute to the temple sacrifices and to worship the ancestral
tablets is sure to be followed by a furious outcry. The convert
is apt to be assailed as a traitor to the national custom and
as having entered into league with the foreigner.
To the Chinese, moreover, all white men are ``Christians''
and ``foreign devils,'' and all alike stand for the effort to foreignize
and despoil China. Except where personal acquaintance
has taught certain communities that there is a difference
between white men, the evil acts of one foreigner or of one aggressive
foreign Government are charged against all the members
of the race, just as in the pioneer days in the American
colonies, a settler whose wife had been killed by an Indian took
his revenge by indiscriminately shooting all the other Indians
he could find. Any hatred that the Chinese may have against
Christianity is due, not so much to its religious teachings, as to
its identification with the foreign nations whose religion
Christianity is supposed to be and whose aggressions the Chinese
have so much reason to fear and to hate.
For this reason, the introduction of Buddhism and Mohammedanism
is not parallel, and to base an argument against
Christianity on the alleged fact that the other faiths easily succeeded
in domesticating themselves in China is to confuse facts.
Neither Buddhism nor Mohammedanism entered China as an
aggressive propaganda by foreigners. The Chinese themselves
brought in Buddhism, and it spread chiefly because it grafted
into itself many Chinese superstitions and did not oppose
Chinese vices, but rather assimilated them. Why should the
people have opposed a religion which interfered with nothing
that they valued and reenforced their darling prejudices? As
for Islam, we have already seen that it is the faith of early immigrants
and their descendants, that its followers do not propagate
it, that they live in separate communities, are disliked by
the Chinese and are often at open war with them. Christianity,
on the contrary, comes to China with foreigners who
have no intention of settling down as permanent members of
Chinese society, who are classed as representatives of nations
which are regarded as more or less hostile and unjust, and who
preach their religion as a vital spiritual faith which opposes all
wrong, uproots all superstition and aims at the moral reconstruction
of every man. Of course, therefore, Christianity must expect
a reception different in some respects from that which was
given to Buddhism and Mohammedanism.
 Chapter VI.
It is the shallowest of all objections to missions that
Mr. Francis Nichols urged in the North American Review
when he insisted that ``the missionary is not engaged to be a
reformer,'' but that ``his mission is to preach the gospel--
``Is the gospel then simply a patent arrangement by which idolaters
can get to heaven, without disturbing their idolatry or the vices associated
with it? was not Christ a reformer? and Paul also, and his successors,
who, by their preaching, gave the idols of Rome to the moles and the
bats, and robbed the Coliseum of its gladiatorial shows? It is the glory
of Christianity that on questions of truth and righteousness it makes no
compromise. Its mission is to save the world by reforming it....
Who that understands the genius of Christianity can fail to see that China
Christianized must be very different from China as it now is?''
 The Rev. Dr. Calvin Mateer, Teng chou.
After making all due allowance for these things, however,
the fact still remains that opposition of this sort in
China is usually local and sporadic. It affects a greater
or less number of individuals and families and occasionally
a community, but it does not move a whole population to
the frenzy of a national uprising. The anti-foreign hatred
of the Boxers was fierce in thousands of cities and villages
where there were no missionaries or Chinese Christians at
all. In the sphere of religion proper, the Chinese are not an
intolerant people. They are almost wholly devoid of sec-
tarian spirit. The coming of another religion would not of
itself excite serious opposition, for having become accustomed
to the presence and intermingling of several religions, it would
not antecedently occur to the Chinese that a fourth faith would
involve the abandonment of the others. They would be more
apt to infer that the new could be accepted in harmony with
the old in the established way. So the worst foe that the
Christian missionary has to encounter is not hostility but indifference.
As a rule, the Chinese have not strenuously objected to the
Protestant missionaries as missionaries. It is the policy of the
mission boards to avoid all unnecessary interference with native
customs. So far from coveting official equality with Chinese
magistrates, an overwhelming majority of the Protestant missionaries
throughout the Empire expressly declined to avail
themselves of the offer of the Chinese Government to give them
the same privileges and official status that was accorded to the
Roman Catholic priests and bishops in the Imperial decree of
March 15, 1899.
``The very thing which missionaries seek to avoid is
denationalizing their converts. So far as mission schools at the
ports are concerned, it is not the missionary who is chiefly
responsible for what foreignizing is done. The Chinese who
patronize these schools want their children to learn foreign
accomplishments. Such schools, however, form but a very small
part of the extensive educational work done by American
missionaries in China.''
 The Rev. Dr. Calvin H. Mateer.
Many of the missionaries, especially in the interior stations,
don Chinese clothing, shave their heads and wear a queue.
Everywhere the missionaries learn the Chinese language, try to
get into sympathy with the people, teach the young, heal the sick,
comfort the dying, distribute relief in time of famine, preach the
gospel of peace and good-will, and, in the opinion of unprejudiced
judges, are upright, sensible and useful workers. Not
only men but women travel far into the interior, the former
frequently alone and unarmed. They go into the homes of the
people, preach in village streets, sleep unprotected in Chinese
houses, and receive much personal kindness from all classes.
The experience of the Presbyterian mission at Chining-chou
is an illustration of what has occurred in scores of communities.
When Dr. Stephen A. Hunter and the Rev. William Lane tried
to open a station in 1890, they were mobbed and driven out,
barely escaping with their lives. But in June, 1892, the Rev.
J. A. Laughlin arrived and was permitted to buy property and,
in September, to bring his family and begin permanent residence.
There are hereditary bands of robbers in the neighbourhood,
and more than once they attacked the mission compound.
But gradually the peaceful purpose and the beneficent
life of the missionaries became known and active opposition
ceased. When the Boxer outbreak occurred, there were about
150 baptized adults, besides a considerable number of children
and adherents. During the troubles, only two of the Christians
recanted, the rest holding together and continuing regular services.
The mission property was undisturbed during the
whole period. It is true, the officials were friendly; but even
Governor Yuan Shih Kai's influence could not prevent some
loss in his own capital. In Chining-chou not a thing was
touched, a striking testimony to the friendliness of the people
towards the missionaries whom they had learned to love. As
I approached the city with the returning missionaries, a group
of thirty met us with beaming faces. For nearly a year, they
had been without a missionary and their joy at seeing Mr.
Laughlin was unmistakable. As we passed through the city to
the mission-compound in the southeast suburb, people in almost
every door and window smiled and bowed a welcome.
Nor was this cordiality confined to the Christians; many of all
classes being outspoken in their manifestations of respect and
Nor is it true that the Chinese sense of propriety is so out-
raged, as some critics would have us believe, by the coming of
single-women missionaries. It is true that in a land where all
women are supposed to marry at an early age and where their
freedom of movement is rigidly circumscribed, the position of
the unmarried woman, however discreet she may be, is sometimes
embarrassingly misunderstood until the community becomes
better acquainted with her mission and character. But
the opposition of the Chinese on this account has been grossly
exaggerated by those whose prior hostility to all missionary
work predisposed them to make as much capital as possible out
of the small gossip on this subject. Even if the misunderstanding
were as general and as bitter as some allege, it would not
follow that single women should be withdrawn, for such misunderstanding
grows out of a false and vicious conception of
the female sex and its relation to man and society, and it is
just that conception which Christianity should and does correct.
For that matter, the position of the single man is also
misunderstood, while no other person in all China is more
fiercely hated by the Chinese than the white traders in the
treaty ports who are the chief source of the criticisms upon
missionaries. The experience of every mission board operating
in China has shown that a Chinese town soon learns that the
single-woman missionary is a pure-minded, large-hearted and
unselfish worker, who from the loftiest of motives devotes herself
to the teaching of women and children and to self-sacrificing
ministries to the sick and suffering. No other foreigners
are more beloved by the people than the single-women missionaries.
It is simply foolish to say that the missionary is responsible
for the prompt appearance of the consul and the gunboat.
The true missionary goes forth without either consul or gunboat.
He devotes his life to ameliorating the sad conditions
which prevail in heathen communities. His reliance is not
upon man, but upon God. But as soon as his work begins to
tell, the trader appears to buy and sell in the new market.
The statesman casts covetous eyes on the newly opened territory.
Christianity civilizes, and civilization increases wants,
stimulates trade and breaks down barriers. The conditions of
modern civilization are developed. Then the consul is sent,
not because the missionary asks for him, but because his
government chooses to send him. Sooner or later some local
trouble occurs, and the Government takes advantage of the opportunity
to further its territorial or commercial ambitions.
``Missionaries responsible, indeed!'' writes Dr. H. H. Jessup.
``The diplomats of Europe know better. Had there been no
grabbing of seaports and hinterlands, no forcing modern improvements
and European goods down the throats of the Chinese,
the missionaries would have been let alone now as in the
It is the foreign idea that the Chinese dislikes, the interference
with his cherished customs and traditions. A railroad
alarms and angers him more than half a hundred missionaries.
A plowshare cuts through more of his superstitions than a mission
school. He does not want the methods of our western
civilization, and he resents the attempt to push them upon him.
If no other force had been at work than the foreign missionary,
the anti-foreign agitation would never have started. It is significant
that those who protest that we ought not to force our religion
upon the Chinese do not appear to think that there is
anything objectionable in forcing our trade upon them. The
animosity of the Chinese has been primarily excited, not by the
missionary, but by the trader and the politician, and the missionary
suffers chiefly because he comes from the country of
the trader and the politician and is identified with them as a
member of the hated race of foreigners.
On this whole subject, I have been at some pains to collect
the testimony of men whose positions are a guarantee not only
of knowledge but of impartiality.
The Hon. George F. Seward, formerly United States
Minister to Chipa, declares:--
``The people at large make too much of missionary work as an occasion
for trouble. There are missionaries who are iconoclasts, but this is not
their spirit. In great measure, they are men of education and judgment.
They depend upon spiritual weapons and good works. For every enemy
a missionary makes, he makes fifty friends. The one enemy may arouse
an ignorant rabble to attack him. While I was in China, I always
congratulated myself on the fact that the missionaries were there. There
were good men and able men among the merchants and officials, but it
was the missionary who exhibited the foreigner in benevolent work as
having other aims than those which may justly be called selfish. The
good done by missionaries in the way of education, of medical relief and
of other charities cannot be overstated. If in China there were none
other than missionary influences, the upbuilding of that great people
would go forward securely. . . . I am not a church member, but I
have the profoundest admiration for the missionary as I have known him
in China. He is a power for good and for peace, not for evil.''
President James B. Angell, also formerly United States
Minister to China, replies as follows to the question, ``Are
the Chinese averse to the introduction of the Christian
``No, not in that broad sense. They do not seem to fear for the permanency
of their own religion. It is not that they object to missionaries
and the Christian religion as much as it is that the missionaries are
foreigners. A more serious cause of the uprising is the wide-spread
suspicion among the natives, since the Japanese war, that the foreigners
are going to partition China. It is not strange that all these conditions
cause friction and excitement. The Chinese want to be left to themselves
and the one word `foreigners' sums up the great cause of the present
The Hon. Charles Denby, after thirteen years' experience as
United States Minister to China, wrote:--
``I unqualifiedly, and in the strongest language that tongue can
utter, give to these men and women who are living and dying in China
and the Far East my full and unadulterated commendation. . . . No
one can controvert the fact that the Chinese are enormously benefited by
the labours of the missionaries. Foreign hospitals are a great boon to the
sick. In the matter of education, the movement is immense. There are
schools and colleges all over China taught by the missionaries. There are
also many foreign asylums in various cities which take care of thousands
of waifs. The missionaries translate into Chinese many scientific and
philosophical works. There are various anti-opium hospitals where the
victims of this vice are cured. There are industrial schools and workshops.
There are many native Christian churches. The converts seem to be as
devout as people of any other race. As far as my knowledge extends, I
can and do say that the missionaries in China are self-sacrificing; that
their lives are pure; that they are devoted to their work; that their
influence is beneficial to the natives; that the arts and sciences and
civilization are greatly spread by their efforts; that many useful western
books are translated by them into Chinese; that they are the leaders in all
charitable work, giving largely themselves and personally disbursing the
funds with which they are intrusted; that they do make converts, and
such converts are mentally benefited by conversion.'' And after the
Boxer outbreak he added:--``I do not believe that the uprising in China
was due to hatred of the missionaries or of the Christian religion. The
Chinese are a philosophic people, and rarely act without reasoning upon
the causes and results of their actions. They have seen their land disappearing
and becoming the property of foreigners, and it was this that
awakened hatred of foreigners and not the actions of the missionaries or
the doctrines that they teach.''
The present United States Minister, the Hon. Edwin H.
Conger, has repeatedly borne similar testimony, publicly
assuring the missionaries of his ``personal respect and profound
gratitude for their noble conduct.''
The Hon. John W. Foster, ex-Secretary of State and
counsel for the Chinese Government in the settlement with
``The opinion formed by me after careful inquiry and observation is
that the mass of the population of China, particularly the common people,
are not specially hostile to the missionaries and their work. Occasional
riots have occurred, but they are almost invariably traced to the literati or
prospective office-holders and the ruling classes. These are often bigoted
and conceited to the highest degree, and regard the teachings of the
missionaries as tending to overthrow the existing order of Government and
society, which they look upon as a perfect system, and sanctified by great
antiquity. . . . The Chinese, as a class, are not fanatics in religion
and if other causes had not operated to awaken a national hostility to
foreigners, the missionaries would have been left free to combat
Buddhism and Taoism, and carry on their work of establishing schools
Wu Ting-fang, Chinese Minister to Washington during the
Boxer uprising, while frankly stating that ``missionaries are
placed in a very delicate situation,'' and that ``we must not
be blind to the fact that some, in their excessive zeal, have
been indiscreet,'' nevertheless as frankly added:--
``It has been commonly supposed that missionaries are the sole cause
of anti-foreign feeling in China. This charge is unfair. Missionaries
have done a great deal of good in China. They have translated useful
works into the Chinese language, published scientific and educational
journals and established schools in the country. Medical missionaries
especially have been remarkably successful in their philanthropic work.''
The Hon. Benjamin Harrison, late President of the United
States, replied to my inquiry in the terse remark:--``If what
Lord Salisbury says were true, the reflection would not be upon
the missionaries, but upon the premiers.''
General James H. Wilson, of the United States Army, the
second in command of the American forces in Peking, adds
``Our missionaries, after the earlier Jesuits, were almost the first in
that wide field (China). They were generally men of great piety and
learning, like Morrison, Brown, Martin and Williams, and did all in their
power as genuine men of God to show the heathen that the stranger was
not necessarily a public enemy, but might be an evangel of a higher and
better civilization. These men and their co-labourers have established
hospitals, schools and colleges in various cities and provinces of the
Empire, which are everywhere recognized by intelligent Chinamen as
centres of unmitigated blessing to the people. Millions of dollars have
been spent in this beneficent work, and the result is slowly but surely
spreading the conviction that foreign arts and sciences are superior to
`fung shuy' and native superstition.''
The Hon. John Goodnow, American Consul-General at
Shanghai, emphatically declares:--``It is absurd to charge
the missionaries with causing the Boxer War. They are
simply hated by the Chinese as one part of a great foreign element
that threatened to upset the national institutions.''
Viceroy Yuan Shih Kai when Governor of Shantung, in the
spring of 1901, wrote to the Baptist and Presbyterian
missionaries of the province as follows:
``You, reverend sirs, have been preaching in China for many years,
and, without exception, exhort men concerning righteousness. Your
church customs are strict and correct, and all your converts may well
observe them. In establishing your customs you have been careful to see
that Chinese law was observed. How, then, can it be said that there is
disloyalty? To meet this sort of calumny, I have instructed that
proclamations be put out. I purpose, hereafter, to have lasting peace.
Church interests may then prosper and your idea of preaching
righteousness I can promote. The present upheaval is of a most
extraordinary character. It forced you, reverend sirs, by land and water to
go long journeys, and subjected you to alarm and danger, causing me
many qualms of conscience.''
A charge which has been so completely demolished by such
competent and unprejudiced witnesses can only be renewed at
the expense of either intelligence or candour. Dr. Arthur H.
Smith truly says that ``amid the varied action of so many
agents it is vain to deny that Christianity has sometimes been so
presented as to be misrepresented, but on the whole there had
for some time been a marked and a growing friendliness on the
part of both people and officials. . . . The convulsion which
shook China to its foundations was due to general causes, slow
in their operations, but inevitable in their results. It was the
impact of the Middle Ages with the developed Christian commercial
civilization of the nineteenth century, albeit accompanied
with many incidental elements which were neither Christian
nor in the true sense civilized. If Christianity had never come
to China at all, some such collision must have occurred.''
 ``Rex Christus,'' pp. 204-206.
THE CHINESE CHRISTIANS
THE real effect of the operation of the missionary
force is to be seen in the Chinese who have accepted
Christianity. As the commercial force is causing an
economic revolution and as the political force resulted in the
Boxer uprising, so the missionary force is developing a great
spiritual movement which is crystallizing into a Chinese Church.
Much has been said about the character of the Chinese Christians
and doubts have been cast on the genuineness of their faith.
It is admitted that they sometimes try the patience of the missionary.
But is the home pastor never distressed by the conduct
of his members? I am inclined to believe that the Christians in
China would compare favourably with the same number selected
at random in America. A Chinese laundryman posted on his
door this significant notice to his foreign customers:--``Please
help us to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy by bringing
your clothes to the laundry before ten o'clock on Saturdays,''
while in another place a Chinese servant left the morning
after a card party at which much money had changed
hands, stating to his mistress in explanation, ``Me Clistian;
me no stay in heathen house!'' The Chinese Christian does
not content himself with church attendance once a week when
the weather is pleasant or an attractive theme is announced.
He does not find himself in vigorous health for an evening entertainment,
and with a bad headache on prayer-meeting night.
There are of course exceptions, but as a rule, the Chinese
Christians worship God with regularity in all kinds of weather.
A missionary told me that the attendance at his mid-week
meeting was as large as at his Sunday morning service, that
every member of his church asked a blessing at the table, had
family prayers and tried to bring his unconverted friends to
Christ. If there is a pastor in America who can say that of his
people, he has modestly refrained from making it public.
But such comparisons are, after all, unfair to the Chinese
Christian for he should be compared, not with Europeans and
Americans who have had far greater advantages, but with the
people of his own country. ``At home, you have the ripe
fruits of a Christianity which was planted more than a thousand
years ago. The Word of God has been among you all
these Christian centuries. You have in every part of the
country a highly trained ministry, a gifted and devoted eldership,
and a whole army of Christian workers of all ranks. You
work in the atmosphere of a Christian society, and under a
settled Christian government. You have an immense and
varied Christian literature, and notwithstanding all defects and
drawbacks, you have on your side a weight of Christian tradition
and a wealth of Christian example. Under such circumstances
and in such an atmosphere, what are we not entitled to
expect of those who bear the Christian name? What justice is
there, or what reasonableness, in demanding as a test of genuineness
the same degree of attainment on the part of Christian
people, many of them uneducated, who are only just emerging
from the deadness and insensibility of heathenism?''
 Gibson, pp. 239, 240.
The real question is this:--Is the Christian Chinese a better
man than the non-Christian Chinese--more moral, more truthful,
more just, more reliable? The answer is so patent that no
one who knows the facts can doubt it for a moment. The best
men and women in China to-day are the Protestant Christians.
This is not saying that all converts are good or that all non-
Christian Chinese are bad. But it is saying that comparing
the average Christian with the average heathen, the superiority
of the former in those things which make character and conduct
is immeasurable. ``The conscience of those who have been
born into a new life is not suddenly transformed, yet the change
does take place and upon a larger scale. When once it has
been accomplished, a new force has been introduced into the
Chinese Empire, a salt to preserve, a leaven to pervade, a seed
to bring forth after its kind in perpetually augmenting abundance
 Smith, ``Rex Christus,'' p. 107.
The character of the Chinese Christian will appear in still
more striking relief if we consider the circumstances in which
he hears the gospel and the difficulties which he has to overcome.
On this subject the following remarkable passage from
Dr. Gibson is worth quoting entire:--
``Out there the great issue is tried with all external helps removed.
The gospel goes to China with no subsidiary aids. It is spoken to the
people by the stammering lips of aliens. Those who accept it do so with
no prospect of temporal gain. They go counter to all their own preconceptions,
and to all the prejudices of their people. Try as we may to become
all things to all men, we can but little accommodate our teaching to
their thought. . . . Often and often have I looked into the faces of a crowd
of non-Christian Chinese and felt keenly how many barriers lay between
their minds and mine. Reasoning that seems to me conclusive makes no
appeal to them. Even the words we use to convey religious ideas do not
bear to their minds one-hundredth part of the meaning we wish to put into
them. I have often thought that if I were to expend all my energies to
persuade one Chinaman to change the cut of his coat, or to try some new
experiment in agriculture, I should certainly plead in vain. And yet I
stand up to beg him to change the habits of a lifetime, to break away
from the whole accumulated outcome of heredity, to make himself a target
for the scorn of the world in which he lives, to break off from the consolidated
social system which has shaped his being, and on the bare word of
an unknown stranger to plunge into the hazardous experiment of a new
and untried life, to be lived on a moral plane still almost inconceivable to
him, whose sanctions and rewards are higher than his thoughts as heaven
is higher than earth. While I despair of inducing him by my reasonings
to make the smallest change in the least of his habits, I ask him, not with
a light heart, but with a hopeful one, to submit his whole being to a change
that is for him the making of his whole world anew. `Credo quia impossis-
ble,' I believe it can be done because I know I cannot do it, and the smallest
success is proof of the working of the divine power. The missionary must
either confess himself helpless, or he must to the last fibre of his being believe
in the Holy Ghost. I choose to believe, nay I am shut up to believe,
by what my eyes have seen.
``I do not mean that one sees the results of preaching directly on the
spot. In China at least one seldom does. But by the power of God the
results come. We have seen unclean lives made pure, the broken-hearted
made glad, the false and crooked made upright and true, the harsh and
cruel made kindly and gentle. I have seen old women, seventy, eighty,
eighty-five years of age, throwing away the superstitions of a lifetime, the
accumulated merit of years of toilsome and expensive worship, and when
almost on the brink of the grave, venturing all upon a new-preached faith
and a new-found Saviour. We have seen the abandoned gambler become
a faithful and zealous preacher of the gospel. We have seen the poor
giving out of their poverty help to others, poorer still. We see many
Chinese Christians who were once narrow and avaricious, giving out of
their hard-earned month's wages, or more, yearly, to help the church's
work. We see dull and uneducated people drinking in new ideas, mysteriously
growing in their knowledge of Christian truth, and learning to
shape their lives by its teachings. We have seen proud, passionate men,
whose word was formerly law in their village, submit to injury, loss and
insult, because of their Christian profession, until even their enemies were
put to shame by their gentleness, and were made to be at peace with them.
And the men and women and children who are passing through these experiences
are gathering in others, and building up one by one a Christian
community which is becoming a power on the side of all that is good in
the non-Christian communities around them. . . . Everything is hostile
to it. It is striking its roots in an uncongenial soil, and breathes a
polluted air. It may justly claim for itself the beautiful emblem so happily
seized, though so poorly justified, by Buddhism--the emblem of the
lotus. It roots itself in rotten mud, thrusts up the spears of its leaves and
blossoms through the foul and stagnant water, and lifts its spotless petals
over all, holding them up pure, stainless and fragrant, in the face of a
burning and pitiless sun. So it is with the Christian life in China Its
existence there is a continuous miracle of life, of life more abundant.''
 ``Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China,'' pp. 29-31,
Is it said that these Asiatics have become Christians for
gain? Then how shall we account for the fact that out of
their deep poverty they gave for church work last year $2.50
per capita, which is more in proportion to ability than Christians
at home gave? The impoverished Tu-kon farmers rented
a piece of land and worked it in common for the support of
the Lord's work; the Peking school-girls went without their
breakfasts to save money for their church, and eight graduates
of Shantung College refused high salaries as teachers, and accepted
low salaries as pastors of self-supporting churches.
``Rice Christians?'' Doubtless in some instances, just as at
home some people join American churches for business or
social ends. But those Chinese Christians are receiving less
and less from abroad and yet their number grows.
And it costs something to be a Christian in China. All
hope of official preferment must be abandoned, for the duties
of every magistrate include temple ceremonies that no Christian
could conduct. For the average Christian, loss of business,
social ostracism, bitter hatred, are the common price.
Near Peking, a young man was thrice beaten and denied the
use of the village well, mill and field insurance, because he became
a Christian. A widow was dragged through the streets
with a rope about her neck and beaten with iron rods which
cut her body to the bone, while her fiendish persecutors yelled:--
``You will follow the foreign devils, will you!'' And that
Chinese saint replied that she was not following foreigners but
Jesus Christ and that she would not deny Him!
And so on every hand there are evidences of fidelity in service,
of tribulation joyfully borne, of systematic giving out of
scanty resources. While sapient critics are telling us that the
heathen cannot be converted, the heathen are not only being
converted but are manifesting a consecration and self-denial
which should shame many in Christian lands. At a Presbyterial
meeting in north China, the native ministers held a two-
hours' prayer-meeting before daylight. Such prayer-meetings
are not common in America. Is it surprising that in that
little North China Presbytery 292 baptisms were recorded that
Nor is this a solitary instance. Every Sunday the little
congregations gather. Every day the native helpers tell the
Bible-story to their listening countrymen.
The history of missions in China has shown that it requires
more time to convert a Chinese to Christianity than some other
heathen, but that he can be converted and that when he is
converted, he holds to his new faith with a tenacity and fortitude
which the most awful persecution seldom shakes. The
behaviour of the Chinese Christians under the baptism of blood
and fire to which they were subjected in the Boxer uprising
eloquently testified to the genuineness of their faith. That
some should have fallen away was to be expected. Not every
Christian, even in the United States, can ``endure hardness.''
Let a hundred men anywhere be told that if they do not abandon
their faith, their homes will be burned, their business
ruined, their wives ravished, their children brained, and they
themselves scourged and beheaded, and a proportion of them
It was to be expected, too, that when, after the uprising, the
Christians found their supporters triumphing over a prostrate
foe, some of them should unduly exult and take advantage of
the opportunity to punish their enemies or to collect money
from them as the price of protection. The spirit of retaliation
is strong in human nature in China as well as in America.
When the armies of the Allies, led by educated and experienced
officers, and controlled by diplomats from old-established
Christian countries, gave way under the provocation of the
time to unmeasured greed and vindictive cruelty, it is not surprising
that some of the Chinese Christians, only just emerged
from heathenism, should betray a revengeful spirit towards
men who had destroyed their property, slaughtered their wives
and children, and hunted the survivors with the ferocity of
wild beasts. In some places, the missionaries had a hard task
in restraining this spirit. It was inevitable, also, that in the
confusion which followed the victory of the foreigners, some
``wolves'' should put on ``sheep's clothing,'' and, under the
pretense of being Christians, extort money from the terror-
stricken villagers, or try to deceive the foreigner with false
claims for indemnity.
But as I visited the scenes of disaster, saw the frightful ruin,
heard the stories of Christians and missionaries, faced the
little companies of survivors and learned more of the awful
ordeal through which they had passed, I marvelled, not that
some yielded, but that so many stood steadfast. Edicts were
issued commanding them to recant on pain of dire punishment,
but promising protection to those who obeyed. The following
proclamation posted on the wall of the yamen at Ching-chou-fu
is a sample of hundreds:--
``The Taku forts have been retaken by the Chinese. Gen.
Tung Fu Shiang has led the Boxers and the goddesses, and
has destroyed twenty foreign men-of-war, killing 6,000 foreign
soldiers. The seven devilish countries' consuls came to beg for
peace. General Tung now has killed all the foreign soldiers.
The secondary devils (the native Christians) must die. General
Tung has ordered the Boxers to go to the foreign countries
and bring out their devil emperors from their holes. One foreigner
must not be allowed to live. All who are not Chinese
must be destroyed.''
It requires no large knowledge of Chinese character to calculate
the effect of such official utterances on the minds of lawless
Word sped from a Chinese city that on a certain day all
Christians who had not recanted could be pillaged. From
every quarter, the lawless streamed in, eager for the shambles.
Ruffians pointed out the women they intended to take. And
there was no foreigner to protect, no regiment or battleship
for the Chinese Christian.
Those poor people, hardly out of their spiritual infancy,
stood in that awful emergency absolutely alone. Could an
American congregation have endured such a strain without
flinching? Let those who can safely worship God according
to the dictates of their own consciences be thankful that the
genuineness of their faith has never been subjected to that
Those were grievous days for the Christians of China.
Two graduates of Teng-chou College remained for weary
weeks in a filthy dungeon when they might have purchased freedom
at any moment by renouncing Christianity. Pastor Meng
of Paoting-fu, a direct descendant of Mencius, was 120 miles
from home when the outbreak occurred. He was safe where
he was, but he hurried back to die with his flock. He was
stabbed, his arm twisted out of joint and his back scorched
with burning candles in the effort to make him recant. But
he steadfastly refused to compromise either himself or his
people and was finally beheaded.
The uneducated peasant was no whit behind his cultivated
countrymen in devotion to duty. A poor cook was seized and
beaten, his ears were cut off, his mouth and cheeks gashed
with a sword and other unspeakable mutilations inflicted. Yet
he stood as firmly as any martyr of the early Church.
One of the Chinese preachers, on refusing to apostatize,
received a hundred blows upon his bare back, and then the
bleeding sufferer was told to choose between obedience and
another hundred blows. What would we have answered? Let
us, who have never been called on to suffer for Him, be modest
in saying what we would have done. But that mangled, half-
dead Chinese gasped:--``I value Jesus Christ more than life,
and I will never deny Him.'' Before all of the second hundred
blows could be inflicted, unconsciousness came and he
was left for dead. But a friend took him away by night,
bathed his wounds and secretly nursed him to recovery. I saw
him, when I was in China, and I looked reverently upon the
back that was seamed and scarred with ``the marks of the
Lord Jesus.'' Of the hundreds of Christians who were taken
inside the legation grounds in Peking, not one proved false to
their benefactors. ``In the midday heat, in the drenching
night rains, under storms of shot and shell, they fought, filled
sand-bags, built barricades, dug trenches, sang hymns and
offered prayers to the God whom the foreigner had taught
them to love.'' Even the children were faithful. During the
scream of deadly bullets, and the roar of burning buildings,
the voices of the Junior Christian Endeavour Society were
``There'll be no dark valley when Jesus comes.''
Such instances could be multiplied almost indefinitely from
the experiences of Chinese Christians during the Boxer uprising.
Indeed the fortitude of the persecuted Christians was so remarkable
that in many cases the Boxers cut out the hearts of
their victims to find the secret of such sublime faith, declaring:
``They have eaten the foreigner's medicine.'' In those humble
Chinese the world has again seen a vital faith, again seen
that the age of heroism has not passed, again seen that men
and women are willing to die for Christ. Multitudes withstood
a persecution as frightful as that of the early disciples in
the gardens and arenas of Nero. If they were hypocrites why
did they not recant? As Dr. Maltbie Babcock truly said:--
``One-tenth of the hypocrisy with which they were charged
would have saved them from martyrdom.'' But thousands
of them died rather than abjure their faith, and thousands
more ``had trial of mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover
of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were
sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the
sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins; being
destitute, afflicted, ill-treated; wandering in deserts and
mountains and caves and the holes of the earth.''
Col. Charles Denby, late United States Minister to China,
declared:--``Not two per cent. of the Chinese Christians proved
recreant to their faith and many meet death as martyrs. Let
us not call them `Rice Christians' any more. Their conduct
at the British Legation and the Peitang is deserving of all
praise.'' Beyond question, the Chinese Christians as a body
stood the test of fire and blood quite as well as an equal
number of American Christians would have stood it.
 Letter, April 28, 1902.
One of the most trying experiences of the missionaries
has been the dealing with those who did recant. Some of the
cases were pitiful. Poor, ignorant men, confessed their sin
with streaming eyes, saying that they did not mean to deny
their Lord, but that they could not see their wives outraged
and their babies' heads crushed against stone walls. Others
admitted that, though they stood firm while one hundred blows
were rained upon their bare backs, yet after that they became
confused and were only dimly conscious of what they said to
escape further agony than flesh and blood could endure.
Still others made a distinction, unfamiliar to us, but quite in
harmony with Oriental hereditary notions, between the convictions
of the heart and the profession of the lips, so that they
externally and temporarily bowed their heads to the storm
without feeling that they were thereby renouncing their faith.
One of the best Chinese ministers in Shantung, after 200
lashes, which pounded his back into a pulp, feebly muttered
an affirmative to the question: ``Will you leave the devils'
church?'' But he explained afterwards that while he promised
to leave ``the devils' church,'' he did not promise to
leave Christ's Church. The deception was not as apparent to
him as it is to us whose moral perceptions have been sharpened
by centuries of Christian nurture which have been denied
to the Chinese.
When the proclamation ordering the extermination of all
foreigners and Christians was posted on the walls of Ching-
chou-fu, a friendly official hinted that if the Chinese pastors
would sign a document to the effect that they would ``no
longer practice the foreign religion,'' he would accept it as
sufficient on behalf of all their flocks, and not enforce the
order. Warrants for the arrest of every Christian had already
been written. Scoundrels were hurrying in from distant villages
to join in the riot of plunder and lust. Two women
had already been killed. What were the pastors to do?
There was no missionary to guide them, for long before the
consuls had ordered all foreigners out of the interior. The
agonized pastors determined to sacrifice themselves for their
innocent people, to go through the form of giving up the
``foreign'' religion. That word ``foreign'' must be emphasized
to understand their temptation, for the Chinese Christians
do not feel that Christianity is foreign, but that it is
theirs as well as ours. Moreover, the pastors were made to
understand that it was simply a legal fiction, not affecting
the religion of their hearts, but only a temporary expedient
that the friendly magistrate might have a pretext for giving
his protection to the Christians. They were not asked to
engage in any idolatrous rite or to make any public apostasy,
but simply to sign a statement ``no longer to practice the
foreign religion.'' ``So far from recanting,'' it was urged
upon them, ``you are preventing recanting.''
Their decision may be best given in the words of Pastor
Wu Chien Cheng: ``When I thought of these people,'' he
said, his emotion being so great that the tears were running down
his face, ``in most cases with children and aged parents dependent
upon them, and thought of all that was involved for
them if I refused to sign the paper--well, I couldn't help it.
I decided to take on myself the shame and the sin.''
As the Rev. J. P. Bruce, of the English Baptist Mission,
who told me of this incident, truly says: ``Who could listen
to such a narrative--so sad and painful and yet not without
much that was noble--without sympathy and tears?'' In this
spirit of tenderness, so marked in the Lord's dealings with
sinful Peter, the missionaries dealt with the recanting Christians.
With the impostors, indeed, they had less mercy. The
Rev. R. M. Mateer secured the arrest of two scapegraces who,
under pretense of being Christians, had blackmailed innocent
villagers. Very plainly, too, did the missionaries deal with
Christians, who, like some people in the United States after a
fire, placed an extravagant valuation upon what they had lost.
But these were exceptional cases.
On the whole, Christians in Europe and America may well
have stronger sympathy and respect for their fellow-Christians
in China who have suffered so much for conscience' sake.
Purified and chastened by the fearful holocaust through which
they have passed, they are stronger spiritually than ever before.
Like the apostles after Pentecost, they are giving ``with great
power their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.''
``The Chinese Church is not yet strong enough to stand
entirely alone, but it is far stronger and more self-conscious of
the eternal indwelling Spirit than ever before. It has learned
the power of God to keep the soul in times of deadly peril,
and to enable the weakest to give the strongest testimony. It
has learned by humiliation and confession to put away its sins,
and to gird itself for new conflicts and new victories....
Its ablest leaders are more trustworthy men than before their
trials, and the body of believers has a unity and a cohesiveness
which will certainly bear fruit in the not distant future.''
 Smith, ``Rex Christus,'' p. 212.
THE STRAIN OF READJUSTMENT TO CHANGED
THE economic revolution in Asia, discussed in a
preceding chapter, bears heavily on the Chinese
Christians. So far as the pressure affects the rank and file
of the membership, the mission boards cannot give adequate
relief. Abroad as well as at home, it must remain the inexorable
rule that a Christian must live within his income and buy
new things only as he can pay for them. Any other policy
would mean utter ruin. Here also, men must ``work out their
own salvation''; and the missionary, while trying to lift men
out of barbarous social conditions on the one hand, should on
the other resolutely oppose the improvident eagerness which
leads a blanketed Sioux Indian to buy on credit a rubber-tired
 Chapter IX.
But what about the native ministers and teachers, who find
it impossible to live on the salaries of a decade ago? The
problem of the ordinary helper is not so difficult. Springing
from the common people, accustomed from childhood to a
meagre scale of living, the small salaries which the people can
pay either in full or in large part are usually equal to the
income which they would have had if they had not become
Christians. But some native ministers come from a higher
social grade. They are men of education and refinement.
They cannot live in a mud hut, go barefooted, wear a loin cloth
and subsist on a few cents' worth of rice a day. They must not
only have better houses and food and clothing, but they must
have books and periodicals and the other apparatus of educated
men. These things are not only necessary to their own maintenance,
but they are essential to the work, for these men are
the main reliance for influencing the upper classes in favour of
Christianity. It is not a question of luxury or self-indulgence,
but of bare respectability, of the simple decencies of life which
are enjoyed by an American mechanic as distinguished from
the poverty which, for a cultivated family, falls below the level
of self-respect. But this requires a salary which, save in a
very few places, cannot at present be paid by the churches.
``Our pastors,'' writes a missionary, ``are supposed to live as
the middle-class of their people do, but of late years, with the
great rise in prices, they are living below the middle-class.''
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