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baskets of fruit, bags of rice, boxes of tea, sedan-chairs, etc., the din of gongs and bells, angry and vulgar epithets, and perpetual cries of “Look out!” “Take care!” and “Keep to the right!” ringing in his ears. He does not accept the multitude of temples that he beholds as evidence of the devotion of the masses to the reigning faith; but, on the contrary, the temples themselves bear witness to the decaying state of these idolatrous and unmeaning systems.
Nearly every one of them exhibits evidences of desertion and decay. Many of them seem never to be opened at all, and are covered with dust and filth; others, entirely abandoned, are crumbling into ruins. Their walls are fallen and overgrown with weeds and mosses. Their spacious courts are empty and desolate, and their huge idols are broken and crumbling to dust on their deserted shrines.
At one place he turned aside for a noisy wedding procession, while at another he saw the drill of native soldiers who had been trained under French and English officers, and felt that the Chinese were becoming formidable as a military power. He revisited the place where years ago he had accompanied the British Consul to witness an execution, and from which he had fled after seeing two, qut of nineteen, decapitated. He accepted an invitation to a Chinese wedding in high life, and felt quite at home, treading upon Brussels carpet, and surrounded by foreign pictures, easy-chairs, sofas, etc., though feast and customs were all Chinese. He toiled up the Kushan Mountain to the magnificent ancient monastery of the Bubbling Spring, (Kushan,) near its summit. His eye could hardly be satisfied till he had fully taken in the field where for years he had toiled in great faith and some hope. All this sight-seeing was but incidental to the greater business for which the Bishop had come to Foochow.
His visit to the rural regions was chiefly that he might inspect the mission work at Kucheng. A delegation of native Christians met the visiting company two miles outside of Kucheng, who were re-enforced at a nearer point by the presiding elder, the saintly Hu Yong Mi, and other members of the mission. We cannot pause to rehearse the affecting Christian experiences that the Bishop records as given at the love-feast, or to speak as we would of the high Sabbath at Kucheng, or of the great spiritual outpouring with which the assembled Church was favored. Every part of the occasion was of a type to be compared only with Methodism of the olden style, and reminds us of the glory revealed on like occasions to our fathers. The chief interest was concentrated in the organization and session of the conference, held after the Bishop returned from Kucheng to the city of Foochow. The Bishop says:
It was an occasion of intense interest to myself, as well as to all. Twenty-seven years ago I had come to this city among the earlier missionaries. Twenty-three years ago I had left the city with but very little encouragement or indication of what was to be the grand result. Then there was not a single merchant here, all the foreign trade that there was at that time being carried on by two opium ships, located near the mouth of the river. Now I find a large mercantile settlement, filled with elegant residences and busy hongs. Then there was not a church nor a native Christian; now there are in this city three large churches of our own mission, besides several of other missions. Then we could not, by treaty rights, pass more than five miles beyond the city; now our missionaries and native preachers have their districts and their circuits, reaching one hundred and fifty miles to the north and west, and two hundred miles to the south and east. Now there are
over four hundred native Christians in the three missions and in this Church. I now see before me eighty native Chinese preachers, and between two and three hundred native Chinese Christians, representing a Church membership of more than two thousand, ready to be organized into an Annual Conference.
The Bishop transferred five missionaries and fifteen native preachers from conferences in the United States, where they held their membership, and declared them to constitute the Foochow Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, authorized by the General Conference of 1876. Of the two secretaries one was native. Committees were raised on self-support, opium, Sunday-schools, the Sabbath, etc. Anniversaries were held, and all the business of the conference done as in conferences in our own land. The Bishop continues :
There was an affecting scene when we began the examination of character. S. L. Baldwin, who had been superintend- . ent of the mission, stood first on the list, and Hu Po Mi was called upon, as presiding elder, to represent him. The venerable brother arose and said: “I cannot do it, I cannot do it,” and the tears began to roll down his cheeks, and he said again, “ I cannot do it. The like was never seen in China; these foreign teachers have come here to teach us of Jesus, and now we are in an Annual Conference, and I am called upon to represent the teacher. I can think of nothing like it but when the Saviour insisted on washing the disciples' feet.” The whole conference was much affected. The Sabbath of the conference was a day of full work and blessed enjoyment. The love-feast commenced at half past eight in the morning, in which a large number of the brethren gave excellent and interesting testimonies to the reality, the value, and the blessedness of the religion which they enjoyed. Some of them had endured serious trials and persecutions during the year for the cause they had espoused. To this day it is not a matter of gain, but of very serious loss in every temporal and earthly respect, to the Chinese who become Christians. It is not, therefore, for the hire, which is but a little pittance, which these native preachers get from the Missionary Society, that they enter into this work; but always with great pecuniary sacrifice, and with opposition every-where, and with persecution in most places. They enter into this work, being called by the Holy Ghost, and sustained by a conscious personal Christian experience. Every one of our presiding elders could immediately retire from his Christian and official character and make three or fourfold the amount of money he is receiving in the Christian work. Immediately after the adjournment of the conference we had a consultation with the missionaries and presiding elders as to the distribution of the missionary money appropriated to the native preachers. The rate was fixed at three dollars a month for each of the preachers, a dollar and a half for his wife, and seventyfive cents for each child. As large a part of this as is possible is paid by each circuit and district, and the balance is then paid by the mission. The conference itself passed a resolution that all the circuits in the older work ought to be able to support their own preachers in five years from this time, and recommended that missionary money should not be paid to the preacher, but to the stewards of the charge, as supplementary to whatever they could do, and to be administered by the stewards; and they also passed a rule that the amount appropriated to any circuit should gradually diminish from year to year, and cease entirely within a limited period.
At this scale of prices it really looks strange to an American to see such men as Hu Yong Mi, Hu Po Mi, and Sia Sek Ongmen who, in character and ability, if they had the same experience and acquaintance with American life as they have with that of China, would be qualified to fill the highest places in the Church in the United States--receiving as the compensation for their labor three dollars for themselves, one dollar and a half for their wives, and seventy-five cents for each child, making in the case of the saintly Hu Yong Mi six dollars a month for his invaluable services. Sia Sek Ong for some years has refused to receive any missionary money, and has depended entirely upon the contributions of his district, which has been able to contribute
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXXII.-28
to him about this same rate of pay. Surely these men cannot be suspected of secular or mercenary motives in engaging in this Christian service. We were profoundly impressed with the godly sincerity and earnest devotion of all these native preachers. No one can look upon them for a moment without believing that God is with them, and that he is using them as his chosen instruments for the accomplishment of great results in China.
Of the schools of the mission only two receive special attention in this volume. First, the theological school, in which are thirteen bright and promising young men, among them a son of Hu Po Mi and one of Hu Yong Mi. There are Christians now of the fourth generation of this Hu family. Of the descendants of Father Hu, who was one of our first converts, four sons are now in the ministry, three of whom are in the conference. This school of the prophets will henceforth supply an intelligent stable ministry for the conference, and is of surpassing importance. The second school referred to is the Girls' Boarding School, in charge of the Misses Woolston. Neatness, good order, thoroughness, and spirituality are all given as its characteristics. Due praise is also awarded the medical work, in charge of the almost worshiped Miss Dr. Trask.
The chapter on Confucius is very discriminating and appreciative. We have never read six other pages in which so much is so well said to meet the general want on this subject. Confucius, to the author's mind, just met the limited cravings of the Chinese heart of his time. The Chinese are not like the people of India, philosophers and metaphysicians, for, as Huc has well said, “They ask of time only what may suffice for
of science and letters, what is required to fill official employment; of the greatest principles, only their practical consequences; and of morality, nothing but the political and utilitarian part.” This is just what Confucius has given them. But our author says:
His reign, however, is enduring too long. China can advance no further until she breaks away from and passes on beyond Confucius. He has been a beneficent conservative power during the past centuries, but he is utterly unable to carry his people beyond the semi-civilized state in which they have been living for twenty centuries. Something infinitely broader than Confucianism is needed to lift this great nation into the higher plane of civilization and enlightenment.
With a sad heart the Bishop looked upon the receding shores of his old-time mission field as he took his departure, probably to see it no more. An untold measure of love, of anxiety, of sorrow, of bereavement, of prayer, of faith, of hope, of toil, on his part are all embalmed in this now great mission. By way of Amoy and Swatow, in due time he reached Hongkong. On every side evidences of the influence of foreigners were manifest, and yet his observations led him to some remarkable inferences. He says:
The Chinese of Hongkong are very enterprising, and here, as well as at Canton and Shanghai, they are gradually taking much of the trade out of the hands of the foreigners. They can do it so much more cheaply that it is a serious question whether before many years they will not make it unprofitable for foreigners to do business in China. The natives have this notion themselves, and are working toward it. They have bought up a large number of steamers, and the government itself is making a large number of steam war vessels. Charles of Sweden is fast teaching Peter of Russia to take care of himself. The Chinese are rapidly learning the same lesson.
From Hongkong the. Bishop proceeded to Canton, and from that port embarked for Japan. Canton is of special interest to Christians of the United States, arising out of the fact that most of the Chinese who come to this country are from this province. The Methodist Episcopal Church should have inissions in Canton. It has at times proposed to have them, but lack of means has to this present prevented. In view of this we pause to give a few of the Bishop's observations on Canton.
The approach to the city is through the Bocca Tigris, and up the Pearl or Canton River. The anchorage for foreign shipping is at Whampoa, twelve miles below Canton.
The growth and prosperity of Victoria have diminished the trade of Canton. The first thing that meets the eye is the river population. Not less than two hundred thousand of the people of Canton inhabit floating homes. Next you see the frowning fort, that tells of Chinese advance in the art of war and national defense. The city front is crowded with all sorts of boats. The author continues :
On each side of the river you find a large number of boats of considerable size moored to the shore, in which whole families are living. Some of these dwellings are very handsomely