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has for some time amounted to a grievance. It is this. The American Board refuses to accept for its service candidates from the liberal seminaries of the Congregational denomination, who are in sympathy with the general teaching of those seminaries, though such candidates are freely accepted by every other benevolent organization in the denomination, and though they are continually endorsed by councils in every part. of the country.
The “ Congregationalist " proposes to remove this grievance, or, to use its own words, to “obviate serious difficulties now thought to exist,” by changes in the methods of administration. We are not prepared to say that the much to be desired end cannot be accomplished in this way. Everything will depend upon the spirit and purpose of the majority. Their action at New York will show how seriously they are disposed toward conciliation. The minority do not ask the majority to recant. As we said at the outset we do not expect that they will immediately repeal their resolutions or reconsider their votes. We assume that whatever will be done, if anything of a conciliatory nature is attempted, will be done by indirect methods. But the methods if indirect must accomplish one thing, namely, the admission of young men of good theological standing in the denomination to the service of the Board : otherwise they accomplish nothing. Every one knows that this has been from the first the issue, and that it is still the issue. Let everything else be settled, including the whole question of reorganization, and then let some young man, holding for example the views of Mr. Noyes, apply to the Prudential Committee and be rejected, and instantly the controversy would burst out in redoubled heat. Indeed the present quiet is due simply to the fact that no test cases have come before the Prudential Committee since its rejection of Mr. Noyes : a fact which has suggested to the most thoughtful friends of the Board the very serious problem which now confronts it — how to regain the confidence of young men whose respect and affections it has alienated. And this in view of the extraordinary demands which in the wonderful providence of God are being made upon the Board. Probably the great missionary question which will come before the meeting at New York will be that of the evangelization of Japan. An appeal will doubtless be presented from the Japanese Mission which will arouse the missionary sentiment to the highest degree, and which will test the Board in its capacity, under its present policy, for furnishing men in numbers and in quality adequate to the emergency. The appeal will be heard by young men in the colleges and seminaries and by the churches. It will be for the Board to say whether the response shall be made through or outside its channels.
CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN. That Christianity in some form is to be the religion of Japan seems to be the opinion of most of the new leaders of thought in that empire. The chief question is whether it shall be a Christianity, if there be such a religion, devoid of supernaturalism, or historic Christianity. In a recent informal address by Mr. Kentaro Kaneko, Secretary of the Japanese Privy Council, before the officers of the American Unitarian Association, the speaker advocated Unitarianism as the form best adapted to the Japanese mind. As he said, speaking of the intellectual character of his people, “We have found nothing that seemed to be in advance of the Japanese except Unitarianism.” Not that Unitarianism is really in advance of Buddhism ; but that it has the advantage of Western enterprise and life, while Buddhism after its growth of a thousand years is decaying.
“ The question then comes up, What is the difference between Buddhism in its highest state and Unitarianism ? So far as I know, they are just the same. Then why should the Japanese give up Buddhism and take up Unitarianism, which has never grown in our country, while Euddhism has been growing a thousand years ? That question will be answered by looking at the direction of the progress we are making. All our progress is coming from Europe and America. The civilization of Christendom is reaching high tide in our country. The great world-current is sweeping through Japan. The original Buddhism is not strong enough to resist that power. Religion must take the same direction, must follow the general tide of civilization ; and therefore the Japanese can much more readily take Unitarianism, which comes from the West in the line of civilization, than to build up the old Buddhist doctrine it has had a thousand years. This form of Christianity has a very promising future there."
We were reminded upon reading these words of a very thoughtful book of some fifteen years ago, written by one then a minister of the “liberal faith," entitled “ The Secret of Christianity." The argument of the book was that “the law of Christianity is that of antagonism. It opposes itself to the ruling tendency of the popular life ; it seeks to reform, to regenerate. This simple law of antagonism has explained every important element of Christian civilization whether mediæval or modern. It is the real secret of Christianity.” The writer drew his illustrations chiefly from the relations of Christianity to different forms of paganism, and as it seemed to us showed in a large way the truth of his position. And we are not now prepared to believe that Christianity will gain a race chiefly because it can be made to appear an easy fit to the current religious ideas. Christianity has not become the religion of successive races by adoption, but by some form of spiritual conquest. We fear the result of any other method than that of spiritual conquest, the taking possession of a race through its gift of that in which it is lacking. Why should Christianity be sent to a people as the simple equivalent of what they have, only with more accomplishments in the sciences and philosophy? We believe, from such knowledge as we have gained from personal conversation with some of the more intelligent Japanese who have visited this country, that what the Japanese mind craves is not the present incidentals of Christianity, its immediate advantages over Buddhism, but its eternal verities. The Japanese mind is doubtless indifferent to ritual, unsusceptible to mere emotion, impatient of doctrinal refinements, but that it has a clear perception of spiritual Christianity, and that it is capable of responding to its personal claims with ardor and devotion, we cannot doubt with the evidence before us in the lives of some who have accepted the historic Christian faith.
And we find confirmation of this belief in the statement from which we quote of Dr. Greene, the oldest missionary of the American Board in Japan, in a recent letter to the “Boston Herald” :
“But it is said that these Christians are all from among the illiterate classes. This is a great mistake, for nearly fifty per cent. of all the church membership is made up from the old military class — the Samurai — to which nearly all of the present officers of the government belong. This class constitutes about 2,000,000, out of a total population of 39,000,000. The Japanese are an intensely religious people, and the educated Samurai share this element of the national character with their less educated countrymen of the lower classes. Mr. Kaneko, and probably many others, have, no doubt, come to reject entirely all supernaturalism in religion ; but the great mass of the people, the high as well as the low, respond gladly to the preaching of the gospel. Not less than thirty students in the Imperial University are avowed Christians. Among the members of a single Congregational Church are a judge of the supreme court of Japan, a professor in the Imperial University, three goyernment secretaries (holding a rank hårdly, if any, inferior to Mr. Kaneko himself), menibers of at least two noble families ; while in a Presbyterian Church are the three most prominent members of the Liberal party, one of them & count in the new peerage. Two influential members of the Legislature of the prefecture of Tokio, one of them the editor of the Keizai Zasshi, the ablest financial journal in Japan, are also members of a Congregational Church. In the prefectures of Kyoto and Ehime the Christians have two representatives in each local Legislature. In the prefecture of Gumma the president and vicepresident and three other members of the Legislature are Christians, and in the executive committee, out of a total of five, three are Protestant Christians. So far from its being true, as you assume, that the missionaries have no more effect upon the influential classes than water on a duck's back,' it may be questioned whether in all its history Christianity has ever gained, in so short a time, a stronger hold upon the upper classes than in Japan during the past sixteen years. No man who looks below the surface can now ignore its influence upon Japanese society."
And as germane to the present comment we add the reply of Dr. Greene to the reflections of Mr. Kaneko upon the current teaching of Christianity in Japan :
“It is asserted by Mr. Kaneko, that in the preaching of the missionaries the emphasis is upon the damnatory part of the Christian religion, while 'the positive truths which lift man up to God' are neglected. The exact reverse is the truth, so far as my observation goes, both as regards the missionaries and the native preachers. The missionaries, like most other Christians, believe in a future of rewards and punishments, and they believe, also, that man is saved through faith in Christ. They do not hesitate to teach those doctrines, but they teach, also, that salvation from sin is vastly more important than salvation from the penal consequences of sin, and that a faith which does not lead to Christlikeness is no faith at all. This view of faith has met with a wide acceptance among thoughtful men, and there never has been a time when the interest among such has been greater than now. The Japanese clergymen who serve as pastors of the city churches are well prepared to meet the brightest of these inquiring minds. They are omnivorous readers of the best theological and philosophical literature to be had in the English language. They have access, many of them, to nearly all the more prominent of the secular reviews of England and America. Several whom I might name are probably as familiar with the writings of Mill, Spencer, and Bain as the average graduate from the philosophical courses at Harvard University. They have fought their way to their present faith through long and painful conflicts. They know the worst that philosophic doubt has to suggest, and they rejoice, in spite of it, in what is to them a life-giving faith. Their faith is confirmed by what they see of the reforming power of Christianity in individuals and in society, for Japanese society has its dark as well as its bright and attractive side. Surely it cannot be denied that Christianity has its lesson for a people which has held, and but for Christianity would be still holding, to the patria potestas, with all its terrible fruits, for its fruits are even now terrible, as the writer knows from his own observations. Surely Christianity has something to teach as to the social position of women when divorces are over thirty per cent. of all marriages. Much as we lament the frequency of divorce in America (between four and five per cent. of all marriages in Massachusetts), we must not forget that this large increase during recent years is an evil incident to the growing appreciation of woman's place in society, while in Japan the frequency of divorce is due to the fact that she is the mere creature of her husband, with few rights which she can assert against his will.
“The Japanese Christians are grappling with these great questions with most encouraging success, and they have been largely instrumental in creating for the nation a new and better idea in the family. Their influence is further seen in the decline of intemperance and social immorality in the towns where churches are found. In one prefecture, that of Gumma, the Christians have exerted a profound influence upon local legislation.” . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . “We missionaries are well aware that our teaching is but one of several channels through which the influence of Christianity is flowing out to Japan, and we acknowledge with gratitude whatever serves to hold up the Christian ideas of individual and social life. So far as our Unitarian friends go to Japan to take up the work of social reform with the earnestness and zeal manifested in other movements by so many of their faith, whose names we all hold in honor, we shall welcome their coming and bid them godspeed. There is a vast work to be done. Let them not depreciate the labors of others not less earnest, perhaps not less intelligent, than they. The very suddeness of the change which has come over Japan has brought special dangers with it. Let none of us ignore these dangers, but meet them squarely, acknowledging their magnitude and our need of a wisdom which is near to humility."
A further communication, of very great interest, from Dr. Greene, may be found in the “Boston Evening Transcript” of Saturday, 28th September.
THE OUTLINE OF AN ELECTIVE COURSE OF STUDY. For the full outline, and for general authorities to be used under Section I, see January number, pp. 85, 86.
Section I. THE SOCIAL EVOLUTION OF LABOR.
Topic 10. Wages and Profits. In tracing the Social Evolution of Labor we have marked the nature of the advance from slavery to serfdom, and from serfdom to the wage system. The school of Karl Marx denies the advance, affirming that the wage-earner is still the slave. There have been periods in the history of free labor, especially at the time of the introduction of machinery and the establishment of the factory system, when the denial was plausible. The chapter in “Capital” (Karl Marx), upon Machinery and Modern Industry, with its array of facts compiled chiefly from Parliamentary Reports, is a terrible indictment of the factory system in its earlier stages. But whether the present condition of the operative is due chiefly to economic or to political reasons, the advance is manifest. Doubtless much is due to the general progress in political freedom, an obligation which the intelligent observer specially acknowledges in behalf of the workingman of Switzerland and America. But in any fair estimate of the cause of the social advancement of the wage-earner, a great deal must be attributed to the industrial system itself; and this may be said in perfect consistency with the admission that the history of the system reveals great oppression, and that the system is still capable of tyranny and injustice. Industrialism has organized labor as well as capital, so that in so far as there is contention between the two, the contention is carried on upon terms which are growing more nearly equal. The wageearner, in many departments of industry, has reached a position of comparative independence and power. The incidental questions affecting the health, comfort, and associations of the average operative have been settled or are in process of settlement by legislation. The remaining question to which no satisfactory answer has yet been given is that of the adjustment of Wages and Profits.
SUB-TOPICS, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCES. 1. The parties immediately concerned with the adjustment of Wages and Profits — the capitalist, the manager, the wage-earner.
VOL. XII. — NO. 70. 29