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“ Nagaoka is wonderfully promising. Its school of 108 boys is deeply moved on the subject of Christianity. This school was decidedly antiChristian, all its sentiments being opposed to Christianity. Now about thirty of its boys go to the preaching services, and the morning chapel exercises are listened to with respect and close attention.
“ The future of the college is thus assured. Friends are springing up on every hand. Sons of many of the most influential men of the proyince are enrolled on its books, and a noble Christian spirit pervades the whole atmosphere of the institution. Thoroughly Christian, and known to be so, it has no apologies to make, and pursues an aggressive course in every line. The prevailing expectation is that every boy who goes to that school is sure to become a Christian. What a victory for Christ in one short year!”
The “ Missionary Herald” for April, 1888, says: “Recent tidings from Japan indicate that much irritation is felt by the natives in view of the delay of treaty revision. The plans for revision had progressed so far and so favorably that the people had come to feel that what they had long and ardently desired was about to be accomplished. The bitter disappointment which has followed the breaking off of negotiations has naturally resulted in some special ill-feeling toward the foreigners, and in some degree toward the religion of the foreigners. The recent political disturbances, however, cannot be laid to the charge of the Christians, and yet the Japanese are not just now in a condition to look calmly upon matters that affect their relation with foreigners. It is reported in the Japanese papers that the proprietors of theatres in Kyoto have been forbidden to let their houses for public addresses. This prohibition is apparently designed to prevent turbulent political meetings rather than preaching services."
The same number of the “Herald” says: “ The whole Bible in Japanese will soon be issued in one volume, the translation having only recently been completed. It is a singular fact, illustrating the marvelous progress of Christianity in Japan, that there should be nearly twenty thousand members of churches in the empire before the whole Bible has been given the people in their native tongue. Great care has been taken by the best foreign and Japanese scholars to make this first complete translation as perfect as possible, that the version may be the standard one for a long time to come."
Mr. Pettee, of Okayama, writing February 2, 1888, says: “ This Okayama church was the banner one for Japan last year, with its 136 additions as against 117 the previous year. The present membership is 436, nearly three times what it was when we left here in June, 1885.” — Mr. Atkinson writes from Kobe : “I have been invited by some judges of the Prefectural Court to give them instruction in the New Testament. This is a very interesting class, I can assure you. The coming Saturday afternoon they have notified me that nine are coming. Saturday afternoon is a half holiday at the court. They come to my study at two o'clock, and leave a little before four. Miss Dudley has services at the house of one of these men. Lately he offered prayer there, and once at a union prayer-meeting of the three churches. I think the interest may date from last summer. At that time the Vice-minister of Justice was here, examining this and other Prefectural Courts. He is a member of one of our Congregational churches in Tokyo ; Mr. Kozaki is his pastor. I trust I may have the grace needed to teach and lead them aright.
“The Kobe church building, which seats four hundred, is now too small for the congregation. Adjoining lots have been bought, and it is hoped that a building capable of holding at least a thousand people will be up before many months go by. A couple of Sundays ago I preached for pastor Harada. On a front seat half a dozen young Buddhist priests were seated. Some of them took full notes of my sermon, and all listened with evident interest. The following Sabbath the same men were there again, I was told, each man having a New Testament with him."
On three occasions, December, 1887, January and March, 1888, there were eighty-two students of the Doshisha, male and female, received into Christian communion.
The “ Missionary Herald” for July, 1888, remarks: “Whatever has been done for Japan is done for a people who are not in danger of being pauperized by aid given them, but are ready to do whatever they can for themselves. In April last a public meeting was held in Kyoto, in the interests of the Doshisha, the governor of the province giving the principal address. As a result of the meeting a native editor of one of the leading papers made a gift of two hundred dollars to this training school, and a poor student, who had to sell one of his garments to raise the money, gave fifty cents. One of the Osaka churches has just dedicated an edifice with a seating capacity of eight hundred, the largest Protestant church edifice in Japan, built entirely at its own cost. This city of Osaka has also the largest Christian Girls' School in the empire, having over 370 pupils, to which the Board gives nothing except the services of its foreign teachers.”
Mr. Albrecht, giving an account of a missionary campaign in the province of Echigo, in northern Japan, says: “Wherever we went we met with audiences crowding the largest theatres in the city, listening with Japanese eagerness and responsiveness to three or four speakers each evening. At least ten thousand people must have heard the truths of the Christian religion from us during this trip. Add to this the fact that the newspapers gave large extracts from our addresses, and that each subscriber represents from two to six and eight readers, and we can well say that we have been enabled to call the attention of the people of this province to Christ and his truth as has never been done before. Truly the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.”
The Rev. 0. H. Gulick reports a missionary tour made by himself and his sister in the southern portion of Kiushiu, the great southern island of Japan. This island, whose climate is semi-tropical (while in the northwestern part of the main island it is sometimes necessary to tunnel out the snow in the month of April), is nearly twice the size of Massachusetts, and has a population of over five millions. It contains nine provinces. Mr. Gulick says : “ There was but one instance on our round journey in which at our public meetings the place of assembly was not crowded to its utmost capacity, and that was on one evening in Mimitsu, when the rain poured in torrents. The audiences addressed by myself and helpers aggregated 5,500 people ; while my sister and her helper spoke to audiences, exclusively of women, numbering not less than 1,300 persons. In all forty-six adults were baptized by myself on this tour.”
It seems that for the projected enlargement of the Doshisha into a Christian university, Count Okuma, foreign minister, and Count Inouye, minister of agriculture and commerce, subscribed a thousand yen each, a yen being about eighty-seven cents. Viscount Asoki, vice-minister of state, gave 500 yen, and six other prominent officials and bankers gave together 28,500 yen. On the other hand, leading Japanese opposed to Christianity had given 50,000 yen towards a ladies' institute that should be free from religious bias.
It was reported that the Buddhist priests of Kyoto were about to send missionary priests to Korea and Siam. Considering that Siam is a seat of the purest Buddhism already, this seems strange. Northern Buddhism, however, inclines to accept the doctrine of eternal life, which Southern Buddhism absolutely denies, being also much more distinctly atheistic than in Japan, and perhaps than in China.
June 17, 1888, there was a fresh reception of Doshisha students into the church. “They reached from side to side of the chapel in three rows, and numbered sixty." Of the 123 first year students, 73 were Christians ; second year, 87 members, 72 Christians ; third year, 25 members, 23 Christians ; fourth year, 24 members, 21 Christians; fifth year, 16 members, all Christians.
Marugame is noted, exceptionally, as a town in which a majority of the Christians are women, “ and a good-looking lot of women they are, too."
Mr. Clark writes from Kumamoto, in the island of Kiushiu : “ The one-year old Boys' School closed with one hundred students, and well organized for a permanent existence and an increasing power for the spread of Christianity among the 8,000,000 of Kiushiu.” It must be that the estimates of population for this island vary very widely.
September 17, 1888, the Doshisha opened with an entering class of 160, making the whole number of students 709. Many promising applicants had to be refused for want of room.
In “ The Church at Home and Abroad,” for February, 1888, the Rev. T. T. Alexander, of Osaka, Japan, remarks : “ The type of Christianity now growing up in Japan is intensely missionary. In almost every individual church the members combine, either with or without regular organization, to carry the gospel to their unconverted friends and neighbors. Many of the churches have regular preaching places in localities lying outside their own congregational limits. Already numerous home missionary boards and societies have been organized and are in full operation. This missionary spirit must soon make itself felt abroad." Mr. Alexander thinks that it will overflow into China. He inclines to think that Chinese character, harder to influence, is more solid, but remarks that the real stability and conservatism of Japan is sometimes so hidden behind her present mobility and progressiveness as not to be duly appreciated. “ The probability is that, when the wave of reform that is now sweeping over the country has run its course, the people will settle down into a life of steady and growing prosperity, in which the church will have its share."
The Rev. J. P. Hearst, writing from Osaka, November 4, 1887, of having attended a meeting of the “Chiukai,” or presbytery, says that he found they had made a gain of thirty-five per cent. during the year.
The Rev. George William Knox, of Tokyo, of the Presbyterian Mission, writing in “The Church at Home and Abroad” for June, 1888, on the Bible translation for Japan, remarks : “Certain questions of style occupied much attention and demanded much careful thought. The Japanese colloquial differs widely from the literary language. Two sets of grammars and of dictionaries are needed, and have been in part prepared. The colloquial has never been used in literature. That is a misfortune, for the Bible cannot be translated into the words of home and common life. It is not likely to touch the people as do the translations of Luther and King James. But books in the colloquial are stamped with vulgarity, and so the tongue will continue to be despised until some genius shall arise who will make the people's speech the literary vehicle of thought. But that is an impossible task for foreign scholars, who must take the language as they find it. Accepting the literary form for the translation, only a beginning was made in the difficult question of style. Japanese literature has always been dominated by the Chinese. The Chinese classics have been the model of literary expression. Highly educated men read and write the pure Chinese, and books in that tongue have always been most esteemed. From the high Chinese the various styles descend, until at last low novels and vulgar books are found in the colloquial. Here was the difficult task, to find a style acceptable at once to the educated and intelligible to the common people. The translators, aided by the Japanese scholars, made the happiest possible choice. The style has literary form and merit — even the most highly educated accept it as the work of scholars -- and yet it is far removed from the 'high' and pedantic Chinese style. It is at once simpler and more scholarly than the style adopted by the press and by the writers of popular books. It is sometimes criticised as antiquated — and it is true that the style is not now popular — but this criticism has little weight, and will have in the future less and less as a correcter taste shall demand literary style that partakes of the native soil.”
The Chinese bears to Japanese, which is said to be a language of an absolutely different genius, very much the same relation as Latin to English. And as it is possible to write a style which shall hardly be anything but Latin with English inflections and connectives, so it appears that in Japanese the style is sometimes so overloaded with Chinese terms as to be virtually Chinese even when it is not formally so. From this, as with us, the intermixture may go on decreasing until the style is nearly the pure vernacular. They, less happy than we, it seems are unable to descend into homeliness without descending into vulgarity, through a convention which, as Mr. Knox suggests, some national genius, some Burns of Japan, may one day break through.
As to the substance of the translation, Mr. Knox remarks that it is less happy than the style. The terms for the great Christian verities are inadequate, connoting a shallower spiritual use, as they have thus far served only the uses of shallower and narrower religious systems. Even the name for God is allowed to be insufficient. The Japanese, however, unlike the Chinese, does offer a term, and offers no alternatives. Continuous use must fill it up till it " answers the great idea.”
Whether this Japanese translation, like the New Testament of William Tyndale for our language, will remain a permanent basis for future revisions may be doubted. There are few such men as Williarn Tyndale, and they are little likely to be found in a mixed company of strangers and natives. But it will give a resting-place for a good while to come, and perhaps, like the Temple when Herod rebuilt it, will be taken down and renewed so gradually as to occasion no shock by the change.
We notice, from the “ Baptist Missionary Magazine " for February, 1888, that the emperor, November 15, 1887, had issued a proclamation, announcing that Japan had entered into the Convention of the Red Cross Association. In hoc signo vinces.
Rev. William Ashmore, D. D., has an article in the Baptist magazine for March, 1888, forecasting the result of the movements for union among Protestant Christians in Japan. Putting the Baptists out of the question, he reviews the position of the various Presbyterian bodies, which have already formed “ The United Church of Christ in Japan ; ” the Congregationalists, who stand by themselves ; the Methodists, Northern, Southern, and Canadian, who are working towards a fusion ; and the Episcopalians, English and American, who had already formed a common conference. These groups Dr. Ashmore regards as ultimate atoms, at least so far as appears at present. He remarks: “ The four great organizations named will divide up the field among themselves without any further efforts at combination. They will not, however, occupy separate divisions of territory. They will intermix and overlap in the future as they have done in the past. The Presbyterian, the Congregational, and the Episcopal forms of government will jostle along, side by side, just as they are doing in America and England. Happy indeed if there is an escape froin a Japanese State Church. There does not appear to be anything of that kind in the air just now; and vet, as sailors say when land is first discovered far out at sea, there is a 'faint loom' of possible aspiration in that direction in the far-off horizon. It may soon disappear, and yet it may assume substantiality beyond what people dream of now. So too with the divergences which are grouped together under the names Calvinism and Arminianism. They are destined to a continued existence in the East. The endeavor to set aside the formularies containing them once having failed, the phases of truth contained in these formularies will reassert themselves, with the difference only of a new terminology, which will be Japanese instead of English.”
Dr. Ashmore's presentiment that the negotiations for union between the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists of Japan would fail has been justified by the result. His belief that the failure was inherently inevitable is supported by the fact that the lapse of the negotiations seems to have been much more distinctly owing to the heady impracticability of the young men of the laity among the Japanese Congregationalists than even to the bitter opposition of the High Church Congregationalists of our own interior and Pacific slope, and to their intimation that they might not care to do much for the gospel of Christ in Japan unless it was also a gospel of Congregationalism, just as a powerful element in the church of Jerusalem signified to Paul that they cared little for the converts to Christ that he gathered from among the heathen, unless they were also converts to Circuincision. The American Board cannot be held to have discouraged the negotiations by simply advising that they should not be pushed so far as to endanger coöperation here. On the whole, the responsibility for the failure (in whatever light this may be regarded) must be mainly fixed on the Japanese Congregationalists themselves, especially the young men of their laity.
This heady impracticability of Japanese youth has displayed itself, and it is to be feared with lasting ill results, in their successful endeavor to move their Government to refuse its ratification to the treaties which conceded to Japan jurisdiction over foreign residents, because these treaties provided that for a few years the principle of Medietas lingue should prevail, foreign and native judges sitting together in cases between foreign and native suitors. In church and state, this unwillingness