« НазадПродовжити »
“ At last the leaders were induced to go with us to our hotel, where a long and fiery discussion took place. Meanwhile a large crowd gathered outside and put in a superabundance of punctuation marks. At a little past twelve o'clock the landlord requested the men to depart, that his other guests might be able to sleep. We appointed another interview the next, or more truly that same morning at eight. Two men came and we talked until nine o'clock, when we started for home. The noisiest disputant proved to be an old pupil of Captain Jaynes at Kumamoto; was well acquainted with our leading pastors, and knew just enough of Christianity and English to abuse the former and make a show of the latter. The crowd was divided in sentiment, some even shouting out, · The Shintoists are a noisy, unreasonable set.'”
Inasmuch as an ethics fully worthy of the name can only rest on one foundation, it is no wonder that the Secularizers, whether in America or in Japan, are greatly perplexed over the public schools. It is no part of a Christian's business, in either country, to daub their wall with the untempered mortar of a cowardly complaisance. Dr. Gordon, of Kyoto, writes : “In an earnest conversation on the subject of moral education, a man high in authority in one of the first schools of Japan said to me: “You at the Doshisha have Christianity for a basis, and so all is plain before you ; we are not so fortunate.
* In many respects Japan is one of the most inviting mission fields in the world. In many respects it is the most difficult. It is no place for one who loves intellectual ease, or who is afraid of criticism, or who has no reason to give for any article of faith that is in him.”
Mr. Albrecht writes in the “ Herald,” respecting the Doshisha: “To see thirty-six young men go out into Japanese life, all Christians, with a single exception; to see their chapel full of officials, professional men, merchants, men of every walk of life, all interested in and sympathizing with the work of the school, and then to think that all this has been accomplished in about fifteen years, makes one say over and over, • The Lord hath done great things for them ; ' . This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes."
The statistics of the Japanese Mission of the American Board for the year ending April 30, 1889, showed that eight churches had been organized during the year, making the whole number 49. These had received 2,129 persons on confession of faith, an average of over 43 persons to each church. The 4,569 Congregational churches of the United States are reported as averaging during 1888 an addition of five and a half members to each church ; but of the whole number, only sixty-three equaled the Japanese average.
The “Missionary Herald” for October, 1889, refers to a report given by the “Christian Register," of September 5, of an interview between the officers of the American Unitarian Association and Mr. Kaneko, who is spoken of as secretary of the Privy Council, and a man of much culture and influence. Being a graduate of Harvard, he declares that his intimate association with Unitarian divines has made him well acquainted with the nature and excellences of Unitarianism. He allows that he holds Buddhism to be far superior to Christianity, but he declares that he believes Unitarianism to be identical with Buddhism in its highest form. He is therefore, since the native forces of Japanese Buddhism appear to be exhausted, solicitous that Unitarianism should come to its relief, against the invading forces of Christianity. He promises it an enthusiastic reception among the higher classes of Japan. He sharply complains that the Christian missionaries in Japan keep always in view the saving of sinners, and he apparently wants the Unitarians to come and help put a stop to any such nonsense. The “ Christian Register," the .“ Missionary Herald ” remarks, expresses no dissent from this view of the community of interests between Buddhism and Unitarianism against Christianity as the common foe.
Mr. Knapp, the one missionary whom the forces of Unitarian wealth and culture have thus far been able to summon up, appears, however, to have taken a course which renders it doubtful whether any such alliance, even if desired by the branch of Unitarianism which he represents, can be effected. The “ Missionary Review of the World” for January, 1891, cites from the “Japan Mail” a criticisni of Mr. Takahashi Goro upon Mr. Knapp's attitude towards Buddhism, which he describes as being that of one who flatters, prays, and solicits its favor, and who is willing to join with it in driving out Orthodox Christianity. Yet, according to Mr. Takahashi's own showing, the only positive doctrine of Buddhism which Mr. Knapp accepts is, that creation is not an event, but an eternal process. This would be entirely satisfactory to Buddhism, if it implied, as it does with Buddhism, that there is no such thing as creation, or a Creator. Yet Mr. Takahashi, while conceding that Mr. Knapp, out of deference to Buddhism, is willing to conceal as much as possible his belief in God, maintains that expressions escape him plainly implying that he does believe in God after all. On this rock, it should seem, all hopes of a permanent alliance must split. An offensive alliance, indeed, between Buddhism and Unitarianism for the overthrow of Orthodox Christianity, may be proposed, and according to Mr. Takahashi has been proposed, by Mr. Knapp. But this gentleman seems to be rather maladroit in putting Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity together as pessimistic religions, over against both which stands Unitarianism, in the serene light of perfect culture, as an optimistic religion, though optimistic in exactly what sense is not explained. Nor is it explained in what sense Mr. Knapp describes as pessimistic a religion which rests upon the message that God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life. If an effective alliance is to be achieved between the Japanese and the American foes of the growing Christianity of Japan, it must be brought about by an ambassador — as Mr. Knapp calls himself — who is himself less hampered with the remains of Christian belief. Meanwhile Christianity goes cheerily and vigorously on in the Island Realm, apparently very little embarrassed with the weight of this new fly on the wheel.
Dr. N. G. Clark, Senior Secretary of the American Board, in his report rendered at the meeting of the Board in 1889, calls attention to the fact that the remarkable readiness of the Japanese Christians to meet their own expenses is not only due to the fact that they are largely of the classes well able to do this, but also in part to “the example of the Osaka churches, early led to take high ground on this subject through the painstaking instruction of missionaries of the Board in that city, and of a self-denying pastor.” Dr. Clark also does well to dwell significantly on the fact that “ speculations of the schools ” have not counted for much in Japan. And, indeed, it is true that in Japan the elder and the newer forms of Orthodoxy have not made it their business to bite and devour
one another. Whoever was recognized as living in Christ as his centre has been welcomed as a brother and helper. Even the German missionary of the Protestantenverein, irreconcilably divergent as his theology is from that of the other missionaries, yet, being recognized as thoroughly Christian in spirit and intent, has been received with cordial appreciation, which he cordially reciprocates. And if the Christian Unitarians of America will send a man like him, who esteems the Trinitarians, not as enemies to be exterminated, but as brethren to be helped, he will undoubtedly meet with a like reception.
“ But, with all the success achieved, the work in Japan is really but fairly begun. We forget that it has a population as large as was to be found in the United States east of the Mississippi at the census of 1880, and that there is still but one minister of the gospel, missionary or Japanese, to every 125,000 of its 35,000,000 or 38,000,000. In consequence of the breaking down of old faiths and the awakened intelligence of the people, the calls come to us for Christian instruction from thousands and tens of thousands in all parts of the land, – instant, urgent, in a manner altogether without precedent in the history of missions. The outlook for the next ten years is far more hopeful than that of the last decade. While we wait to improve the great opportunity, the enemy is sowing tares. Japan can be won to Christ only by the most vigorous enlargement and most persistent effort.” For the sake of Japan, therefore, as well as of other regions, it is devoutly to be hoped that Minneapolis will be found to have redressed the calamitous misadventures of Des Moines and Springfield.
The “ Herald ” remarks on the violent disturbances of nature which have been lately experienced in Japan, the earth quakes and volcanic eruptions, to which may be added the floods. At Kumamoto, after repeated shocks, there occurred one of great severity, felt in the dead of night. “Coming as it did immediately after an official notification that it was the opinion of a seismologist that in case of another severe shock an outbreak might be expected which might destroy the city, nothing could be expected but the panic that actually seized the poor people. For two nights and nearly two days the people Aed like frightened sheep. They ran through the streets in the dead of night, crying aloud and calling on Buddha to help them, repeating times without number their single vain prayer, Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu. Parents lost their children, and children their parents; the sick were abandoned in their houses, and the lame and blind were left to care for themselves. What a scene that was, continued for nearly fortyeight hours, with the panic and terror kept at fever heat by the frequent shocks and detonations of the rending rocks, warning the people to flee from the city of destruction !
“But this time of terror was just the time for the Christians to manifest the superiority of their faith, and they rose nobly to the emergency. Taking counsel together, they went to the city officials and offered to turn our two school buildings into hospitals. Their offer was eagerly accepted, and the officials promised to furnish the medicines and physicians needed. They also consulted together about other measures to be taken for the safety of the city and people. The coolness and wisdom of our Christian leaders inspired the officials with confidence, who then went about their work with coolness. The result was soon seen throughout the city : the panic began to subside ; the sick, the laine, the blind, and the homeless were soon provided for; a few days later, confidence was quite restored, stores were open, and the people had largely returned to their customary work.”
It is to be hoped that these visitations of Him who, through whatever processes He may work, disposes everything in time and measure for the highest ends, will set the people of Japan, as once the people of the Roman world, to inquiring more earnestly after that kingdom which cannot be shaken.
The following description, from the “Church Missionary Intelligencer," of the city of Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku, in Southern Japan, gives a pleasantly vivid picture to the mind's eye. Tokushima has a population of 60,000, and has lately become a station of the Church Missionary Society. It is a happy thing for Christian unity in Japan that, of the two great Anglican societies, it is that one which is supported by the evangelicals that works in Japan, and not the somewhat arrogant and encroaching Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The Anglican brethren, it is true, are beginning, through Episcopal lips in England, to express their belief that they are yet to be the leading Christian community of Japan. But such a comfortable persuasion may be cheerfully conceded to any society, so long as it is held so amiably and fraternally as by the English brethren in Japan. Whether there will, within any assignable period, be a unitary Protestant Church of Japan, and, if there is, what its form and polity will be, he would be a wise man who should undertake to determine. But, as a Japanese Christian has said, the only thing of which a description, as events are proceeding in Japan, will hold good for ten years, is its exquisite scenery.
“The south side of the city is the most beautiful. I mean the view from the hills that side. There is another plain made by three or four rivers which here flow into the sea ; five valleys run down into this plain each one between steep and high hills. Looking inland, you can see five ranges of hills, each rising above the other; the most distant must be very high. This plain also is studded with villages and covered with rice. Eastward is the sea, — a very lovely sea view it is. There are islands close by, and the mainland of Japan just visible in the far distance. On the east side of the city there is a hill rising abruptly out of the plain, and to the south some more hills, somewhat similar in character. As to the city itself, it is built just around the foot of the great hills from which we have been viewing the scene. The streets are narrow and straight; the houses, of the usual Japanese style, — tiled roofs, no chimneys, no smoke ; trees and shrubs in the gardens, giving the city a clean and fresh appearance. Parts of the rivers and canals intersect the town, necessitating many bridges." Add the brilliant sun of Japan, the glossy beauty of the foliage, and the graceful curvatures of the coast line, framing in the tender green of the rice-fields, and we see that Japan has attractions for various ranges of our being.
The “ Intelligencer" for June, 1880, speaking of the promulgation of the Constitution, says : " The day was a grand one in Tokio, and all over the country, — according to native newspapers, the grandest day Japan has ever seen. It would take a long time to give any adequate idea of the impressive ceremony at the palace, where the Emperor, in the presence of the Empress, princes, princesses, noblemen, cabinet ministers, the Foreign Diplomatic Corps, and other officials, Japanese and foreign, and last but not least, several editors of leading Japanese journals, delivered a speech, and formally handed the draft of the Constitution to the Prime Minister, Count Kuroda ; or of the royal procession through the streets, the Empress riding with the Emperor in the same carriage, - a thing unheard of before ; the splendid state carriages, specially built in Europe ; the gorgeous liveries ; the crowds of orderly, merry people, dressed in their best, lining the route; the processions of schools, large and small; the wonderful decorations; monster ornamental cars drawn by strings of oxen, and towering above the heads of the people ; triumphal arches, lit up at night with scores of electric lights, flags, and lanterns innumerable. The people all through the country have been raised to an extraordinary pitch of enthusiasm over the promulgation of this new Constitution. They feel that Japan now, more than ever, stands foremost in the matter of civilization amongst the nations of the East, the only kingdom in Asia that possesses a constitutional government, the only one that enjoys perfect religious liberty.” It remains to be seen whether all this fair show is a Jonah's gourd or an oak.
The baptisms of adult converts by C. M. S. missionaries in 1888-89 were 367, a much larger number than in any previous year.
The remarks quoted in our former article, as to the probable overflowing of Christian influence from Japan upon China, are in line with “ A Forecast concerning Japan,” published in the “Intelligencer" for August, 1889, by Mr. E. W. Syll. It says : “ When the present writer was leaving China to sojourn for a season in Japan, one of his intelligent friends in the diplomatic circle said, as they shook hands for farewell, “I congratulate you on going to Japan, especially for this reason — that China will learn from Japan as she will not from any Western nation. They are neighboring countries, and both Eastern, which helps to remove sensitiveness and jealousy. And so it has proved already; the material improvements which Japan was first to adopt, — railroads, telegraph, postal service, coinage, — all these China is beginning to admit, following the example of its more rapid and progressive neighbor, through whose diplomatic adroitness (let it be added) the audience question at Pekin was brought to a settlement, and the suzerainty of Formosa retrieved from uncertainty.
“ The theory of the Japanese monarchy is that of absolute personal rule, and this was recognized and intensified when, after the conflict which brought the usurped power of the Shioguns to an end, and reestablished the direct rule of the Mikado, the great Daimios, one after another, came forward and laid down their titles, offices, territories, and semi-independent jurisdiction, at the feet of their Emperor — an event unique in history, and one of the peculiar performances with which the Japanese enliven the routine of revolutionary politics. They shine on an emergency, and furnish us with repeated surprises."
The author remarks of the new Constitution, that it has not been, like Magna Charta, “ extorted by barons from a reluctant tyrant who had made himself a vassal of Rome, but given freely and graciously by the one hundred and twenty-third monarch of a dynasty that dates back (traditionally) to 660 B. C. Such a document is surely a sign of the times,' and all the more interesting to us because of the distinctly Teutonic style of its provisions. If, as one of our historians has said, “freedom came out of a German forest,' and if its march has been, like Bishop Berkeley's • Course of Empire,' westward, then we may say that Japan has been reached by the rays of that same beacon-light of human liberty which has now crossed the Pacific, as previously it had traversed the Atlantic.