Decisive Pauline Voyage. During the recent war between Turkey and Italy we sailed one day through the gateway of the new world down the narrow strip of water that separates Europe from Asia. We had’ sailed through the ancient Hellespont, had passed the; ancient plain of Troy, where Homer’s heroes fought,’ and, further on, the site of the deserted harbor of Troas, where nineteen centuries ago the Apostle Paul crossed from the East to the West, with his transforming message for the new world. As we glanced’ northwestward over the waters we thought of the’ momentous voyage, when the apostle to the Gentiles,’ at the call of that man from Macedonia, ” Come over and help us,” launched out in the little sailing craft that was to bear him from the old world into the new. Little could he have dreamed, and as little does’ the writer of the Acts seem to realize, that in response to that epoch-making vision, St. Paul was passing not merely from one Roman province to another, but from Asia to Europe, from the ancient East to the newer West.
What It Meant. When thrown into prison at Philippi, the first city of the district, he had little to show for his labor in the two or three insignificant converts that had been gathered an obscure Jewish woman, a demented Greek slave girl, a despised Roman jailer and his family; these few converts help-less and scattered, and the apostle in prison. The first foreign missionary venture to the West had apparently ended in failure, Yet, that first Christian woman meant a new womanhood for the West and for the world. That first slave freed meant a principle at work that should in time strike the last shackle from the last slave. That first family converted and feeble church founded meant the widening circles of the kingdom of God in the West, the leaven of a new power in life, the beginning of a Christian civilization in Europe.
Three Great Words. What was the transforming gospel that this first missionary carried to the continent of our savage ancestors? Any one of a hundred passages will epitomize the Christian message; for example, John iii. 16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” This single passage contains three new terms, three dynamic concepts, three great principles that must in time transform all life and found a new civilization. Those three terms are ” God,” ” man,” ” life.” A God of love, a self-sacrificing Father, who so loved that he gave ; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, revealed in the incarnation of his Son. Man, of infinite worth, worthy of such an infinite sacrifice, free to enter into a personal relation with the living God, responsible before the issues of life and death, created to love and serve his fellow man. Life, eternal, capable of infinite development, realized in a personal relation through faith in Jesus Christ, who alone has given a new world of meaning to those great words, ” God,” “man,” and “life.” Such was the good news which St. Paul and other Christian messengers and missionaries carried to the West. On these principles the best in the Western world was built and by them it was transformed. Benjamin Kidd, in his Principles of Western Civilization, as well as in his Social Evolution, shows that Western civilization at its best has been only the life history of Christianity; that a few millions of the least significant savage tribes of the West, the Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon, when uplifted by Christianity soon came to comprise one-quarter of the white population of the world and to control nearly half the globe.
The Asiatic Renaissance. During seven months of 1912-13 in a journey across Asia, including India, Burma, Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, China, Korea, and japan, the writer has been impressed with a great awakening that is sweeping over the whole of that vast continent of Asia. The same principles that created our Western civilization are at work today in the ancient East, bringing about the same great trans-formations there that they have wrought in the West. So vast and widespread is this awakening that it might well be called ” The Renaissance of Asia.” And yet it is more than this; it is an intellectual renaissance, a religious reformation, and a nineteenth century of scientific and industrial development all combined. Greater in volume, in depth, and in power than the Renaissance of Europe five centuries ago, it may prove to be even greater in its significance also.’ The population of Europe in the fifteenth century was less than one hundred, millions, while that of Asia to-day is over nine hundred millions, with more than twice the population of Europe, more than five times that of North and South America combined, half that of the habitable globe.2 Greater in rapidity than the awakening in the West, this combined renaissance and reformation is crowding into decades in Asia what was the slow growth of centuries on the continent of Europe.
The European Renaissance. To grasp its full significance, let us look back for a moment at the Renaissance of Europe during the fifteenth century. By the Renaissance we mean the whole transition from the middle age to the modern, that “rebirth ” to a new and larger life through the revival of learning. The human mind, released from its long repression, asserted itself in a new demand for liberty. The movement affected first thought, then politics, bringing unrest and war in the inevitable conflict of the new ideals of life with the old. A five-fold trans-formation of life swept all Europe, for this awakening was at once political, intellectual, economic, social, and religious.
Political Scope. First of all, politically, following upon the decay of the Roman Empire, the medieval Church, and the feudal system, the new nations were knit together, breaking up into new national units, with the beginning of that process of the evolution of nationality, the development of patriotism, the demand for constitutional government, and the growth of military power, which came to final expression in the nineteenth century. The growth of nationality and individual freedom have been the main features of modern history ever since.
Intellectual Range. Intellectually, with the new freedom of thought, men broke from the crushing restraints pf medieval authority and absolutism. Schools, colleges, and universities were rapidly founded throughout Europe. The discovery of printing widened and extended the new revival of learning. New worlds were opened up by the compass of Columbus and the telescope of Galileo. The substitution of the Copernican system for the cumbersome, earth-centered Ptolemaic system of astronomy, gave a new center and true perspective to modern science. The use of gunpowder revolutionized the art of war, and as a great social leveler armed the common people with power.
Economic Results. Economically, Europe gassed from a simple agricultural to an industrial and commercial age, with the growth of the free cities, the development of trade and commerce, and a great stimulus to intercommunication, and the material enrichment of life.
Social Gains. Socially, with the new conception of divine Fatherhood, of human brotherhood, of the sacredness of life and the worth of the individual, came the development of a new democracy and the growth of the middle classes. A new individualism taught a new reverence for personality and the true worth of man. The meaning of manhood, the preciousness of childhood, the worth of womanhood came gradually to be recognized. With this great movement toward humanism came the emancipation of man, the restoring of humanity to its birthright.
Religious Reformation. Religiously, this movement culminated in the great Reformation, in the liberty of thought and conscience which produced the free nations of northern Europe.
Asia’s Awakening Politically. If we turn from the Renaissance of the fifteenth century in Europe to the greater renaissance of the twentieth century in Asia we shall find a striking parallel in each of these five phases of human life, and we shall find that the changes in Asia have been not only sudden but thoroughgoing. First of all, there is a great political awakening in Asia. There has been a rapid development of nationality, patriotism, constitutional government, and military power far exceeding the same development in Europe four centuries ago, both in its rapidity and extent.
Japan the Pioneer and Inspirer. Japan, chiefly, led the way in the opening of the Far East. The opening of her doors to Commodore Perry’s peaceful armada in 1853 destined the opening of all Asia. The charter granted by the young Emperor in i868, when he took the oath that the government should be according to public opinion, that justice should be ad-ministered, and that knowledge should be sought throughout the whole world, was the birthday not only of Japanese but of Asiatic liberty, the Magna Charta of a new political era in the entire Orient. Japan’s victory over China was really a victory for China as well as Japan, in that it destroyed the foundation of the old era and extended the political principles of the new. Japan’s victory over Russia in 1905 was really a victory for the entire Eastern world. Not merely to her own advantage did Japan thus gain recognized equality among the great powers of the West. Within a month of the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth one stroke of the vermilion pencil of the Chinese Emperor had abolished the obsolete system of education in that empire and China had adopted the educational principles of the new era. The next year the Shah of Persia was compelled to grant a constitution to his people, and two years later the Young Turk Party brought on the revolution in Turkey. The news of Japan’s victory flashed like an electric spark across Asia and sent a thrill of hope through the eastern hemisphere.
New Spirit from the West. An intense development of the spirit of nationalism and patriotism has swept through almost all the great peoples of Asia. This spirit has come to the East from the West. Not one of the great Oriental nations held this concept of patriotism, nor was there any word in most of the Eastern languages to express it, until these ideas came with the great principles of Western civilization. The patriarchal family and state, and absolutism in government crushed out all possibility of true nationalism, but to-day what a change! And this new sense of nationalism in the peoples of the East is a fact of incalculable blessing and promise. The intellectual, the economic, the social, and even the religious developments of Europe were based upon the nationalism and liberty of the free peoples of the West. As Bishop Gore well says “If ‘the powers that be . . are ordained of God,’ then, as surely as the Roman Empire and the British Empire, so surely the democratic movement and the nationalist movement [of the … races in Japan, China, Africa, and Egypt] are ordained of God. It is only through faith in Christ that either movement can realize itself.”
Extreme Patriotism of Japan. Japan is perhaps the most patriotic nation in the world. Indeed there is an over-emphasis of this intense and exclusive nationalism there that will be modified when a wider perspective of humanity is developed. The patriot ism of Japan almost startles the traveler. In 1904 soldiers and officers wrote petitions in their own blood, asking for permission to go to the front to have a part in taking Port Arthur or to lead some desperate charge. Men often committed hara-kiri if they were not allowed to go to the war. A condemned criminal gave up his last dinner before his execution that he might give the price of the meal thus saved to his country. The suicide of General Nogi by hara-kiri on the death of the Emperor called forth a deep and almost nationwide response from the Japanese people, and showed at once the strength and danger of this exclusive nationalism.
Its Recent Sweep in China. In books on China published before the Boxer war it was often stated that, although there was racial unity, there was no word for patriotism in the Chinese language and no conception of nationality among the people. We are told that many among the masses did not even hear the news of Japan’s victory over China and that many of those who did hear cared nothing about it. Yet to-day a burning patriotism is sweeping through the students and the younger generation of China and extending rapidly even among the masses. The writer heard of many a student who had cut off a finger that he might, in his own blood, sign a petition to the throne for liberty. It was a strange sight to. see student audiences in China with every cue gone and with them the whole conservatism of the past four thousand years suddenly cast away. Whole audiences rose with intense feeling to sing their new national anthem to the same tune as that of several of the great nations of the West. The widespread demand for a republic and the recent change of government was a striking evidence of the new spirit of nationalism and patriotism which has pervaded the Chinese people, and so strong is the demand for it today that, despite local disturbances, democratic and republican government can probably never again be permanently overthrown in China.
Its Strength in Korea and the Philippines. A generation ago patriotism was almost unknown in corrupt Korea, but a strong national feeling is now everywhere manifested. In the Philippines, also, which showed almost no national consciousness under the Spanish government, political autonomy is now insistently demanded, and the people are restive even under the most rapid advances in self-government which the United States can give them.
India’s New Consciousness. The same burning patriotism has spread among the students of India. Indeed every student audience from Tokyo to Calcutta, from Shanghai to Constantinople, from Seoul to Bombay, shows the same deep national feeling, the same response to the national note. The point of con-tact to-day with the students throughout Asia is to be found in this deep national consciousness. They are at first little interested in individual salvation; but to anything which concerns their nation and its welfare there is instant response. The students of India to-day are not reading the Vedas or the musings of the ancient Rishis or speculative philosophy, but they are reading Mill and Mazzini on liberty, they are interested in the American and French revolutions and in England’s struggle for liberty. This developing national consciousness, which is slowly but surely penetrating the masses, will probably in time bring India to the position of a great self-governing member of the British empire, like Canada.
No Ground for Race Pride. It is sometimes lightly assumed that the white race is so inherently superior to all others that it can afford to leave them out of account. On this subject one of the leading American anthropologists, Professor Franz Boas, speaks as follows : ” We conclude, therefore, that the conditions for assimilation in ancient Europe were much more favorable than in those countries where in our times primitive people come into contact with civilization. Therefore we do not need to assume that the ancient Europeans were more gifted than other races which have not become exposed to the influences of civilization until recent times. (Garland, Ratzel.)
In short, historical events appear to have been much more potent in leading races to civilization than their faculty, and it follows that achievements of races do not warrant us in assuming that one race is more highly gifted than the other.. I hope the discussions contained in these pages have shown that the data of anthropology teach us a greater tolerance of forms of civilization different from our own, and that we should learn to look upon foreign races with greater sympathy, and with the conviction, that, as all races have contributed in the past to the cultural progress in one way or another, so they will be capable of advancing the interests of mankind, if we are only willing to give them a fair opportunity.”
Asia’s Awakening Intellectually. The intellectual awakening in Asia is even more marked than the political. Just as Europe in the Renaissance drew her culture and her inspiration from the Greek and Latin classics and the wisdom of the East, Asia today is borrowing in her turn from Western education and Western science the same freedom of thought and emancipation of the mind.
Japan’s Phenomenal Advance. Within our own lifetime the Japanese have become a nation of readers. They claim to have more than ninety per cent. of their children of school-going age in their public schools. Japan issued books, under more new titles, last year than did either England or America, and her Era of Meiji, or Enlightenment, since 1868 has been a veritable renaissance.
Startling New Departure in China. China’s intellectual awakening has been even more startling than that of Japan. Reference has been made to the Imperial Edict, which, a month after the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905, swept away the ancient system of education and substituted a modern and Western system. China’s scholars for two thousand years had had their eyes steadily fixed on a golden age of the past. Although they had performed titanic feats in memorizing whole volumes of their ancient classics, they did not know that the earth was round, they knew nothing of gravitation or of practical affairs. But now China has begun her modern education in earnest. Temples in many of the cities have been confiscated to accommodate the colleges or schools which are being founded more rapidly than buildings can be built for them. The ancient examination halls of the classic system are being torn down to build the new universities and parliament buildings. The number of modern government students in Peking in a decade rose from three hundred to seventeen thousand, and the pupils in the province surrounding, from two thousand to two hundred thousand. During a visit to a dozen of the cities in China the writer found from four thousand to twelve thousand students in each. The splendid buildings of the great normal schools rise in many cities, some having a thousand teachers in training; for China’s new system when completed will call for nearly a million teachers. There is a thirst for modern education greater even than that formerly manifested for the old learning, when men of seventy or eighty years of age were seen still trying to pass the classic examinations. Even women’s education is being rapidly advanced in China.
Philippine Record of a Decade. The educational record of the Philippines also has been a brilliant one during a decade. In 1910-11 there were over six hundred thousand pupils in the schools, or more than one quarter of the two million children of school going age. More than five hundred American teachers were carried in one shipload to the Philippines. A splendid system of industrial training, including farming, domestic science, and practical handicrafts, is giving the Filipinos a much needed industrial gospel. Education is free to all. Pupils have learned more English under a decade of American rule than Spanish in three centuries under the control of Spain.
Approximately one sixth of the entire revenue of the government is spent for education.
Educational Progress in India. The revival of learning and the thirst for education are equally manifest in India. Not only are there more than thirty thousand students in the colleges and over six million children in the schools of India, but the growing and insistent demand for free and compulsory primary education is being steadily voiced by Indian political leaders, like Mr. Gokhale. Some one may object that the masses are not yet educated in India or China and that four fifths of the children in both countries are not as yet in school, that the farmers in the distant villages have not yet heard of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 or of Japan’s victory over China; but it is equally true that the masses were not educated in the renaissance of Europe and indeed often did not even know of the existence of the revival of learning.
Progress of the Press in Asia. The printing-press is extending this Oriental renaissance much more rapidly than it did the Occidental. Although the Chinese invented movable type five centuries before Gutenberg at Mainz, it was Robert Morrison, the missionary, who brought the first modern press to China. Her one permitted newspaper, the Imperial Gazette, for the officials, is now multiplied more than two hundred-fold. William Carey introduced the first printing-press and newspaper into India, where to-day three thousand five hundred newspapers and periodicals are issued from two thousand seven hundred presses. One mission press in Shanghai is publishing a hundred million pages a year and the Beirut press to date has turned out over a billion pages in the heart of the Mohammedan world. The half mil-lion copies of a single Gospel sold in Korea in a year would exceed the number of Bibles sold in all Europe during the first century of the Renaissance. The four million Bibles, Testaments, and portions sold in China in a year would equal the number of Bibles in circulation in the entire world at the opening of the nineteenth century. Almost every great mission in Asia has its press, which is adding to the volume of new learning in the East.
Asia’s Economic Advance. The economic awakening of Asia is as clearly marked as the political and intellectual. During the latter half of the nineteenth century the trade of India increased four-fold and that of China six-fold. The trade of the Philippines doubled in a decade of American rule, while that of Japan has increased seven-fold in twenty years. But the twentieth century will see far greater developments in the East than the nineteenth. The simple age of agriculture is giving way to one of industry, handicrafts to national commerce, and isolation to the new means of communication that are producing a new national and international consciousness. Based on the new sense of nationality in the renaissance of Europe, the free thought which led to the development of trade in England, France, and Holland, is producing the same economic development in Japan, China, and India today. The chimneys of the great factories of Osaka and Calcutta tower like those of Birmingham. We traveled around the world on Japanese steamship lines, comfortable, highly efficient, and paying dividends, with their stock at a premium, while some of the American lines on the Pacific Ocean can scarcely pay expenses. Our Japanese steamer crossing the Pacific issued a daily paper, receiving news by wireless from Asia and America.
Iron and Steel Record in China. The trade of China will develop rapidly like that of japan and will be of great significance to the West. A decade or two ago they were picking up old horseshoes in the streets of London and shipping them out to make third-rate plows for the farmers on the hills of Central China. To-day, digging under those hills in the four central provinces they find the greatest coal fields in the world ; enough in the Shansi province alone to supply the world for over a thousand years, according to the estimates of the German geologist, Baron von Richthofen. In Central China they have found iron ore better for casting than that of Pittsburgh. In the great Hanyang iron and steel works at Wuchang, across from Hankow, the Chicago of China, among its four thousand workmen the writer saw skilled Chinese labor working at $1.25 a week, handling thirteen thousand horse-power machinery under electric control, and turning out the finest steel rails for the new railways of China, that will stretch from Shanghai on the east to India on the west, from Canton in the south to Siberia in the north. An American steel man who was asked to open up iron works on the Pacific coast declined to do so, saying that America could never compete with China on that coast. Even the American Steel Corporation, ac-cording to the testimony of Charles M. Schwab before the Senate Commission in 1912, finds it cheaper today in San Francisco to get pig iron from China than to haul their own iron from Pittsburgh.
China’s Natural Resources. China has vast natural resources. The former American minister, the Honorable John W. Foster, said that China would build more railways than any other country in the world in the twentieth century. If her railways were developed until their gross returns were equal to those of the United States, these in one year would exceed China’s present national debt.1 She has vast resources in coal, having twenty times as much as, the United Kingdom, and almost if not quite as much as the United States. Develop China’s mines of all kinds until the output is of like value to those of the United States and it would exceed China’s national debt every three months. China has the largest laboring population in the world, the greatest supply of cheap, and potentially of skilled, labor of any nation. If her manufactures were developed until the gross returns were equal to those of America these would equal the entire national debt in three weeks. Though retarded for a short time by the adjustment of her political difficulties, she will surely, though not slowly, develop these vast resources.
India’s Trade and Tariff. India’s trade has in-creased in half a century from about three hundred million dollars to fourteen hundred million dollars, and stands at present first of all the countries in Asia. She needs, however, a protective tariff to develop her industries and. save her population from an exclusive dependence upon agriculture in a land of drought and recurring famines.
Asia’s Awakening Socially. The social awakening of Asia is also unmistakable. The development of a new social consciousness and the beginnings of a great movement for social service are among the most striking phenomena which the writer observed during the last seven months in India, China, and Japan. The enthusiasm of students for the social message of Professor Henderson, Raymond Robins, and others was a sign of the times, and this whole social movement has followed in the train of Christian missions and Western education. In this, as in so many other movements, Asia is unconsciously moving as a unit, owing to simultaneous influences from the West. Be-fore receiving the principles of Western civilization’ and Christianity, the individual was but a fraction; not a unit, not a man, not an end in himself. But with Christianity has come the conception of the worth of the individual, as well as a new ideal for society and a new view of social duty.
Points of Progress in Japan and China.’ In Japan there is a steady advance of democracy and of the masses against the classes. The defense of the constitution this year against the exclusive power of the Emperor and the elder statesmen in Japan was a marked triumph. China, naturally democratic, has shown her ideals in the insistent demand for a republic. The National Review of China, which is not a religious paper, states that the movement for constitutional reform began when Robert Morrison landed in China. The striking social reforms which China has undertaken are evidence of a growing social consciousness. Her splendid fight against opium, deliberately facing a loss in revenue of forty million dollars, although retarded somewhat by the revolution and the period of political reconstruction, has put to shame the feeble efforts of timorous Western nations in their fight against the liquor traffic. The testimony of missionaries and experts from all parts of China convinces the traveler that the advance in the suppression of the growing and the consumption of opium has been genuine and widespread. The gambling evil in Canton was abolished in the face of a loss of more than a million dollars in revenue. Foot-binding has been prohibited by Imperial edict, and some women with bound feet wear large shoes to give the impression of normal feet. The laws of judicial procedure have also been improved, and torture abolished. The origin of this great social movement is directly or indirectly traceable to the influence of Christian missions. The opium movement followed on the memorial of the Protestant missionaries. But apart from the influence of Christian missions and Western education the social need is still appalling.
Social Advance in India. In India too a new social conscience and a growing movement for social reform is following in the train of Christian missions and of Western education. The old conceptions of pantheism and polytheism are giving place to the idea of the Fatherhood of God. The crushing power of Hindu caste is being confronted by the Christian principles of brotherhood. The sacredness of human life and the value of the individual are being taught, and a new social conscience is manifested among the educated leaders in India to-day. The graduates of mission colleges and Indian leaders of social reform are working bravely against enforced widowhood and child-marriage, against the selling of little girls for the infamous uses of the temples and against the other wrongs of womanhood. Groups for study of the social problem and for service are being organized throughout the colleges of India. A movement is now gaining ground even in Hinduism for the relief of the Pariahs and outcasts and for the education of the poor. Day and night schools and schools for girls are being founded in all parts of India. But this whole movement, however unconsciously, has drawn its principles and its initial impulse from Christian missions, though it is extending far beyond the Christian Church and will in time change the very structure of Hindu society.
Asia’s Awakening Religiously. But the awakening of Asia is not only political, intellectual, economic, and social. It is primarily and profoundly religious. Just as the Reformation in Europe followed the Renaissance with a new liberty of thought and conscience and a deepening of all life, a religious reformation is as surely beginning in Asia. It is true that the break-down of the old religions and their patent inability to satisfy the cravings of the heart or to supply a sufficient basis for morality, are leading for a time, especially in japan and China, to secularization and materialism. Just as southern Europe four centuries ago entered an age of liberty and of license, of in-fidelity and immorality, so many of the students of the Far East, losing the restraints of the old era, have fallen into immorality. The danger is that the break up of the old religions may be so rapid that Christianity will not have time to take the place of the old; and to give a new and surer foundation for life. But, along with this tendency toward secularization and loss of faith in the old religions, there is a new religious attitude observable among the students, as truly as it was in the deeper life of northern Europe during the Reformation in Germany, Holland, and England.
Response to the Gospel. During the recent tour of Dr. John R. Mott and the writer this new attitude toward religion was unmistakably evident in the hearing given to the Christian message. Student audiences averaged about eight hundred a night in Japan, a thousand a night during the two months spent in India, and over two thousand a night in China, where the interest became so intense that in the last two cities visited, Mukden in the north and Foochow in the south, the attendance rose to five thousand a day. More than fifty thousand different men in China, chiefly government students, attended these meetings. The meetings often lasted from two to three hours and in many cases numbers had to be turned away for lack of standing room in the largest halls or theaters that could be obtained. Throughout the six countries visited, in an evangelistic campaign extending through the thirty principal cities of Asia, there was instant response on more than a hundred occasions when the invitation was given for men to decide for Christ or to take a stand as inquirers. These inquirers promised to read the four Gospels with open mind and honest heart, to pray daily to God for guidance and help, and to follow Christ ac-cording to their conscience. Immediately following the meetings several hundred non-Christian students were received into the churches in China, and several thousand government students had been enrolled in Bible classes.
Remarkable Demonstration in Foochow. It will be impossible to describe in detail the spiritual awakening in China today, but perhaps a concrete instance of the change which has taken place in a single typical city will serve to show the significance of the present religious awakening. Picture yourself entering an old Chinese city, the city of Foochow. Though in other cities of China the student audiences had averaged two thousand a night, here were five thousand a day, admitted by ticket only, and the total attendance during the six days rose to over thirty thou-sand. I shall never forget the scenes of that eventful week. Professor Robertson worked with me throughout the week. It is not quite correct to say that all in these audiences were students; indeed it. almost seemed as if the leaders of the whole city of 600,000 inhabitants had been moved. The leaders of the Chamber of Commerce also attended one lecture and a banquet. The members of seventy-two new reform societies of the city, which have sprung into being with the new spirit for reformation, attended one of the meetings. The Provincial Parliament it-self adjourned and invited Robertson and myself to address them. It was an imposing body of men, and I have seldom spoken to a more enthusiastic audience. To observe their dignity in debate and the grasp of thought in the handling of modern problems manifested by many of these men was encouraging for one who has at heart the future welfare of China. These men are no longer the begoggled scholars of the old school. Here, beside the conservatives in their silk robes, are young men in Western frock coats, returned students from japan, America, and Europe, with practical merchants of the great trading gilds-men of two political parties often melted into one burning unit of patriotism and concern for the new republic.
What Will Save China? Now the formal session of the parliament is adjourned and they are gathered in the great hall to hear a religious address, but their concern, like that of the students, is centered in one question ” What will save China?” Our point of contact with them is in the new national flag and we take its five stripes to signify the five needs of the young republic, which furnish the five headings of our address. They are a call to National Unity, Practical Patriotism, Social Service, Moral Earnestness, and Reality in Religion. At the mention of the flag and patriotism these men, conservative and liberal alike, burst into applause. Put deeper and stronger still is the response as we strike the moral note in this land of Confucius. Soon we are one with this audience of men once antagonistic, and we proceed to speak of that only Foundation for individual or national life which can save China or her sons. Thus official doors are opening before the Christian messenger where our predecessors half a century ago were asked to kowtow as ” foreign devils and barbarians to those whom we now meet as brothers and equals long separated.
Support of Educational Leaders. The Confucian Presidents of thirteen government colleges and. the Commissioner of Education in Foochow, who had officially invited us to visit the city, closed their colleges during the afternoons, that the students might attend our evangelistic meetings, postponed the government examinations for a week, and invited Professor Robertson and myself to a dinner to discuss plans for helping the students in their moral habits. In an address one President asked us to provide healthful athletics, while another urged that Christianity should be given to their students to supplement the moral foundations that had been laid by Confucianism, but which were hot sufficient to save them in this time of transition. Never have we received better support from professors in any Christian country.
Phenomenal Interest and Results. We spoke the first day on ” The Crisis in China.” When our hearers responded with a burning interest and concern for their country we spoke of the moral and religious needs of the republic. An hour before the time of meeting two thousand students crowded the hall, while more than two thousand men stood outside for over an hour in an overflow meeting until they also could gain admission and hear the lecture repeated. Scores of others who could not get in were turned away from the doors, but the police could not drive them away and they finally broke down the gate. On the second day four thousand students came back again as we spoke on ” The Need of China,” taking up the question of personal purity and the fight for character. On the third day we had again to conduct an over-flow meeting as we spoke on ” Christ, the Only Hope of China.” There was the most rapt attention, and when we called for inquirers over a thousand men promised to join Bible classes and study the four Gospels with open mind, to follow Christ according to their conscience and accept him if they found him true. The scene of the fourth day was even more remarkable, when in the great after-meeting an opportunity was given for those who wished to accept Christ and confess him publicly before men, over four hundred rose and the whole audience of non-Christians broke out spontaneously into applause at this evidence of their courage. More than seventeen hundred men, a majority of whom were students from twenty different colleges, enrolled themselves as inquirers, while over five hundred took a stand confessing Christ as Savior and Lord.
What Shall Be Our Answer? The Asiatic nations are facing the greatest crisis not only of the past century of missions but of all the centuries of their history. They cannot remain forever in uncertainty. They must develop in the near future in one of three directions. They may turn rapidly toward Christianity, as Korea has done. Or there may be a revival of the old religions, regalvanized and nationalized, as under Julian in the Roman Empire in the last struggle of dying paganism. Or they may turn toward Western materialism, agnosticism, and infidelity. Just as the West once borrowed from the culture and Christianity of the East, and as St. Paul passed from Asia to Europe with his transforming message, which shaped all that is best in our Western civilization, so we in turn have given the first impulse toward the new awakening, both intellectual and religious, in the nations of the East, through Christian missions and Western education. It lies largely within our power to determine which way these nations shall turn. The nations of Europe at the close of the Renaissance and Reformation set once for all either in Catholic or in Protestant molds. Northern Europe responded to the new awakening by the Protestant Reformation. Southern Europe responded by a Catholic reaction and counter-reformation. But the map of Europe has been little changed since that day and the future centuries take their direction from the formative period. It will be the same in Asia. Think of the significance of this mighty movement which is sweeping Asia today Asia, the cradle of the race, the birthplace of civilization, the teacher of the West, the mother of all the great religions of the world, is awakening. Asia, with its more than nine hundred millions, or over half the human race, calls today in the words of the man of Macedonia, ” Come over and help us.” If the gathered need of this vast continent its wronged womanhood, its blighted childhood, its crushed manhood could find one common vocal expression, what a cry to God and to man there would be! Dull must he be of soul who hears no personal summons in the united voice of this continent of need. What shall be our response to this awakening of Asia?