INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIAN IDEALS.
AN INTERESTING ADDRESS
- The annua! deputation meetings of the London Missionary Society were continued in the Moray Place Congregational Hall last evening, when the Rev. l-\ P. Jo.*eland, a representative of the society, spoke interestingly to a numerous audience upon •China and Christian Ideals,' a subject in which he is well versed, as he can lay claim to 25' years' experience in the foreign mission* field in South China. It should be added that the deputationist is really no stranger to Dunedin, as he visited this City two years ago, and haying since taken up ministerial work in Victoria, will not return to that vast country which he knows so well, and in which "he naturally haa a deep interest. In the course ok* some brief opening remarks, Mr J. H. Wilkinson, who presided, stated that the annual visits of representatives* of the society had a very important bearing on the life of our churches, ami tended very materially to quicken interest in missionary enterprise. He had been impressed, too, by the great ability and wonderful power of the doputatiouists. and it was due to that fact, no doubt, that so much success had at-tend'-d l.'is- labors of their missionaries in the different fields. Men of the ability of Mr .Tosehmd upheld the best traditions of a tit-eat society. It was fully realised tlvat 'we were living in stirring tunes, when wuv had been the means of destroyin- cities, blasting homes, and laying great buildings in"ruins ; but while one thought of all that, it had to be remembered that there were other influences at work —influences thi-.t were mighty factors in the bringing about of peace and goodwill to mankind. And while it was the dutv of all to respond to the appeals of the'distressed ones, he trusted that they would not forget a pressing obligation to the work of their great society, and would assist in putting the finances on a satisfactory basis. They needed all the assistance that could 'possibly be given at the present' time. The Rev. Mr Joseland. who received a cordial welcome, intimated at the outset his intention of abandoning all forms of statistics, for he declared that surely in this twentieth century of ours it was not enough to judge of' the results of missionary enterprise by merely stating that there "were 5,000 missionaries in the field and 50,000 native workers, that a certain number of churches had been built, so manv schools opened, hospitals erected, and all" that kind of thing. He was not in sympathy with the particular kind of diagram which, by moans of colored squares, disclosed part of the world to be Christian and another part heathen. Were all the people in New Zealand Christ a ins? It might be of use in a certain way in stating how many nominal heathens and Christians there were, but yet it was a futile way. It was not enough for a missionary to say 'that during a given time he had baptised 105 people. What they wanted to know was what influences had the ideas which lay behind Christianity had on a country like China to-day. For instance, how had the idea* which lay behind the churches and hospitals impressed the people? And having made clear his conception of the nature of missionary enterprise, the speaker did not "hesitate to make his first assertion that Christianity had given to the Chinese people a new idea of the value of the individual human life. ''That; was not a. now idea to us, for Christianity had so worked it into we Westerners, especially we Britishers, that we accepted it.~ There was the question of the sanctity of the individual human life. The Chinaman looked more upon the family, and while recognising that the family must be continued, in thinking of that he unfortunately over-emphasised the male side. It was not necessary for him to explain the many ways in which they got lid of unnecessary girl babies. He would have them understand that the hospital work—the care taken of the cases, the care for the individual life—had been of immense value. The Chinaman saw the positive action of religion. The idea had emerged that the individual life was valuable to Ood. They now looked upon it ns a disgrace to destroy children, and were ashamed of it. The Red Cross Hag had now entered China, and in any war which might arise they would be more merciful to the prisoners than had been the case in the past. The Chinese, too, now had a new idea of women, and recognised that girls were Heaven-born, and admitted that they could not predetermine sex. They were beginning to realise that Christians were teaching Chinese girls. There were going to be suffragettes in China v.t. The missionaries were raising MomeTs in the Chinese Christian homes to their true position as the helpmate for men. The new republic had decided that there should be education for the Chinese girl as well as the hoy. They had put it in the forefront of their programme that there should be free education. It had not come to pass yet, but it was a great- thing to find that the Government as a Government possessed these ideals. The binding of the feet of women was also being done away with, and they were encouraging men to marry women with natural feet. The unbinding of tin; feet was a. .symbol of th? unbinding of tlic liiitul. Although it might take 100 or 500 years to bring women up to the position of our own women, the movement had started. Then there was a new idea of liberty and justice. There had been very little liberty during the reign j of the Mauehu Government, and of justice j —he had never seen it. It was only a name. The Chinese were great people for litigation, but it was; only the man with the money that won, for the Judges expected to lie bribed. It was very com j ir.oit. But what had this to do with Christianity' Just that it had been' accepted bv the Chinese that the British missionaries were unbribable. It was an amazing f:tct that the Chinese would sooner trust the British missionary than those of any other nation. But Christianity had brought about the idea that they.; were those who could he truthful, and when they wanted justice they came to the missionary, whom they expected 10 be righteous, The old tlag of China represented iu one symbol all the fear and terror unseen. But that flag was no longer the Hag of China. They had a new tlag. which stood for brotherhood. Gn it there were five bars, representing live nations and one people—China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Eastern Turkestan, and Tibet. That new flag meant that the Chinese had got rid of tl'n obsession of the unseen power. They were getting rid of the symbol. The new (lag meant that tha Chinese wanted to put into practice one of the most glorious ideas in the. New Testament — the spirit of brotherhood. While so many divisions existed in our own i Christian Churches, the Chinese sni'S they wanted to know how far they could t/bcy the teaching of the Lord and Saviour and unite together as one Christian Church. The Church would bo one Christian Church for China, toi be tnown as the Christian Church of China, el'rhaps the time would come when the present-day Christian Churches would show a united front to the. world.
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CHINA, Evening Star, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
CHINA Evening Star, Issue 15631, 23 October 1914
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