Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/102

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of dress which distinguish them at a glance from their Chinese sisters.

Missionary work in the Fukien province commenced a few years after China's first serious collision with foreign nations, when, having been worsted in the fray, she was compelled, much against her will, to sign the Treaty of Nanking, which allowed foreigners—both missionaries and merchants—to reside at five of her most important ports, two of which—Foochow and Amoy—are on the seaboard of Fukien. This was in 1842, and a few years later the first missionaries, both from England and America (1846), took up their permanent residence in these cities. These pioneer missionaries are worthy of all honour, and must ever be held in high esteem, for they had to contend against difficulties of which the modern missionary knows hardly anything, and encountered obstacles which only a persistent prayerful faith could have overcome. The hostility of the Chinese in those early days was almost universal, the indifferentism of the people was appalling, and ridicule and insult almost invariably attended every appearance in public, and every attempt to preach Christ crucified; but at length prayer and perseverance conquered, and the first-fruits of Fukien were gathered in.

Nearly ten years elapsed, however, before the missionaries of the Church Missionary Society—which had commenced work there in 1850—were able to report any interest in their message, and it is not surprising that when in 1860 a review of the Mission fields of that Society took place in London, and the secretaries were obliged to say of Foochow once again, "no visible results, no convert to the truth, no baptisms," that the committee seriously contemplated withdrawing altogether from such an unpromising field. But God's ways are not our ways, and a brighter day was soon to dawn and cheer the hearts of His faithful servants. A little later two men emerged from this seething mass of superstition and idolatry, declared themselves believers in the truths of Christianity, and were received into the visible Church