Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/105

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59
THE PROVINCE OF FUKIEN

tery, the outcome of subscriptions voluntarily given by the foreign communities of China for the purpose, contains all that remains on earth of those brave martyrs, but they themselves are "without fault before the Throne of God."

What St. Paul said of the Corinthian Church when writing to its members in the first century is true of the Fukien Church in this twentieth century. He told them that in their famous city "not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble," had been called into fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ, and it is so in Southern China to-day. The Church is a Church of the poor, and the mighty and noble are seldom found within its ranks. Here and there we find members of the literary class and well-to-do traders enrolled as converts in our various churches, and very occasionally petty officials have been baptized; but, speaking generally, our people belong to the lower classes, and are largely engaged in agriculture. One natural consequence of this is that they suffer a good deal of persecution of a heavier or a lighter kind at the hands of their more influential neighbours, and their inability to conscientiously continue their support of idol worship often makes their name a byword in their native villages. Usually these persecutions are taken as a matter of course, and borne more or less patiently until they die a natural death. But at times the converts appeal to the missionary for a redress of their grievances, and ask him to cast over them the aegis of the Church. These appeals he deems it wise in most cases to refuse, and urges the applicants to bear with their difficulties, to "overcome evil with good," and so to prove that they are willing to suffer for Christ's sake as the early Christians did. Such advice as this is, as a rule, followed, and only when matters become unbearable does a wise missionary appeal to the powers that be, asking that the provisions of the treaties, which forbid the molestation of converts to Christianity, be carried out.

No sketch of a Chinese province is complete without some reference to what is perhaps China's greatest bane—