Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/118

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only too probable that the temptation to make gain of it has been yielded to. In view of the action of their friend and ally, England, it is little wonder if this has been the case.

In regard to Mission work, the coming of the Japanese has on the whole been distinctly favourable. It has, however, interfered with our schools, all private schools being closed within a certain distance of a Government one. It also bars the way to our medical students becoming practitioners, no permission being given to any one to practise who has not studied in Government schools. But the gain in other ways is great. The substitution of Japanese officials for the old mandarins is an immense improvement. We have now something more than a fair field and no favour. The rulers, while strictly impartial officially, secure absolute protection for ourselves and the native Christians, and often let it be seen that they disapprove of idolatrous observances; whilst, on the other hand, they recognise in our Christian work an important factor in the civilising and elevation of the people. They give us genuine encouragement to go on further with our work. There are, of course, exceptions, but not many.

Again, in regard to the people and their views of our work, there is a change for the better noticeable. The old suspicions are mostly gone. The hatred of the missionary as one who is working for political ends no longer exists. Even if they still believed it of us, it would be no good reason for objecting to our presence! But they see ever more plainly what indeed they were coming to see before the arrival of the Japanese, that our work is a spiritual work, which does not interfere with their political standing. They have also been compelled in so many ways to make a complete break with old customs that the change to Christianity is less marked, and as their idolatrous practices receive no sympathy from their rulers, who utilise their idol temples in all sorts of ways without, apparently, any harm coming to them, they are more prepared to give our message a less prejudiced hearing. Indeed, it