Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/119

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71
THE ISLAND OF FORMOSA

is in this very direction probably that the Church's great difficulty will arise in the future. The overthrow of superstition that is wrought by the new régime brings with it no corresponding truth to take its place. We are threatened with a great wave of unbelief and irreligion and worldliness that may be more difficult to meet than the superstition which it has displaced. But at present there is a great opportunity. We need no longer pray for open doors, the wall itself has fallen down. If only the Church could be raised to a sense of her duty—to guide Formosa to welcome her true Lord and Master!—lest otherwise the last state of the house, swept and garnished, be worse than the first.

According to the census returns, there are in Formosa about 100,000 wild savages in the mountains, who live by hunting and a little agriculture (chiefly of millet), and who are generally fighting with one another and with the Chinese. They speak quite a number of different dialects. There is absolutely no Christian work being carried on among them, and unhappily not much prospect of any being begun. There are difficulties of various kinds in the way of such work. But were the workers ready, openings might be found among some of the tribes that are comparatively friendly but who as yet speak no Chinese. It would form a fresh field for any mission that is seeking an opportunity of service, and would in no way interfere with work that is already being done.

The two Missions in the island have not been able to do anything for the care of the Japanese who come to Formosa. But they have not been neglected by their own countrymen. There are now five Japanese congregations in the island, three Presbyterian and two Episcopal, with resident ministers. They are not very large, though one of them is self-supporting. Their presence among us is very desirable, both for their services to their own countrymen and also as a testimony to the Chinese, Christian and heathen.

The following are the latest statistics of the two missions, not including the Japanese:—