Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/14

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Chinese. It is only necessary to mention the dictionaries and other works of Morrison, Medhurst, Doolittle, and Wells-Williams, the translation of the Chinese classical books by James Legge, the writings of Eitel, Faber, Edkins, Chalmers, and Arthur Smith, to perceive the magnitude of our own indebtedness to them, while by their versions of the Bible, works in theology, church history, devotional books and treatises in almost every department of secular history and science, they have striven unceasingly to become the interpreters of the West to the Far East.

The events of the last few years have awakened a new spirit in the Chinese nation. They no longer desire to shroud themselves in a proud feeling of superiority to other nations, but show that they are willing to learn and desirous of appropriating whatever may serve to help them as a people in attaining to the level of the leaders of civilisation. Perhaps they do so thinking in the first place of securing the means for maintaining their independence and territorial unity. To such an aim it is impossible to refuse our warmest sympathy. Without security within their own borders they cannot turn their attention to the most precious elements in the life of a nation—to the religion which brings us into conscious relation with the God and Father of all mankind, to well-ordered civil and political liberty, to the pure administration of justice between man and man, and the elevation and improvement of human life under every aspect. It is to the missionaries that we must look for help in diffusing these blessings among the people of China, to whose welfare, spiritual, moral, and intellectual, they have devoted themselves so earnestly in the past, hoping even against hope for that fruit of their labours which the present time seems to promise.

It has been my privilege, during a residence of nearly