Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/140

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The Roman Catholics have had Missions in Kiangsu since the sixteenth century. About eleven years after Ignatius Loyola had founded the Society of Jesus, Xavier, the most zealous of the Jesuits, was reconnoitring the great closed land of Sinim. He never gained an entrance. Disappointment and intrigue broke his heart, and he died within sight of China's shore before the "rock" opened.

In 1579 Matteo Ricci arrived in China. Foiled in his first attempt to enter Nanking, he proceeded to Nanchang, a city of evil repute, but returned to Nanking and ultimately made his way to the capital. The impression this man made on her rulers is written legibly in the annals of China; no missionary of any denomination has since exerted a tithe of his influence.

A notable convert was gained for Christianity when Sü Kwang-chi, a Cabinet Minister of that date, became the friend and pupil of Ricci. When the officials at Nanking denounced the missionaries of the new religion as a "depraved sect," Sü memorialised the Emperor in their favour. His books, political and religious, are still on sale in the book-shops in Shanghai. A memorial arch to his memory was erected in this, his native city, and to this day his name is enshrined in a little temple called "The Hall of Sü Wen-ding" (the resolute and elegant Sü). Surely it has fallen to the lot of few men to be canonised by Christians and pagans alike.

Siccawei, literally (Sü-kia-wei) "the homestead of the Sü family," is now the site of the Roman Catholic establishment near Shanghai. It comprises an observatory, art schools, printing-press, etc., and is reckoned one of the most interesting places in the Far East.

Since those early days Catholic Missions have been prosecuted in the province with varied success. As Protestants, we can neither acquiesce in their tenets nor approve their methods of mission work, but the self-sacrifice and persistence of the missionaries are such as we can only admire.

Their success, though great, has not been adequate to