Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/31

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INTRODUCTION
By the Editor

The Chinese Empire, whether viewed from the standpoint of its extent of territory, the wealth of its resources, the antiquity and vitality of its teeming population, or in view of its past history and future prospects, cannot but command the most serious and thoughtful consideration of all who are interested in the welfare of the human race.

Year by year China has attracted increasing attention, and has commanded a larger place in the minds of men, no matter whether it be the missionary, commercial, or international questions which interest the observer. Few, if any, of the problems of human life to-day are of greater importance and of a more fascinating nature than those presented by the Chinese Empire. With the threatened dismemberment of the Empire but recently averted, with her integrity practically assured by the renewal of the Alliance between England and Japan, with a spirit of reform moving the country from east to west and north to south, the future of China portends great weal or woe to the rest of mankind.

For exactly one hundred years, from 1807 to 1907, Protestant Missions have been endeavouring to bring to bear upon the Chinese people the regenerating and ennobling influences of the Gospel, and it has been acknowledged by the Chinese themselves, as well as by the European and American residents, that the beneficent influence of the truth made known through the various

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