Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/75

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33
INTRODUCTION

Societies. The command to "pray for those who despitefully use you " was literally fulfilled, and a public meeting was immediately summoned in Exeter Hall, " not for protest, not for an appeal to the Government, but in solemn commemoration of the martyred brothers and sisters, and for united prayer. . . . Not one bitter word was uttered, nothing but sympathy with the bereaved, pity for the misguided murderers, thanksgiving for the holy lives of the martyrs, and fervent desires for the evangelisation of China."

How little did any one then know that within the short space of five years one of the worst persecutions known to history was to take place. Yet terrible as was the loss of life which subsequently took place during the awful Boxer outbreak of 1900, it would doubtless have been much greater but for the wonderful intervention of God Himself. During that sad year, the memory of which is still so painfully fresh, not only did 135 missionaries, with 53 of their children, lay down their lives for Christ in China, but thousands of Chinese Christians proved the reality of God's work in their hearts and lives by following in the footsteps of Him who is "The Faithful Witness."

Of the coup d'Mat of 1898; of the assumption of official rank by the Roman Catholic missionaries in China in 1899; of the seizure of Kiaochow by Germany in consequence of the murder of two Roman Catholic missionaries; of the Russian entry into Manchuria, and the fortification of Port Arthur ; of the British occupation of Weihaiwei; and of the other various demands upon the Chinese Empire, all of which more or less led up to the terrible revenge of 1900, there is now no need to speak.

Nor will space allow any adequate survey of the rapid and complex movements of the last few years, of the Russo-Japanese War, and the extraordinary collapse of the Russian army ; of the alliance between England and Japan, and the guarantee of her integrity to China by that agreement ; of the extraordinary thirst for Western knowledge, so recently manifested ; of the awakening of a new sense of national life, and the assumption of the watchword "China for the D