Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/92

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begins with Robert Morrison in 1807. For many years he toiled bravely with no encouragement, until he baptized the first convert in a quiet spot by a little stream on the beach near Macao. The great work of his life was the preparation of his dictionary and his translation of the Bible. Both of these have been superseded, but Morrison's faith and devotion are a permanent inspiration to all who follow him. One of his contemporaries estimated in those early years that by the end of the first century of Mission work in China there might possibly be as many as 2000 Christians in the Empire. How amazed these men would have been if they could have foreseen the actual results! One or two years[1] of the century are still to run, and, instead of the scarcely hoped-for 2000 Christians in the Empire, we have, of communicants alone, close on 40,000 in the Kwangtung province itself, with nearly as many baptized children growing up under Christian influence, and a multitude of hearers, worshippers, inquirers, and candidates for baptism, which must bring up the Protestant Christian community of this province to some 160,000 or 200,000 souls. Besides these, there remain uncounted the many thousands who have already finished their course in the faith and fear of Jesus Christ. These, so often forgotten, are the ripest fruit of our Mission work.

To borrow the fine remark of a Romish writer, these numbers "are few to one who dreams of the foundation of a church and the conversion of a people; they are great to one who reflects that each of these souls has been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ."

Protestant Missions in the province of Kwangtung present a large variety of method. There are now close on twenty different Missions at work, which, with one or two exceptions, work harmoniously together. They are of different nationalities—American, British, Colonial, German, Scandinavian, and International—and present every type of ecclesiastical development. Scholarship has been nobly represented in the literary work of such Chinese scholars as

  1. Written in 1906.—Ed.