Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/95

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51
THE PROVINCE OF KWANGTUNG

over 18,000, has now more than doubled again in the four years from 1901 to 1905, and now stands at between 39,000 and 40,000.

The present outlook is of the most encouraging kind. Recent events and the movements of the public mind for many years have led to a large amount of inquiry into Christian teaching. The persistent preaching of the truth for so many years, and the testimony, both by life and word, of the young Christian community, have created a very widespread knowledge of the outlines of our teaching. Multitudes who have not yet professed themselves Christians have become satisfied that the Christian teaching is morally sound, and there is a very general recognition, both by officials and people, of the good character of the Christian communities. All this constitutes a most favourable opportunity for the presentation of the Gospel message, and promises at no distant date a large ingathering.

Two serious dangers confront us. One arises from the hostile attitude of the French Catholic Missions to all others, their political action as advance-agents of French prestige, their policy of interference in litigation and clan feuds, and the free use of physical force by their large bodies of armed "converts." Intense irritation is thus created in the minds of both people and officials, which forms a serious danger to the peace of the province. On the other hand, these excesses tend to defeat their own end, and sometimes react favourably on the public mind by compelling attention to the wholly different character and aims of the Protestant Missions. The other danger which we have to meet is sometimes closely connected with the first. It arises from the large numbers of persons who are seeking to connect themselves with the Christian movement. Many of these are attracted to a growing cause by worldly and unspiritual motives, and the utmost vigilance and faithfulness are needed, both to enlighten and to sift these multitudes of people.

The movement in favour of the "New Learning," already referred to, while full of hope, constitutes, if not a danger,