The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey/The Province of Shansi

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THE PROVINCE OF SHANSI By Mr. Albert Lutley, China Inland Mission.

The province of Shansi lies between Shensi and Chihli, and north of Honan. The Yellow Eiver bounds it on the west and partly on the south. A long range of mountains divides it from the provinces of Shantung and Chihli on the east, thus giving it the name of Shansi (" West of the Mountains "). The north is traversed by two arms of the Great Wall, though at a considerable distance from its present frontier.

The eastern and western portions of the province consist of high, undulating tablelands, which in many places rise into mountain ranges varying from 4000 feet to 8000 feet above the sea.

The western part is, generally speaking, poor, and the hills are almost devoid of trees; but the eastern portion abounds in mineral wealth, and in not a few districts the hills are well covered with pines or firs. It is thought by European experts that this is one of the largest and richest coalfields in the world. Baron Richthofen estimated that there are some 13,500 square miles of anthracite coal- fields with seams varying from 20 to 30 feet in thickness. Between these tablelands there are several rich, fertile plains. The provincial capital, Taiyuan {i.e. " The Great Plain "), is situated on the northern border of the largest of these, and derives its name from it. This plain contains about 2000 square miles, and is nearly 100 miles from north to south. It is thickly populated, containing eleven Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/278 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/279 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/280 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/281 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/282 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/283 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/284 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/285 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/286 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/287 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/288 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/289 Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/290 of church government and discipline, and this in spite of the fact that the missionaries concerned represent nearly every section of the evangelical churches.

As yet the work is largely confined to the farmer and labouring classes, the Gospel having won but few converts from among the merchants and scholars.

The work received a serious check in the Boxer rising, from which in many districts it is recovering but slowly. On the other hand, there are distinct reasons for encourage- ment and hope in looking forward to the future.

The work commenced by the late Pastor Hsi, and still being carried on by his co-workers, enables us to realise what God is able to do through our native brethren, if they but consecrate their gifts and lives to Him. Then the prominent place taken by the native leaders, and the large measure of self-support and self-government already attained in several of the larger churches, is full of promise for the future healthy development and extension of the work.