Online Encyclopedia

MISSION

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 598 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
MISSION FIELDS] Islands. The partition of the continent among the various European nations has been on the whole favourable to mission work. The nature of the task and of the results may be best approached by considering the different divisions—North, South, East, West and Central Africa. North Africa, along the Mediterranean from Morocco to Egypt, is distinctly Mahommedan. To these regions came St Louis and Raimon Lull, and one may in passing remember the strength of Christianity in Proconsular Africa in the days of Tertullian and Cyprian, and in Egypt under Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Athanasius. To-day Islam is supreme, though the North Africa Mission, working largely on medical lines, has penetrated into many cities. In Egypt the United Presbyterians of America have met with considerable success among the Copts, and their fine educational work has proved a valuable asset both to themselves and the country. The Church Missionary Society is doing steady work in Cairo and in Upper Egypt. In the Eastern Sudan a promising beginning has been made, but the regions south of Kordofan have hardly been touched. In Nigeria the- Hausa tribes are coming to be better known, and to respond to the Christian teaching. In the Sahara and at Suakin there are Roman Catholic missions. There is a Roman mission to the Gallas in Abyssinia. That country has its own crude form of Christianity, and is much the same today as when Peter Heiling in the 17th century endeavoured to propagate a purer faith. A mission undertaken by the Church Missionary Society in 1839 was closed by French Jesuit intrigue in 1838. South Africa.—The Moravians, represented by George Schmidt, who arrived at Cape Town in July 1737, were the first to undertake mission work in South Africa. Schmidt won the confidence of the Hottentots, but the Dutch authorities stopped his work. In 1798 John T. Vanderkemp, an agent of the London Missionary Society, founded a mission to the Kaffirs east of Cape Town, and Robert Moffat (1818) went to the Bechuanas. David Livingstone was as determined to open the interior as the Boers were to keep it shut, and he succeeded, pushing north, discovering Lake Ngami, and consecrating a remarkable life to the evangelization of Central Africa. The London Mission has also largely evangelized the Matabele. In 1814 the Wesleyans began work among the Namaquas and Hottentots, and after-wards went into Kaffraria, Bechuanaland and Natal. They were followed by the Glasgow Missionary Society (1821), the Paris Evangelical Society (1829), the Moravian, Rhenish and Berlin Societies, and the American Board. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel came in 1819, mainly for colonists, the Church Missionary Society in 1837. The province of South Africa has ten dioceses, the bishop of Cape Town being metropolitan. The Glasgow Society's work was ultimately taken over by the Free Church of Scotland, whose great achievement is the Lovedale Institute, combining industrial and mission work. The Germans and Scandinavians have also been ardent workers in South Africa, and the Dutch Reformed Church has not entirely neglected the natives. One Dutch society gives its attention to the northern part of the Transvaal. The chief difficulties in the way of evangelization have been (1) the hostility of natives races aroused by European annexations, (2) the introduction of European vices, (3) the movement known as Ethiopianism. The British Wesleyans refused to confer full rights on negro pastors, who then appealed to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a product of American evangelization. One of them, J. M. Dwane, was made Vicar-Bishop, and a large and powerful independent negro church organized. Dwane afterwards approached the Anglicans, and in 1900 that church formed the " Ethiopian Order," ordaining Dwane a deacon and making him Provincial of the Order. Each bishop now deals with the Ethiopians in his own diocese. The South African governments foresaw dangerous developments in the Ethiopian movement, and steps were taken to restrain its growth. Ethiopianism, if ecclesiastical in its origin, gained strength from racial base. The task of averting the racial bitterness so dominant in the United States of America is a most formidable one. There593 are in South Africa several vicariates and prefectures of the Roman Church, the principal missions being French, those of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Oblates of Mary. West Africa was first visited by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1752. Its agent, T. Thompson, trained Philip Quaque, said to be " the first convert who ever received ordination since the Reformation in the Reformed Church." The Church Missionary Society came in 1804 and has worked heroically and successfully, though the largest mission now is that of the Wesleyans, who came in 1811, settling first at Sierra Leone. The American Baptists in Liberia (1821) and the Basel Mission in the Gold Coast (1827), the Congregationalists of the United States of America and Canada in Angola, and the English and American Baptists on the Congo (since 1845) have also extensive and prospering agencies. West Africa has taken heavy toll not only in money but in life, but the lesson has now been learned, and a system of frequent furloughs combined with a better understanding of the climatic requirements have appreciably lessened the peril. This region is linked with the name of the Anglican negro Bishop, Samuel Crowther, and with one phase of the ceaseless strength of Islam, which has so far failed to reach the west coast, finding itself confronted by the Christian influences which are at work among the great Hausa tribes and other peoples within the area of the Niger mission. The Portuguese in Angola and the agents of King Leopold in the Congo State have not been conspicuous friends of missionary enterprise, and the light-hearted childishness of the native character, so well portrayed in Miss Kingsley's writings, shows how difficult it is to build up a strong and stable Christian church. Bishop Taylor's effort at creating a self-supporting mission proved fruitless. The American Lutherans are attempting the same task on rather different lines, and with more promise. The Roman Catholic missions are chiefly French, and organized by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Lyons African Mission. Central Africa.—The upper Congo region opened up by Living-stone and Stanley has been a favourite sphere for what are known as " faith societies," e.g. the Plymouth Brethren, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Regions Beyond Missionary Union. The American Baptists continue the work started by the Livingstone Inland Mission in 1878, and the Southern Presbyterian Board (American) have done notable work. The Paris Society, represented especially by Francois Coillard, has been successful along the Zambezi, and Scottish, German, Moravian and Jesuit agencies are also well represented. North-ward, Central and East African organizations, following the Cape to Cairo route, are in touch with North African agencies working up the Nile. East Africa.—When the Abyssinia mission was closed in 1838 one of the missionaries, Krapf, went among the Gallas and then on to Mombasa, working in company with Rebmann. Since H. M. Stanley's appeal (1875) most satisfactory work, extensive and intensive, has been accomplished in Uganda, by the Church Missionary Society. The names of Mackay, Hannington and Pilkington, who lived and died here, are amongst the greatest in the roll of missionary heroes. The Roman Mission too has been very successful; for some years a French agency, the White Fathers of Algeria, carried it on, but they were afterwards joined by English helpers from St Joseph's Society at Mill Hill. The White Fathers also work in the Great Lakes region, and on the Zanzibar coast are the French Congregation of the Holy Ghost and German Benedictines. Zanzibar is also one of the centres of the Universities Mission, another being Likoma on Lake Nyasa. Near this lake the Scottish churches are also doing noble work. Besides Uganda the Church Missionary Society is responsible for Mombasa. The London Mission is meeting with success at the south end of Lake Tanganyika in North-east Rhodesia. The English United Methodists and some Swedish societies have begun work among the Gallas. German Missionary agencies have also come in with German colonization. In East Africa, as in the West, Christian missionaries fear most the aggressive Moslem propaganda. Madagascar 1 is one of the most interesting mission fields. Work was begun by the London Mission in 1819, and the work of civilization and evangelization went steadily forward till 1835, when a period of repression and severe persecution set in, which lasted till 1861. When the work was recommenced it was found that the native Christians had multiplied and developed during the harsh treatment of the 25 years. In 1869 the idols were publicly destroyed and the island declared Christian by royal proclamation. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1864), the Norwegian Missionary Society (1866), and the Friends' Foreign Missionary Association joined in the work, the prosperity of which received a severe check by the French annexation in 1896. The French authorities were hostile to the English missionaries, and even the handing over of part of the field to the Paris Evangelical Society did not do much to ease the situation. Laws were first enacted against private schools, then against elementary schools, and in 1906—1907 measures were passed which practically closed all mission schools. Family prayers were forbidden if any outside the immediate family were present, and 'religious services at the graveside were prohibited. Missionary work in the island has thus passed through a peculiarly trying experience, but happier conditions are now likely to prevail. In Mauritius and the Seychelles the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel are at work, especially among the coolies on the sugar plantations. The outstanding problem of African missions at least north of the Equator (south there is the Ethiopian question) is not the degradation of the black races, nor the demoralizing influences of heathen Christians, nor even the slave dealer, though all these obstacles are present and powerful. The all-decisive conflict is that between Christianity and Islam, and the Christian agencies must show much more co-operation if they are to be successful. The lines of missionary work have been, generally speaking, simple gospel preaching followed by education and industrial work. So rare were the ordinary comforts, and even necessities of life, that the latter had to take a prominent place from the beginning: the missionary had to be farmer, carpenter, brickmaker, tailor, printer, house and church builder, not only for himself but for his converts. The work of Bible translation has been particularly long and difficult; for the innumerable peoples who did not speak some form of Arabic the languages had first to be reduced to writing, and many Christian terms had to be coined. India: —The earliest missionaries to India, with the possible exception of Pantaenus of Alexandria (c. A.D. 18o), were the Nestorians from Persia. The record of their work is told else-where (see NESTORIUS and NESTORIANS). The Jesuits came in the 16th century, but were more successful quantitatively than qualitatively; in the 18th century the Danish coast mission on the coast of Tranquebar made the first Protestant advance, Bartholomaus, Ziegenbalg (1683–1719), Plutschau and Christian Friedrich Schwartz (1926–1998) being its great names. Up to this time the chief results were that (1) Christianity had gained a footing, (2) it had continued the monotheistic modification of Indian thought begun by Mahommedanism, and (3) the futility of sporadic and fanatical proselytism had been shown. A new era began with the arrival of William Carey and the founding of the Serampur Mission (15 M. north of Calcutta), though the hostility of the East India Company made the early years of the 19th century very unproductive. When Carey died in 1854 he and his colleagues Marshman and Ward had translated the Bible into seven languages, and the New Testament into 23 more, besides rendering services of the highest kind to literature, science and general . progress. They founded agricultural societies and savings' banks, and helped to abolish suttee, infanticide and other cruelties. At Travancore in the south, Ringeltaube, an agent of the London Missionary Society, had begun a work, especially among the Shanars or toddy drawers, which by 1840 had 15,000 Christians; and the Church Missionary Society, led by Rhenius, had equal success in Tinnevelly. The Baptists, drawn by the fame of the temple of Jagannath at Puri on the 1 See T. T. Matthews, Thirty Years in Madagascar. 2 See E. P. Rice in A Primer of Modern Missions, ed. R. Lovett (London, 1896) ; J. Richter, A History of Missions in India (1908) ; The Church Missionary Review (July 1908); Contemporary Review (May 1908 and June 1910).east coast, established a mission in Orissa in 182I which soon bore fruit; the Wesleyans were in Ceylon, Mysore and the Kaveri valley, the London Missionary Society at the great military centres Madras, Bangalore and Bellary, agents of the American Board at Ahmednagar and other parts of the Mahratta country around Bombay. The headquarters of Hinduism, the Ganges valley, was occupied by the Baptists, the Church Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society, these entering.Benares in 1816, 1818 and 182o respectively. Alexander Duff, a Scottish Presbyterian, had begun his great educational work in Calcutta, and Bible tract and book societies were springing up everywhere. Chaplains and bishops of the Anglican Church like James Hough in Tinnevelly, Henry Martyn in the north, Daniel Corrie in Agra, T. F. Middleton in Calcutta, and Reginald Heber all over India, were eagerly using their opportunities. In 1830 ten societies with 106 stations and 149 agents were at work; 1834 saw the founding of the Basel Mission on the west coast, the American Mission in Madura, the American Presbyterian Mission in Ludhiana. It would be impossible to trace in detail the work done by the different societies since Carey's time. The task as it presented itself may be analysed as follows: (1) to replace the caste system and especially the oppressive supremacy of the Brahmins by a spirit of universal brotherhood and the establishment of social and religious' liberty; (2) to correct and raise the standard of conduct; (3) to attack polytheistic idolatry with its attendant immoralities; (4) to replace the pantheistic by a theistic standpoint; (5) to elevate woman and the pariah. Besides these matters which concerned Hinduism there was the problem of converting sixty million Mahommedans. The chief methods adopted have been the following: (I) vernacular preaching in the large towns and on itineraries through the rural districts, a work in which native evangelists guided by Europeans and Americans played a large part. (2) Medical missions, which have done much to break down barriers of prejudice, especially in Kashmir under Dr Elmslie of the Church Missionary Society, and in Rajputana at Jaipur under Dr Valentine of the United Presbyterians. (3) Orphanages, in which the Roman Catholics led the way and have maintained their lead. (4) Vernacular schools, a good example of which is seen in the American Board's Madura Mission. (5) English education, in which the missionary societies have amply supplemented the efforts of the government, outstanding examples being the Madras Christian College (Free Church of Scotland), so long connected with the name of Dr William Miller, the General Assembly of Scotland's Institution at Calcutta, founded by Duff, Wilson College, Bombay (Free Church of Scotland), and St Joseph's College (Roman Catholic) at Trichinopoly. Work of this kind is followed up in some centres by lectures and conversations with educated Hindus. The Haskell Lectureship, which grew out of the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, belongs here. (6) Female education and zenana work. (7) Uplifting work among the Panchamas or low-castes, which has been strikingly successful among the Malas (American Baptists) and the Madigas (London Missionary Society) of the Telugu-speaking country, who come in mass movements to the Christian faith. (8) Missions among aboriginal tribes, e.g. the Kols and Santals of Chota Nagpur (Berlin Gossner Mission and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), and the tribes of the Khassia Mountains east of Bengal (Welsh Calvinistic Methodists) (9) Christian literature, in which connexion the name of Dr John Murdoch will always be honourably remembered. (1o) Pastoral work and the care of the churches. The great changes that have been wrought in India, politically, commercially, intellectually and religiously, by the combined action of the British government and the Christian missions, are evidenced among other tokens by the growth of such societies as the Arya Samaj and the Brahmo Samaj. • Orthodox Hindus, especially those whose social status and very livelihood are imperilled by the revolution, have shown their alarm either by open opposition, subjecting converts to every sort of caste coercion, or by methods of defence, e.g. Hindu tract societies and young men's associations, which are modelled on Christian organizations. A counter reformation can also be traced which attempts to revive Hinduism by purging it of its grossness and allegorizing its fables and legends. A new Islam is also a factor of the situation. Comparatively few converts have been made from Mahommedanism to Christianity, and these have been chiefly among the learned. But there is a wide prevalence of free-thinking, especially among the younger and educated classes of the community. The special difficulties of mission work in India may be thus summarized. (i) Racial antipathy. (2) The speculative rather than experimental and practical nature of the Hindu consciousness—historical proofs make no appeal to him. (3) The lack of initiative: in a land where the joint family system is everywhere and all powerful, individualism and will-power are at a discount. (4) The ignorance and conservatism of the women. (5) An inadequate sense of sin. (6) The introduction of European forms of materialism and anti-Christian philosophy. Perhaps, too, the methods adopted by missionaries have not always been the wisest, and they have some-times failed to remember the method of their Master, who came" not to destroy, but to fulfil." In spite, however, of all the difficulties, permanent and increasing results have been achieved along all the lines indicated above, The establishment of a strong native church is far from being the only fruit of the enterprise, but it is a fruit that can be gauged by statistics, and these are sufficiently striking. In a necessarily inadequate sketch it is impossible to give more than the barest mention to one or two other features of modern missionary achievement in India, e.g. the development of industrial schools, the establishment of a South India United Church, in which the Congregationalist agencies (London Missionary Society and American Board) and the Presbyterians have joined forces, and the endeavour to train an efficient and educated native ministry, which is being promoted especially at Serampur, where an old Danish degree-granting charter has been revived in what should become a Christian university, and at Bangalore, where Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Wesleyans collaborate to staff and maintain a united theological college. The government census for India and Burma (1901) gives a Christian population of 2,923,241 (native Christians 2,664,313) out of a total population of 294,361,056, or about 3%. The inclusion of Portuguese and French possessions would add about 350,000 to the Christian total. Though the number does not seem relatively high, it is significant when compared with that of former censuses—in 1872, 1,517,997; in 1881, 1,862,525 (increase 22.7%); in 1891, 2,284,380 (increase 22.6%); in 1901, 2,923,241 (increase of 28%). The Increase of 28 % between 1891 and 1901 has often been compared with the fact that the total population of India only registered an increase of 21% in that decade. In the words of The Pioneer, " this is a hard fact which cannot be explained away " and " the most remarkable feature of the returns." The increase was shared by every province and state in India. In 1910 there were 4614 missionaries (including wives), representing 122 societies, 1272 Indian ministers, and 34,095 other native workers, including teachers and Bible-women. The growth of the Protestant Native Christian community between 1851 and 1910 is shown in the following table: The Protestant community in India in 1910 was over a million strong, well distributed among the chief provinces, a fine spiritual force, easily first in female education, and rapidly growing in wealth, position and influence. A recent report of the Director of Public Instruction for the Madre§ Presidency says: " I have frequently called attention to the educational progress of the native Christian community. There can be no question, if the community pursues with steadiness the present policy of its teachers, that in the course of a generation it will have secured a preponderating position in all the great professions." What India wants (as Nobili 300 years ago saw, and attempted, though by fatal methods of deceit, to supply) is a Christianity not foreign but native, not dissociated from the religious life of the land but its fulfilment. Though there are many Christians in India to-day, the Hindu still looks askance at Christianity, not because it is a religion but because it is foreign. " India is waiting for her own divinely appointed apostle, who, whether Brahmin or non-Brahmin,shall connect Christianity with India's religious past, and present it as the true Vedanta or completion of the Veda and thus make it capable of appealing to the Hindu religious nature." It only remains to be said that the work of the missionaries individually and collectively has over and over again received the warmest recognition and praise from the highest officials of the Indian government. China.'—The earliest Christian missionaries to China, as to India, were the Nestorian (q.v.). Their work and that of the Roman Church, begun as the result of Marco Polo's travels about 1290, faded away under the persecution of the Ming dynasty which came to power about 1350. The next attempt was that of the French Jesuits, following on the visit and death of Xavier. They established themselves at Canton in 1582, and on the accession of the Manchu dynasty (1644) advanced rapidly. In 1685 there were three dioceses, Peking, Nanking and Macao, with a hundred churches. The Orthodox Eastern Church gained r footing in Peking in the same year, and established a college o. Greek priests. Friction between Jesuits and Dominicans lec' to the proscription of Christianity by the emperor in 1724; missionaries and converts being banished. The story of modern missions in China begins with Robert Morrison (q.v.) of the London Missionary Society, who reached Canton in 1807, and not being allowed to reside in China entered the service of the East India Company. In 1813 he was joined by a colleague, William Milne, and in 1814 baptized his first convert. In 1829 came representatives of the American Board, in 1836 Peter Parker began his medical mission, and on the opening of the Treaty Ports the old edicts were withdrawn, and other societies crowded in to a field more than ample. After the war of 1856 a measure of official toleration was obtained, and the task of evangelizing the country was fairly begun. Though the missionaries were chiefly concentrated in the treaty ports they gradually pushed inland, and here the names of W. C. Burns, a Scottish evangelist, J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, and James Gilmour, the apostle of Mongolia, are pre-eminent. But for more than half a century China seemed the most hopeless of mission fields. The upper classes were especially anti-foreign, and the whole nation vaunted its superiority to the rest of man- kind. In 1857 there were only about 400 baptized Protestant Christians in the whole of China. Even after the removal of the edicts the old prejudices remained, and the missionaries were regarded as political emissaries, the forerunners of military aggression. Native Christians were stigmatized as traitors, " followers of the foreign devils." In 1870 there was a great out- break concentrating in the massacres at Hankow and Tientsin; in 189r at Hunan and in 1895 at Ku Cheng there were other attacks which were only pre- liminary to the Boxer uprising of 1899-1900, when 135 missionaries, besides 52 children and perhaps 16,000 native Christians, whose heroism will always be memorable, perished, often after horrible tortures. There is little doubt that this savage outburst was directed not against religious teaching as such, but against the introduction of customs and ideas which tended to weaken the old power of the mandarins over the people. These leaders skilfully seized upon every breach of tradition to inflame popular passion, attacking especially the medical work as a pretext for mutilation, the schools as hotbeds of vice, and the orphanages as furnishing material for witchcraft. Out of the agony, however, a new China was born. The growing power of Japan, seen in her wars with China and Russia, and the impotence of the Boxers against the European allies, made all classes in China realize their comparative impotence, and the central government began a series of reforms, reorganizing the military, educational, fiscal and political systems on Western lines. Educational reforms became especially insistent, and modern methods and studies supplanted 1 See A. H. Smith, Chinese Characteristics; Village Life in China; and J. C. Gibson, Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China. Native Christian Communicants. Native Agents. Community. Rate of Rate of Proportion Unordained Number. Increase. Number. Increase. of the Ordained. preachers. Community. % % 1851 91,092 — 14,661 — 16•o 21 1861 138,731 52'3 24,976 70'3 18•o 97 1266 1871 224,258 61.6 52,816 111.4 23.5 225 1985 188i 417,372 86.1 113,325 114.5 27.1 461 2488 1890 559,661 34.0 182,722 61.2 32.6 797 3491 1900 854,867 52.8 301,699 65.1 35'3 — — 1910 1,472,448 72.2 522,743 73'3 — 1,272 the immemorial Confucian type. Students went in great numbers to Japan, Europe and America, and the old contempt and hostility toward things Western gave place to respect and friendliness. Early in the igth century the missionaries had not been able to do much by way of education, but the new openings were seized with such power as was possible, and while in 1876 there were 289 mission schools with 4909 pupils, in 1910 there were 3129 schools with 79,823 scholars. More significant still is the way in which the foremost Chinese officials have turned to missionaries like Timothy Richard and Griffith John for assistance in guiding the new impulse. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, under the inspiration of Lord William Cecil, were interesting themselves in 1910 in a scheme for establishing a Christian university in China. One of Morrison's contemporaries hoped that after a century of mission work there might possibly be 2000 Christians in China. That number was reached in 1865, and in 1910 there was a Protestant community of 214,546 church members and baptized Christians. These numbers are more than double what they were in 1900. In addition there are more than as many adherents.' The excellence of the converts, upon the whole, is testified to by travellers who really know the case; particularly by Mrs Bishop, who speaks of the " raw material " out of which they are made as "the best stuff in Asia." The total number of Protestant missionaries (including wives) in China in 1910 was 4175, one to about 'too sq. m., or to more than 1oo,000 Chinese. There are over 12,000 Chinese evangelists, Bible-women, teachers, &c. The Roman Catholic returns give 902,478 members and 390,617 catechumens. The work is carried on by eleven societies or religious orders with over 40 bishops and woo European priests, mostly French. A large feature of the work is the baptism of children. An important concession was obtained in 1899 by the French minister at Peking, with a view to the more effective protection of the Roman missions. The bishops were declared " equal in rank to the viceroys and governors," and the priests " to the prefects of the first and second class "; and their influence and authority were to correspond. The Anglican bishops agreed to decline these secular powers, as also did the heads of other Protestant missions. It is alleged by some that the exercise of the powers gained by the Roman hierarchy was one cause of the Boxer outbreaks. Certainly their native adherents had their full share of persecution and massacre. The Anglican Church is not so strong in China as in some other fields; the American Episcopalians were first in the field in 1835, followed by the Church Missionary Society (in 1844), which has had stirring success in Fu-Kien, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1874. There are five dioceses, and in 1897 an episcopal conference was held in Shanghai. Since the Japanese War the Scottish and Irish Presbyterians have made wonderful progress in Manchuria ; native evangelists do an increasing share of the work, and there is hardly any town or village without Christians. The London Mission has always been conspicuous for the contribution made by its agents to linguistic and literary knowledge, the name of James Legge being an outstanding example; it is now, in co-operation with other societies, earnestly taking up the new educational and medical openings. One of the most interesting features of missionary work in China is the comity that prevails among the workers of different societies and agencies. Thus in 1907 at the Centenary Conference in Shanghai, when many topics were discussed centring in the question of the native Chinese Church, a general declaration of faith and purpose was adopted, which, after setting out the things held in common, proceeded, " We frankly recognize that we differ as to methods of administration and of church government; that some among us differ from others as to the administration of baptism; and that there are some differences as to the statement of the doctrine of predestination, or the election of grace. But we unite in holding that these exceptions do not invalidate the assertion of our real unity in our common witness to the Gospel of the Grace of God." The conference reported, " We have quite as much reason to be encouraged by the net result of the progress of Christianity in China during the 19th century as the early Christians had with the progress of the Gospel in the Roman Empire during the first century." Japan and Korea.—The Christian faith was brought to Japan by Portuguese traders in 1542, followed by Xavier in 1549. See Contemporary Review (Feb. 1908), " Report on Christian Missions in China," by Mr F. W. Fox, Professor Macalister and Sir Alex. Simpson. This great missionary was well received by the daimios (feudal lords), and though he remained only 21 years, with the help of a Japanese whom he had converted at Malacca he organized many congregations. In 1581 there were 200 churches and 150,000 Christians; ten years later the converts numbered 600,000, in 1594 a million and a half. Then came a time of repression and persecution under Iyeyasu, whose second edict in 1614 condemned every foreigner to death, forbade the entry of foreigners and the return of Japanese who had left the islands, and extinguished Christianity by fire and sword. The reopening of the country came in 1859, largely through American pressure, and in May of that year two agents of the Protestant Episcopal Church began work at Nagasaki. They were followed by others from the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, and by their great intellectual ability, patience and tact these pioneers (S. R. Brown; J. C. Hepburn and G. F. Verbeck), as the Marquis Ito said, contributed very largely to the progress and development of Japan in the days when she was first studying the outer world. They did an immense amount of preparatory work along evangelistic, medical and educational lines, and skilfully gathered the youths of the country around them. The accession of a new mikado in 1868 finally ended the old seclusion; financiers, engineers, artisans poured in from Western Europe, and from America came bands of teachers, largely under missionary influence. In 1869 the American Board (Congregational) sent its first band; in 187o Verbeck was called on to organize a scheme for national education. In 1872 the first Japanese church was formed; in 1875 Joseph Neesima, who had been converted by a Russian missionary and then educated in America, founded a Christian Japanese College, the Doshisha, in the sacred city of Kyoto. Meanwhile the Christian calendar had been adopted and the old anti-Christian edicts removed. By 1889 there were 30,000 Protestant communicants. It was at this time that the nation, conscious of its new life, began to be restive under the supercilious attitude of foreign nations, and the feeling of irritation was shared by the native Christian communities. It showed itself in a desire to throw off the governance of the missionaries, in a criticism of Protestant creeds as not adapted to Japanese needs, and in a slackened growth numerically and intensively. After a period of stress and uncertainty, due very largely to the variety of denominational creed and polity, matters assumed an easier condition, the missionaries recognizing the national characteristics and aiming at guidance rather than control. The war with China in 1894 marked a new chapter and initiated a time of intense national activity; education and work for women went forward rapidly. Missionaries went through the island as.never before, and their evangelistic work was built upon by Japanese ministers. In the war with Russia Japanese Christianity found a new opportunity; on the battlefield, in the camp, at home, Christian men were pre-eminent. In 1902 there were 50,000 church members; in 1910, 67,043; the total Protestant community in 1910 was about 1oo,000, and had an influence out of all proportion to its numbers; the Roman Church was estimated at 79,000, and the Orthodox Eastern Church (Russian) at 30,000. No sketch, however brief, can omit a reference to the Anglican bishop of South Tokyo, Edward Bickersteth (1850-1897), who from his appointment in 1886 guided the joint movement of English and American Episcopalians which issued in the Nippon Sei Kokwai or Holy Catholic Church of Japan, a national church with its own laws and its own missions in Formosa. In April 1907 the Conference of the World's Student Christian Federation (700 students from 25 different countries) met in Tokyo, and received a notable welcome from the national leaders in administration, education and religion. In Korea, the " Hermit Nation," or as the Koreans prefer to say, " The Land of the Morning Calm," Christianity was introduced at the end of the 18th century by some members of the Korean legation at Pekin who had met Roman Catholic missionaries. It took root and spread in spite of opposition until 1864, when an anti-foreign outbreak exterminated it. The door was re-opened by the treaties of 1882-1886, and even before that copies of the gospels had been circulated from the Manchuria side. The Methodist Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Board, both of America, entered the country in 1885, and were soon joined by similar agencies from Canada and Australia. The Anglican Church began work in 189o, the work was thoroughly planned, the characteristics of the people were care-fully considered, and the successes and failures of other mission-fields were studied as a guide to method. The medical work won the favour of'the government, and so wisely did the missionaries act, that during all the turbulent changes 'since 1884 they escaped entanglement in the political disturbances and yet held the confidence of the people. The persistence and growth of Christianity among the Koreans is largely due to the fact that Christianity had not been superimposed on them as a foreign organization. They had built their own churches and schools, adopted their own forms of worship and phrased their own beliefs. Korea vies with Uganda as a triumph of modern missionary enterprise. In 1866 there were not more than loo Christians; official returns in 1910 show 178,686 Protestants, including 72,000 church members and probationers; and 72,290 Roman Catholics. Theological colleges, normal training colleges and higher and lower grade schools bear witness to an activity and a success which are truly remarkable. South-East Asia and the East Indies.—The work of Christian missions in this area has had the double advantage of freedom from political and social unrest, and of comparatively little overlapping, each country as a rule being taken over by a single society. In Burma the American Baptists, whose work began with Adoniram Judson in 1813, are conspicuous, and have had marked success among the Karens or peasant class, where the pioneer was George Dana Boardman (1827). The Karen Christian communities are strong numerically and have a good name for self-support. The Baptists have also stations in Arakan and Assam where they link up with the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists (1845). The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Methodist Episcopal Church work in and around Rangoon. In Siam again the Americans, especially the Presbyterians, have been most prominent. Medical work made an impression on the people and won the favour of the government, which has always been cordial and has employed missionaries as court-tutors. Buddhism is at its best at Siam, and this and the enervating climate are responsible for the comparatively small direct success of Christian propaganda in Siam proper. In the Laos country to the north, however, much more has been done, and a healthy type of Christian community established. Native workers have done something to carry the Gospel into the French colonies of Tongking and Annam. Here the Roman missions are very extensive, and have over a million adherents, despite violent persecution before the French occupation. The peninsula and archipelago known as Malaysia presents a remarkable mingling of races, languages and beliefs. Tatar, Mahommedan and Hindu invasions all preceded the Portuguese who brought Roman Catholicism, and the Dutch who brought Protestantism. This last resulted in a great number of nominal conversions, as baptism was the passport to government favour, and church membership was based on the learning of the Decalogue and the Lord's Prayer, and on the saying of grace at mealtimes. In the Straits Settlement the foundations of modern missionary effort were laid by the London Missionary Society pioneers who were waiting to get into China; they were succeeded by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1856), English Presbyterians (1875), Methodist Episcopalians (1884), who have a fine Anglo-Chinese College at Singapore, and the Church of England Zenana Society (1900). In the Archipelago most of the work has naturally been in the hands of the Netherlands Missionary Society (1812) and other Dutch agencies, who at first were not encouraged by the colonial government, but have since done well, especially in the Minahassa district of Celebes (150,000 members) and among the Bataks of Sumatra (Rhenish Mission). In Celebes and the Moluccas the work is now under the Colonial State Church. In Java the government has favoured Mahommedans (there isactive intercourse between the island and Mecca), but there are some 25,000 Christians and a training school and seminary at Depok near Batavia. In Dutch Borneo the Rhenish Society is slowly making headway among the Dyaks; in British Borneo the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1848) and the Methodist Episcopalians occupy the field. The total number of Christians in British Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies is about 600,000 (including 57,000 Roman Catholics). Western Asia and the Turkish Empire 1—The American Presbyterians and Congregationalists have the largest Protestant missions in these lands, working, however, mainly for the enlightenment and education of the Oriental Christians. With the same object, though on different lines, the archbishop of Canter, bury's Assyrian Mission seeks to influence the Nestorians. The Roman Catholics have extensive missions in these countries, directed at winning adherents to the unity of the Holy See from the Oriental Churches, which are regarded as schismatic and heretical. In this enterprise there has been great advance in Egypt among the Copts, and in 1899 the Pope signalized " the resurrection of the Church 'of Alexandria " by appointing a Patriarch for Egypt, Libya and Nubia. Farther east, on the borders of Turkey and Persia, the Roman and Russo-Greek Churches compete for the adhesion of the Nestorians, Chaldeans and Armenians. The Franciscans, Dominicans, Lazarists and Jesuits are engaged in all these works. Direct work among Mahommedans is done, though with small result, by the North Africa Mission (non-denominational) and the Church Missionary Society. The Egypt, Palestine and Persia missions of the latter society have been largely reinforced and extended since 1884, medical work and women's work being especially prominent, Four cities in southern Persia are now occupied. Three missions just touch the border of Arabia, viz. the United Free Church of Scotland at Aden, founded by Ion Keith-Falconer (1856-1887) son of the 9th earl of Kintore and Arabic professor at Cambridge; an American Presbyterian Mission on the Persian Gulf; and the Church Missionary Society's Mission at Bagdad. The American Robert College at Constantinople and the work of the Friends' Missionary Association in Syria are honourable and successful enterprises. The chief difficulties have been (1) the antagonism of the officials of the Oriental churches, (2) the suspicion and hostility of Islam, (3) the jealousies, religious and political, connected with the Eastern Question. Missions in Christian Lands.—Australia has been referred to already (see South Seas, above). In the Western Hemisphere we may distinguish the following: (1) Early Roman Missions began with the discovery of the continent and practically ceased in the middle of the 18th century. Conspicuous among their achievements was the conversion of Mexico, 200,000 converts being enrolled within six years after the capture of the capital (1521), and a million baptized by the Franciscans alone within thirty years. In South America the passive character of the population made them submissive alike to the Spanish government and the Roman faith. Their natural devotion and their susceptibility to pomp and ritual was a factor skilfully used by the priests, but hardly anything was done to strengthen their moral power. The influx of base European strata helped to reduce the whole continent south of Mexico in about a century to a level as low as that preceding the first mission. About 1600 the Franciscans and French Jesuits began their work in North America and among the Indians did a successful work marked by much heroism. They also enabled the Roman Church to keep its hold on the French colonists of Quebec and Montreal, and were pioneers in California. (2) Modern Missions in North America.—Missions among the Red Indian tribes in the North-West Territories of both the United States and Canada have long been carried on by several societies. The first workers were Thomas Mayhew, junior and John Eliot at Martha's Vineyard (1643) and Roxbury (1646). Bishop Whipple of Minnesota was justly called the Apostle of the Indians, so far as the work of the American Episcopal Church was concerned. In the Canadian North-West the Church Missionary Society's Missions have reached many tribes up to the shores of the Polar sea, and made some thousands of converts. Even the wan, dering Eskimos, thanks to the Moravians, are mainly Christians. The Anglican Church has nine dioceses in the province of Rupert's Land. The Roman Catholic missionaries also are scattered over these immense territories, and have a large number of Indian adherents. Besides the Oblates many are Jesuits from French Canada. The Russo-Greek Church has a mission in Alaska, dating See J. Richter, A History of Protestant Missions in the Near East (1910). 598 from the time when it was Russian territory, and various American societies are also represented. The total number of Indians in British North America is 99,000, of whom about 27,000 are still pagan, and the rest are about equally divided between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Missions. (3) Central and South America.-Protestant missions to Indians here have been very limited. Von Weltz did something in Dutch Guiana (c. 1670), and the Moravians among the Arrawak Indians of Surinam (1738-18o8). Since 1847 they have worked on the Mosquito coast of Central America. American Missions are at work in Mexico and adjacent countries. In the West India Islands the negro population has been reached by most of the larger British societies. The South American Missionary Society, founded by the ill-fated Captain Allen Gardiner, has much extended its work among the Indians of the interior of what has been well called " the Neglected Continent "; it has been specially successful among the Araucanians of Chile and the Paraguayan Chaco. Their work among the Fuegians drew a warm tribute from Charles Darwin. Several American missions are also at work. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has an important mission in British Guiana. But there are numerous heathen tribes never yet reached. The Roman Church, which is dominant throughout the continent, has been engaged in serious struggles with the anti-religious tendencies of the Republican governments, and L'Annee de l'Eglise makes no mention of missions among the Indians. In fact the Pope in 1897 was obliged to send a severe rebuke to the clergy for their lack of consistency and zeal. Protestant societies have done much to bring the Bible to the knowledge of the nominally Roman Catholic population.
End of Article: MISSION
[back]
MISSI DOMINICI
[next]
MISSIONS (Lat. missio, a sending)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.