Gambar halaman

We have no difficulty in perceiving a distinction for practical purposes between antecedent and consequent, cause and effect, force and product. Yet all that is in the product was in the force; and all that was given to constitute a product remains in it. We may take cognizance of things in their concreteness, and notice their relations and purposes, and give them their names; and we may do quite another thing in making an analysis of them to discover their constituent elements. In these processes there is no contradiction or inconsistency; and it is immaterial how deep and complete the analysis may be. If we shall find that no atom moves and no perceptible thing exists independently of the constructing, sustaining, and present power of the Creator; that He is universally immanent; we will avoid confusion and utter no contradiction if we nevertheless treat created things as distinct from the Creator. If in doing so we fail to convey or to conceive absolute truth, the failure is not peculiar to this case, and it does not occur on account of our choosing to use the word Creator rather than the word force or forces; or choosing the word person or God rather than the word power or protoplasm.

We want a basis which cannot be undermined and from which storm and tide cannot move us. Then let us firmly adhere to the verity of an Omnipotent and Omnipresent Intelligence. Like many familiar facts this great truth transcends human comprehension, but it does not violate human reason. It is a foundation upon which all superstructure of phenomena may rest in stability and symmetry. It is a center toward which all facts of science and all systems of philosophy may converge and in which they may blend. It gives light upon both material and spiritual mysteries. It reveals the source of energy, purpose, method, intellect, and of matter and its devel. opments. No other theory will afford so rational an interpretation of things visible and invisible. It elevates our physical tenements, and gives a response to the longings and an impulse to the aspirations of the soul.

Refusing to admit of even a delegated substitute for Him, we shall be prepared to accept whatever phenomena or potency may be disclosed whether natural or supernatural. While the ordinary courses of His works will be exalted as such, and admired for their fitness, benignity, beauty, and permanence, yet it will not be inconceivable that a jar, a discord, a miracle may at some point hasten a beneficent process, illustrate the excellence of the ordinary, reveal the hand that moves it, awaken sluggish minds, and make a special call for awe, allegiance and trust. No new nor contravening power is introduced in a miracle. It is extraordinary but not extra-potential. The adoption of the theory of these statements may put aside necessity, law, nature, and matter from the positions they now hold as false gods standing in front and obstructing the view of the Omnipotent One. Then it will be seen that He works perpetually, and not merely at initiation—that he works directly and consistently giving definite promises by established methods, not that he has delegated and surrendered his power to a blind substitute. Under this conception whenever the gentler term of natural consequence is used, it will signify all that is expressed by Almighty fiat, and when His decrees are spoken of it will be an allusion to the effects of causes in their ordinary relations. Whether by special and abrupt construction or by evolution and growth, whatever is produced will be perceived to be the direct effect of His will. We shall be prepared to admit, if true science shall claim it, that wherever conditions arise that are favorable for organism and life, they will appear, and it may be with or without tangible seed. If it be said He causeth the grass to grow for cattle and herb for the service of man—that not a sparrow is forgotten and that even the bairs of your head are numbered—that He maketh small the drops of water—that He made the world and all things therein, and in Him we live and move and have our being, then this will be no hyperbole, but His works will be so recognized and the conviction of His presence will be so vivid that it will not seem extravagant to say He will walk and converse with those who have clean hearts and who will look and listen to Him.


An added respect for the aggressive enterprise of our century comes from the thought that some of its reforms bave reached China. To Western minds that nation bas typified absolute conservatism and lack of progress, guarded by avowed contempt for foreigners and inaccessibility to trade. We of the United States have mustered conceit to look upon our hoary.headed neighbor with feelings of mingled pity and contempt. His vast and highly-favored domains have vulgarly been called breeding.grounds for the multiplication of a repul. sive, loose-moraled race of “heathen." In the popular mind China has lately been deemed worthy of notice only because likely to cause annoyance by an overflow of undesirable popu- . lation, or for possible inducements for trade, or because fur. nishing a mart for our surplus silver. For the comparative pbilologist, the ethnologist, the evangelist, however, the Flowery Kingdom” has suggested far deeper and truer questions, concerning the origin of written language, the rise of the ancient nations, the conquering power of Christianity. An exhaustive discussion of any one of these broad subjects might appropriately be made the life-work of a Napoleon for energy, a Pascal for memory, a Gibbon for acumen, a Schliemann for diligence, and, we are safe in adding, a Methusalah for age. Nothing is farther from our intention than an attempt to pronounce upon these vexed questions of scholarship. Yet it may be possible within the limits of a short article to give a brief resumé of recent events, -of progress, if such has been made, in China. Still more interesting should it prove to mark out the lines within which constitutional, social, and religious changes must occur if the complex machinery which governs them is set at work. The present period seems especially appropriate for the discussion of this general theme, for it has introduced to American readers several recent texts on the condition of China and a greatly enlarged reprint of the standard treatise on the “Middle Kingdom." Written by a VOL. VII.



thorough scholar forty-three years resident in China, it seems to us unlikly that for fullness of information, fairness of statement, and freshness of style this work will be excelled as a comprehensive synopsis of the whole subject. One may expect, rather, to see the most attractive portions of this immense terri. tory henceforth apportioned among the specialists.

Every country has its local atmosphere, but the atmosphere of China is peculiarly dense and puzzling, with the gathered mists of centuries. All strangers recognize this, but only those who have spent years of deep study in China and come into daily contact with the natives can appreciate fully its signifi

When such authorities as Mr. Williams confess that they were often puzzled to apprehend every day matters from a purely Chinese stand-point, one begins to realize the vast differences separating their race from our own-differences extending not merely to manners and customs, but, apparently, to the very structure of the brain and texture of the heart. The thought is the less grotesque because the exact prototypes and lineal ancestors of these “men of the Middle Kingdom” were in reality inhabitants of a world differing almost radically from our modern one in aspirations, knowledge, and material

With this warning to ourselves in mind against surface judgments and against making the genius of our civili. zation an all-sufficient touchstone for antipodal affairs, we will now endeavor, for the purpose of acquiring a fund of information for future discussion, to draw a few deductions from the educational, constitutional, and religious systems of China. We speak first of the former because it bas attracted deepest attention in study of the intellectual development of that country, and because upon it the two others depend as corollaries.

It is necessary to notice that the importance of educating the masses was acknowledged in China as early as five hundred years before our era. At that time none of the other leading nations, Persians, Syrians, or Jews, made the slightest pretense 10 a system of education. The present Chinese system, with provisions for examinations, dates from A. D. 600. Thus its great antiquity is a proof both of the reverence in which it is held and its want of elasticity, viewed from our stand-point. But we must remember the great end of education among the


Chinese has always been and still is to discipline the heart and purify the affections rather than fill the bead with knowledge. The horn-books are dissertations upon the nature of man and platitudes on the value of education. Neither the study of mathematics, geography, natural history, nor the history or languages of foreign countries bas any part in the native curriculum. A peculiarity of the Chinese language which accounts for some features in the literary and educational history of the people, has frequently been overlooked by foreign writers on that country.* The structure of the characters is such that there is no clue to their sound save by its pronunciation by a native. The utterances of these sounds are arbitrary and independent of any logical system or sequence, so that if a given province should perish, it has been stated, no approach to its dialect could ever after be gathered from writings or analogy by students from other portions of China. Hence no means exists by which the sound of a foreign language can be intelligently conveyed into the Chinese language so as to open up its literature to natives. Grammars and dictionaries to teach a Chinese English or Italian without oral instruction, are almost utterly impossible. All the characters are like Arabic figures and the dialects in China emulate the diversity of the numerals among European languages. Owing to this cause, then, more than any thing else, the stores of knowledge contained in foreign books are shut out, and always have been, from Chinese scholars. Again, possessed from the earliest times with books in their own language, while contiguous nations had only such writings as were borrowed from them, the idea naturally arose in China that "outside" nations produced nothing in the way of culture worth investigating. But the peculiar maxims above referred to are impregnably implanted in the boys’ minds— "more deeply," says Mr. Williams, “than are ever Biblical truths and examples on graduates of Yale, Oxford, Heidelberg, or the Sorbonne."

At first thought the public examinations for the four literary degrees are a very encouraging feature of Chinese education. Certain results they do accomplish and accomplish very well,

* For this lucid and concise explanation of the intellectual isolation of China, I am indebted to Mr. Frederick Wells Williams, of the Yale College Library.-J. A. P.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »