Protestant Christianity wants men to be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. It urges our Lord’s command, “Search the Scriptures.” It demands not only the hearing ear, but the reading eye.
Hence this early effort on the part of the missionaries to prepare a version of the Scriptures and a Christian literature in a form more readily learned by the people. Those early efforts were doubtful experiments even to some of the missionaries. The Chinese converts at first looked quite askance at what appeared to them an effort to supersede their highly venerated Chinese character.
The Romanized system was gradually perfected. The Chinese were gradually disabused of their prejudices. To-day the most ardent advocates of the system are Chinese pastors and elders. The whole Bible has been translated into Amoy Romanized colloquial. An extensive literature adapted to Christian homes and Christian schools has grown up through the years and is contributing to the strength and progress of the Chinese Church to-day.
“Independent of the reproach which the opium traffic casts on the Christian religion, we find it a great barrier in the way of evangelizing this people. We cannot put confidence in an opium smoker. A man who smokes it in even the smallest degree we should not dare to admit into the Christian church. More than one-half of the men at Amoy are more or less addicted to the habit. Of this half of the population the missionary can have comparatively but little hope. We know the grace of God can deliver from every vice and there have been examples of reformation even from this. Yet from experience when talking to an opium smoker we always feel discouraged. Although this be a discouraging feature in our operations here, it should only be a stimulus to the Church to send more laborers and put forth greater efforts to stem the tide of destruction which the Christian world is pouring in upon the heathen. Independent of the principles of benevolence, justice demands of Christendom that the evil be stayed, and reparation if possible be made for the injury already done. If nothing more, let there be an equivalent for whet has been received from China. It is a startling fact, that the money which Christian nations have received from China for this one article, an article which has done to the Chinese nothing but incalculable injury, far, far exceeds all the money which has been expended by all Protestant churches on all Protestant missions in all parts of the heathen world since the days of the Reformation.