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"Message to the Oberlin Students from Paul Corbin." Oberlin Review. (April 20, 1905): 428-8.
MESSAGE TO THE OBERLIN STUDENTS FROM PAUL CORBIN.
This statement and appeal is sent out in the confidence that there are men in our colleges and seminaries who have iron in their blood; men who are willing to give body and soul to the defence of a. sacred cause in a great and grave emergency; men who will count not their lives as dear unto themselves if they may help fulfil the last will and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. WHAT WE HAVE IN SHANSI.
We have a province with an area of fifty?six thousand square miles, exactly the size of Illinois. We have a province with a population of fourteen millions. Add to the present population of the great "Prairie State" the people of all New England; again, add to these the people of the great states of Texas and Colorado; these millions, scattered over an expanse of mountain and plateau having much the same general form as Illinois, represent Shansi.
We have the richest of the eighteen provinces of China, richest both in agricultural and in mineral products. The fertile loess plains arid plateaus lend themselves freely to Chinese methods of agriculture and abundantly reward the husbandman. Under the mountains are rich veins of the more useful minerals. Baron Richthofen, a German expert, has declared that under the hills of North China there is a supply of coal to last the world for two thousand years at the present rate of consumption. Already a British syndicate has built a railway that is tapping the coal fields on the southern border of the province. A Russo-Chinese syndicate is at present building a railway into the very heart of the province.
We have a province cursed with two great sins, opium-smoking, and the lust of money. The prevalence of the opium-smoking habit has made the province notorious, and her fair fields have been despoiled of more useful crops to grow the hateful poppy. So widely has the other sin inoculated the people that the bankers of all North China are Shansi men. These two curses, however, have been and may still be used of God to bring blessings to the province and in the following ways:
First, the opening of opium refuges under the supervision of medical missionaries and skilled assistants affords an avenue of approach with the Gospel to many souls, and at a time when they are peculiarly susceptible.
Second, the very fact that the men of the province are thrifty, that they are able to make money, and that the province has wealth, projects the hope that perhaps here first of all in the Empire may be fulfilled that ideal of the missionary, a self-supporting and self-propagating native church.
We have two centers of work in the province, in the cities of Tai-Ku and Fen-Chou-Fu. The former is a city of twenty thousand people, in the midst of a district with four hundred towns and villages with a population of ninety thousand. Fen-Chou-Fu is a city of fifty thousand people, and the district surrounding it has three hundred and eighty thousand people. To work among these people for whom we are directly responsible, five hundred and forty thousand of them, a number almost equaling the population of the great city of Boston.
We have one missionary who is both ordained man and physician, with his wife, one ordained man and his wife, and one single woman, seven in all. Of these seven, five have but recently reached the field and have not yet a working command of, the language. In 1899 we had in the two, stations five ordained men with their wives, two physicians with their wives, an two single women, a total of sixteen persons. Ten of these missionaries were massacred in 1900, one physician was forced to leave the field because of a bereavement, and two widows, though anxious to return, are not able to do so because of ill health and responsibility for their young children. It is manifestly impossible that seven persons should carry the work that filled the hands of sixteen. We have the graves of seventy-five native Christians and six foreigners (including children) in Tai-Ku, silent reminders of Boxer fury.
We have the graves of ten foreigners (including children) in Fen-Chou-Fu. No native Christians were murdered there.
We have seventy-nine persons received on probation and seventeen baptised in Tai-Ku since 1900. Twenty-five Christians were spared the insensate cruelty of the Boxers in Tai-Ku, and one hundred in Fen-Chou-Fu.
We have four schools in the Tai-Ku district, none in Fen-Chou-Fu.
We have four native helpers in Tai-Ku and one in Fen-Chou-Fu. In addition, there are four laymen in Fen-Chou-Fu who give much of their time without pay.
We have three opium refuges in Tai-Ku and four in Fen-Chou-Fu.
We have one dispensary with physician in charge at Tai-Ku, none at Fen-Chou-Fu.
We have everywhere an opportunity limited only by the physical ability of the workers.
WHAT WE NEED IN SHANSI.
We need one college trained single woman to enter upon the waiting opportunity for work among women and children.
We need one thoroughly trained physician to take up his residence in the important and highly influential city of Fen-Chou-Fu.
We need at least four ordained men of the stamp of those who gladly gave up their lives for Christ and for the people of this province in 1900, men who ardently desire to sow and reap in a field made fertile by martyrs' blood.
We need recruits who cannot be kept at home; recruits who will be willing to go out among the churches and plead with churches, groups of churches, and individuals to provide their support on the field; recruits who will rebuke the little faith of the individuals and committees who should be leading the church in this campaign of conquest, but seem to be waiting for the church to lead them.
Men with iron in your blood! For the sake of the dear Lord Jesus who died to save this people, come over into Shansi and help us!
For the Shansi Mission,
PAUL LEATON CORBIN.
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