To the House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, etc., in Council Assembled:
RT. REV. FATHERS:--There are certain matters in connection with our China Mission, which I have long desired to bring before you. I touch in order upon all the points to which I think it necessary to call the attention of the House upon the present occasion; although in doing so, I must repeat much of that I have already published in the Church papers.
The Bible in Chinese. There are different versions of the Scriptures in the Chinese language; some have never been in use and some have become obsolete. Apart from the versions of the New Testament and other portions of the Scriptures in the different Colloquials in the south-eastern and the middle maritime provinces, there are three translations of the Bible in general use. Two in the literary or book-language (Wen-li) and one in the so-called Mandarin dialect (Kwan-wha) which is the spoken language of at least two-thirds of the Chinese population (say two hundred millions.) Here a few words of explanation. The spoken language or the Mandarin, although according to western ideas it may also be regarded as a literary language, seeing that almost all the light literature of China, some of the most popular tracts and exhortations, and many of the abstruse philosophical disquisitions of the school of the famous Chinese author Chu-hi, are written in it, yet the Chinese themselves do not regard it as a literary language. For literary purposes they make use of the so-called Wen-li or book-language, which is supposed to be identical with the language of ancient China. But there is a great difference between the antique and modern styles of the same book-language. This distinction is made by the Chinese themselves. Literary Chinese in the ancient style (Ku Wen) is understood only by scholars; whilst Chinese in the modern style (Kin Wen) is red and understood by all those who have merely an ordinary education. Chinese in the ancient style, or which is the same thing, ancient Chinese, is practically a dead language. It is used for a certain kind of literary composition, and is understood only by literary men. Not so with the book-language in the modern style. Although not spoken, it cannot be regarded as a dead language. It is used all over China when anything is to be [3/4] written. It is the language of the Codes of Laws, Collections of Statutes, Imperial Edicts, Official Proclamations, Public Documents, Official and Diplomatic Correspondence, Deeds and Contracts, Treatises on Science, Historical and Geographical works. It is the language of the Peking Gazette and the other few newspapers that are published in China. It is used in book-keeping, advertising, and even on signboards, etc. To illustrate the matter, suppose the Gothic of Ulphilas had become during the Middle Ages instead of Latin the literary language of all the Germanic tribes, and in the mean time Hoch Deutsch (High German or High Dutch), the language of Luther's Bible, had of the different German dialects become the vernacular of two-thirds of the German people, the court language, and the spoken language of officials and of the mercantile class all over Germany, the light literature such as novels and plays, etc., being written in this language, and the Gothic remaining even until the present time the literary language of German, with a marked distinction between the antique and modern styles, the comparison would stand as follows. The book-language of China would correspond to the Gothic, the Mandarin to Hoch Deutsch, and the different dialects spoken in Germany. Suppose again the Germans had remained Pagan, and different missionaries had come to propagate Christianity among them. It would be natural that they would translate the Bible in the literary Gothic, in Hoch Deutsch, and in the different dialects. I believe that this is an approximate illustration of the conditions under which the Bible is published in China. Of the two versions of the Bible in the book-language mentioned above, one was made about thirty-five years ago by English dissenters, and published by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the other made about twenty-eight years ago by two American missionaries, viz.: the late Dr. Bridgman of the American Board, and the late Dr. Culbertson of the Presbyterian Board, hence called the Bridgman and Culbertson version, and published by the American Bible Society. [I depend on my memory for these dates as I have no books of reference here.] The former uses Shang-ti for God and Shin for spirit, and the latter Shin for God and Ling for spirit. The former (the so-called Delegate's version) is in good idiomatic Chinese, but does not adhere to the original, the latter (Bridgman and Culbertson version) is a close translation, but in the endeavor to [4/5] be literal, style and idiom have been sacrificed to a considerable extent, and is besides in the antique style.
The Mandarin Bible. The New Testament was translated about nineteen years ago in Peking, by an association of missionaries, both English and America, including myself, and the Old Testament was translated by myself and finished and published in 1875. There are several editions of the whole Mandarin Bible, published by the American Bible Society. The first edition, published in Peking under my supervision in 1875 by the American Bible Society, had T'ien Chu for God, and editions with this term for God have been published from time to time, up to the present date. The American Bible Society also publishes editions of the Mandarin Bible with Shin for God, for the use of those American missionaries who do not see their way clear to adopt T'ien Chu. This Mandarin Bible belongs to the American Bible Society. The British and Foreign Bible Society, by permission of the American Bible Society, published an edition with Shang-ti for God for the use of English missionaries. This Mandarin Bible with the term T'ien Chu for God, was adopted by our mission about ten years ago. Although the Mandarin Bible, according to the statement of the Secretary of the American Bible Society in a letter to me, is ten times as much in demand as the Bible in the book language, still the latter is of great importance. But we want a version of the Bible in the modern literary style. As mentioned above, the Bridgman and Culbertson version (the Wen-li Bible published by the American Bible Society, and mostly used by American missionaries) is in the antique style and can be understood by comparatively few. A Bible in the modern literary language, whilst acceptable to the scholars, could be read and understood by all who are not illiterate. Years ago I was convinced of the necessity of such a version of the Scriptures, and I had it in mind to engage in its preparation, but was prevented by my illness. Within the last year I have been able to use a type-writer, and by its means have accomplished the revision of my Mandarin translation of the Old Testament. I have now begun the translation of the Old Testament into this modern literary language of China (the same style into which I translated the Prayer Book now in use in our Mission). The work is slow, but if I am permitted to continue it at the present rate, I hope to finish the Old Testament within three [5/6] years. I am in hops also to include a translation of the Apocrypha, which have never been translated into Chinese. The translation of the New Testament in the same style, has just been completed in China (although not yet published) by the Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, (Dr. Burdon) and Dr. Blodget, of Peking (American Board). And if I am permitted to finish my work, we shall have the whole Bible in the style, which will be acceptable to the literary class, and at the same time will be understood by those who have even an ordinary education.
One word as to the process by which I carry on the work. By means of the type-writer I render the Chinese in Roman letters according to a certain system of spelling. This Romanized Chinese must be written out again in Chinese characters before it will be available for publication. This re-writing must be done in China. I used the same process in the Revision of my Mandarin version of the Old Testament, which must also be re-written in Chinese characters in China.
The Prayer Book in Chinese. The first attempt to translate the Book of Common Prayer was made about forty years ago by Dr. Morrison, an English dissenter, at the instance, if I remember rightly, of the Christian Knowledge Society. It was not a translation of the complete Prayer Book; only the Morning and Evening Services, the Collects and some of the Offices. It was not a successful translation and has never been used. The next partial translation of the Prayer Book was made about thirty-five years ago by the late Dr. Medhurst, also an English dissenter, at the request of the late Bishop Smith, of Victoria, Hong Kong. Although an improvement upon Dr. Morrison's translation so far as the Chinese is concerned, it did not meet the requirements of a good translation, and it was little used. The next partial translation was made by the late Bishop Boone and the late Mr. Keith of our Mission. It was in the Shanghai Colloquial, and was in use in our Mission in Shanghai until the year 1880. The late Bishop Russell of Ningpo (C.M.S.), also made a partial translation of the Prayer Book in the Ningpo dialect, which belongs to the same family of dialects as the Shanghai Colloquial. The successor of Bishop Russell, Bishop Moule, also translated portions of the Prayer Book in the Hong Chow dialect (a kind of Mandarin). The first complete translation of the Prayer Book was published in the year 1870. It was in the Mandarin dialect, and made in Peking by Bishop, then Mr. Burdon (C.M.S.), and myself. [6/7] When I returned as Bishop in 1878, upon consultation with the clergy of our Mission, it was decided to replace the partial translation of the Prayer Book in the Shanghai colloquial, by a complete version in the modern literary style. The reason that the Mandarin Prayer Book spoken of above was not adopted, was because Mandarin not being the vernacular in that part of China, a Prayer Book in the modern book-language was thought to be in every way more desirable. Here I must touch upon a point which ought not to be passed over. It might be objected that the use of the Prayer Book in the book-language is not in harmony with the twenty-fourth article. To this I would say that apart from the consideration that in propagating Christianity in such a country as China account must be taken of conditions very different from those to which the article has reference; the spirit of the articles does by no means exclude the use of the Prayer Book in the literary language of China. The article was framed as we know with the view of excluding the Latin in public worship. The Latin was not only a dead but also a foreign language in England. The modern literary Chinese is neither the one nor the other. China differs from Europe in many respects. One of these differences consists in the fact, that whilst in the west the literary languages are spoken, in China the literary language is not spoken, and it is very doubtful whether at any period of Chinese history the book-language was the same as the spoken language. To adduce a somewhat parallel case, Hebrew is regarded as a dead language, but it cannot be considered such, as far as Polish and Oriental Jews are concerned, being constantly used by them for religious and literary purposes, although not spoken. The Church of England Missionary Society for the conversion of the Jews, is almost exclusively maintained by members of the evangelical party, who lay great stress on the Thirty-Nine articles. The Anglican prayer Book has been translated into Hebrew under the auspices of that Society, and Anglican services are held in Hebrew in different places. I have myself attended a service in Hebrew, in Palestine Place, Bethnal Green, the headquarters of the Society in London. If the use of the Hebrew Prayer Book in a congregation of Jews is not deemed to be contrary to the spirit of the Twenty-Fourth Article, much less must the use of the Prayer Book in the literary Chinese be regarded as contravening that article, when we consider in the first place, that the Chinese people use the literary Chinese a great deal more than the Jews do the Hebrew, [7/8] and in the second place that the literary and the spoken Chinese belong to the same family, whereas the languages spoken by the Jews and the Hebrew belong to different linguistic families. In fact the literary Chinese is contained in the spoken language. The two are identical so far as grammar and idiom are concerned. The difference between the literary and spoken Chinese consists mainly in that the literary language is more concise and has different particles and pronouns. In my opinion it is absolutely necessary to have the Prayer Book in literary Chinese. As mentioned already the Mandarin is the vernacular of two-thirds of the Chinese people; he remaining one-third (say one hundred millions) speak a great variety of unwritten dialects and patois, these varying in some cases every few miles. The Roman Catholics of course use the Latin in their services, but they have quite a number of devotional books for the people and these are all in the modern book-language. So far as I know they have not put any devotional book in a local dialect. The Mandarin is the only colloquial that they use. It is obvious that it would be as incongruous to multiply Prayer Books in the different Chinese dialects and patois, as it would be incongruous to put the Prayer Book into the different English dialects and patois.
To return to my version of the Prayer Book in the modern book-language. It was published in the year 1880 and was introduced in all our mission stations in China. Previous to this at Hankow and Wuchang a Mandarin Service Book was in use. In making this translation of the Prayer Book in the modern literary language, I have taken the greatest care and pains to have it accurate. I have made a translation both of our own American Prayer Book, and of the English Prayer Book, and combined them into one book so arranged that the Services can be used either by American or English Churchmen. I put the two Prayer Books together, that the book might serve as a basis for a united Prayer Book, that could be used both by our own Church and her Chinese converts, and by the English Church and her Chinese Converts. During the Lambeth conference of 1878 which I attended, a committee was appointed to take the subject of a united Chinese Prayer Book into consideration. The Archbishop of Work was the chairman of that committee, and the Bishop of Ohio and myself were members of it. The committee made a report as to how such a united Prayer Book should be made, but no further action was taken in the matter. As far as I know apart from the [8/9] term question (many if not the majority of the Church of England missionaries in China use Shang-ti for God) the Prayer of Consecration in our Communion Office, would present the greatest difficulty in the way of a united Prayer Book. American Churchmen would strongly object to giving up this Prayer, while as far as I know the majority of English Church missionaries in China would by no means accept it. It is possible that the missionaries of the S.P.G. in China might entertain the idea of accepting it, but those belonging to the C.M.S would be most unlikely to do so.
Change of terms. When I made the translation of the Prayer Book I used T'ien-Chu for God and substituted Chu-kiao for Bishop and Kiao-mu for Priest.
The Term for God. [I quote from my article on the subject of Terms which appear in the Churchman of Jan. 14th and 21st, 1888] Missionaries from the beginning have not agreed upon this question. The Earliest Roman Catholic Missionaries who went to China nearly three hundred years since, and who were Jesuits, as Ricci and his successors, accommodated Christianity as much as possible to the Chinese ideas, and allowed the worship of ancestors, Confucius, and the like. The term they used for God was T'ien or Shang-ti, they maintaining that under these names the Chinese worshiped the true God. The Dominicans who came after them objected to these terms and also to the practice of heathen rites by native Christians. The controversy between the Dominicans and the Jesuits was very sharp, and it was finally carried to Rome where the term of God was settled by a compromise; the term adopted being T'ien-Chu, composed of T'ien (Heaven) and Chu (Lord) and the meaning Lord of Heaven equivalent to God was attached to it. The Roman Catholics having used it ever since; it expresses to the Chinese the idea of the Christian's God. For spirit the Roman Catholics have always used Shin. Protestant missionaries have had a similar controversy as to the terms for God and spirit; one party adopting Shang-ti for God and Shin for Spirit and the other Shin for God and Ling for Spirit. Those who advocated the adoption of Shang-ti were divided into two classes, the extremists, who maintained that Shang-ti of the ancient Chinese Books was the true God and identical with the God of the Bible, and those who held that Shang-ti was not the true God, but argued since [9/10] the meaning of the term Shang-ti (Supreme Ruler) is good in itself, it could well be employed for God, and by instruction and usage the Christian idea of God would become attached to the term. The party who opposed the use of Shang-ti was also divided into two classes, those who maintained that Shang-ti was simply the Chinese Jupiter, and those who admitted that Shang-ti of the Chinese Classics may have meant the true God, but since Shang-ti is now identified by some of the people of China with the tauist idol Yu-hwang, and by some with T'ien (heaven) which at best does not rise above the pantheistic idea, they thought that it would not be safe to called God Shang-ti and thus expose the central truth of Christianity to pagan or pantheistic misconception. In general it may be said that in times past the English missionaries have belonged to the former party, and the Americans to the latter. Those who objected to the use of Shang-ti and proposed Shin, did so not only for the reasons mentioned above but also because they wanted a generic term for God and gods. Shang-ti could not be so used, they believed that Shin could. But there were many, myself among the number, who whilst admitting the force of the arguments that were urged against the use of Shang-ti, were not satisfied that Shin was the proper term for God. Those who adopted Shin as a generic term for God and gods argued, as the word for God in Hebrew, Greek and Latin and modern western languages is a generic term for God and gods, so we must also have in China a generic term for God and gods. This argument may be cogent or not; but in the opinions of many Shin cannot be made to serve as such a generic term for God and gods. I need not here enter into any argument to prove why it cannot, nor undertake a disquisition showing where Shin corresponds and where it does not with Theos and Deus. Those who use Shin for a generic term for God and gods, while admitting much that can be urged against its adoption for God, maintain that by a course of Christian teaching, the idea of the true God may come to be as fully represented by the word Shin as is the case with Theos and Deus. But it seems to me that there is a vital difference. As a Chinese noun may be either singular or plural, masculine or feminine Shin may mean either god and gods or goddesses and goddesses. Generally Shin is in the plural, meaning gods, unless it refers to some individual god understood or spoken of before. In western languages the word God being in the masculine singular and written with a capital letter is practically a different [10/11] word from the words gods. In Hebrew Elohim means the true God and Elohim aherim is applied to false gods. The Septuagint and Vulgate follow the same usage. In Arabic Allah means God and ilah god. Viva voce any term will answer, because it can be explained, but in the Bible and Prayer Book it would be perilous to use a word for God that is liable to be so misconceived by the heathen mind as Shin. No monotheists in China have ever before used either Shin or Shang-ti for God. The Nestorians transferred the Syriac word Aloho and the Mahommedans (there are several millions of them in China) use Chu (Lord) or Chen Chu (true Lord). Another objection to using Shin for God is that the Roman Catholics use Shin for angel, in the combination t'ien-shin (celestial spirit).
These considerations and others that I will not here enumerate, led some of us to the conviction that we must have separate words for God and gods. The word Shin would serve very well for gods, but another word for God must be found. Shang-ti we felt we could not conscientiously use; there was left the term T'ien Chu employed for more than two hundred years by the Roman Catholics. This term is not entirely free from objections. In the first place T'ien-Chu in an ancient Chinese book ascribed to Szi-ma-ts'ien, the Chinese Heroditus (about 200 B.C.), is mentioned as the designation of one of the divinities worshipped by the ancient Chinese. In buddhist writings Indra is called T'ien Chu the lord of the devas (gods.) With the buddhist t'ien is always the equivalent of the Sanscrit word deva. Indra is called lord of the devas because he is represented as being at the head of the thirty-two devas, who with him make up the number of the thirty-three vedic divinities. Moreover by the use of T'ien-Chu Protestants are liable to be confounded with Romanists who call themselves the T'ien-Chu-Kiao (religion of the Lord of Heaven), and this for many reasons is not desirable. I had myself advocated the use of Shang-Chu (Supreme Lord) for God. In the year 1863 the present bishop of Victoria (Dr. Burdon) and myself translated portions of the Prayer Book into the Mandarin, in which the term Shang-Chu was used for God. It was my friend Dr. Blodget of the American Board, who convinced me that in spite of objections urged against it, T'ien-Chu was on the whole the best term that could be used for God. About the year 1864 when I proposed to undertake the translation of the Old Testament, I laid the matter before the then Foreign Committee proposing to [11/12] use T'ien-Chu for God and shin for gods. And following the precedent of the Septuagent, Vulgate, the English Bible and most modern Western versions, I proposed to render Jehovah by Chu (Lord).
If I remember rightly, the Foreign Committee brought the matter before the House of Bishops, who asked the Bishop of Western New York to correspond with me on the subject, and I understood that I obtained the sanction of the House of Bishops to proceed with the translation on the principles mentioned in my correspondence with him, as well as to use T'ien-Chu for God.
A word just here about the term for spirit. Shin is a good term for spirit. One of the many meanings of shin is spirit. As mentioned above, the Roman Catholics as well as those Protestant missionaries who employ Shang-ti for God, use Shin for spirit, but inasmuch as Shin was reserved to be used for gods, in order to avoid confusion, Ling for Spirit, the term employed by all missionaries who use Shin for God, was adopted by those of us who preferred T'ien-Chu for God. According to the native dictionaries Ling and Shin are to some extent synonymous terms. In defining Ling it is said to be Shin, and in defining Shin it is said to be Ling.
In 1878 when I returned to China as bishop I had a conference with the clergy of our mission and we agreed to use T'ien-Chu, in all printed matter, as the Bible, Prayer Book, Catechisms, etc., leaving the missionaries liberty to use any term they preferred in viva voce preaching, although Shang-ti was never used in our Mission.
The Term for Bishop. The term formerly used in our mission for Bishop was Kien-tuh, for this I substituted Chu-kiao. The objections that I had to the use of the term Kien-tuh for Bishop are these. In the first place it is the title of a Chinese official (superintendent of granaries) and I thought it very incongruous to call a Bishop by the title of a Chinese mandarin, and in the second place, which to my mind was the stronger objection, Kien-tuh means and can only mean superintendent. Everyone, no matter to what school of thought in the Church he belongs, must admit that our Bishops are more than superintendents. The Historic Episcopate is one of the conditions of union set forth by the House of Bishops, and the idea of Bishop in that sense cannot be conveyed by the term Kien-tuh. We do not differ from the Roman Catholics as to Episcopacy, and it seemed to me that [12/13] there was no reason why we should not use the same term for Bishop. Another reason why I thought it well to use this term in common with the Roman Catholics was in order to assert our Episcopate. The use of Kien-tuh for Bishop gave them occasion to assert that Anglicans themselves by calling their Bishops Kien-tuh (superintendents) admitted that their Bishops were not genuine. I am able to state this fact from personal knowledge. It has been asserted that Chu-Kiao means lord of religion. It does not mean so. To have this meaning it must be reversed thus, Kiao-Chu, as in Chinese the genitive is always put before the nominative. The first word chu in the term Chu-kiao is both a noun and a verb. When it is a noun it means a ruler, lord, master, etc.; when it is a very it means to rule, to govern, to preside over, to manage, etc. In the combination Chu-Kiao, Chu is a verb. It has been objected that Chu-kiao means to "lord it in religion;" it may mean so, but not necessarily. Chu-kiao is patterned after the expression Chu-k'ao, the title of a high official who presides over the competitive examinations.
It is composed of Chu, to preside over, and K'ao, examinations. As a matter of fact the officer who presides over the examinations cannot lord it or act arbitrarily, as he must conform to established rules and regulations. If the Roman Catholic Bishops in China lord it in religion, it is as little owing to their title being Chu-kiao as their doing so in this country is owing to their title of Bishop, I would here say that it seems to me unreasonable to reject in China suitable terms that express ideas held in common by the Roman and the Anglican Churches, for no other cause than that they are used by the Roman Church. The Greek Church which opposes the Roman Church, as strongly as any Protestant Communion, yet in those things wherein the two Churches agree, they used in China the same religious terms.
Term for Priest. The old term in our Mission for Priest was Hwei-chang. I always thought it one of the most objectionable terms in use. It is composed of Hwei the word adopted for Church, and Chang Elder. Superficially it would appear to be quite a close translation of Presbyter, but this appearance is deceptive. Among the religious terms adopted from the Roman Catholics by protestant Missionaries some are good, some bad, some indifferent. To the second Category belongs in my opinion the word Hwei for Church. It is very difficult to attach the idea of Church to the word. The meaning of the buddhist term [13/14] Sangha is somewhat similar to that of Ecclesia. The Buddhists did not think that Hwei would be an adequate rendering of their term, so they transferred the Sanscrit word Sangha. Some of the early Roman Catholic Missionaries transferred the word Ecclesia, and to my thinking it is much to be regretted that they finally translated Ecclesia by Hwei. But as the word Hwei for Church has been long used both by Roman Catholics and Protestants it seemed best not to disturb it. Hwei is both a verb and a noun and it has many meanings. As a noun it means association, society, fraternity, guild, etc. There are in China many Hwei or guilds, resembling the mediaeval trade guilds of Europe. The heads or masters of such guilds are called hwei-chu or hwei-chang (master or elder of the hwei--guild or association). It is customary for such guilds to organize festivals in honor of their patron deity. These festivals consist in processions and theatricals and are also called Hwei. The managers of such heathen festivals and processions are likewise called Hwei-Chang. If it is objectionable to call a Bishop by the title of a Chinese Mandarin, how much more objectionable is it to call a Priest by the name of a manager of a heathen festival or procession. The Roman Catholics have the term Hwei-chang, but they apply it to a certain class of their laymen. I cannot tell exactly to what class, but probably they apply the term to the heads of religious confraternities. The Roman Catholic Hwei-chang act frequently as Catechists. These considerations induced me to substitute Kiao-muh, Kiao, religion, and Mu, Pastor, for Hwei-chang. None of the Protestant bodies call their ministers Hwei-Chang. They use the term Mu-shi, Mu, Pastor, shi, teacher, nearly the same as Kiao-Mu, but the latter I think is to be preferred. The principal word mu in this combination, is a high term. In classical Chinese it is applied to Masters and Governor. It is not different in its application from, if not higher than the Latin word Pastor. It is applied to Christ Himself in every translation of the Bible into Chinese. In the Rubrics I transferred the English words Priest and Ministers, chiefly for the reason that I could not find in Chinese words that would convey the same shade of difference in the meaning, as there exists between the words Priest and Minister in English. I also transferred the word Presbyter, in the Ordination Office. But it was not contemplated that these transferred words should be in general use, although indeed there is good precedent for using transferred technical terms, in which case [14/15] according to the genius of the Chinese language only one or two syllables of the transferred term is used. The Roman Catholics have no Chinese word for Priest, but have transferred the Italian Sacerdote thus Sa-che-ur-toh-teh; but they use only the two last syllables toh-teh for the whole word. The popular name for the Roman Clergy is Shin-fu, spiritual fathers. Toh-teh was out of the question. Besides other objections, if it comes to the using of a transferred foreign term it must certainly be acknowledged that the Anglican word Priest is to be preferred to the Italian word Sacerdote. But for general use there is no need to employ the transferred word. To my thinking Kiao-mu for Priest is as good a term as can be found in the Chinese. The other terms I left undisturbed, not that I thought them all satisfactory, but I was in doubt whether I could find others that would be an improvement.
Agreement made about terms not Adhered to in the Mission. Ten years ago as mentioned above, we agreed in our Mission that T'ien-Chu for God should be used in all our printed matter, as the Bible, Prayer Book, Catechisms, etc. The terms for Bishop and Priest were introduced into the Prayer Book by myself, but the Prayer Book was accepted by the whole mission and no objection was made to the use of these terms. When these three terms were introduced into the Mission, I thought that the question was settled once for all. But it appears that this term question has been re-opened in our Mission by the re-introduction of Shin for God, and Kien-tuh for Bishop on the one hand, and Hwei-Chang for Priest on the other. To my mind these three terms are of almost equal importance. It is nearly as objectionable to use incongruous and misleading terms for Bishop and Priest, as it is to use a vague, polytheistic term for God. This re-introduction of two discarded terms in one part of our Mission, and of one discarded term in another part of our Mission, cannot but create confusion.
Rumors have reached me that it might be proposed to divide the Missionary jurisdiction, and have one set of terms and one type of Churchmanship in Shanghai, and have another set of terms and another type of Churchmanship at Wuchang. In my opinion that time has certainly not yet come for the division of the jurisdiction. The having one set of terms at Shanghai, and another at Wuchang, as well as different types of Churchmanship at the two places, is highly to be deprecated. Such a state of [15/16] affairs would not only challenge hostile criticism both at home and in China, but would have a most unfortunate effect upon the work. Besides it would be a great disaster to have the term Shin for God again in use in our Mission.
Legislation of the Church Necessary. In my humbly opinion it is high time that the Church should legislate upon these vexed questions in our China Mission. It appears to me that all questions concerning vestments and other matters of mere ritual, sink into utter insignificance, compared with the terms question. The right term for Priest, concerns the dignity and position of the Christian Ministry. The right term for Bishop, concerns the characteristic feature of our Church as a part of the Church Catholic, and in possession of the Historic Episcopate. And the right term for God, concerns the very foundation of the Christian religion. The Church must see to it that these matters should not be left to the opinions or fancies of individual missionaries, or even of missionary Bishops. The Mission represents the Church, and is under the control of the Church, and the Church alone is the one to legislate upon such matters. In this connection I must confess that I have myself perhaps acted ultra vires in introducing in the mission a combination of the English and American Prayer Books as mentioned above. I have strong doubts whether I had a right to combine the two Prayer Books, although I have made no changes whatever in the text of the American Prayer Book. However this may be, I am convinced that no American Bishop in the foreign field has any authority to introduce any changes, or to omit anything in the American Prayer Book unless authorized so to do by special legislation on the part of the Church.
I would humbly suggest that the House of Bishops appoint a Committee to take into consideration the questions which I have here brought before the House, and to recommend legislation on those points where legislations is necessary.
I have, Rt. Rev. Fathers,
The honor to remain your
Humble and obedient servant,
S. I. J. SCHERESCHEWSKY.
Geneva, N.Y., Nov. 5, 1888.