Anglican Church in Corea:
Being Documents, original and translated, issued by Authority during the Episcopate of the First Bishop of the Church of England in Corea between 1889 and 1905
by C. J. Corfe, Bishop
The following Documents need some words of introduction to make them intelligible to English Churchmen, since the circumstances under which they have, from time to time, been issued--either in their English or in their Corean dress--are without precedent.
The Mission of the Church of England to Corea, seriously contemplated by Archbishop Benson, in 1888, was accomplished in the autumn of 1889 when the first Bishop was consecrated in Westminster Abbey and sent to Corea the following summer with no other companions than two laymen, who, being ardent missionaries and fully qualified medical men, at once established the Dispensaries and Hospitals which have since affected, so intimately, the life of the Mission and the individual lives of more than a quarter of a million of Coreans.
Before leaving England, in 1890, the Bishop had the promise of one priest, who followed him nine months later, accompanied by three theological students. By the end of 1891 there were in the Diocese two Priests, two Deacons and two Ordinands. The Bishop, who was the oldest of this clerical staff, found himself at the head of men who were as ignorant as he was of the Corean tongue; in a country where Englishmen were few and far between and their language almost unknown; and, finally, amongst a people who, supplied with the ancient literature of the Chinese Classics (of which they were extremely proud), possessed, in the vernacular neither Bible nor Prayer Book--not even a tract or rudimentary Catechism to explain why this Englishman with his two doctors and subsequent companions had come to Corea.
This method of beginning a Mission, unprecedented in the Church of England, presented to the Bishop and his companions at once a great difficulty and a great opportunity. The Prayer Book ideals--that is to say, ideals contemplated in the Book of Common Prayer; but ideals which, owing to a score of circumstances, the Church of England, in England, has as yet failed to realise. In Corea there were difficulties in abundance but none of them such as Church people are familiar with at home. Then, although the clergy were subjects of the Queen and had had their rights as British subjects secured to them by treaties with the Corean Government they were not bound by Acts of Uniformity; and if the Church of England in Corea was as yet only in posse the conditions of an Established Church had for them almost ceased to be in esse. On the side of the Coreans there were no prejudices to be removed other than those which were inseparable from a firm adherence to the tenets of Confucian philosophy and a scantily formulated but deeply rooted belief in demonology.
The Bishop and his clergy, moreover, were of one mind and devoted to the task which they understood themselves to be called of God--namely to preach to the millions in Corea the "unsearchable riches of Christ" and to present them with the "Faith once delivered to the Saints" as they themselves had received it in that pure and Apostolic branch of the Church which had cent them forth.
But a shoreless ocean seemed to be before them as, in the company of native scholars with whom they could not communicate, they contemplated the task of deciphering numberless hieroglyphics which had, nevertheless, in some degree, to be mastered before there could be any Bible teaching, any Liturgy, any appeal to documents. It took years to-cross this ocean; and the time of enforced waiting, before any active missionary work could be begun was the opportunity which the Bishop and his two priests, and afterwards, all that followed them determined to seize; for the purpose of rearing, in a country almost entirely heathen, a Branch of the true Church of God, at once Catholic and Apostolic; a Church moreover, which being outside the British Dominions, would have to be free from the limitations imposed by a Church in union with the State. From the outset the Bishop determined on a course of action for himself from which he has never varied: to do nothing and especially to take no initiative, except after consultation which his clergy--a determination which was loyally responded to on their part to do nothing without the Bishop. "Nil sine Episcopo"--an axiom of the Primitive Church--because, therefore, the principle which, thanks to the outward circumstances of the Mission and the hearty desire of Clergy and Bishop alike, has, for fifteen years guided all Diocesan thought and action.
This principle, once understood, will go far to explain much in the following documents which would otherwise be inexplicable to Churchmen at home or even in the Colonies. But it must be constantly borne in mind when reading them or there will be some fortunate members of the Established Church or Churches with Synodical Organization such as Canada, Australia, South Africa--who will be tempted to apply a stronger term word than "inexplicable" to some of their contents. But let it be remembered that, in a condition of affairs which is without precedent in the English Church (unless the beginning of the U.M.C.A. is reckoned as a precedent) some action on the part of the Bishop was necessary and necessary at once. Far behind his clergy in other respects the Bishop was, nevertheless, not only first in respect of his office but the first to arrive in the Diocese. His staff of clergy consisted entirely of Englishmen who had rights and privileges of their own which he had to respect. The years of waiting, during which the sacred books were being prepared, could not be years wasted. It would have been easy to have spent the time in yielding to the temptation to frame an Oriental History, on the plea that, Corea being so removed in thought from England and especially the England which framed the Book "of Common Prayer, something wholly unlike that Book ought to be provided for the future native Church. It would have been easy too, far easier, to allow that period of enforced delay to pass without doing anything to profit by the experience which was very slowly but gradually being gained by living among Coreans and in constant contact with them; to be satisfied meanwhile with ministering to the handful of Europeans in the Porte, using a ritual and practice which each had been accustomed to use when ministering to his flock in England: intending to slide into similar stereotyped ministrations when the books and his own acquaintance with the spoken language made Coreaa services possible. Neither of these alternatives was adopted or, indeed thought of by those who, on the one hand, believed in the Book of Common Prayer (taken in its entirety) to be as adequate an instrument of the Grace of God in Corea and in every part of the heathen world, as it is in England and her Colonies: and who, on the other hand were so much in earnest in preparing for their active work as Missionaries to regard the wide diversities of ritual and practice which, within the four corners of the Prayer Book are found in England, as either matters of indifference to the future Church in Corea or worthy of being imitated by those who, more readily than most people, learn to say "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas: and I of Christ."
This attempt "to provide things honest in the sight of all men," and, especially, to exhibit the Holy Eucharist to the Coreans in such a way as to enable them to present themselves before God in "reasonable service" was particularly conspicuous in the ritual of the Altar which in England almost recalls "the number and hardness of the rules called the Pie" but which in Corea, has for fifteen years presented an unbroken and intelligible uniformity, in all the Churches of the Mission whether English, Corean, or Japanese.
This uniformity was surely a desideratum as well for uneducated Coreans just emerged from heathenism as for clergy, who had come from England to take part in a unique experiment. To the Bishop and his clergy it seemed however, that this desideratum could only be heathily and permanently secured by the mutual agreement of those who, accustomed to various uses in England, desired, now that they were missionaries, one use in order to commend the Doctrines of the Grace of God as speedily and as intelligibly as possible to the people to whom they had been sent. But mutual agreement meant mutual concessions and concessions which, whether in the way of omission or commission did not involve unfaithfulness to the Church. It has been a subject of continual thankfulness to Almighty God that the agreement--the "Concordat" as it has been sometimes called--drawn up in 1891 by the Bishop in consultation with the two and only Priests of the Diocese was of so reasonable a kind that it has been accepted readily by subsequent Priests and (a fact whose importance will be understood by those who know the Treaty Ports of the Far East) by the English and American Church folk who habitually worship at our English Service. Thus, the Use is in no sense a use imposed by the Bishop, nor of course, is it one which has synodical authority. For the Bishop to have imposed any Use on his Clergy in 1891, and to have demanded adhesion to it from all who have since received his Licence would have been resented as an encroachment on the liberties of Clergy whose status in Corea is that of the Clergy of the English Church. To issue a Use which had no synodical authority was then, and still is, impossible.
It seemed therefore to the Bishop and to those who acted with him that, until the time for Synodical Government had arrived, the only way of securing an object so desirable for the Diocese as freedom of worship for the native Christians was by this return to first principles--the Bishop (mindful of his Consecration Oath to the Archbishop of Canterbury) authorising a Use (with the consent of the clergy) and so saving the Mission from that "strife of tongues" which so greatly impedes the Church as the Evangeliser of the heathen at home and in the Colonies. In the Use there is nothing which is believed to be inconsistent with the spirit either of the English or of the of the Primitive Church. The practical effect of the Use during the last fifteen years upon the Members of the Mission Staff has been to free the hearts and minds of both clergy and laity from distraction and to enable them to proceed to their difficult task with loyalty to the Church of England and in unbroken harmony with their Bishop and with each other. On the side of the native Christians the effect of the Use has been to produce, from the first, an orderliness and intelligence in Divine Worship and, moreover, a service resembling so closely its English prototype that were a Churchman suddenly to find himself amongst them he would feel, in spite of "the unknown tongue," instantly at home.
In the matter of Liturgical translations although he first took counsel with his clergy the Bishop must, of course, be held responsible for the Variations from the English Book of Common Prayer noted in the Paper under this title. Some exercise of the jus liturgicum was inevitable. The liberties taken with the text were necessitated both by the gradual nature of the demand for certain parts as they were required for public worship and by the inability of the native Christians to use intelligently an exact reproduction in Corean of the Prayer Book Offices.
But the Bishop did not undertake the responsibility of authorising these versions for use in the Diocese without first communicating with the two Archbishops (Benson and Temple) who occupied the throne of Canterbury when the work was in progress; whilst the present Archbishop was informed verbally in 1903 of what had been done.
There remains little more to be said on this subject except that the alterations and omissions do not introduce or leave out anything which is alien to the Book of Common Prayer; that the versions used in the Diocese constitute nothing but a first draft of the portions translated; that they are not published or even sold, having been printed by the Mission Press for the exclusive use of the native Christians, (some of the volumes being even numbered, and the name of the person to which each is issued written clearly on the cover); and that in the English Services throughout the Diocese the Book of Common Prayer is invariably used in its entirety, as in England, copies having been kindly supplied to the Mission by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. [The only variation in the English Prayer Book sanctioned by the Bishop, the insertion namely, of the Prayer of Oblation between the Canon and the Communion of the Priest is mentioned below, where the reasons are also given.]
It will be noticed that at the first celebration of the Liturgy in Corean, in 1897, incense was introduced. At the time it was thought by the Bishop that this particular use of incense had the sanction of the Prayer Book and it had certainly been recommended by the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury. In a country where people were already accustomed to incense in heathen rites as well as in the Roman Catholic and Holy Orthodox Churches it was felt that so Scriptural an adjunct of the worship of Almighty God, Witnessed to by the Old Testament and the New, ought not to be absent from the Services of the Church of England in which the reading of the Sacred Scriptures occupies so prominent a place.
But it should be stated that, in this respect, no distinction is made in any of the Churches in the Diocese between High Celebrations and Low. There is but one Corean Celebration in each of the Churches each Sunday and Holy Day and that Celebration is always made as solemn as possible. The Holy Eucharist having a dignity of its own its solemnity is marked consistently throughout the year and incense is invariably offered at the Introit, the Holy Gospel, the Offertory, and at the Services preparatory to the Eucharist, that is to say during the Magnificat at Evensong and the Benedictus at Mattins. If a distinction is made--and from the Paper on the Order of Festivals it will be seen that a very careful distinction is made--between Sundays and Festivals of greater or less importance it is made, as in the Book of Common Prayer, by the Collects, Epistles and Gospels and by the addition of such hymns of special joyfulness as the congregation is able to sing.
Thus, before the Lambeth Opinion on Incense had been delivered the use of incense had become established in the Diocese. Nevertheless, as soon as the opinion was delivered the Bishop felt it his duty to ask the Archbishop if the opinion affected this Diocese. A kind and sympathetic letter was received in reply; denying, of course that the use of incense was sanctioned by the Prayer Book, but suggesting that in missionary jurisdictions outside the dominions of Great Britain some departure from the opinion which he had delivered was reasonable.
Not that His Grace did, in so many words sanction what had been done. He did, however suggest that the matter should be referred to the Consultative Body of Bishops which was formed after the Lambeth Conference in 1897 for the consideration of such exceptional cases. The Bishop, accordingly at once (in July 1898) requested His Grace, as President, to refer the matter to the Consultative Body.
The marriage service has been prepared, to be ready when wanted. So far it has only once been used--the difficulties attending the marriages of native Christians, being, as yet, very great. This is owing chiefly to the fact that the Christians being so few their intermarriage is almost impossible. The Bishop has tentatively sanctioned the use of this service in the following manner:
(1) When both the contracting parties are Christians the service to be used in Church in its entirety--with, if possible, a celebration of the Holy Communion at the time of the marriage, as the Prayer Book directs.
(2) When one of the parties is a Christian and the other a catechumen the Espousals are to be made in the part of the Church assigned to Catechumens, the benedictory prayers of the second half of the service being omitted.
(3) When the parties are Catechumens the service is not to be used. At the same time it is not to be inferred that this provision for the use of the Marriage Service covers all the difficulties connected with the marriage amongst the adherents of the Church. The omission of heathen marriage ceremonies in the house; the insistance upon monogamy; the prohibition of concubinage; the marriage of widows; divorce as recognized by Corean law; and finally the indissolubility of the bond of marriage between Christians are some of the difficulties which have yet to be faced, but which, however interesting must not be discussed here. The Catechumen's Catechism, it will be seen, is both dogmatic and practical. The period during which it is studied extends over two years. The people for whom it is designed are all adult heathen, some of whom are unlettered (knowing only En Moun) whilst others are good Chinese scholars. If to an English reader it seems too dogmatic he must remember that it covers more ground and contains more quotations and is not more dogmatic than the Church Catechism. In the second place it is compiled to form the basis of instruction for these whose innate Confucianism has been intermingled with the traditions of Buddhism and a belief in Demonology. la the third place the Catechism is seldom studied at home, that is to say without a teacher. The place of instruction is almost uniformly the Church where on Sundays special services are always held for Catechumens and Enquirers, the Catechist taking consecutive portions of the Catechism Sunday by Sunday. Those portions are frequently written in large type and affixed to boards--one on the men's and one on the Women's side of the Church.--hanging where all can see them. The ordinary procedure is for the Catechist to read out each question and for the Congregation to read together and out loud, the answer. There is no appeal made to the memory nor are questions put to individuals. The method of learning however, in which all join in reading aloud together is understood and thoroughly appreciated in Corea as in China--by old as well as young, by the lettered and unlettered. The faces of keen interest present a striking scene. It is not pretended that the interest is centered in the doctrine--that is as it may be--but the opportunities thus given to the less educated of joining with scholars in reading what is not always easy to read (since there is of necessity much Chinese in the Catechism) are much appreciated if on a first or even a second reading little perhaps is understood. The scholars, amongst them women, frequently find words with which they are familiar used in new connexions and with new meanings. So, all are pleased and all are interested. Then follows an explanation of the portion read, given either by one of the clergy or by a Corean Christian who has been previously instructed what to say. There are now some eight or ten Coreans amongst us who are wont to give this particular and valuable help in the various parishes. The value of their instruction will of course depend mainly on the care with which the Priest has been able to bestow on their preparation, as well as on the attention with which they "stick to their text." For Coreans whilst naturally fluent speakers are not accurate thinkers; consequently one danger which has to be guarded against is their tendency to go off into generalities--a sure sign that they have not cultivated habits of exact thought and definitions of terms. What they love most is the teaching which is based on stories or, even better, on parables. Attention can always be secured for a story with a meaning--but this does not alway advance the dogmatic teaching which is necessary for the apprehension of the articles of belief. The recitation of the Athanasian Creed, in sections, has been found very useful in explaining, as well as emphasizing, certain parts of the Catechism--the Church thus becoming her own interpreter. Those who remember the testimony to the value of this Creed given by Bishop McDougal, of Labuan, in his work amongst the Dyaks will not be surprised to hear that it is appreciated as a vehicle of instruction by Orientals in the North.
Of the Office for the Burial of the Dead there is very little to be said. As is customary in England, the first part is used in Church, as a rule, immediately after the Holy Eucharist which, when it is possible, is always offered on the morning of the interment--the body being in the Church or not according to circumstances. In the case of death happening outside the City, for instance, it is impossible to bring the body into the Church since, interment within the City walls being unlawful it is equally unlawful to bring the dead into the City. The question has often been asked if it would not be wise to facilitate the work of the mission by, in some way or other, recognizing the prevailing worship of ancestors. All the members of the Mission arrived in Corea with an open mind on the subject, feeling that if there were nothing really idolatrous in the worship, nothing in the Corean practices beyond old customs evacuated of all serious meaning, every effort should be made not to regard ancestral worship as a bar to accepting the Christian religion. The late Dr. Landis, whose interest in Corean Burial Customs and Folk-lore was as keen as his interest was in everything connected with the Mission, once thought that the Confucianism of Corea was now but a faint echo of the robust Confucianism of China. However, when our two first enquirers were admitted as Catechumens, an incident occurred which led us to suspect that even the Confucianism of Corea was in this respect, incompatible with Christianity. Faithful to the policy of waiting for clear indications how to proceed in matters of which we were still in doubt and anxious above all, not to prematurely, close doors for our successors which perhaps in God's Providence were intended to be kept open, no teaching on the subject of the worship of ancestors had been given to the enquirers. It was thought that, before the days of baptism arrived--and they were then far off--guidance would be given to us in this difficult matter. The guidance came from one of the Catechumens above mentioned. Shortly after he had been admitted to the Catechumenate he asked to be allowed to spend New Year's eve at the Mission House. Mr. Trollope, who was then in charge of the Mission in Kangwha, naturally asked why on the occasion of such a universal festival he wished to absent himself from his family. His reply was that, having now become a Catechumen he could not join in the family sacrifices usual on this occasion; and, fearing that he would have trouble if he refused, he sought the shelter of the Mission House. A glance at the Office for Admission of Catechumens will suffice to show how this good man understood one at least of the promises which he had made. But though there is now no doubt that in accepting the faith of Christ a Corean must give up the worship of his ancestors in all the forms in which his fellow countrymen are wont to indulge it is not to be supposed that our Christians are allowed to forget the duty which all men, and especially Christian men, owe to the dead. This very Catechumen was in due time baptized--he and his companions were the first adults to be baptized--and shortly after, he was called to his rest. A very beautiful custom has grown up of visiting the graves each year on Easter Monday when the Christians from all our stations in Kangwha, stations some of which are as much as ten miles distant, assemble at the mission cemetery outside the city and, headed by the clergy, hold a service. This custom has not been initiated by the Bishop but, assuredly it has had his sanction and seems to be the outcome of the reverence which as Christians, they have been taught to combine with their natural instinct of respect for "the dead in Christ."
Strange to say, the office of Infant Baptism has not yet been translated, the office for the Baptism of those of Riper years being used, with the necessary alterations made in the Officiant's Copy, when that service is required. The first Baptisms in the Mission were those of children, chiefly the orphan children for whom Dr. Landis made himself responsible and, afterwards, the poor little waifs who found their way into the shelter afforded by the Sisters in St. Peter's Orphanage. For these first infant baptisms the service of the English Prayer Book was, of course used, since no other then existed nor, if it had, would the clergy have been capable of using it. The congregations consisting then only of the members of the Mission and their English friends, there was, moreover, no need for a Corean Office. The Office for Adult Baptism, on the other hand, was a prime necessity and perhaps owing to the stress of other work it has hitherto been made to do for infants.
The present condition of Bible translation will be a surprise and disappointment to many. It is, indeed, serious that a new Mission has been obliged to subsist for some eight years on so small a portion of the written Word of God; serious, and, to English Churchmen almost incomprehensible, that Sunday after Sunday Christians should pray in the Litany, "O Son of David, have mercy upon us" when all, that they know of David is from an answer in the Catechumen's Catechism--which tells them that David was a famous Jewish King who lived several hundred years before Christ. Similarly, it is hard to imagine a Christian Community which has grown up in ignorance of the Law and the Prophets. But there are limits to the translating powers of a small, under-staffed Mission whose responsibilities to the flock increase with every fresh baptism. In more than one of the Churches the Priest has availed himself of the services of a scholar (not always a Christian) to read the first Lesson from the Chinese Version of the Old Testament, the chapter being translated into Corean as he reads. This is but a poor substitute for the Bible, because the congregation have no means of referring to the portion read and, moreover, there is no guarantee that the Scholar is translating correctly. The responsibility laid upon the Bishop of administering a Diocese from which the Old Testament is practically banished is very great and has always been keenly felt. The Old Testament Selections are indeed most valuable, but, as will be seen, they do not go far. Nor, as selections, do they inspire our people with that reverence which Christians ought to have for the "Sword of the Spirit." They cannot be the guide which the Holy Scriptures are intended to be to the Child of God. The only other alternative, however, was not to be thought of namely, to undertake no active Mission work in Corea until the Bible had been translated. As will be seen in all the Documents the position given to the Holy Scriptures and the authority claimed for them are such as is given and claimed for them by the Church of England. For example: for proofs of the Creed, the Catechumens are referred (Quest. 140 of the Catechism) to the Bible; and if the "sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation" has not been explicitly stated it is because such a statement would have no meaning for them. There has been, at least, no desire to set aside the Bible and, it is to be hoped, that whatever translation work is undertaken in future the Old Testament Selections will be continued with all speed since nothing is now more important for the Diocese.
The paper on devotions and instructions for the Holy Eucharist will shew that the position which has been given to that Sacrament is the position which is given to it in the Book of Common Prayer and the position, therefore, which it occupied in the Early Church from the time of the Apostles onward. "The Bread is broken" amongst us every Lord's Day (in one celebration only in each Corean Church) and the Christians have been taught to regard this holy Service of the Lord's own appointment as the Service in which they are not only entitled but required to take part, for the nourishment of there own souls and as an outward symbol of unity with each other and with the whole Church. The rubric requiring "three Communicants at least" had, perforce, to be set aside in the early days of the Mission when perhaps, not more than one or two worshippers could be associated with the Celebrant. But it has always been an established rule in the Diocese that there should be no Celebration without at least one Communicant besides the Priest. And when Coreans were added to the Church, weekly Communions became the rule as was the weekly Preparation for the Sacrament in Church (v. Eucharistica) No doubt there have been frequent exceptions to this rule of weekly Communion. In some places, for instance, it is impossible for husband and wife to leave home together, and so it has often been customary for men and women to make their Communion on alternate Sundays. Then, there have been good reasons why certain individuals should not communicate every week--the Priest, who knows his people, having to advise a longer preparation. Again, Christians under discipline are debarred from Communion for long periods, being made to sit amongst the Catechumens. But as the intention is that all Christians should not only be present for worship but should receive the Bread of Life every Sunday so the question of non-communicating attendance has never arisen and, it is to ire hoped, never will arise.
Children if baptized, of course attend, even before they are confirmed. In fact the only persons who do not remain until the conclusion of the service are the Catechumens and Enquirers who are dismissed before the Nicene Creed. Everything is done to make the Christians realize the privileges to which they are entitled, simply because they are Christians and to emphasize the difference, the essential difference, between them and the unbaptized. This is the more necessary since there is a strong tendency on the part of Catechumens and Enquirers to call themselves Christians and to be thought by their heathen friends to be entitled to the privileges of Christians. The innate desire of every Corean for office and worldly position is one reason for this. They desire to accomplish an end per saltum. Another reason is the presence in the Church of both educated and uneducated--classes in Corea between which the distinction is more marked than between rich and poor.
Another distinction, that namely, between the sexes has had, and for generations will continue to have, a marked effect upon the evangelization of Corea. Not only must the sexes be separated by a screen in church, if the proprieties are to be observed; but in their houses the women ,can only be visited by women--so that, it was not until the Sisters of St. Peter (who came in 1892) were able to converse with them that any real work was done amongst the women. The women's quarters being hermetically sealed against all men, except father, husband and children, there was at first nothing to hope for in this direction except as the result of the missionary efforts of the men under instruction upon their female relatives. It was a vain hope, for the reply invariably given to our questions and entreaties was that the women of Corea were too ignorant to learn anything. This was found afterwards to be merely a hyperbolical phrase expressive of the men's sense of their own superiority over the women whose only raison d'être besides being the mothers and rearers of their children, is to cook the family food and wash the family clothes. Yet some of us felt intuitively that the women were neither the chattels nor the dolls which they were represented to be. Had we acted on this conviction and refused baptism to the men until they had shewn the reality of their professions by bringing their wives we should have been saved some scandals. For, Corean character being what it is, the vaunted superiority of the man generally disappears when it comes into contact with the strong will and persistent reproaches of the heathen wife and--even more of the wife's relations. Since the Sisters have been at work amongst the women not only have the statements of their incapacity been disproved by the excellent conduct and brave initiative of many of the Christian women but the Bishop, for some years, has been able to discountenance the baptism of men unless they were accompanied by their wives and children. But the weakest links in our chain to-day are to be found among some of the oldest of our Christians who, in spite of their good standing in the church, have no desire that their wives should be "partakers of the same benefit." To this day one of the first of our Christians has refused for more than a year, to allow his daughter to come to Church because she is 14 years of age--an age when it is considered proper, in certain ranks of society, to shut the girls up. It will be said that the Christian hopes and convictions of such a family cannot be very strong. True. It is to be hoped that it will also shew how great, how unexpected are the difficulties which surround the missionaries in Corea. Some of the friends of the mission at home thought that we were over cautious as year after year, for eight years there was no "progress" to report. There are unmistakeable signs that after 15 years of labour there is yet room for caution.
There has been much said in this introduction about the care which has been needful in laying the foundations in Corea of a native Church which shall be in communion with the Church of England. It must not be supposed that the interests of the English members of the Church have been either forgotten or neglected. If they have not been mentioned it is because these Documents scarcely concern them since they have not needed any exceptional treatment. They have always been very few in number. Nevertheless the fact that the Mission is settled in Seoul and Chemulpo is due to the presence of the English Church in those two towns. In 1890 there were but two more of these Treaty Ports in Corea--Gensan and Fusan--both of which the Bishop visited at once with a view to ascertaining if there were any English Churchmen resident in them. There were not. But both in Seoul and Chemulpo the ministrations of the Church have been offered to the European residents continuously since Ifc90, first in hired rooms and afterwards in permanent buildings. The Bishop has been all the more solicitous of his duty to the "household of the faith" which he found in Corea because his clergy have been the agents of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel--a Society whose first object is the preservation of the faith amongst those members of the English Church who have migrated to "Foreign Parts." Nor has it been forgotten by the Clergy of the Mission that in any evangelistic work which is undertaken by the Church amongst the people of the country must be conditioned by the faith and practice of the foreigners who reside in it.
Again, no mention has been made in these Documents of the members of the Sei Ko Kwai of Japan who have emigrated to Corea. And for the same reason Such ministrations amongst them as have been possible are given in their own tongue and with the use of their own Prayer Book--a description of which is scarcely called for here. Were a history of the Mission to be written it would be seen what strenuous efforts have been made during these 15 years to overtake the Church's responsibility in this direction. Not only have these efforts aimed at preserving the Christianity of the various and fluctuating members of the Sei Ko Kwai, who for short or for long periods, have resided in Corea but some attempt have even been made to do missionary work amongst the heathen who, in increasing numbers, are flocking to Corea, If these efforts have not been very successful (and they have never been relaxed) it has been due, on the one hand, to the extreme difficulty of getting any clergy, whether Japanese or European, to labour amongst them; and, on the other, to the impossibility of asking the small staff of clergy who were engaged in the engrossing task of learning and translating Corean to combine with that the study of such a language as Japanese. This problem, always so difficult has, with the advent of the present war between Russia and Japan become perhaps the most severe problem of the immediate future. For people are everywhere asking. "Will not Corea in a few years become a part of Japan? And will not the Japanese language thus become a compulsory subject for Coreans in all the Government schools which will then be opened throughout the country?" It is not for the Mission to find answers to these questions.
Two things which have intimately affected the life and work of the Mission--the one directly the other indirectly--find no place in the following pages: the medical work and the Association of Prayer and Work for Corea.
The first of these was begun in 1890 by the two doctors who accompanied the Bishop. The hospitals of St Luke in Chemulpo, of St. Matthew in Seoul, and shortly afterwards, of St. Peter (for women, in charge of a lady doctor) in Seoul cannot have ministered to less than a quarter of a million during the last fifteen years. The work, largely increased by the accession of trained nurses in 1893, continued without interruption until 1904 when want of funds compelled the Bishop to close St. Matthew's whilst the work at St. Peter's has been in abeyance since the termination of the lady Doctor's engagement in the same year, owing to the difficulty of procuring a successor during the present war. Thus from the first the medical has been in advance of the evangelistic work of the Diocese. Such a constant pressure, always successful, always abundant, acting on a small clerical staff whose principal objective was the study of the language with a view to translating the Prayer Book, operated unfavourably both on the work of translation and on the exercise of their ministry amongst the numerous patients. The one was retarded, the others were perforce neglected, especially in the first years of the Mission when the work of the doctors went on apace while the clergy had but a stammering knowledge of the language. Only at the village station at On Syou Tong has there been an opportunity of the medical and evangelistic work progressing hand in hand. There Mr. Lawes, an earnest missionary and a clever (though unqualified) practitioner has been patiently doing his work in conjunction with the Priest-in-charge of that isolated country district, with the happiest results, both to the souls and bodies of those who visit the Dispensary. The surviving hospital at Chemulpo now bids fair to become a second On Syou Tong in Kanghoa since it possesses a fully qualified medical man who desires also to be a physician of the souls of his patients and who has in the Priest-in-charge, a hospital Chaplain able to preach fluently to the sick folk in the waiting room and hospital wards. But these happy combinations have arisen since the bulk of the Translating noted in the following pages was completed.
The influence of the A.P.W.C. upon the work of the Mission, if less direct has surely been most marked.
The association was formed by the Bishop in company with the late Archbishop Benson at Addington in 1889. Its twofold principle is daily prayer for all the foreign missions of the Church and an absence of subscription as a condition of membership. Thus, this Association, in its Crusade of Prayer, is able to include amongst its members the very poor equally with the rich; those who are interested in other missions as well as those whose special devotion is to the Mission in Corea.
On Churchmen in England, and in many other parts of the world where members of the Association are to be found, this principle of Daily Intercession for the missionary work of the Church is having the same raising, deepening and widening effect &c, it is to be hoped, the objects of intercession noted in the Paper on the Diptychs of the Diocese are having on the clergy and laity of the Mission in Corea. The absorbing work of translation, proceeding contemporaneously with the study of such languages as Corean and Chinese is apt to have a narrowing, self-centring effect upon the missionaries, clouding their vision and contracting their sympathies. They came to be missionaries to the heathen, to preach to them and to gather them into the Church, and found that the hard-earned first fruits of their study had to be given to the preparation of instruments requisite for their labours. The principle of the Association has never been forgotten by those who have taken part in these Documents. The Coreans had to be thought of and cared for according as their special needs were revealed. But, in the preparation of Liturgy, Catechism and so forth, the Universal Church--and especially that portion of it which sent the Mission to Corea in 1889--was also remembered. Chinese, Japanese, American and English Churchmen will that in them their Corean brethren are but echoing their own formularies and acts of faith and devotion; whilst there is nothing here which will have to be removed when in the Providence of Almighty God the Corean Church proceeds, organically, to supply its further needs in these as in other directions by means of its Synod. Nor is it presumptuous to hope that the Synod of the Church in Corea will then be acting in unison with, even if independently of, the Churches in China and Japan, in England and America.
One other omission will be noted--the imperfect provision made for the Visitation of the Sick to which such special attention is drawn in the Catechumens Catechism. This is not due to an oversight. An office for the Administration of Unction to the Sick (not necessarily in articulo mortis) combined with, a translation of the Office for the Visitation of the Sick would have been amongst the first labours of the translators--but for two difficulties which have not yet been removed. If such a rite is to be edifying, that is to say effective, the superstition of a people steeped in the follies and "charms" of demonology must be met by clearer and more systematic teaching than has been possible to those who had not the Bible in their hands. On the other hand to have adopted the Rite, hoping that in time people would come to value it, would have been most dangerous. Apparently the Minister of Unction must be at least in Priest's orders. The clergy have been too few and the congregations too scattered to admit of the Rite becoming practically useful. It was therefore resolved to leave the visitation of the sick to the clergy and to defer the Unction until such time as it could be understood and so introduced with advantage to the Diocese.
Such a future as has been unrolled could not have been foreseen in 1890. But it has been prepared for, as far as it was in the power of the Bishop to prepare for it. Meanwhile the first duties that lay before the Church have been attended to, in the faith that when the Good Shepherd who has "other sheep which are not" yet "of this fold," gives the word and enables His servants to seek for them, the Church of England, or it may be then the Church of Corea or even the Sei Ko Kwai in a Corean dress will not be behindhand in its duty to the "lost sheep" of the "true Israel" of God, but will bring them to "hear His Voice" and hasten the time when there will be "one fold and one Shepherd."
C. J. CORFE. Bishop.
SEOUL, May 14th, 1905.