LIFE AND LETTERS OF JOSEPH HARDY NEESIMA
186 MISSIONARY WORK IN JAPAN. the possession of fixed revenues, but never forced to occupation, which had always been despised. Resolute as was the government in its policy of regeneration, it had been obliged to exercise caution, and this to such an extent that, seven years after the restoration, the province of Satswna was practically an imperium in imperio, where everything possible was being done to resist the unification of the empire and where independent military preparations were going on upon a large scale. The prevailing political discontent was accompanied by a feeling of irritation against Christianity, in regard to which the government had adopted a temporizing policy. There can be no question that the more enlightened of the Japanese leaders had been impressed by the fact that the civilization which they admired was a Christian civilization. On the other hand they were more anxious to be strong than to be Christian, and in dealing with the anti-foreign element were forced to conciliate the fanatical spirit of popular religious belief. Long after the engine had disturbed the quiet of Japanese valleys, the edict'! against the corrupt sect of Jesus remained posted in the public thoroughfares. The popular feeling of opposition to Christianity was, however, an inheritance from a remote past, and was far more a matter of sentiment than of conviction. Shintoism, the national religion, possessed none of the elements of aggressive strength, hardly even the power of resistance. Without dogmas or moral code or sacred books, a vague worship, of nature and one's ancestors, rather than a religion, it had offered no real resistance to the introduction of Buddhism from China, and its influence upon the conduct of life was, as compared with that of Buddhism and Confn~ianism, a mere shadow.