238 MISSIONARY WORK IN JAPAN. people are the most given to superstitious ideas about gods, where they hold in deepest reverence the de­parted spirits, and where but ten years ago the arrival of a foreign ambassador gave rise to the thought that the soil of the Capital of the gods was polluted, and that the wrath of the gods and of Buddha would surely fall upon the people I" In his early school days at Andover, amid the in­fluences of a Christian home and training, Mr. Nee­sima had first conceived the plan of a Christian uni­versity for Japan. When we remember the condition of Japan at that period, before the restoration, and his own position, an exile struggling with poverty and ill-health, we are not surprised to find him refer­ring to this project as a day-dream. Yet it was even then more than a dream, it was an ambition and a purpose. "I kept it," he says, "within myself, and prayed over it." From time to time he confided his thought to his friends, but met with no encourage­ment. On the eve of his return, in the presence of an audience whose sympathy and interest were indis­pensable to success, the desire of his heart burst from his lips, and in the appeal then made he laid the cor­ner-stone of the Meiji University. Beginning, with seven pupils, in two dingy rooms, a school which for years was the object of contempt and ridicule, op­posed at every step by the hatred of the authorities and the prejudices of the people, his purpose never faltered. The time had now come when he could ap­peal to a sentiment to whose development he himself had largely contributed. Residents of Kyoto who had formerly antagonized all his efforts, but who were deeply interested as patriots in the general question of education, had become convinced that the sound-