This so-called "historical method" has effects on the missionary cause at home, as well as in the lands far away. "How shall they preach, except they be sent?" The sending of missionaries is dependent upon the zeal and liberality of the churches in our land. But how can one who is not sure that Jesus ever uttered the words of the Great Commission urge the churches to fulfil that command of Christ? How can one who has never felt his own need of an atonement adjure his brethren, by Christ's death for their sins, not to let the heathen perish? How can one who has had no experience of Christ as a present and divine Saviour, have power to stand against the rationalism and apathy of the church? This method of Scripture interpretation makes evangelism an enterprise of fanatics not sufficiently educated to know that Buddha and Confucius were teachers of truth long before the time of Christ. Can we more surely dry up the sources of missionary contributions, than by yielding to the pernicious influence of this way of treating Scripture? We have gone far already in the wrong direction. Our churches are honeycombed with doubt and with indifference. The preaching of the old gospel of sin and salvation seems almost a thing of the past. People have itching ears that will not endure sound doctrine. The dynamic of missions is love for Christ, who died to save us from the guilt and power of sin. Modern criticism has to a large extent nullified this dynamic, and if the authority of Scripture is yet further weakened, we may look for complete collapse in our supplies both of men and of money. In fact, the faith and the gifts of many converts from among the heathen already so far exceed the average faith and gifts of our churches at home, that the time may come when Burma and the Congo may have to send missionaries to us, as we are now sending missionaries to the land where the seven churches of Asia once flourished.
Whence has come this so-called "historical method" of interpreting Scripture? I answer: It was "made in Germany." German scholarship for a century past has been working almost exclusively on the horizontal plane, and has been ignoring the light that comes from above. The theology of Great Britain and of America has been profoundly affected by the application of its evolutionary and skeptical principles. In Germany itself the honesty of every Scripture writer has been questioned, and every sacred document has been torn into bits. When the all-pervading presence and influence of Christ in the Bible is lost sight of, and its separate fragments are examined to discover their meaning, there is no guide but the theory of evolution; and evolution, instead of being the ordinary method of a personal God, is itself personified and made the only power in the universe. The regularities of nature, it is thought, leave no room for miracle. There is no divine Will that can work down upon nature in unique acts, such as incarnation and resurrection. A pantheistic Force is the only ruler, and whatever is, is right. Goethe led the way in this pagan philosophy, and German universities have been full of it ever since. It is painful to see how German theologians and ministers have been won over to the ethics of brute force and the practical, deification of mere might in human affairs. The New Testament has been interpreted as justifying implicit obedience to "the powers that be," even when they turn the Kaiser into a military despot and his people into unresisting and deluded slaves. An exaggerated nationalism has taken the place of human solidarity, and a selfish domination of the world has become the goal of national ambition. All the atrocities of this war might have been spared us, if the nations of which Germany is the most conspicuous offender had derived their ethics and their practice from the divine love which rules above, rather than from the seeming necessity of competing with the nations around them. A new interpretation of Scripture is needed to set the world right. But as Germany will never be convinced that the worship of Force is vain, until she sees herself plunged in defeat and ruin, so the advocates of this so-called historical method will never make deduction a primary part of their procedure, and will never take the eternal Christ as their key to Scripture interpretation, until Christ himself shall by a second spiritual advent enter into their hearts and dissipate their doubts, as he did when he showed himself to Paul on the way to Damascus.
I have tried to point out the inherent error of the method to which I have been objecting, and to show its ill effects upon systematic theology, upon our theological seminaries, upon our Baptist churches, and upon our missionary work abroad and at home. I have intimated that the influence of this perverse treatment of Holy Writ may be seen even in the present internecine conflict in which the professedly Christian nations are engaged. I shall very naturally be asked what remedy I propose for so deep-seated and widespread an evil. I can only answer that I see no permanent cure but the second coming of Christ. But do not misunderstand me. I am no premillennarian of the ordinary sort. Indeed, I am as much a post-millennialist, as I am a premillennialist. I believe that both interpretations of prophecy have their rights, and, believing also as I do that Scripture is a unity and that its seeming contradictions can be harmonized, I hold that Christ's spiritual coming precedes the millennium, but that his visible and literal coming follows the millennium. I therefore look for such a spiritual coming into the hearts of his people, as shall renew their faith, fulfil their joy, and answer to the prediction of "the rapture of the saints." In other words, I look for a mighty revival of religion, which will set the churches on their old foundation, and endow them with power to subdue the world. This war seems to me God's second great demonstration of man's inability to save himself, and his need of divine power to save him. As the ancient world and its history were God's demonstration of human sin, and of man's need of Christ's first advent, so this war is God's proof that science and philosophy, literature and commerce, are not sufficient for man's needs, and that Christ must again come, if our modern world is ever to be saved. "In the fulness of time" Christ's first advent occurred. "In the fulness of time" Christ's second advent will occur. But not until humanity, weary of its load, cries out for its redemption. "How long, O Lord, how long?" "It is not for us to know the times which the Father has set within his own authority." But it is ours to believe in Christ's promise, and to pray for its speedy fulfilment. And so, I beg you to join with me in the one prayer with which our book of Scripture closes, namely, "Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
THE THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS
"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." Yes, a candle, but a candle not yet lighted, a candle which will never be light nor give light, till it is touched by a divine flame. So said Doctor Parkhurst. Was his interpretation of Scripture correct? He drew from the proverb the conclusion that man has a religious nature, not in the sense that he is actually religious, but only in the sense that he has a capacity for religion. Doctor Parkhurst would say that man is actually religious only when he knows the true God and worships him in spirit and in truth. To that God he is by nature and by sinful habit blind. He can be light and give light, only after God has enlightened him by special revelation. His nature is a candle unlighted, until God touches it with his divine flame.
What is the truth in this matter? The months I have spent in these heathen lands have made deep impression upon me, and the problem of heathenism has loomed up before me as never before. When one sees thousands prostrating themselves in a Mohammedan mosque and chanting in unison their ascription of greatness to God, or when one sees a Hindu devotee so absorbed in his prayer to a senseless idol that he is unconscious of the kicks and shouts of the passers-by, one comes to realize that man must have a god. The religious instinct is a part of his nature. It is more than a mere capacity for religion. It is active as well as passive. In some sort the candle is already burning. It burns at certain times and places with a fierce and demonic glow. When I saw in Calcutta, so recently the capital of India, a priestess of the temple of Kali, cutting into bits the flesh and entrails of sheep in order that the poorest worshiper might have for his farthing some bloody fragment to offer at the shrine of that hideous and lustful and cruel goddess, I felt sure that, though the candle is burning, it is not always because it has been touched by a divine flame. There are other powers than God's at work in this universe. Doctor Parkhurst's explanation of the Scripture text is not sufficient. He acknowledges only a part of the truth. The candle is giving already a dim and lurid light. Man is blindly worshiping, groping in the dark, bowing to imaginary deities, the products of his own imagination, the work of his own hands.
We must go even farther than this, and concede that here and there among these crowds of worshipers there may be one who is a sincere seeker after God and, according to the light that he has, is trying honestly to serve him. I do not mean a selfish service of ignorant and earthly passion, but a service prompted by some elementary knowledge of the true God, gained by contemplation of his works in nature or from the needs of his own soul revealed in conscience. Surely there was truth and sincerity in the worship of Socrates, of Epictetus, of Marcus Aurelius. The patriarchs had knowledge of God and walked with God, long before Christ came. And Scripture itself declares that in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted by him. David Brainerd found among the American Indians a man who for years had separated himself from the wickedness of his people, and had devoted himself to doing them good. Now and then our missionaries find a heathen whose strivings after God have been prompted by a sense of sin, and whose worship must have been accepted by the God of love. Though there is "none other name given among men whereby we may be saved," we cannot doubt that every man who feels himself to be a sinner, and casts himself upon God's mercy for salvation, does really though unconsciously cast himself upon Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and so joins himself to Christ by the teaching and power of Christ's Spirit, as to be saved in some measure from the dominion of sin here and from the penalty of sin hereafter.
I am a believer in the unity, the sufficiency, and the authority of Scripture—in its unity, when the parts are put together in their historical connections and with the key to their meaning furnished us in Christ; in its sufficiency, as a rule of religious faith and practice; and in its authority, when rightly interpreted with the aid of the Holy Spirit. So I am prepared to find in the first chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans the true philosophy of heathenism, and the reconciliation of the otherwise seemingly conflicting utterances of Scripture with regard to the religious nature of man. I learn that God made man upright, and endowed him with at least a childlike knowledge of himself. But early humanity sought out many inventions, did not wish to retain God in its knowledge, and substituted for the true God creatures of its own imagination. In other words, the scriptural explanation of heathenism is found in an original ancestral sin, in which the human race departed from the true God and gave itself up to the worship, first, of impersonal nature-powers, and then, of the polytheistic personifications of these powers which naturally followed.
Modern heathenism is the result of an abnormal and downward evolution. Many students of comparative religion have forgotten that evolution is oftener to lower forms than to higher. Many a species in the history of life has first become degenerate, and then has become extinct. The shores of time are strewn with wrecks, and one of these wrecks is human nature. Paul gives us only the logical and moral interpretation of a biological fact, when he declares that in consequence of man's departure from God, God gave man over to the dominion of his own passions, in order that the shame and guilt of his vile affections might awaken his conscience and lead him to cry for mercy and redemption. Modern heathenism, still surviving in this age of enlightenment, shows how sin can blind the intellect and harden the heart. When men worship demons of cruelty and lust instead of God, they reveal the depravity as well as the ignorance of human nature in its downward evolution. The candle has been lighted indeed, but it has been touched with the flames of hell.
When God made man in his own image, it was only wheat that he sowed in his field. The evil decision of man has furnished the tares, and their history has been a history of downward evolution. But side by side with this downward evolution there has been an upward evolution of divine grace. The tares have been suffered to grow, but only that there might be demonstrated the power of the wheat to root them out. And from the very beginning Christ has been the author and principle of the true evolution. He who created the race has been its Preserver, Instructor, and Saviour. Humanity, in its warring and its lust, would long since have become extinct, if it had not been for the presence in it of a divine Life and Light. That life and light were the life and light of the preincarnate Christ. He is "the light that lighteth every man," and "his life was the light of men." Jonathan Edwards did not go too far, when he recognized in all natural beauty and goodness the work of Christ. The sunset clouds were painted by the hand of Christ, and it is he whose glory is celebrated by the cannonading of the autumn storm over the grave of summer. All the light of conscience is his light; all the progress of science is his revelation. It was he who led the children of Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, and who thundered and lightened from Sinai at the giving of the Law. "The Rock that followed" the chosen people through the wilderness and gave them drink "was Christ." Every reform within the bounds of heathenism has been due to him. Confucius and Buddha, so far as they uttered truth, were his messengers. He has never left humanity without a witness to the power and goodness of God. While men have been seeking an unknown God, he has been that very God whom they were seeking, and it is he who has incited them to feel after him and find him. His light has shined in the darkness, and the darkness has comprehended it not, though in him we live and move and have our being.
So there is evolution of good, side by side with the evolution of evil. We may recognize truth in heathen systems, while we deplore their errors, for Christ himself is the Truth. It is the single grain of truth in these systems that has given them all their power. They never could have maintained their hold upon the world, if they had not appealed to some good instincts of the human heart. A coin made wholly of lead will never pass for a dollar. It must have a little washing of silver to give it any sort of currency. But it is a counterfeit, for all its silver washing. So these heathen systems have their grain of truth, but they are false and soul-destroying all the same. Let us recognize candidly the grains of truth which they contain, for these are witnesses to the indwelling Christ who has not left humanity wholly to itself. And let us make these grains of truth our gateways of access to the heathen heart, while we show the heathen the larger and fuller truth as it is in Jesus.
Christ alone can solve the problems of the world and reconcile the warring elements of humanity. He is our peace, who hath made Jew and Gentile one, having broken down the middle wall of partition, and having made of the twain one new man, reconciling both to God through the blood of his Cross. He can make all sects, all parties, all castes, all nations one; because in him are all the elements of truth which each possesses, without any mixture of their errors. In him there will be no longer barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, male nor female, for he will bind all together by virtue of their union with himself. The Hindu, for example, has the truth of God's immanence, but he turns it into falsehood by denying the correlative and equally important truth of God's transcendence, making God to be a mere nature-force without personality, while Scripture recognizes in God both immanence and transcendence, sees God in all things and through all things, yet above all things. The Hindu has also the truth of God's incarnation, but he turns it into error, by denying the permanence of that incarnation, the divine incarnation in Krishna or Buddha being only a temporary assumption of humanity which he leaves behind him when he reascends to his heaven, while Christ takes our human nature into perpetual union with himself and makes it sit down with him upon his throne. The Moslem, on the other hand, believes in God's unity and transcendence, but denies his immanence. His God is far away, not only physically but also morally, for he is without justice or love. The Moslem holds stoutly to the truth of God's personality; but he denies the manifestation of that personality in Christ, and also Christ's personal presence with all believers. Only Christ can break down the middle wall of partition between Hindu and Moslem, for he alone has the all-inclusive truth that will unite them both. And so of all divisions of caste, of color, of party, of denomination, and of nationality, for he alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, supremely and absolutely fitted to be the Bringer of Peace to the world.
There is yet another reason why Christ alone can save. Let us remember always that error is the result of sin, and that before the power of sin can be broken, the penalty of sin must be removed. In the heart of man is an inextinguishable sense of guilt, and an equally inextinguishable thirst for reparation. It is the forebodings of conscience that make death terrible. Blind the eyes and harden the heart, if you will. The accusations of conscience will be like writings in invisible ink, that come out clear and threatening in times of introspection and of sober judgment. As Shakespeare says,
Their great guilt Like poison given to work a great time after, Now 'gins to bite the spirits.
The greatest chasm is between their souls and God, and they must have peace with God, before they can have peace with men. Christ is our peace, therefore, first of all, because he makes atonement for our sins, pays our debts to justice, and sets our conscience free from guilt. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world, making peace by the blood of his Cross. Having made our peace with God, he makes peace in our warring powers of conscience and will, and then brings about peace in our relations with others. As he made man at the first of one blood, so he will at last bring all the nations back into one brotherhood of holiness and love.
There is a moral theology, as well as a doctrinal theology. The moral follows the doctrinal, and shows in practice that the doctrine is truth and not error. Paul includes this moral teaching in his Epistle to the Romans. At the beginning of his twelfth chapter he passes from his discussion of justification by faith to speak of the proper effects of faith in the Christian life: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice." Then comes the noblest summary of duty to be found in all literature. All manner of social service is enjoined, while the presupposition of that service is ever held to be the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf and the regenerating grace of God in the Christian heart. How much the heathen world needs this part of the gospel, only some knowledge of the shameful vices of the Orient can reveal to us. The first chapter of that same Epistle is a correct picture of the heathen world of to-day. A pure life, which is also a life lived for others, is something which surpasses the power of Confucius or Buddha to produce or to maintain. Such lives in the churches of mission lands are the weightiest arguments for Christianity. But conversion to Christ goes, in its influence, farther than the individual. It has a far-reaching social influence. It lifts up the whole family, the whole class, the whole caste, making its members intelligent, efficient, trustworthy, as many British officials in India gladly bear witness. Christianity seems likely to give the Sudras precedence of the Brahmans in civil and political affairs, so that in one case at least the meek shall inherit the earth.
The kingdom of God, however, can never win its triumphs solely by external reforms. In order to obtain the fruits of education, morality, and self-government, you must first have Christian faith rooted in the soil. Applications of Christianity are necessary, and they are to be earnestly sought, but it will be vain to seek them, if we have no Christianity to apply. The tendency in our missions to put the main stress upon physical and social agencies, to the detriment of simple gospel preaching, is sure to be disappointing in its results. It is like trying to light a coal-fire by putting your kindlings on top. It is like beginning at the roof, and building down to the foundation; or like first purifying the stream, and afterwards the fountain. Society is made up of individuals, and regeneration of the individual must precede all social renovation. The old gospel, with regard to sin and salvation, is the only gospel that will save the heathen world; and the living, personal Christ, with his atoning blood and his renewing Spirit, is the only power that can bring about permanent reformation of social evils and the establishment of the kingdom of God in the individual, in the nation, and in the world.
That this is the true theology of missions, the history of missions is the best of all proofs. We need not only to touch the intellect, but also to touch the heart. We need to furnish a motive that will win to action the sluggish and selfish devotees of systems century-old that have enslaved them. One message, and one only, has accomplished this result, and that is the message of the Cross. Not the presentation of God's greatness and power, but the story of the personal Jesus and his giving up of his life for sinners, has moved men to give themselves to him. The love of Christ has called forth answering love. Greenlanders and Bushmen, Tibetans and Telugus, Australians and Chinese, have gone to their deaths for Christ, simply because they had learned that Christ died for them. Of this sort have been the first-fruits of all our missions. Christ crucified has been the power of God unto salvation. When he who was rich became poor that we might become rich, he instituted not only an example, but a motive, sufficient to subdue men's hearts and to conquer the world. "To win for the Lamb that was slain the reward of his sufferings" has turned illiterate men in India into indomitable propagandists of Christianity; but it has also made missionaries in Oxford and Edinburgh, in Leicester and Andover—missionaries like Reginald Heber and John G. Paton, like William Carey and Adoniram Judson. The "offense of the Cross" is great, but the power of the Cross is greater still, and the theology of missions must never permit mere philosophy, or education, or physical betterment, or social service, to take the place of Christ crucified in its preaching.
I grieve over the minimizing of Christ's nature and claims that is current in our day, because I believe that it cuts the sinew of our Christian faith and destroys the chief dynamic in our missions. I deplore the denial of our Lord's deity and atonement, the refusal to address him in prayer, the ignoring of his promise to be with his people even to the end of the world. To meet our needs in the conflict with towering systems of idolatry and superstition, we need a supernatural Christ; not simply the man of Nazareth, but the Lord of glory; not the Christ of the Synoptics alone, but also the Christ of John's Gospel; not a merely human example and leader, but one who "was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead"; not simply Jesus according to the flesh, but "the Word who was with God and who was God" in eternity past; not simply God manifest in human life nineteen centuries ago, but the God who is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever"; not simply the humbled, but also the glorified Saviour, who sits now upon the throne of the universe, all power in heaven and earth being given into his hand. When we believe in an ascended Lord at God's right hand, the God of Creation, of Providence, and of Redemption, we have a faith that can conquer the world. Without such a faith in the omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Christ, we are weak as water in the conflict with heathenism. We may set up Christ on a pedestal, in a pantheon like that of Mrs. Besant, with a statue of Krishna by his side, and the Hindu will laugh at the claims of the gospel. Only faith in Christ as very God can meet the demands of the hour. "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord." In every age Christ has lit that candle, so that it has given some light. But all who have come before him, pretending to be the Light of the world, have been thieves and robbers, stealing from Christ his glory and from man his blessing. Christ alone can so enlighten us that we can be light and can give light. Let us arise and shine, because our Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has arisen upon us!
MISSIONS AND MISSIONARIES
No result of my travel has been more valuable to me than the new impression I have received of the effect of missions upon missionaries. I came abroad with a lingering idea of my youth that missionaries were a class by themselves, a solemn set, destitute of humor, and so absorbed in their work as to be narrow-minded. On the contrary, I have found them joyful and even hilarious, broad in their views and sympathies, lovers of the good in literature and art. The mental and spiritual growth of students who left me years ago for a foreign field has greatly surprised me. Then they were boys; now they are men. The demands of the missionary work have drawn out their latent powers; they have found their new environment immensely stimulating; contact with new lands and people has widened their outlook; they have become thinkers and leaders of men.
It takes an all-round man to be a good missionary. The learning of a foreign language in which one has to construct his own grammar and lexicon requires persistent effort of the most disciplined mind. The missionary is often called upon to build his own house or church. He must be both architect and supervisor, for his masons know no English, and are bent on slighting their work. He has servants who steal and coolies who lie. He establishes, manages, and governs a native school, and generally has to evolve his own pedagogy. He comes into relation with English officials, American consuls, and native functionaries, and is obliged to know something of social customs. In fine, he is a jack of all trades, besides being a preacher of the gospel who must adapt his message to the understanding of the illiterate multitude and of the cultivated man of caste as well.
All this gives the missionary a training beyond that of any university course. Herbert Spencer asserted that a nation makes progress in civilization in proportion to the variety of its environment. The principle applies also to the development of the individual. Our missionaries thought perhaps that they were leaving culture behind them, when they left America for barbarous lands. But losing their lives for Christ's sake they found to be mental gain. Even on the Congo our men have learned more, and have developed stronger characters, than would have been possible if they had accepted ordinary pastorates at home. And they have not lost, but have won, that fine flavor of sanity and judgment, which belongs to men who have had large experience of life.
So far, I have referred only to the intellectual side of one's education. The spiritual equipment is even more important. In heathendom one comes in contact with towering systems of idolatry and superstition, venerable with age and rooted deeply in the nature and habit of the people. The Christian teacher realizes that, in his conflict with these systems, he is powerless, unless backed by Omnipotence. He is thrown upon the divine resources, and learns, perhaps for the first time, that, while apart from Christ he can do nothing, with Christ he can do all things. A new experience of the presence and power of the Saviour comes to him. The struggle that at first taxed all his energy is at last a glad walk over the course in the strength of Christ. Anxiety and fear have taught him lessons which he could not otherwise have learned. He has become a hopeful and joyful Christian.
All this tends to render the missionary doctrinally sound. Evangelization makes men evangelical. When you tell the gospel to a heathen sinner, you must put it in the simplest terms, or he will fail to understand it. Your effort to reach his mind and heart clarifies your own. To one condemned and lost, no mere human example in Jesus will suffice; you need an atoning Saviour. To one struggling with demonic powers and helpless in their grasp, no mere man of Nazareth, no Jesus, according to the flesh, will answer; you need the Lord of Glory, who was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit who regenerates, sanctifies, comforts, and saves, becomes an indispensable element in preaching, and so becomes ingrained into the preacher's confession of faith. A personal and present Christ, Immanuel, God with us, is the source of the missionary's power; he has practical proof that the Holy Spirit is Christ in spiritual form, with his people alway, even to the end of the world. The reality of God in Christ, manifest in nature, ruling the world in providence, preparing the nations for judgment, sure to bring the world to his feet, becomes an article of the missionary's faith, and a constant subject of his teaching. The minimizing of Christ's nature and claims has no proper place on missionary ground. The missionary indeed is exerting an influence on the faith of the homeland equal to that which he exerts upon the heathen abroad.
It is indeed true that here and there a man who has come out as a missionary has been attracted and perverted by the very systems he proposed to subdue, and has turned out a teacher of Buddhism instead of Christianity. But such men had never the root of the matter in them, had never felt the galling yoke of sin, had never known the joy of Christ's salvation. They had gotten their preparation for evangelistic work from American teachers of comparative religion, who put Buddha on the same plane with Christ. The result has only shown the impotence of a man-made gospel to combat heathenism, or even to save the souls of those who preach that sort of gospel. In a sense precisely opposite to that of the apostle Paul, they have come to be opposers of the faith they once proposed to advocate, and destroyers instead of builders of Christian civilization. All this is a lesson to our missionary societies and churches at home. The colleges and seminaries which permit indefinite and unevangelical doctrine to be taught, and which retain those who teach it upon the ground that liberality in theology is a duty, merit the censure of God and man; for the school or the church that ceases to be evangelical will soon cease to be evangelistic, and when it ceases to be evangelistic it will soon cease to exist. In this way missions are the testing-places of Christian doctrine.
In a similar way New Testament polity is showing its power in our foreign work. At home we are getting to be lax in our reception of members, and are taking in numbers of persons without proper evidence of their conversion. Baptist churches which used to examine carefully their candidates for admission now receive them without public and oral confession of their faith. Yet these new members may vote, and may determine the attitude of the church in important exigencies. All this is avoided in our mission churches. They perceive the necessity of keeping out the unfit, as clearly as that of admitting the fit. They do not add to their membership by infant baptism, and they make sure that no pecuniary considerations influence professing converts. Our Baptist mission churches are fast becoming models of self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating bodies. Missionaries find that their only safety lies in hewing close to the line of New Testament requirement. Their success in building up Baptist churches in Burma and among the Telugus, keeps our missionaries faithful to the New Testament model of church polity. They have the joy of seeing churches organized on scriptural principles, and shedding their light upon the regions of darkness around them.
I wish to say something also about the physical environment of our missionaries and its influence upon them. I remember that half a century ago I called upon Doctor Thompson of Beirut, the veteran missionary of the American Board in Syria. I would not have been surprised if I had found him living in a hut, for my ideas of missionary hardship were very crude. But I was surprised to find him living in a great stone mansion, with twice as many servants as we ordinarily have at home. It has taken me some time to learn that in a hot country a cool and spacious house is a primary necessity of life, if the missionary expects to endure a climate where the thermometer at times goes up beyond a hundred degrees and stays there. And ordinary comfort cannot be obtained without servants to do your cooking and running. The large house can be built for half the cost of such a structure at home, and the servants can be obtained for only a few cents a day for each one. Remember that in many cases the missionary has not only to be his own physician and surgeon, but also the physician and surgeon of others; that his house is often a hospital as well as a gathering-place of inquirers. Remember, too, that the missionary's wife has not only to perform the household duties of a wife at home, but in addition has probably to be the supervisor of a girls' school and the only school-teacher and music-teacher that her children will know until they are old enough to go to the homeland. Remember these considerations, and you will see that a decent home is essential to a missionary's success in a heathen land. Our missionary work, like our diplomatic service, has been too long discredited by our insufficient care for our representatives abroad.
Our friends of other denominations are greatly ahead of us in this matter of provision for their missionaries. Not only are the bungalows built for their residences better than ours, but their plants of church and school buildings show a larger outlook for the future than ours show. The English Baptists, the Congregationalists, the Methodists, the Church of England, yes, even the Theosophists and Buddhists, furnish object-lessons to us in this regard. And yet, such has been the inventiveness and large-mindedness of our missionaries themselves, that in all the great centers of our work, they are housed better than the average pastors of our churches at home. I wish we could double their strength by the establishment of summer rest-houses in the hills, and by presenting every one of them with a motor-car. But even now, the days of extreme hardship are past, and no man of ordinary vigor need fear coming to the foreign field on account of its physical discomforts.
When our Lord sent out his first missionaries, he sent them two by two. The real trial of the missionary is more mental than physical. He greatly needs companionship. Silence in the midst of the beating of heathen tom-toms becomes enervating and appalling; it may make a man insane. We are learning the value of team-work in missions. What one man alone could never accomplish, he can do with the help of others. The American Board in its mission at Madura, India, has acted upon this principle, and the result is seen in an aggregate of twenty-two thousand church-members. Our own most successful work has been among the Burmans and Karens, where we have seventy thousand members, and among the Telugus, where we have as many more. In these fields there are enough workers to constitute a homogeneous society, with frequent conferences to help the discouraged and to stimulate the weak. Let us be generous in providing additional helpers and furloughs to men so far removed from our Christian civilization.
But let no one go to the foreign field expecting to get all his strength from his brethren. Missionary work is no sinecure. It requires not only a sound body and a sound mind, with a cheerful and hopeful temperament, but also a willingness to endure hardship for Jesus' sake, and, if need be, with him alone for helper. There are more alleviations of missionary conditions than were known in its early days, but they still require self-sacrifice. Separation from home and friends, and, for the pioneer, days of unspeakable loneliness, are the missionary's portion. The necessity of sending children to America, so that they may escape disease and immorality among the heathen, is an agony which only the affectionate parent can know. Opportunities for usefulness which cannot be seized, because of lack of reenforcement from the homeland, involve a "hope deferred that maketh the heart sick."
When Paul went to Athens he probably hoped to win the philosophers to Christ's standard. But the Stoics and Epicureans scoffed at him. He had to content himself with the multitude of commoner converts at Corinth. It was doubtless God's sovereignty that determined the result, but God's sovereignty is also wisdom. It took Paul a long time to learn that God builds his fires from the bottom, and ordinarily kindles the small sticks first. "Not many wise, not many noble hath God chosen," but the weak things first, "that no flesh may glory in his presence." Here is one of the trials of missionary life, and one of the tests of missionary faith. Can the missionary welcome the conversion of a multitude of low-class people, like the Madigas, when their acceptance becomes to the proud Brahman an evidence of the ignoble character of Christianity? Yes, he can, if he has faith in God. He can wait on God, and wait for results.
He builded better than he knew, The conscious stone to beauty grew.
The great Sudra class, a class higher than the Madigas, under the influence of Christianity, is becoming more intelligent and more influential than the Brahman, and is gradually taking from him his social prestige and his political power. Many missionaries are expecting a great turning unto the Lord from among the Sudras. Meantime there is a promise "to him that overcometh." "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And
When we reach the shore at last. Who shall count the billows past?
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Inconsistencies in the hyphenation of words preserved. (sightseeing, sight-seeing)
Pg. 39, unusual word "subtilty". Presumed to be "subtlety". (and the subtlety of the Hindus)
Pg. 177, triple quote mark after "biblia," changed to double quote mark. (the plural "biblia,")
In the original text, every chapter had a title page (containing chapter number and heading) with a blank page on the reverse. The page with the main text then followed with a repeated chapter heading at the top. Occasionally, there was also a blank page before the title page. For tidiness, the title page of each chapter has been transcribed but the repeated chapter headings have been removed.