صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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We are now solemnly compelled to confront the work of a new

century. We need, first of all, a new vision and revelation, both of

our opportunity and our responsibility. Christ is the Light of the

World, but so is His Church. This is impressively brought to view in

2 Cor. iv: 4-7. Satan is represented as blinding the eyes of unbe-

lievers, lest the light of the glory of the Gospel of Christ should shine

unto them. The exact conception is, lest the illumination, the

enlightening influence of the glory of the Gospel, as reflected and

transmitted through the believer, should reach them with its irradia-

tion. In the same passage we are taught that He who commanded

the light to shine out of the original darkness hath shined in our

hearts to produce this irradiation in us, and make possible this illu-

mination of others. And further on, we are taught this additional

lesson, that one of the greatest proofs, both of the power and grace of

God, is found in thus making possible that so frail and unworthy a

"vessel of earth” should both be able to bear or contain such Divine

splendor as a revelation to itself, and also bear forth, or convey such

glory as a revelation to others. The lesson of this significant passage

is that the highest privilege of a believer is to receive, reflect, and

transmit the glory of God as revealed in Christ through the Gospel.

Practically that glory will never shine in the hearts of men unless it

comes to them through believers, as mirrors or transmitters of God's


the lack of a proper spirit of prayer on the part of the Church at large.

I. Devout students of missions urgently appeal in behalf of immense areas and populations thus far unreached or neglected. Two great Oriental empires are each a world in itself. India and China contain half the total population of the world. Yet, what has so far been done among these seven hundred millions is comparatively insignificant. When, in 1865, J. Hudson Taylor organized the China Inland Mission, eleven vast provinces of inland China had no resident Protestant missionary. Notwithstanding the hundreds of missionaries in India, the Decennial Conference of Bombay, in 1893, appealed to the Christian Church at large for help in meeting "an opportunity and responsibility never known before." Each of the great native states has been occupied by a missionary or two, but many smaller states have not yet been entered even by a single preacher, teacher, or healer, Nepal alone being shut to the Gospel. Bengal has a nonChristian population vaster than the whole population of the United States, and Bahar has but thirty missionaries, one-half being women, for twenty-five million souls.


Besides India and China, five great districts are as yet totally unreached by Protestant missionaries; three of them in Asia, one in Africa, and one in South America:

1. There is the vast territory of inner and lower central Asia, including Tibet, and reaching over the entire heart of that vast continent. Tibet is not therefore the only unoccupied country in Asia, but only a small part of what Coleridge called the "vast undone."

2. Upper Asia, or Russian Asia, is an immense field over most of which only Greek priests have access to the people.

3. Arabia, with its nomadic tribes and shrine of the false prophet, is practically unreached. There are only four stations on the border.

4. The Sudan, reaching from the Kong Mountains to the Nile valley, three thousand miles in length, east and west, has a population greater than that of the United States, and estimated at from seventy to ninety million, held under the Crescent's sway.

5. The central portion of South America, the Amazon basin, with millions of natives, is still marked by paganism or has only a corrupt papal system, as bad as paganism.

II. We need to feel the inadequacy of our present working force and working funds. The laborers are few. Protestant Christendom represents two hundred million members, identified with the reformed churches, yet has less than fifteen thousand missionaries, one-third being unmarried women. With these are laboring a force of about fifty thousand native ministers and helpers, less than one-tenth of

whom are ordained. If we liberally estimate the number of the total force at work for Christ abroad at sixty-five thousand, we have one laborer for about twenty-five thousand souls. Surely it would be a small thing for the Church of Christ to supply one missionary for at least every fifty thousand of the unevangelized.

The gifts of the Church are sadly, inexcusably small. The late Dean Vahl, who erred on the side of caution in his estimates, reckoned the total income of missionary societies in 1891 at less than fourteen million dollars. Yet, year by year, embarrassment with debt is the almost universal fact with missionary societies; and, as a consequence, the fatal cry of "retrenchment" compels expenses to be cut down, in some cases, one-third. This means nothing less than the stoppage and blockage of all advance and aggressive movements; and, still worse, the actual abandonment of advantages already gained, as if an army of occupation were forced not only to halt, but actually to give up strategic points, occupied after much loss of blood and treasure, and to retreat in the face of a jubilant foe.


There can be no apology for any lack of ample gifts to the cause of missions. The Church can no longer say, like Peter, "Silver and gold have I none." Of the wealth of the world a very large proportion is in the hands of Christian disciples. One of the most important deaths in 1899 was that of a merchant prince who had for years been prominent, not only in business circles, but in Christian circles also. His wealth was colossal, reckoned by scores of millions of dollars. The death of such a man was the fall of a commercial giant, and huge interests were involved. This man was identified with evangelical enterprises and known as an active Christian. Much interest was naturally concentrated on the provisions of his will. It was found that, out of a total of about seventy million dollars, embraced in his bequests, all but about one out of seventy, went to the family, friends, and servants, the sum total of benevolent legacies being about one million dollars.

Without judging any man's case, since to his own Master he standeth or falleth, if the published account be trustworthy, it will appear what vast powers were lodged in one man wherewith to build up or strengthen the missionary work of the world. One-seventh of this vast sum left to the cause of God would have nearly doubled the amount which that year went to the support of the missionary societies of America, Britain, and Germany. But what an immense uplift would have come to the entire work of Christ at home and abroad, had the terms of this legacy been reversed, had the sixty-nine millions gone to benevolence, and the million been distributed among the heirs! Yet, in apostolic days, disciples sold their entire possessions

and brought the price and laid it on the altar of service, so that there was no need unmet, and there was "meat in God's House."

We can not withhold our deep conviction that the principle of the believer's stewardship in property needs to be reexamined in the light of the Word of God. Immense sums, in the aggregate, lie like a dormant power, in the purses even of God's poor. Leaving out of account all the resources and responsibilities of the wealthy, if the little that God's poorer saints possess could be so administered as to economize for His cause what now runs to waste, a great river of beneficence, never dry but always abundant, would overflow with blessing to all mankind. From time to time God gives us the secret biography of some poor saint, like that needle woman of Norwich, Sarah Hosmer, who out of a few dollars a week five times saved enough to put a native convert of Armenia through a theological school and prepare him for the Gospel ministry; or like that crippled rheumatic widow of Dr. A. J. Gordon's church in Boston, who, having a small income of twelve hundred dollars, saved two-thirds of it for God, and for herself and her son reserved only the other third! There is no greater reproach to the Church of Christ than her low standard of giving. It is a shame that God's cause should ever have to make even an appeal.


III. We need to learn a lesson as to the possibilities of proper effort. A singular example of the effectiveness of energy, self-denial, and prudence in human enterprise is found in that episode of Canadian history, known as the Red River expedition, about which few, even of Englishmen, know. When the mercurial and excitable people of Northwest Canada, the French and French halfbreed of the population, refused to concur in that transfer of the Hudson Bay Company's proprietary rights to the Canadian Government, which they construed as hostile to their interests; when they rebelled and actually took up arms, erected a provisional government with Louis Ricl at the head, and gathered six hundred armed men to sustain the dignity of the new republic; when, furthermore, they proceeded in defiance of all justice and righteousness to put to death, after sentence by a mock tribunal, a British subject, Scott, for no worse crime than opposition. to their rule of usurpation-all hope of amicable adjustment was gone, and no alternative remained. The Canadian Government must punish such rebellion and vindicate rightful authority. But Fort Garry, where the insurgents made their stronghold, was twelve hundred miles from Toronto, and but half this distance could be crossed by any railcar or steamboat; the rest of the way lay through a pathless wilderness of forest, through which ran a chain of lakes and rivers, with perilous rapids and precipitous falls, and on such waters

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