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Whilst this is true it must, nevertheless, not be forgotten that there is a more general interest taken in missionary work and a better knowledge of the situation. There is a tendency on the part of the general public to regard foreign missions as an integral part of the life of the community rather than as the work of a particular section of it. The home Boards are wisely acting on the principle that quickened interest in the work abroad can only be adequately sustained at home by a fuller knowledge of the peoples who are the object of the work. There are, therefore, more facilities offered for study and a better equipment for spreading knowledge of the various races
Classes for the serious study of missionary problems, camp meetings, and student volunteer work abound. These indicate an increasing determination to cope with the difficulties, and they show the vitality of the religious life at home. Every department of the work is more efficiently organised. But it is also evident that a desire to obey the will of Christ, rather than to obey regulations, dominates the work. Though there is a dearth of suitable candidates at present, yet it must be remembered that this sense of duty and the desire to obey Christ must, in time, supply every need. Then, again, the leaders in the churches are imbued with this spirit of spreading the Gospel, and the most distinguished preachers are also advocates of the extension of the kingdom of God to every land. These men sustain and nourish the missionary feeling that pervades the churches, and they animate the workers with an increasing desire to prosecute the work. In this connection one cannot help asking what the effect of education and the press will have on the work. There is undoubtedly a crisis, and every crisis causes a certain amount of apprehension.
There is nothing strange or unusual in this. It would be untrue, as well as unwise, to say that all is well, or to shut one's eyes to the great changes passing over religious thought in England. Comparative religions cannot be studied without some amount of disturbance and displacement of former opinions. Religious terminologies are not changed without compunction. And the question that concerns us in a lively way, is not so much whether the direction in which the force is applied, has been altered, but whether the resultant will be less. The problems of theology are more fully and generally discussed than in past days, and the question is, Will the final zeal for religion be less ? It is gratifying to find that there are Christian
thinkers ready, not only to meet the new condition of thought, but also to lead it. As a result of the various forces at work, it is very clear that a new temper is arising, which in time will predominate over the Christian world generally. This temper is less theological and more Christian. It is a temper that will endeavour rationally to consider the welfare of man in the spirit of Christ. There will be a broad outlook and a deepened interest. There will be a breaking of the bonds of intellectual convention and an endeavour to study facts and claims. This new temperament will desire to comprehend and feel, to distinguish and penetrate the genuine sensations of another, not in the temper of a judge, but in that of a physician. This spirit will eminently try to act according to the mind of Christ. Whatever is thus done, can be contemplated with a cheerful hope.
The heart of English Christianity is sound and healthy on the missionary question. I was singularly fortunate, during my short stay in England, to witness some important events that confirm this opinion.
The first was the great Orient Exhibition, opened by Mr. W. Churchill, who spoke sympathetically of missionary enterprise to a great audience. But in connection with this exhibition, remarkable in many ways, I would like to confine my remarks to one feature of significance. I refer to the workers. The amount of voluntary help given, not only made the exhibition possible, but contributed largely to its success. The service rendered by the rich few and the many of moderate means, both in time and money, was as generous as it was willing. For not only was this army of helpers unpaid, but it spent thousands of pounds in trams and trains, in the preparation for the exhibition, and the daily attendance at the stalls. Money, time and thought were joyfully and ungrudgingly given to advance this great object-lesson of missionary operations throughout the world. Articles were freely lent, boys and girls at school and in the home, professional men after a busy day, all helped, in one form or another, to prepare maps, charts and other things likely to increase the usefulness of the exhibition. The response to the call was noble and generous. This free service, then, in itself, apart from other considerations, is a matter for much thankfulness and encouragement. Then again there was the great Pan-Anglican Conference, which altered the aspect of London for a few days, bringing together many types of men for mutual comfort and counsel. It may be true that they met in the first place in order to assure themselves of their strength and to make certain that time, which crumbles many an institution, had but added lustre and strength as well as numbers to itself. But it accomplished more than this. It produced valuable contributions on the work of the Christian church. So this gathering, also, will result in quickened impulse to do more for Christ and to widen the frontiers of His dominion.
Following close upon this, London witnessed the historic visit of the German pastors. This visit evoked much enthusiasm. The public welcome in the Albert Hall revealed great cordiality, and not only helped to federate churches, but also nations. Much Christian feeling was shown and promise was given of a religious unity, which, in time, would do much to alleviate the tension of political antipathy and racial conflicts. It contained the promise of better days for man, when he can conserve his strength for advancement in the path of progress rather than disperse his energies in destructive warfare.
Soon after this, there was a large Congress of Baptists in Berlin, of which, however, I was not a spectator. This Congress was also an event of great importance, not only to the Baptist cause on the Continent, but much more to the welfare of the world. For these gatherings have not only a local significance, but they ultimately will have a marked bearing upon the missionary work of the church. A stronger bond of brotherhood means, of necessity, more interest in the welfare of man generally. An increasing “love of the brethren" means a wider and kindlier
' solicitude for the "other sheep" too.
I would also associate the Catholic Congress with this sentiment. Of all the religious gatherings held in London this year, this naturally created the greatest stir. High dignitaries from many lands came together. They too met together urged by deep missionary instinct. There was a passionate longing for the return of England to “the faith". In the mass-meeting in the Albert Hall, this was apparently the dominant thought in every heart. Their hymns and speeches had a missionary ring about them. Loyalty to the eucharist, however we as Protestants may view the matter, implied a regal duty to bring the whole world to Christ. As a Protestant even, one felt the inspir. ation of the moment. There was a concentrated purpose there and a latent energy.
Believers must be warriors also. What so worthy as the struggle for the salvation of man and the effort to gather all within the “true fold”.
All these meetings and congresses are mentioned for their bearing on missionary work. For one and all, they give evidence of the internal strength of the church, which augurs well for carrying forth the work abroad. When national barriers are broken down, then the ideals of the kingdom have a better chance of becoming operative. Congresses have a distinct value in stirring up the mind to prosecute, with renewed energy and vigour, fresh conquests for the faith.
There is still another matter which may, in the end, help missionary work considerably. Intercourse between China and the West, in former times, was mostly on one side. Europe went to China, but China refused to go to Europe. There
no return visits. This aloofness, however, is rapidly disappearing. The class of most influence in China is going abroad, and nothing is more likely to break down ancient prejudices than this new departure. In Great Britain there is a large number of students from different parts of China. If the number increases much more, it will cause some embarrassment to the educational authorities there.
These students have met with considerable difficulty in their first entrance upon English life. Language and living stood in their way. Some of them, in the new climate of opinion, took up radical views and caused no little concern to those responsible for their welfare. The Chinese authorities, however, must not be unreasonable in their expectations regarding the students whom they send abroad. They must also expect more of their men than to return exactly as they went, plus the contents of a few text-books in their brains. These students are influenced by their new surroundings and, more or less, accept the ideas of the people amongst whom they sojourn. Wherever liberty finds access into the life of men, she never rests until all within touch åre brought into submission to her benign influence. These students will not only reap the educational advantages of England, but will also be moulded by her culture. Her parliaments and churches cannot be shut out from their minds wbilst they attend her schools and colleges. It were too much to expect that they would advocate religious liberty when they return to their own country, or even that they would always advocate any missionary work. Possibly they would be lukewarm advocates of it. But, in the end, their sojourn in other lands must make our work here easier. It should greatly help to
wipe out the spirit of antipathy which still exists to-day. How much the world would gain if each country could view the other in the spirit of Sir T. Browne. “I have no antipathy," he says, “or rather no idiosyncrasy in diet, humour, air, , anything. I wonder not at the French with their dishes of frogs.
but being amongst them, I make them my coinmon viands, and I find they agree with my stomach as well as theirs.
I feel not in inyself those coinmon antipathies that I can discover in others; those national repugnances do not touch me. Nor do I behold with prejudice the French, etc. But where I find their actions in balance with iny countryinen, I honour, love and embrace them in the saine degree. I am no plant that will not prosper out of a garden. All places, all airs make unto me one country.
My conscience would give the lie should I say that I absolutely detest or hate any essence but the devil.”
Happy man! Should we not all be the better, and do better service, could we throw off the shackles of spiritual antipathies too and hate “nothing but the devil" !
Another agency, which is likely to result in much good, is the China Emergency Committee. Its standing and composition is likely to add fresh strength to the missionary enterprise by appealing to a class of people who have not given great consideration to the subject in the past. This Committee has been busy for months past in deliberating on a plan of action. When in England I was invited to ineet and confer with it. The appeal recently issued, shows what this Committee proposes doing. It was drawn up by the Bishop of Ripon, and it states in eloquent language the needs of China and shows how the Committee propose dealing with them, thus becoming an effective auxiliary to the ordinary work of missionary societies. It is proposed to raise a fund of £100,000, to be divided between medical work, theological schools, and literature. Mr. C. T. Studd has been appointed a secretary of this fund. The idea is not so much to appeal to those who contribute already to foreign missionary work, but to those who do not. The direct and indirect results of this new movement ought to do much to awaken the thought of those who have hitherto felt no interest in the matter. Connected with this committee, but forining quite a distinct branch, is the Committee of the Universities, called together to advocate and, if possible, to establish a university in China on British lines. The difficulties connect