Skip to main content

Full text of "The challenge to Christian missions : missionary questions and the modern mind"

See other formats

>.>".--46-...-.. ';!,^:^;/w.^.--s,>^::>v „mf 

^^:USSi! **f* tmsi 

mioulton Library 

Presented by 

The Rev. Robert Howard 




TO ^ 







E.C. ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ J906 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

Boston Library Consortium IVIember Libraries 



Introductory: Where the Question presses . 13 

The Storm-centre — The Missionary in the 
Critics' Den — Points of View : Diplomatic, 
Mercantile, Agnostic, Prophetic — The 
New Horizon — The Challenge and the 
Defence — The Fire that Christ has lit. 


Political Complications : Is the Missionary the 

Troubler of the Peace ? . . -23 

Lord Curzon, Lord Salisbury — Relentless 
Propagandists — Missionary Strategy — 
Souls and the Commonweal — Why the 
Missionary is Suspected — Foreign Agents 
Provocateurs — Cat's-paw to France — Law- 
suits — R. C. Dictatorship — Secular Forces 
and Missions interlinked. 

Many Races Many Religions : " East is East 

and West is West " . . . 41 

P. and O. Theology — Zone System of Race- 
religions — Heathen Britain Christianised 
— Christ of the East in the West — Miss 
Kingsley, Kipling — Christ Catholic — A 
Pantheon the Death of Christianity — The 
Inevitable Break-up — The Salt of Secular 

viii Contents 

IV Page 

Good in Every System : The Cosmic Light— and 

Dark ...... 55 

Bibles of the East—*' The Light of Asia " 
— Confucius, Buddha — Fragments of the 
Truth — Cryptic Prophecies — "Some Better 
Thing" — Christ's Treatment of Hebrew 
Beliefs — " Things-as-They-Are " — Bovine 
Content — Elect Souls — Cake of Custom 
— Mrs Besant and Pagan Morals — The 
New Creation in Christ. 

Liberal Thought and Heathen Destinies . .71 

Dr Morrison — Where are the Convert's 
Heathen Ancestors? — Carey, Xavier — 
Relenting Hearts— The Child leads the 
Way — Via Media — Spirits in Prison — 
Principles of Judgment — Salvation B.C. 
— Symbols of the Unseen — Attitude is 
Destiny — Unknown Issues. 


Can the Missionary Motive Survive: Does 
Liberal Thought cut the nerve of 
Missions? ..... 87 

Apostolic Motives — The Human Cry — 
The True "Damnum" and True Salva- 
tion — The Child Again — The Urgency 
of Christ. 

Chequered Results: "Counting the Game'* . 95 

Civilians' Verdicts — The Cost of a Con- 
vert — Laying Foundations — Sunk Capi- 
tal, Future Returns — Indian Census : 
30 p. c. — Korea, China — Have Literati 
Believed? — Stock of the Coming Race — 
Christian Public Men in Japan — " Christ 
Rules India " — J. Russell Lowell. 

Contents ix 

VI 11 ^*«* 

Chequered Results : ' ' The Mission-made Man " . 1 1 1 

Miss Kingsley — Spoiling the Natives- 
Wastrels and Saints— White Men's Pre- 
judice — Child-races' Slow Ascent — St 
Jerome on Barbaric Britons — Happier 
Raw?— Progress by Unsettlement — The 
March of Civilisation — Government 
Education — Liquor and Lust — R. L. S. 
— The Best the Enemy of the Good? 
—Fire-tested Converts — The Power of 


The Men and their Methods . . • HS 

Comfortable Missionaries— Wise Men and 
Zealots — The Best for Abroad — Mr 
Julian Ralph v. Capt. Younghusband 
and R.L.S.— Questions of Policy— Dying 
Races — Industrial Training. 


The Aim: The Coming Kingdom . . .159 

" Outgathering " v. "National Chris- 
tianisation " — Livingstone — The Second 
Advent— Prepare for Permanency. 


The Return- Value of Missions . . .165 

Daring Faith — The Miracle proceeding 
—Moffat's Vision— Dr Duff— The Social 
Boon— New Verification of Christianity 
— The Triumph over Paganism— The 
Dynamic Love of Christ. 

X Contents 

Appendix A Page 

The Powers and the Priests in the East . . 175 

Recent Literature — France, Germany, 
and Roman Catholics — Foreign Priests 
as Magistrates — Lawsuits — Other 
Sources of Offence. 

Appendix B 
Checks to Progress in India . . .184 

Mr Meredith Tovinsend's Asia and Europe 
— Europeanising the Asiatic — Caste — 
Convinced but Unconverted — A Prince — 
Mr Kidd's "Unborn Generations." 

Where the Question Presses 




Where the Question Presses 

With three different types of men, the minister 
of state, the modern man of liberal mind, and 
the civilian doing business or travelling among 
native races, the work carried on by the foreign 
missionary is usually a sore point and a storm 

The utterances of British statesmen and 
international events have been thrusting this 
problem before public attention. When a 
Prime Minister, an Indian Viceroy, and press 
correspondents abroad deal gravely with the 
complications created by mission work as " one 
of the practical public questions of the day," 
it is clearly a living issue of the time which 
cannot be ignored. Is not the missionary the 
troubler of the international peace, the source 
of racial embroilments ? This issue has been 
expressly raised by Lord Curzon of Kedle- 
ston as publicist, and by Dr Morrison, famous 
as traveller and press representative in China. 

At the same time, the missionary cause is 
being called to the bar of the modern mind 


14 The Challenge to Missions 

and required to justify itself in the light of 
liberal thought. The discovery of good things 
in the bibles of the East, world-travel, com- 
merce, and the spread of broader Christian 
sympathies and scientific knowledge have ex- 
panded our mental horizon and dispelled the 
old romantic conception of the heathen. A 
kindlier view is taken of ancient Asiatic re- 
ligions and of heathen destinies. 

The citizen of the world, too — represented 
by the late Miss Mary Kingsley, traveller in 
West Africa, — has pertinent questions to put, 
concerning the actual effects of the work, which 
demand courageous consideration. 

On the veranda or the stoep after dinner, 
and on board ship, what is said as to the 
" mission-made " native by the average layman 
who knows life among dusky races? The 
subject is often on the lips of civilians, military 
men, ships' officers, traders, travellers, and 
ladies who have had experience of native 
servants. Many of them are frankly critical 
of the missionary and his converts. Some, 
while disappointed with the results of the 
work, are silent because reluctant to say any- 
thing against well-intentioned Christian effort. 
Only a few of them are warm supporters of 
the missionary cause. 

Home-keeping churchmen, while quietly 
faithful to the enterprise, are secretly staggered 

Introductory 15 

to find that so many come back from business 
abroad with greater or less hostility to missions. 
Hence, even in the Church there are numbers, 
and outside there are many, who " don't believe 
in Foreign Missions." 

Missionary work is challenged on the ground 

1. Politically it is objectionable. 

2. Religiously it is superfluous. 

3 Morally and socially it is unsatisfactory in 
its outcome. 

From various classes of men, intelligent or 
shallow, come questions such as these — 

Are not missionaries the source of racial 
embroilments and social disturbance ? 
Why should we interfere with the religious 

beliefs of other races ? 
Is Christianity the thing that will best suit 

them ? 
Can it possibly be indispensable for their 

salvation ? 
Do not enlightened views of heathen 
destinies take away the reason for 
missionary work.-* 
Does it not unsettle and spoil the native 
and produce but poor results ? 
Missionaries know that they and their work 
form a frequent dish in the den of the critic. 
They do not mind that. The Church or the 
Society which sends them out may mind as 

1 6 The Challenge to Missions 

little. All of them are too busily engaged 
upon their immediate duties to give heed to 
what aliens say — aliens whom they perhaps 
set down summarily as either worldlings or 
enemies, as in numbers of cases indeed they 
are. And certainly the final answer to both 
friendly and hostile critics must lie in the 
unfaltering fulfilment of Christ's great com- 
mission, in the unconquerable vitality of the 
cause. The workers must not halt in order 
first to satisfy objectors ; the work itself will 
answer for them better than all arguments; 
there are no apologists so effectively defending 
the faith as those who are living it and spread- 
ing it. They feel that they are *' doing a great 
work " and " cannot come down." Yet something 
is due from them to honourable questioners. 
Answer must be made when sinister facts and 
grave problems are set before us. 

It is noticeable that missionaries in confer- 
ence are occupied throughout with their opera- 
tions and their experiences, and take no share 
in the controversy which their work raises in 
the outside world and in some corners of the 
Church. And those at home who have nothing 
to disturb their satisfaction with the work are, 
quite naturally, interested for the most part in 
quotable cases of converts and in missionary 

Is there not even some prejudice in the 

Introductory 17 

Church against anyone who holds parley with 
the critic, or who engages in discussions which 
appear to doubt the wisdom of current methods 
or examine the theology and social results of 
missions ? The case in these respects is closed 
by a foregone conclusion. 

The Church, however, must not close her 
ears to what is said, on the one hand by sea- 
going people and men in the consular and 
mercantile service, who look at the practical 
outcome of the work, and on the other by 
men who go deep into the problems of pagan 
life and religion. 

Much of the criticism current is doubtless the 
irresponsible gossip of clubs and camps and 
open ports. Much of it comes from objectors 
who dislike all natives and carry over this 
dislike to the work done among the natives. 
Much of it is second-hand, the echo of common 
prejudice caught up by easy people of the 
world. Underlying some of it there is secret 
revolt against work that condemns the treat- 
ment meted out by too many white men to the 
native, and that " spoils " him for their use. 

Yet, as truly, it is quite unjust to ascribe all 
criticism to these sources. There are weak 
points and stiff problems in mission work and 
its ethical outcome in the native character. 
Occasionally a strong and courageous mission- 
ary speaks out on the subject — witness what 

1 8 The Challenge to Missions 

Dr Stewart, of Lovedale, has written concern- 
ing the misuse and disappointing results of the 
higher education of Kaffirs.^ There are also 
questions of missionary policy and methods 
which are at any rate proper subjects for frank 
debate. And the traditional view of pagan 
religions and heathen destinies exposes the 
enterprise to easy attack and calls for correc- 
tion and reconstruction. 

Some deduction from criticism must be made 
when it comes from people who have no great 
store of religious convictions, or who, like 
certain men to be named in the following 
pages, are infected with the sceptical spirit. 
Mr Michie's Missionaries in China, the feeder 
of so much other censure, has to be read in 
the light of the author's disappointments and 
alienation from the Christian community, and 
of his ties with Li Hung Chang. Certain press- 
men, whose journalistic animadversions have 
been consumed by multitudes of home readers, 
write out of an agnostic mind. We have to 
allow for the personal equation in the sceptic's 
standpoint, and must keep our judgment well 
in hand. 

Yet, even if the critic speak from the agnostic, 
the detached, the irreligious, or the worldly 
point of view, we are not to put his report or 
his argument quite out of court, as though he 

^ 2''he Experiment of Native Education. 

Introductory 19 

had no right to give his evidence. Others 
have listened to him, and we must do so also, 
if only for their sake. In any case, some of 
the statements advanced against the work 
proceed on a basis of clear facts, and must 
not be waved aside or ignored. These facts 
must be balanced by other facts, and shown 
not to affect the cause as a whole when a 
larger outlook is taken. Many are critical 
because they are ignorant of the work, or do 
not see the wider bearings of it and the price 
to be necessarily paid meanwhile by the 
Christian Church as the condition of ultimate 
success. They must be supplied with informa- 
tion and carried to the higher point of view 
from which the far look is taken. 

It is not Miss Kingsley, Lord Curzon, and 
Dr Morrison alone — I take them only as spokes- 
men of a considerable public — who force this 
question on us. It arises in the mind of many 
within the Church because the first romantic 
period of missions is over, and they find that 
the campaign is to be more protracted and 
costly than they expected. The glamour of 
the early venture is somewhat spent. The 
conquest of the pagan world is not to be 
achieved by a flying column. The Church has 
to brace herself for operations which will prove 
taxing and will last through many generations. 
Backward tides will check the onward flow of 

20 The Challenge to Missions 

the age-long movement. This discovery not 
only gives the critic reason for his question- 
ing, but it also makes many a Christian draw 
breath and pause wearily to discuss the whole 

Early illusions about the enterprise, then, 
have been dispelled. A time of hesitancy may 
follow ere the Church takes it up again in 
steady persistence and enlightened faith. Even 
if it were only a case of meeting criticisms 
from without, we should set ourselves to realise 
the true nature of the work, to take a wider 
measure of the missionary cause as it is inter- 
laced with all human interests, and to set 
pagan religions, as related to God and the 
Christian faith, in better perspective, and see 
them at the modern angle. 

Like all truth, the Christian cause has a habit 
of going on its way independently of men's 
praise or blame. It needs no defence. And 
we do not come forward with any apology for 
the missionary enterprise. The primary basis 
of the work and the religious motives which 
inspire it remain unalterable. No fluctuation 
of thought and no criticism can affect our 
Lord's universal love and world-wide mission. 
The devout Christian heart knows a secret and 
possesses a divine intuition which make this 
cause a necessity. A fire has been lit which 
nothing can extinguish. 

Introductory 21 

Yet something has to be done to interpret 
the missionary cause. The task as here out- 
lined is of much too great a magnitude to be 
fully overtaken in a little volume of ten brief 
chapters. It will be enough for the writer's 
purpose if, without going into confusing detail, 
he can ventilate the subject, and contribute 
even a little towards the provisional solution 
of current missionary problems. 


Is the Missionary the Troubler of the Peace? 




Is the Missionary the Troubler of the Peace? 

Lord Curzon has said of the missionaries: 
" It is impossible to ignore the facts that their 
mission is a source of political unrest and 
frequently of international trouble, and that 
it is subversive of the national institutions of 
the country in which they reside." ^ He is 
confessedly echoing the faithful challenge of 
that candid friend, Mr Michie, of Tientsin, 
who holds the aggressive missionaries mainly 
responsible for the civil entanglements and 
the outbreak of race-hatred which time after 
time have brought such confusion and loss in 
the Far East.^ 

According to him they have driven on their 
religious propagandism without considering the 
difficulties they were creating for the Chinese 
authorities and the foreign legations. In their 
meddlesome interference with the functions of 
the magistrate, in their intolerant defiance of 

^ Problems of the Far East, 

^ Missionaries in China, by Alexander Michie. 


26 The Challenge to Missions 

native traditions and prejudices, in their "war 
to the knife " against native faiths, they have 
disregarded the religious customs and institu- 
tions of the people, have denationalised the 
converts, and will continue to constitute in 
the future the chief obstacle to friendly re- 
lations between the foreign communities and 
the people of the country among whom they 
reside. They have pushed far into the interior, 
claiming the shelter of treaties which were 
wrung from the Government under threat of 
naval guns. When native animosities have 
broken out and imperilled their lives, either 
they have appealed for protection to their own 
Governments, or their position has compelled 
these Governments to come to their rescue. 
In the French Chamber a similar view has 
been expounded. 

Lord Salisbury tells us plainly that " at the 
Foreign Office the missionaries are not popular." 
There are plenty of men ready to extend the 
charge and say, "the missionary is at the 
bottom of all the trouble, and will continue 
to be so as long as he is not restrained." 

The summary, loud-sounding answer might 
be given that Christ's work must go on at all 
costs ; that His kingdom is the greatest of all 
Great Powers, with an imperial mission that 
is paramount ; that He is a factor in all human 
issues, and lays His hand on all institutions 

Political Complications 27 

and customs for their reform ; that, if His 
agents are charged with creating social and 
civic confusion, it is only the old complaint, 
" these men turn the world upside down." In 
Mr Michie's own words, "men of every shade 
of opinion recognise the dynamic force of a 
religion which splits up nations as frost does 
the solid rock." He admits that " the mission- 
aries cannot cease their operations." 

" That governments should fight," says Lord 
Curzon, " or that international relations should 
be imperilled over his (the missionary's) wrecked 
house or insulted person would strike him as 
but a feather's weight in the scale compared 
with the final issues at stake — viz., the spiritual 
regeneration of a vast country and a mighty 
population plunged in heathenism and sin." 
And certainly in the last issue such " spiritual 
regeneration " does outweigh every other con- 

We are bound, however, to take the larger 
statesmanlike view of the work as it affects 
the public life and ultimate progress of the 
communities in which it is prosecuted. Unlike 
certain missionaries who have overlooked the 
civic side of the Christian kingdom, we must 
not consider merely how to "gather out" a 
number of " souls " from a doomed world, but, 
like our Master, must link spiritual work with 
the commonweal. We must take the far look, 

28 The Challenge to Missions 

and consider what will ultimately work out the 
joint social and moral well-being of each com- 

Many of the most influential missionaries act 
upon this wider view of the Divine Kingdom. 
But undoubtedly there are some of them who 
have an eye for little beyond individual " souls." 
These are the men and women likely to make 
ruthless assaults on all traditions and customs 
knit into the fabric of the social life, and to 
disregard the offence and the complications 
they create. At home there are the same two 
classes of religious teachers — (i) those who 
make an outspoken frontal attack on every 
public and social evil, careless of prudential 
considerations and of the impediments which 
their vehemence may raise, and (2) those 
who spread Christian principles and rely on 
enlightenment of conscience for the gradual 
undermining of social and public evils. Publi- 
cists like Lord Curzon have good reason for 
calling upon missionaries of the more relent- 
less class to calculate whether their present 
intemperate methods may not arouse an undue 
amount of prejudice, and raise obstacles which 
in the long-run will impede the progress of the 
cause. But the misguided earnestness of the 
few who, with all their good intentions, are 
unwise and aggressively intolerant is no argu- 
ment against the quiet, steady, many-sided 

Political Complications 29 

work carried on by the large better-class of 
missionaries. Among so many in the field, so 
variously prepared, there must always be some 
who are tactless, blindly making mistakes. Are 
diplomatists themselves universally patterns of 
wisdom, and have none of them followed a 
policy which has excited native prejudice and 
created disturbance? In both cases the im- 
policy of the misguided few hampers, but must 
not silence or cripple, the work of the wise. 
And even the wise (by nature) have to learn 
by experience. 

From the very essence of the Christian 
enterprise, however, some measure of social 
disturbance and even political unrest is in- 
evitable. And the Church does unflinchingly 
hold that, after a policy of prudence has been 
followed, these troubles must be faced and 
borne, that nothing — to accept Lord Curzon's 
charge — is of such moment to the races of 
mankind as their moral regeneration, which, 
as in our own history, may involve ferment 
and disruption in the process. 

Coarse pamphleteers among the Chinese 
literati issue gross caricatures of Christianity 
and charge the missionaries with the foulest 
crimes and vices. Such things cannot be 
averted under any Christian policy. Orphan- 
ages and medical missions are accused of 
kidnapping children and turning weakling 

30 The Challenge to Missions 

infants to hideous medical uses. Only by- 
continuing their beneficent work among multi- 
plying numbers can these humane agencies 
wear down blind prejudice. There are many 
such misunderstandings and animosities which 
are unavoidable until time and experience have 
dispelled them. 

But against some native prejudices, it may 
well be, sufficient precautions have not been 
taken in the past. 

Lord Curzon is admittedly correct when he 
says : " The institution of sisterhoods planted 
alongside of male establishments, the spectacle 
of unmarried persons of both sexes residing 
and working together both in public and 
private, and of girls making long journeys 
into the interior without responsible escort, 
are sources of misunderstanding at which the 
pure-minded may scoff, but which in many 
cases have more to do with anti-missionary 
feeling in China than any amount of national 
hostility or doctrinal antagonism." Even the 
Western handshake and the friendly kiss are 
grounds of suspicion. 

Mr Julian Ralph demands that on this 
account all women missionaries should be 
withdrawn from China. This cannot be; yet 
every reasonable effort should be made, even 
at the sacrifice of freedom of movement and 
social intercourse, to defer to native concep- 

Political Complications 31 

tions of etiquette and modesty. But most 
missionaries have already learnt prudence in 
these respects, and some misunderstanding 
will be unavoidable until the Asiatic is brought 
to a more just and enlightened appreciation of 
the Christian domestic relationships. 

Much offence has been given, at first un- 
wittingly, by the choice of sites for mission 
buildings where the feng shui or good luck 
of a native house or grave has been spoilt. 
In Tokio, Pekin, Canton, and elsewhere 
cathedrals and churches have been erected 
on high situations where they have been like 
an "evil eye," offending the earth-supersti- 
tions of the citizens ; and some of these have 
had to be removed for this reason. Even rail- 
way lines have had to make a detour in order 
to escape any seeming dishonour to the graves 
of the dead. 

Most missionaries have learnt, a few may 
still have to learn, to treat the sacred things 
and even the superstitions of the people with 
proper forbearance and without signs of brusque 
contempt. On the other hand, what can the 
missionary do to disarm the popular suspicion 
that he bewitches his neighbours and is the 
cause of their ailments and of droughts and 
floods? Much of the hostility which the 
censors ascribe to Christian missions cannot 
be averted by the most prudent care, and 

32 The Challenge to Missions 

must be faced and weathered in patient 

But is the Christian religion the real ground 
of native hostility ? In some measure, especi- 
ally at first when the missionary's motives are 
not understood, it is. That is to be so far 
expected, for reasons already indicated. But 
that accounts for only a fraction of the 
antagonism aroused, as the greatest journal 
in the land, at a recent crisis, argued vigor- 
ously and proved. For evidence take the fact 
that, when native officials executed murderous 
edicts and refused safe conduct to foreigners 
taking refuge under their care, missionaries 
who took flight were in many instances 
harboured with the utmost friendliness by the 
humbler classes of the people, and even 
sheltered and helped on their perilous way 
by minor officials and priests who in the act 
were at their risk disregarding superior orders. 
In short, there has been no popular fury visible 
in such crises. 

The missionary in certain countries is hated, 
not usually to any appreciable extent on account 
of his religion, nor on his own personal account 
— he is found to be harmless and kind — but 
because he is suspected of being an advance 
agent of a conquering foreign power. The 
people cannot easily understand his purely 
benevolent aims — especially where he has not 

Political Complications 33 

been tried by time and experience. Why has 
he come ? For business ? If not, then for what 
purpose? The answer, simple enough to us, 
only breeds mystery in the native mind. As 
Lord Curzon tells, the treaties by which the 
missionary travels and resides in the country 
were wrung from a reluctant government by 
shrewd scheming or armed force — witness the 
dishonourable interpolation in the Chinese text 
of the French Convention made in i860. 
"Christianity," says Mr Michie, "is therefore 
inseparably associated with the humihation of 
the empire (Chinese). The missionaries bear 
the brunt" of the animosity. Their presence 
is a perpetual reminder of the hated "foreign 
devils," and seems to threaten foreign domina- 
tion. Like all strangers, et dona ferentes^ they 
are suspected of hiding treachery behind their 
gifts, of creating a foreign disloyal party, and of 
being spies and forerunners of the foreign army.^ 

^ Since these pages were composed a Secretary of Legation 
and Acting Minister at Pekin, Mr Chester Holcombe, has 
written: "It is far too commonly believed that missionaries 
are at once the main cause and the special object of the anti- 
foreign feeling so universal and so intense throughout China. 
The facts sustain no such belief. Missionaries as such have 
had little to do with this bitter hostility to foreigners. They 
have suffered heavily from it, but it is not of their creation. 
Christianity is objected to, not so much because it is Christi- 
anity, as because it is a Western religion. And those who 
preach it are objectionable to the Chinese, not as preachers 
but as foreigners." {The Real Chinese Quesiion.) 

34 The Challenge to Missions 

No wonder they are looked on as political 
agents. The molested or murdered missionary 
has been used as the convenient excuse for 
military interference or for demanding " con- 
cessions." Under this false cloak Germany 
concealed her policy of " grab " when she seized 
Kiao-chau : would that she were solitary in 
such practices ! 

France has openly employed the Roman 
Catholic mission as a mere cat's-paw. Roman 
Catholics have for two centuries sought political 
power in China. With the sinister help of 
France, they have lately compelled the Chinese 
Government to grant them an independent 
status and authority as high officials of the 

Is it known to the British public that the 
Roman Catholic clergy have secured the right 
to sit on equal terms beside the Chinese judge, 
to impose their own verdict on the magistrate 
in every case in which one of their converts, or 
even one of their friends, is involved ? When 
certain Roman priests travel, they travel as 
high officials, armed, and accompanied with a 
retinue of armed supporters. They have 
equipped many of their converts with arms. 

It is to the Romanist missionary that the 
shady character goes, who for his offences 
wants protection against the strong arm of 
the law. When the priest takes the offender 

Political Complications 35 

under his wing, the case must be disposed of 
as he dictates. He can enter the courts and 
defy native authority.^ "Bishops are entitled 
to demand interviews and conduct affairs 
with viceroys and governors, and priests with 
prefects and magistrates, just as if they were 
possessed of ministerial or consular rank."^ 
They have established an imperiuni in imperio. 
Lord Curzon declares that this is the chief 
fear of the Chinese Government. That in- 
dividual missionaries of the Roman Church 
deserve honour for their personal devotion 
and work is not in question ; it is the policy, 
not the individual, that is here accused. 

1 See Appendix A., p. 175, for ample confirmation and still 
graver statements given, since these pages were set up, in H. 
C. Thomson's China and the Powers, A. R. Colquhoun's Over- 
land to China, A. H. Smith's China in Convulsion. See also 
Dr J. Ross's Situation in China, and The Chinese Crisis by 
Gilbert M'Intosh. 

^ Referring to the resentment against powerful bodies creating 
an imperium in imperio, the Times, in a remarkable pronounce- 
ment on the above lines, declares that "a distinction must be 
established between the missionaries of the different Protestant 
denominations and those of the Roman Catholic Church." The 
latter have displayed the same fortitude and devotion as the 
former. " But the claims set up by France, and more recently 
by Germany, to exercise a peculiar protectorate over Roman 
Catholic Missionaries, and indirectly even over native Roman 
Catholics, and the methods by which that protectorate has in 
cases been exercised, must give some colour to the charge that, 
under the cloak of religious propaganda, political objects have 
not infrequently been pursued and achieved." (November 
15, 1901.) 

36 The Challenge to Missions 

Such facts as the above are known to the 
natives all over the land. And it was under 
compulsion from France that these arrogant 
claims were successfully pressed. Is it any 
wonder that the people, who, at first, class all 
missionaries together, see in their persons 
political emissaries, and distrust and hate 
them accordingly? Is it not natural that 
some of the most shifty citizens should seek 
admission to the convenient Roman fold ? 

The hostility of the Chinese to the foreign 
missionary, which is raised in the secular press 
as the hue-and-cry against the whole work, is 
ten times more due to this overbearing domina- 
tion of native authority and insult to native 
justice by the Roman Catholics, backed by 
foreign forces, than to any other cause. 

Let the blame be laid on the right shoulders. 
Let it be known that Protestant missions have 
never sought, and have refused to accept, privi- 
leges so subversive of Chinese rule. " In China," 
says Lord Curzon, " it not infrequently happens 
that a shady character will suddenly find salva- 
tion for the sake of the protection which it 
may be expected to confer upon him." But 
Protestant missionaries have refused to take 
up the legal cases of their converts ; they will 
not have their churches turned into a cave of 
Adullam. They will not champion even the 
Christians whom they believe to have justice 

Political Complications 2>7 

on their side, lest they encourage others out- 
side to attach themselves to the mission for 
the sake of the protection expected. Their 
policy, however, does not avert the animosity 
which the different tactics of the Roman Church 
have brought down upon the whole missionary 
propaganda. It takes the Chinaman some 
time to discriminate between the innocent 
Protestant and the Roman offender against 
native authority. 

It is charged against the missionaries that 
they clamour for a gunboat and the avenging 
sword when they are molested and in peril of 
their lives. But comparatively seldom has such 
an outcry been heard from Protestant mission- 
aries. Quite as often it is the foreign Power, 
whose subject the missionary is, which feels 
compelled to go to his relief or to teach the 
Chinese a lesson over his sufferings. It would 
usually be as near the truth to say that the 
foreign Power takes advantage of the mission- 
aries' case for its own political ends. 

Now that a new progressive and more 
hospitable spirit is being displayed by the 
best Chinese leaders, it is significant that they 
are turning to enlightened missionaries for 
their help, and making use of the works of 
Western learning on history, science, and social 
economics, which the missionaries have trans- 
lated into Chinese or have specially written. 

38 The Challenge to Missions 

Already there are signs that enlightened native 
leaders will call to their aid in certain social 
and educational matters the best class of 
foreign missionaries, as Japan availed itself of 
the invaluable services of Dr Verbeck when 
it awoke from its mediaeval sleep and opened 
a new epoch in its history. 

Political complications do indeed arise at 
times as the indirect outcome of missionary 
work in certain countries. But the converse 
is not less true, and true, not in China alone, 
but in every foreign nation. 

The Christian cause is constantly complicated 
by the action which governments, politicians, 
armies, and civilians take in their relations 
with yellow and dusky races. This has been 
seen repeatedly in the making of treaties, 
the waging of wars, and the general policy of 
governments — in, for example, the French 
conquest of Madagascar. To be more specific, 
take for illustration the Government system 
of education in India (of which more will fall 
to be said later), the Cantonment system, the 
opium trade forced on China (which now 
cultivates the poppy but remembers the deadly 
wrong), the Glen Grey Act in Cape Colony 
and other laws which make it hard for the 
Kaffir to hold land and which drive him into 
locations, the settlement of the endless Native 

Political Complications 39 

Question in other countries besides South 
Africa, and the Liquor Laws adopted by 
the authorities. In these and many other 
matters of political policy the interests of the 
Christian cause are involved for better or for 
worse. Every public action works round for 
the benefit or the detriment of the moral and 
social life of the people, and in many ways 
affects the prospects of Christian work. It 
is easy to see how, for example, any unjust 
treatment meted out by Powers nominally 
Christian to dark-skinned races of the world 
conveys to their minds a hostile and false im- 
pression as to the true character of Christianity. 

Not with politics only, however, is the 
missionary cause interlaced. 

What experience have native races had of 
foreign residents generally, of prospectors, 
soldiers, and mercantile men? How have 
traders as a class behaved to them? Some 
industries have been started among them which 
have become instrumental in their develop- 
ment. On the other hand what has been the 
effect of the cheap and fiery liquor supplied 
to them on easy terms ? The Europeans and 
Americans sent out to train native forces, to 
act as magistrates, or as professors in colleges, 
and to build railways — what influences and 
habits, wholesome or deleterious, have they 
carried with them ? Has the advent of public 

40 The Challenge to Missions 

men and men of business been accompanied 
by the dissemination of sceptical literature, 
creating the impression among the enlightened 
that the modern white man does not really 
believe in Christianity? Later in these pages 
it will be shown how these questions have to 
be put in the same breath with the missionary 

Enough to indicate here that the Christian 
cause, abroad as at home, is interlaced with 
the entire political, civil, commercial, and pro- 
fessional life by which it is accompanied. The 
world needs, not only missionaries and Bibles, 
but sound rule, honourable diplomacy, in- 
dustries, and fair trading; and upon these 
hangs much of the success or failure of mission 


" East is East and West is West " 



"East is East and West is West" 

Kipling, when he put in everyone's mouth the 
dictum, " Oh, East is East and West is West, 
and never the twain shall meet," condensed 
what many silently think or frankly say— that 
the gulf dividing different races cannot be 
bridged, that the East has its own religions 
which suit its peoples as our religion suits us, 
and that it is not for us to interfere with what 
they believe. Men of a philosophic turn call 
in ethnic science to certify that the various 
religions of mankind are racial products, and 
cannot be transplanted and universalised. Like 
their rice, clothing, and languages, the faith 
that has grown on Asiatic soil is the proper 
faith for Asiatics. 

You will hear it under the punkahs and on 
board ship— it is a sort of P. and O. theology : 
"These Hindus, Chinese, and Japanese have 
religions of their own that are adapted to their 
conditions and mind, as we have one that fits 
us. Why should we foist our ideas on them, 
disturb their beliefs, and undermine their 


44 The Challenge to Missions 

customs and simplicity?" Jonah was possibly 
the first exponent of the principle ! 

This point of view commends itself to the 
modern travelled mind by its look of liberal, 
cosmopolitan wisdom. It places the religions 
of mankind on the zone-system, relates them to 
climate and latitude ; and it has all the more 
attraction for the world-wise because of being, 
in a double sense, latitudinarian. 

I. But, to take first the practical answer, 
solvitur ambulando : it is too late in the day to 
bind Christianity within racial or geographical 
limits. History has settled this controversy in 
advance. To begin with, Jesus was not of 
Aryan birth, with our white face ; His religion 
was not a product of Western soil, native to 
our land ; it was of Oriental, Semitic origin, 
as foreign to Europeans at the time of its 
emergence as it is to Bengal or Mongolia to-day. 
When St Paul's vessel crossed the ^gean Sea, 
it cleft asunder for ever the supposition that 
Christianity is unsuited to different races. In 
that short voyage it was transplanted as far as 
the East is from the West, as far as Hebrew 
thought was from the Greek and Roman mind ; 
and that was as far as Thibet, Japan, and New 
Guinea are from Great Britain. When the 
Gospel bridged that Middle Sea, it potentially 
bridged all racial distinctions all the world over. 

We ourselves are among the alien races whom 

Many Races, Many Religions 45 

Christianity has conquered and suited. It was 
the chief means of lifting our pagan ancestors 
out of barbarism, and has transformed our 
personal, social, and national existence. There 
is something inept, cool, if not ridiculous, in 
Britons viewing Christianity as an Anglo-Saxon 
property and not suited to remote alien peoples, 
when we, a foreign race, owe everything to it ! 
Those who oppose foreign missions on this plea 
are hopelessly, gloriously in debt to missions 
in past times for all the blessings funded in 
their hearts, hopes, homes, liberties, and en- 
lightenment. What if early Christians had 
adopted this racial policy — the very policy of 
the Judaising Christians who disapproved 
preaching to the Gentiles — and had argued, 
"Greece, Rome, and Britain have their own 
religions which suit their conditions ; we have 
no right to carry on a propaganda among them 
and disturb their beliefs " ? Happy for us that 
they saw deeper and ignored race-distinctions ! 
Of all races in the world the Anglo-Saxon may 
well believe enthusiastically in what Christ can 
do for every human race. What he has done 
for us He can do for others — if we allow the 
same number of centuries in which to reap 
the slow harvest of moral regeneration. Let 
it be reiterated, written in large, illuminated 
letters : we ourselves are the fruit of Christian 
missions, the living disproof of the race-religion 

46 The Challenge to Missions 

plea. That fact alone meets a hundred 

And the past century's experience of mission- 
ary work among every race of mankind goes 
far to confirm our own experience. We have 
taken many hundreds of years to ascend from 
barbarism to our present state of enlighten- 
ment; but already, within one or two genera- 
tions, tens of thousands in all parts of the world 
have been visibly elevated in personal character, 
and in domestic and social life and economic 

Here the objector to missions has shifted 
his ground. It was first argued that it was 
vain to ofier the Gospel to raw, barbaric races, 
that Christianity was too fine and exalted for 
them to be able to appreciate and profit by it. 
But after the transforming work effected in 
Tierra Del Fuego — which amazed Darwin and 
made him a subscriber to the South American 
Missionary Society — and in Fiji, the New 
Hebrides, Uganda, and elsewhere, the argument 
is reversed, and it is now said that Christianity 
\sjust fit for raising the savage races, but is not 
suitable or required where ancient and philo- 
sophic religions are rooted in the life and mind 
of the people. 

It is certainly the " publicans and sinners " 
of the world-races that have been the first to 
receive the gospel — the Bantus, and Ainus, and 

Many Races, Many Religions 47 

Karens, and low castes in Asia. It is among 
the " wise " of the world-peoples that we find 
the stiffest task. Yet among no people of the 
earth has Christianity failed to win victories of 
a decisive and convincing character — except 
perhaps the doubtful case of the Jews and the 
Mohammedans (is this because they are our 
"near relations," or because it is a case 
of "arrested development," or pharisaism 
repeated ?). Signally in Japan, but in India 
and China also, the racial barrier has been 
successfully overcome, not only in the conver- 
sion of tens of thousands, but also in the visible 
transformation of the domestic and social life 
of the little communities where Christ has 
shown His renewing power. 

There is indeed a sufficiently deep gulf 
between the races, which needs to be kept in 
view in adjusting the form of mission work and 
the expression of the message to the several 
races. The apostles to be sent out to the East 
must have aptitudes for acquiring difficult 
languages and wisely appreciating Buddhist 
and Confucian modes of thought, able to 
lay broad foundations for a slow process of 
Christianising great nations. Those who evan- 
gelise the child-races must follow simpler lines 
and may be men of more limited intellectual 
endowments. And possibly Christianity as 
recast in the different mould of the Eastern 

48 The Challenge to Missions 

mind may turn out a somewhat different thing 
from ours in its type and creed-language — as 
witness the recent trend in the Christian Church 
of Japan. 

At the same time, as the English language, 
built for the concrete Western mind, has not 
resources enough to hold and express some of 
the subtle ideas of the Asiatic mind, so that 
full translation is sometimes impossible, it may 
be that only the mystical Asiatic mind will be 
able to interpret and fully realise the Oriental 
and mystical quantity in the Scriptures, which 
after all are of Oriental mould. The Eastern 
races, seeing it on the side that faces the East, 
may have their contribution to make to the 
deeper comprehension of our own faith — each a 
beam to bring for the great world-temple of 
Christ. But all the more may we confidently 
expect that they will be suited by a faith which 
arose on their own soil. {Cf. Appendix B., p. 184.) 

Yet, on a larger view, Christ is not the son 
of the Jew, neither the son of the Orient nor of 
the Occident, but the Son of Man^ with an 
appeal to the human instincts which are uni- 
versal throughout the whole earth. Those who 
argue that the religion of the West is not 
adapted to the Eastern, and who quote Kipling's 
catch-word, should hear him out to the end of 
his verse ; they would find him swiftly reversing 
their argument. 

Many Races, Many Religions 49 

"Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the 
twain shall meet, 

Till earth and sky stand presently at God's great Judg- 
ment Seat ; 

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, 
nor Birth, 

When two strong men stand face to face, though they 
come from the ends of the earth." 

The surface differences naturally strike us as 
enormous ; but all are of one blood — for proof, 
take the signal fact that children spring from 
the union of a man and a woman of the most 
diverse races. Miss Kingsley told the mission- 
aries that the difference between the Africans 
and themselves was a difference, not merely of 
degree, but of kind. But when black and white 
" stand face to face," when they get down to the 
deeps of their being, they show ultimate identity 
in their moral fibre, the same desire for love 
and good and life, the same sins — in Byron's 

" New times, new climes, new arts, new men ; but still 
The same old tears, old crimes, and oldest ill," — 

and the same craving to know the Unseen and 
be delivered from death and from the fear of 
its mysteries. With all differences of tongue, 
there is one language they all understand, the 
language of love, a bit of kindness. And it is 
the discovery of a great Heart of Love reigning 
in the Unseen, love that suffers in order to save, 
love that cleaves the gloom of the grave with 


so The Challenge to Missions 

the promise of "another day" — it is this in 
Christianity which has its universal appeal for 
all men of all breeds, for all wistful, weary 
human hearts. If the advocates of the P. and 
O. Theology had deeper insight into the naked 
needs of all mortal men alike, and especially if 
they had a keener sense and appreciation of 
what Christ has been and is to ourselves as 
our one Hope and the secret of our best life, 
they would have full faith in the universal 
address of the Christian message. 

2. Moreover, under the theory that Eastern 
religions are for the Asiatics and ours for 
ourselves only, we should be landed in a sort 
of Pantheon, and our faith in Christianity as 
an absolute verity, even for us^ would gradually 
pale and die out. Buddha for Burmah, Con- 
fucius for China, Christ for the West — that 
is to create local divinities, and local divinities 
are pagan, involving either veiled polytheism 
or pagan pantheism. The Hebrews, who at 
first conceived Jehovah as their race-god over 
against other gods, escaped from polytheism 
only by at last learning to universalise their 
Jehovah as God of the whole earth. But they 
failed to universalise the scope of their reh'gion. 
And when Christ revealed the universal Father 
loving "the world," it was left to St Paul to 
carry out the principle by proclaiming Christ 
to be for the whole of Gentile heathendom — 

Many Races, Many Religions 51 

and it has taken the Christian Church nineteen 
centuries to rise to the height of this world- 
wide outlook. 

If Christianity were not for these outnumber- 
ing millions of the race in the East, and only 
for us, it would suffer shrinkage in its scope, 
and therefore in its truth and power ; it would 
shrink in the eyes of its own disciples, dwindling 
down to be one of the wistful dream-fictions 
of the human Aberglaube. Ceasing to be 
universal truth, with world-wide values, it 
would sink to the level of a provincial, 
parochial cult. Our faith in it could not then 
long survive. Buddha for the whole world we 
can understand ; but Buddha for the East and 
Christ for the West conducts to a loose and 
easy pantheism secretly infected with the 
agnostic spirit. A Pantheon, where each com- 
munity allows the others to have their several 
divinities, means ultimate death to the faith 
of each in his separate religion. " Heresies," 
said Lightfoot, " are at best ethnic ; truth is 
catholic." Hence Christianity is ruled by an 
imperialistic policy. 

Lord Curzon condemns "the selection of a 
single passage from the preaching of the 
Founder of the faith as the sanction of a 
movement against all other faiths." But, far 
from depending on the command, " Go 5^e into 
all the world, etc.," the missionary movement 

52 The Challenge to Missions 

lies knit in the very structure of Christ's per- 
sonality, work, and teaching. Not only is the 
greater part of the New Testament a collection 
of missionary literature — the "Acts of the 
Apostles " being a record of primitive mission 
operations, and the Epistles mostly mission- 
aries' letters to the little companies of converts 
gathered out of the pagan community — but 
the universal love of the universal Father — 
" God so loved the world^' — the sacrificial 
suffering of Christ for mankind, the sublime 
ideas of the incarnation and redemption, with 
the vast vision of the whole Christian revela- 
tion, are out of all proportion to the limited, 
local scope allotted to it by this race-theory. 
Why all these supreme wonders and divine 
agonies of love, if the scale of their applica- 
tion be not world-wide? Our own belief in 
it would become thin and feeble, and melt 
away. The very build of it, the bare truth 
of it, requires its universality and calls for 
missions to the whole world so greatly loved. 

Talk of " Little Englanders " ! Are not they 
"Little Christians" who vote against carrying 
Christianity to other races ? 

Moreover, it is impossible to leave these 
peoples alone in their simple faith and un- 
scientific traditions. Our commerce, with its 
ships — like shuttles weaving the web of a 
common lot and lio. — with its explorers, pro- 

Many Races, Many Religions 53 

specters, traders, and railways is penetrating 
to the recesses of every country. Our science, 
taught in their schools and books, is under- 
mining the foundations of their superstitions. 
They are sending their most intelligent youth 
to be educated further in our colleges and 
law-schools. Over 100,000 of the most re- 
ceptive minds in India bear the mental imprint 
of the foreigner's tuition, and they go out into 
the community with their old faith shaken at 
its base. The Indian Government, by pro- 
viding state education for India's youth, is 
as much responsible for this result as are 
the missionaries. The Government policy, 
indeed, is more perilous, for it supplies teach- 
ing in secular knowledge alone, and is thus 
breaking down the old altar without pro- 
viding anything to take its place. Western 
civilisation is marching irresistibly upon the 
people. Its new ideas, foreign habits, revolu- 
tionary knowledge, are invading their ancient 
preserves and even showing in their temples. 

We could not insulate them any longer, even 
if we tried. The old is bound to break up in 
spite of us. The new wine of the West will 
burst the old bottles of Eastern beliefs. And 
what is to enter in and save the moral life of 
such lands when Hindu and Buddhist mytho- 
logy and Chinese ancestor-worship are dis- 
credited in the eyes of the awakened millions ? 

54 The Challenge to Missions 

If we do not give them pure Christianity before 
the complete break-up comes, how are they to 
escape agnosticism and soulless secularism? 
The sceptical literature of the West is already 
to be seen in the foreign bookshops of the 
cities of the East. Already large numbers of 
the disenchanted are finding a refuge in the 
sterile negations of unbelief And, bad as a 
false or half-false religion may be, a godless, 
unspiritual secularism is incalculably worse. 

It is the plain finger of God pointing the 
way of the Christian Church. So vital to our 
common well-being is Christianity that we 
tremble to think what will befall us should 
that saving salt lose its savour in our life. 
And if that materialistic civilisation is not to 
carry degrading corruption among the dark- 
skinned races, it must be accompanied by the 
same saving preservative ; we must even be 
well ahead of it with the moral power of the 
Christian life. 


The Cosmic Light— and Dark 




The Cosmic Light— and Dark 

Now to go a little deeper into the problem. 

The pioneers of a hundred years ago viewed 
all non-Christian religions as unmitigated error, 
either black superstitions or diabolic inventions 
and blinds. Since their day the " Sacred Books 
of the East" have been translated and the 
cream of their contents collected in popular 
summaries for the casual reader. The science 
of Comparative Religion has arisen. Sir Edwin 
Arnold's "Light of Asia" has blazoned Buddha's 
heroic, compassionate endeavour to find a salve 
for the misery of men's lust for life. Mr Henry 
Fielding, in " The Soul of a People," has ex- 
quisitely interpreted the mystic Buddhist ideal 
as seen through Burmese eyes. We have found 
ethical rules of a high order — reminding us of 
single items in the Sermon on the Mount — in 
the Persian, Indian, and Chinese Scriptures, 
profound speculations about the mystery of 
human existence in Hindu religion, and laws 
of family gallantry towards parents in Con- 
fucian teaching. 


58 The Challenge to Missions 

Many in consequence have been asking and 
still ask whether, after all, these Asiatic races 
have not religious and moral light serving their 
needs sufficiently well ; whether, then, even 
though our faith be ideally the higher, there is 
any urgent reason for thrusting it upon them 
and upsetting their satisfaction with beliefs 
they hold dear. It is not only from adverse 
critics outside the Christian Church but from 
enlightened worshippers within it that we hear 
this plea for leaving these people to the light 
they already have. 

Now, we should greet all such light with a 
cheer. Our only complaint is that there is so 
little of it. To deny or depreciate the good 
in other faiths in the supposed interest of 
Christianity is to show signs of defective con- 
fidence in its incomparable superiority. To 
attempt to make out their light to be darkness 
comes near committing the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. The more of it the better : it is 
so much more to the good in the common stock 
and store ; it is so much more working capital 
in the resources available for further develop- 
ment. All flying shafts of light sprang from 
the same source in the Eternal Sun^ — the 
" Logos," or " Word." Fragments of the truth, 
"in many parts and diverse fashions," are only 
waiting to be released from obscuring encrusta- 
tions and knit into the full body of " the Truth," 

Good in Every System 59 

China contributes to the common store 
practical domestic and state laws, enforces the 
fifth commandment, " Honour thy father and 
thy mother," better than the rest of the world, 
and urges the homage due to the spirits of 
the dead who " live again in minds made better 
by their presence." ^ Hinduism contributes the 
immanence of the Eternal as the ocean of 
common being — and in a mode of this con- 
ception the Christian thinker to-day is finding 
a deeper basis for the incarnation of Christ. 
Buddha prescribes the conquest of desire as 
the secret of release for the distracted heart 
of man, and shows the " eternal process moving 
on" by which "from state to state the spirit 
walks " in seons upward or downward. Toward 
such segments and arcs of the rounded orb 
of truth our attitude cannot but be one of 
sympathetic appreciation. They, we claim, are 
prophetic workings of the Spirit. They also 
offer so much more common ground between 
the missionary and the Asiatic mind. 

The human heart is the greatest of all the 
prophets — the mother of the prophets of the 
earth — speaks in many languages of symbol and 
phrase, and never dies. These gleams of light 
are cryptic prophecies of good to come, and for 

1 See the lofty, spiritual prayers to " Shang-ti," the Supreme 
Spirit, in uncorrupted Confucianism, quoted in Dr Campbell 
Gibson's Mission Problems ^ pp. 76, 77. 

6o The Challenge to Missions 

their fulfilment Christianity is indispensable. 
" Whom ye worship in ignorance Him declare 
we unto you," Paul's message to the Athenians, 
is our message to all superstitious worshippers 
of dim symbols of the Mystery. The blind 
homage which is addressed to the material 
shrine and symbol God may interpret as merely 
misdirected through ignorance ; He may esteem 
and appraise it as really meant for Himself. 
None the less, however, the worshipper is not 
spiritually quickened and saved from his sin 
where such blind ignorance reigns. And, to 
meet the confused desires of his heart and 
morally redeem him, it is imperative he be told 
that the One after whom he has been groping 
through the mists is here in full glory. 

It is more than doubtful if we can ever 
articulate Christianity into the Hindu, Buddhist, 
and Confucian systems, as it was related to the 
Jewish system. Yet the moral aims and 
yearnings underlying them Christ does fulfil. 
Their better contents, like the Jewish Law, 
may have served a temporary purpose ; they 
have kept alive in some measure the spiritual 
sense of the devout votary, although, again like 
the Jewish Law, they have become materialised 
and have encrusted the inner life with a cramp- 
ing shell of mechanical ritual. While not 
utter, unmitigated delusions, they are often so 
utterly imperfect and corrupted, and so distort 

Good in Every System 6i 

the truth, that wherein they have hints of good 
they must be fulfilled and consummated in 
Christ, and wherein they are currently false 
and debasing, as for the most part they are, 
they must be supplanted by Christ. "Some 
better thing " — that which justified Christ in 
superseding the Jewish religion — amply justifies 
His Church in superseding or crowning pagan 
faiths with Christianity. 

The missionary, it is true, is apt to be a little 
impatient with such academic appreciations 
and balanced comparisons of other religions 
with the Christian revelation. He may, as he 
ought to, seize their good points, the wise things 
said by their own teachers, as common ground 
on which to start his address ; but the common 
ground is usually only a jumping-off ground. 
He is face to face with so much dark debase- 
ment that it seems wasted breath to talk of 
good things in pagan faiths. And the early 
apostles did not depend upon such reasoning; 
St Paul was usually uncompromising. Great 
victories cannot be won for a new, aggressive 
religion by genial concessions, although the 
manner of the fight must not be rude and 
ungenerous. The native convert, too, seldom 
has much to say about the half-truths in 
paganism. We must allow for the polarity 
and revulsion of human nature to extremes in 
any change of belief like his ; yet we cannot 

62 The Challenge to Missions 

but note that what impresses him is not the 
partial light but the utter darkness and falsity 
of the old religion. 

But it is not the missionary and the convert 
we are specially addressing. The Western 
mind makes a more detached valuation of 
world-religions, judging them chiefly from their 
scriptures and absolute contents, and knowing 
to discriminate between their pure primitive 
form and their corruptions, such as, we 
remember, have in past times overlain and 
debased our own Christian religion. For the 
sake of such, the problem requires new 

Why interfere with the sacred things of the 
Asiatic? The Hebrew religion, while only a 
mixed, imperfect symbolism of the truth, a 
stage on the way like other world-religions, 
surpassed them all in the amount of light and 
grace it contained. Yet our Lord did not spare 
it for the truth that was in it. " India and the 
Far East have religions of their own, with good 
elements in them : why not leave them alone ? " 
People who speak thus should make a further 
demand : " The Jews had a religion of their 
own, with good contents in it: why should 
Christ disturb their minds and upset their 
sacred customs?" On that principle how 
could Christianity ever have entered the world 
at all on any field ? It must disturb something. 

Good in Every System 63 

Was Copernicus not to disturb the traditional 
astronomy of Europe in case he should shock 
men's minds for two generations during the 
transition time? Then also it is wrong to 
interfere with the childish ideas of our little 
folk and give them the fuller truth required to 
develop their manhood. The interference is no 
less commendable when we take to the heathen, 
not only what fulfils their symbols and 
glimmers of good, but what is of momentous 
consequence for their characters, lives, social 
redemption, and destinies. Christ is indispens- 
able to them as the answer to their needs, as a 
revelation of the bedazing Mystery, and as a 
rest to their world-weary, self-sick hearts, 
bringing them a better salvation than they had 
ever conceived. 

We have first striven to deal fairly with the 
light and good in these religions which find 
appreciators among us in the West. 

" The God of Things-as-They-Are," however, 
requires that we look with open eyes at the 
bald realities of pagan belief and life. 

It is the bare truth, unfortunately the truth, 
that these fine elements are far from being 
typical of the Asiatic faiths from which they 
are drawn. The tit-bits of ethical wisdom 
gathered from afar are dug out of heaps of 
superstitious rubbish. The mass of the "Sacred 
Books of the East "would nauseate the Christian 

64 The Challenge to Missions 

at least as much as the rare flowers selected for 
anthologies delight him. We pay our ready 
tribute to the humane heart of Buddha. But 
Arnold's " Light of Asia " is not the native 
article ; it is a Western setting of the Buddha- 
story, recast in the Christian mould by one who 
has unconsciously carried over Christian ideas 
and terms for its interpretation. By Mr 
Fielding's own confession, his " Soul of a 
People " is not the every-day Burmese religion 
but a semi-poetic subtilising of it. Buddhism 
in its pure form is despairing pessimism, and in 
its popular guise is unhappily blind, idolatrous 
superstition. Superstitions as blind envelop 
the Chinese worship of ancestors {pace Lord 
Curzon, who likens it to the memorials of the 
distinguished dead in Westminster Abbey), 
and leave the soul without a God. The ancient 
symbols which once held striking imagery of 
the Unseen are no longer transparent but 
opaque, and obscure more than they reveal. 

These races of the pagan world know no 
personal Father of mankind enveloping the 
world with conscious care and love, no re- 
demptive suffering in the Divine heart, no 
salvation from sin as sin (only from the ache of 
life^), no Spirit of grace descending to make 
new creatures of evil men, no pledge of vital 

^ For a sane and just statement of the reality in Chinese 
temples, see Gibson's Mission Problems^ p. 141 ff. 

Good in Every System 65 

eternal life in fulness of manhood, no assurance 
of the re-knitting of family ties broken in death 
— in short, no adequate idea of salvation in its 
rich Christian sense. Their hopes and solaces 
are but adumbrations of hope and love. The 
average Asiatic millions are fed with empty- 
puerilities, or with metaphysical abstractions 
which are out of touch with human life and 
void of moral elements. Or they are held under 
the terrorism of " Nats," nature-spirits, departed 
spirits, and magic, and are prostrated before 
grotesque material images. Religion for the 
most part, alas, is a matter of prayer-wheels, 
fortune-telling, mechanical repetition of in- 
coherent words, and pathetic mummery — would 
that we could report it otherwise ! 

It is no wonder if these race-religions lack 
spiritual and moral power. Where, as in China, 
ethical precepts are given for prudential conduct, 
the loveless, impersonal code is chill and sterile, 
more impotent for making pure hearts than 
were Hebrew Tables of Stone, because lacking 
a personal God of exalted and exalting char- 
acter. Elsewhere religion is practically divorced 
from morals. Christianity, it has been said, is 
the only religion which has for its aim to make 
men good ; and the saying is true, if by " good " 
we understand positive inward moral purity and 
high character. The Christian ideal of holiness is 
substantially a new conception to the pagan mind. 

66 The Challenge to Missions 

Myriads of simple-hearted votaries visit the 
pagan temples ; but the faiths these enshrine are 
morally decadent, moribund, effete. They lack 
the dynamic power which is indispensable for 
the deliverance of men from the mastery of sin 
and the weight of material things, for the 
creation of soul and of purest manhood and 
womanhood, and for working social and com- 
munal regeneration. And they appear to have 
no power of self-renewal. In Japan certain 
sects have attempted a Buddhist revival, but, 
in spite of one or two such spurts of " Catholic 
Revival," the pagan religions have no resurrec- 
tion-power like that by which Christianity rose 
in renewed vitality and might out of the grave 
of its mediaeval corruptions. 

The moral and social life of pagan peoples 
naturally matches their faiths. The missionary 
may see pagan life too unbrokenly black, not 
unnaturally having eyes chiefly for the grim 
moral degeneracy which confronts him ; at the 
other extreme the modern cosmopolitan mind, 
like Mr Fielding, makes light excuses for its 
moral evils, After one's young imagination has 
been fed on mission literature which painted 
heathendom as one unqualified scene of cruelty 
and vice, a black romance, it comes as a sur- 
prise to see the swarthy little children playing 
happily and the old folk sitting contentedly in 
the shade, to hear sounds of domestic merriment 

Good in Every System 67 

and discover bits of human kindness. In every 
way it is one thing to read about pagan lands 
in books, and quite another thing to look on 
" the heathen " in flesh and blood in their motley 
life of chequered light and shade and their 
pathetic superstitions. 

There are indeed kind hearts among them, 
domestic tendernesses, filial devotions, brave 
deeds of self-suppression — what Augustine 
perversely called "splendid vices," Here and 
there are enlightened men who see beneath the 
crust of superstition, disavow the worship of 
material objects, and revere only pure intelli- 
gence. In every land there are happily select 
souls, like Neesima of Japan, and the Chinese 
viceroy, Chang Chih Tung, whose heart God 
has touched after the manner of Cornelius. But 
these are comparatively few and rare among the 
superstitious millions. They scarcely count in 
the practical problem of heathendom (except as 
possible progenitors and founts of future en- 
lightenment). And they are as little typical 
of the races to which they belong as Seneca 
was typical of Roman and Socrates of Greek 

The people generally are held in a state of 
soulless stagnation and impassive content. 
" They are quite content as they are," say some, 
among them Lord Curzon. True ; and that is 
the worst of it They are content with a sort 

68 The Challenge to Missions 

of bovine contentment, as a race of men may 
be who have been held under slavery that 
has unmanned them and taken the soul out 
of them. Petrified by the unintelligent custom 
of long ages, they have little consciousness of 
wanting anything. More insurmountable than 
the Chinese "Myriad-Mile Wall" is the im- 
penetrable wall of proud self-satisfaction in 
which the people are encased. The missionary's 
difficulty is, not to deal with pagan religions, 
but to pierce the Asiatic's haughty, supercilious 
sense of superiority and break through "the 
cake of custom " and wake the torpid soul and 
heavy conscience to the perception of moral and 
spiritual need. 

Generally they recognise nothing evil in the 
vices which reign among them. Moral corrup- 
tions are rife, and they neither hide out of sight 
nor raise a blush. So widely is religion divorced 
from morality in India that the devout priest 
may be vicious without remark. What wonder, 
when lustful and debasing practices are sanc- 
tioned by Hindu religious rites ! 

When Mrs Besant went into ecstacies over 
Hindu mysticism. The Rets and Ruyyet, an 
influential Hindu paper in Calcutta, said : 
"When an English lady of decent culture 
professes to be an admirer of Tantric mysti- 
cisms and Krishna worship, it behoves every 
well-wisher of the country to tell her plainly 

Good in Every System 69 

that sensible men do not want her eloquence 
for gilding what is rotten. ... In fact abomina- 
tion worship is the chief ingredient of modern 
Hinduism." And the Daily Hindu^ of Madras, 
said, " Our religious institutions are a festering 
mass of crime, vice, and gigantic swindling." 
Lord Curzon and Mr Michie tell us that it 
takes a Chinese imagination, charged with 
brutal coarseness, to invent the horrible accusa- 
tions levelled at Christian missionaries. 

No need of the critic to remind us of the 
vices besmirching Christendom. But, for differ- 
ence, the Christian conscience has always 
protested and fought against these evils, and 
is the great moral force engaged in reducing 
them. They have to conceal themselves as 
illicit. In paganism, on the contrary, they 
enjoy common sanction ; native religion is not 
at work against them ; they often flourish 
under the shelter of the gods, 

Yet far more serious than all these evils is 
the moral torpor at the back of them, the 
absence of conscience in things unclean. In 
many the first work to be done by Christianity 
is to create the very sense of sin, which is 
indispensable to the beginnings of moral re- 
newal and the cry for holiness — and this is one 
reason why missions, having John Baptist's 
preparatory work to do, take long to produce 
great results. Christ has first to develop con- 

70 The Challenge to Missions 

science, establish personality, and wake the 
flying ideal which both condemns and inspires. 
What pagan peoples— Buddhists, Hindus, Con- 
fucianists, as well as barbarians — most pro- 
foundly need is to be inwardly quickened, born 
from above them out of their moral callousness, 
to have soul created and the cry of the child 
of God waked within them. 

f' It is remarkable how, when a people, like an 
individual, receive Christianity, an outburst of 
new energy appears. It not only transforms 
character ; it creates a new type of manhood 
and womanhood ; it sets up a new ideal of 
holiness such as the pagan mind never dreamt 
of before. But, still more, it opens new springs 
of vitality, awakens hope, and supplies motive- 
power for personal sacrifice and social regenera- 
tion. It is for such work as this, not less than 
for personal salvation from sin, that the world 

, imperatively requires Christ and His gift of 

I new Life. 





Under the more liberal theology approved 
by the modern mind the ruling conception of 
heathen destinies has silently changed. Is 
the change calculated to "cut the nerve" of 
the missionary spirit? 

Dr Morrison, famous as Times correspondent 
at Pekin/ makes merry over China Inland 
missionaries who picture the hundreds of 
millions of Chinese hurrying unconsciously 
to eternal perdition. "They tell the Chinese 
inquirer that his unconverted father, who never 
heard the gospel, has, like Confucius, perished 
eternally." We have no wish to deliver such 
men out of Dr Morrison's hands ; but he must 
know that they are a diminishing number, at 
least among the better order of missionaries, 
and that the enlightened, if they have no clear 
theory on the subject, at any rate utter no such 
sentence of wholesale anathemas. 

It is true that Carey and other pioneers, 
holding all to be lost indistinguishably who 
had not known and believed in the historic 

^ An Australian in China. 


74 The Challenge to Missions 

Jesus of Galilee, conceived the swarming 
multitudes of fellow-mortals in heathen lands 
as consigned by the million to a common, 
indiscriminate doom — actually brands to be 
plucked from the burning. (By the same re- 
lentless logic the men of the " Hard Church " 
had to leave to a like fate all our unfortunate 
little ones who had died in infancy.) If not 
saved — and was there any Saviour except 
Christ? — must they not be relegated to outer 
darkness ? Otherwise why take trouble to send 
them the gospel ? 

Jonathan Edwards even claimed that the 
happiness of the beatified saints would be en- 
hanced by the thought of the outcast legions, 
thus making heaven take toll of hell for its 
keener bliss ! 

No wonder the Japanese asked Francis 
Xavier, and Radbod,^ chief of the pagan 
Frisians, asked Bishop Wolfran, whether all 
their forefathers were hopelessly condemned. 
Xavier writes in a letter in 1552: "One of 

1 According to the well-known dramatic story, Radbod, a 
candidate for baptism, had ah-eady one foot in the water, when 
he stopped and asked the bishop, "Where are my dead fore- 
fathers at present?" "In hell, with all other unbelievers." 
Withdrawing his leg, the revolted chief exclaimed, "Mighty 
well ; then will I rather feast with my ancestors in the halls 
of Woden than dwell with your little starveling band of 
Christians in heaven." The story is told in Motley's Dutch 
Republic (Introduction), whether adorned or naked fact we 
need not here inquire. 


Liberal Thought and Destinies 75 

the things that most of all torments our con- 
verts is that we teach them that the prison of 
hell is irrevocably shut. They grieve over 
the fate of their departed children, of their 
parents and relatives, and they often show 
their grief by their tears. So they ask us if 
there is any hope, any way to free them by 
prayer from that eternal misery, and I am 
obliged to answer that there is absolutely 
none. Their grief at this affects and torments 
them wonderfully — they almost pine away in 
their sorrow." (C/. 'E. Coleridge on Xavier.) 

That gospel, if they understand its backward 
bearings, must sound a strange piece of " good 
tidings" in their ears. Let Whittier express 

" Oh those generations old. 
Over whom no church-bell tolled, 
Christless, lifting up blind eyes 
To the silence of the skies ; 
For the innumerable dead 
Is my heart disquieted." 

This conception of heathen destinies has 
not been overthrown by the battering-ram of 
argument. It has been imperceptibly dissi- 
pated by the spread of a more liberal spirit. 
We have made discovery of certain good 
elements in pagan systems. We had dealt 
with shadowy abstract heathen under the logic 
of an abstract dogma ; with the aid of travel 

"](> The Challenge to Missions 

and reading we have learnt to imagine these 
human beings in their palpitating flesh and 
blood, and picture the awful issues. How did 
we manage to close our eyes in sleep of a 
night for thinking of these torrents of ignorant 
brother-men flowing unwittingly to destruction, 
except just by not conceiving them to our- 
selves in human face and feeling? Whenever 
such a stupendous unintelligible human holo- 
caust came vividly before the Christianised 
imagination, the theory fell devitalised and 
undone. The sunshine of a warmer Christian 
compassion coming from the infinite love of 
Christ made the unutterable dogma pale away 
into the dim limbo where lie the shades of 
departed creeds. 

Possibly it was the case of the little child 
that was set in our midst to test and smile 
away this belief — the little child dying in 
tender years without hearing of Christ. The 
gracious, illogical exception allowed for the 
child's future destiny broke an opening through 
the wall of stern dogma, and the opening 
widened to make room for child-races, for 
men and women who, in proportion to their 
opportunities, were not naturally worse than 
ourselves, but only less fortunate in their birth- 
place, for the generous treatment of people 
who could not believe the gospel since, un- 
luckily, they had never heard it. 

Liberal Thought and Destinies 77 

Enlightened minds to-day insist on a theory 
of judgment at once more scientific, ethical, 
and Christian than that which drove the 
earlier missionaries to the rescue. 

Now any theory which either (i) consigns 
the heathen en bloc to " adamantine chains and 
penal fires," or (2) claims that, since they are 
simple innocents and have their own gleams of 
light and God is good, all is well with them 
here and beyond, is palpably false. The iron 
view is not more immoral than the easy view. 
The latter is inconsistent with visible, grim 
realities in the actual character of the heathen, 
and makes free with heaven and God's moral 
laws. The former, if realised, would strike with 
a rebound against God's good name and clash 
with Christ's revelation of the Father-heart. 

To some the question seems a gratuitous and 
an idle one. They are content to leave it out 
of their horizon and obey their Lord's marching 
missionary orders — as obey His command we 
must in any case. But not all can close their 
minds to such a problem. We do not go seek- 
ing it ; it comes seeking us. It is forced upon 
us by the change of thought, and by frank 
questioners in the Church and out of it who 
have a right to ask us what new theory has 
taken the place of the old. Earnest workers, 
also, ought to have clear ground on which to 
base their enterprise. We are very far from 

y2> The Challenge to Missions 

seeking to settle particular destinies ; we do not 
know the destinies of even the people about us 
in a Christian land ; we only know the principles 
on which they will be judged. At bottom our 
rest is in God's fairness. Yet we can and must 
mark out the lines and principles on which, so 
far as present light takes us, God deals with the 

We shall see later that the real question is not 
one of future destinies at all. Yet, none the less, 
we must meet men's questions on the subject. 

Now — to take a negative first — it will not 
satisfy to import specially for the heathen a 
theory of another chance in a future probation. 
However far that may be permissible as a 
speculation, the Scripture about spirits in prison 
(i Peter iii. 19), on which it is chiefly founded, 
is too obscure, too doubtful in its meaning, and 
too solitary in the Bible to clear up the mystery. 
Moreover, to ride off along this line is to seek 
easy escape from the issue. And if the idea 
got possession of average minds in the Church, 
it would still indeed be theoretically imperative 
on them to give the saving light of life to all 
men as soon as possible, but the working effect 
would be to "cut the nerve" of missionary 
enthusiasm. Any theory which relaxes earnest 
effort is thereby proved to have for us the value 
of a falsehood. We have no need or title 
positively to lay down close limits in any 

Liberal Thought and Destinies 79 

veiled region where God is, but there is nothing 
here to work with or count upon. 

It is not enough, either, to make special bye- 
laws for a few exceptional " good heathen," like 
Buddha and Socrates. We have to do with 
millions. The allowance must be regularised, 
the principle of treatment broadened down to 
the multitude and universalised. 

The principles of judgment are the same for 
the heathen as for ourselves. The standards, 
the tests, vary with varying conditions ; but the 
principles are universally the same. 

(i) Judgment is proportioned to the good 
within reach. It is our Lord's own 
principle, that responsibility is pro- 
portionate to what is possible to each, 
to his light, capacity, and opportunity. 

(2) The grace of the Eternal Christ operates 

beyond the area in which the historical 
Jesus is known. 

(3) Judgment goes, not by the gross bulk 

of goodness attained, but by that faith 
in good which is the root of goodness. 
Destiny is determined, not by absolute 
present character, but by the germ 
which potentially is ultimate character. 

(4) Salvation is salvation from present sin 

and moral death, not from destinies, 
which are only incidental to ultimate 

So The Challenge to Missions 

One result of these principles is that we 
cannot deal with the heathen in the mass and 
pronounce them either all saved or all lost. 
Invisible differences divide them, equally with 

The common idea is that all will be saved 
who act up to the light they have. It is half 
true, yet suggests a falsehood. Not one of the 
best of the pagan peoples ever lived up fully to 
the light he had. Equally on the small scale 
as on the large, there is no man who has done 
as well as he might, none who is without sin, 
none who must not at the last depend on sheer 
mercy. There cannot be two different grounds 
of acceptance before God — one, the ground of 
merit, among the non-Christian races, the other, 
"by grace are ye saved," among Christians, 
from under whose feet all trust in personal 
merit is sharply taken away by Christian 

Take the Road of the Scriptures to reach 
the proper point of outlook upon the heathen 

The Jews — on what ground were any of 
them saved ^ We cannot speak of " the Jews " 
being saved en dloc, as though all who offered 
Jewish sacrifices were accepted in the lump, 
and as little can we classify the heathen and 
say of them in one breath that they are either 
all saved or all lost. But how was it possible 

Liberal Thought and Destinies 8i 

for Abraham and other devout Jews to be 
accepted of God without the knowledge of the 
historical Jesus ? It will not do to suppose 
that they stood on tiptoe and foresaw the 
personal Jesus and the Cross in the distance ; 
it is not true. They had their moral law and 
the knowledge of the one holy and merciful 
Godc And they had their symbolism of sin, 
of sacrifice, and of self-devotion. Abraham 
was justified because he believed God, and 
that was counted for righteousness. This was 
no fiction ; he was not righteous ; but his faith 
in God had in it the germ and potency of 
righteousness. In proportion as Jews were 
humble-hearted and believing, making appeal 
to the mercy that was hinted to them through 
material symbols and imagery — in proportion 
as they responded to the light that shone — 
they had the mercy of God for their sins. 

The heathen to-day are B.C. What operated 
B.C. in God's treatment of Jews operates pro- 
portionately in Asia and every continent and 
island which is not yet Anno Domini. That the 
Jews had fuller light and clearer symbols of the 
Unseen is beside the point here. God's method 
or principle is the same for all alike, when deal- 
ing with different races all of them B.C. The 
grace which was at least within reach of the 
humble-hearted Jew has always been and now 
is within reach of the Gentile in proportion 


82 The Challenge to Missions 

as there is similar response or appeal of 

Were the redemptive virtues of Christ's cross, 
then, delivered to the devout Jew in advance 
without having as yet been acquired by Christ ? 
Rather say, more Scripturally, that that suffer- 
ing love in the Divine Heart which once for 
all in history became embodied in Jesus was 
a timeless, eternal reality and therefore avail- 
able B.C. 

The Cosmic Light, the " Word " or " Logos " 
of St John, "that light which lighteth every 
man," did not first come into existence in Jesus, 
but " came into the world " in Him, incarnate 
in human personality. As there was a diffused 
light through our universe before the sun, and 
as that diffused luminous mist became centred 
and embodied in the sun, so there was and is 
a universal " Word " or Light, — " Logos sper- 
matikos " — an eternal Christ or Good. Every- 
where in human hearts, in infinitesimal or 
considerable degree, there have been glimmer- 
ings of the Mystery and the Truth, bits of good 
and light and love. Everywhere the touch of 
the Unseen has been felt, whether interpreted 
superstitiously here or known intelligently there. 
Men have cast their intuitions in the form of 
symbols — the sun, or the image of the Great 
Calm in the still face of the Amita Buddha of 
Japan, or in the Jewish shechinah on the 

Liberal Thought and Destinies 83 

mercy-seat stained with the blood of offered 
lives. These symbols, at first luminous with 
significance, have become obscured with gross 
superstitions — yet not utterly; they have con- 
tinued faintly to signify something of the 
Unseen Good, or they have gathered up the 
heart's dumb desires for Good. And at the 
same time all men have seen fellow-men suffer- 
ing and needy — mankind (with whom Christ 
Jesus made Himself one, Matt. xxv. 45) 
crucified before their eyes ; they have met 
human need, and either ignored it or responded 
to its appeal to the kind heart. 

Where and in whom among the peoples of 
both Christendom and heathendom God's all- 
seeing eye has found the needful response to 
existing light and good, no human mind can 
conjecture. How far He may have seen an 
outstretching of the half-encrusted spirit to the 
Mystery and the Pity ; how far any hearts may 
have waked to the only symbol of the Divine 
within sight ; how many or how few have shown 
a beat of compassion towards human want 
or a relenting over sin, or a humble, weary cry 
for help beneath the sky — these secrets can be 
known only to Himself. Our difficulty is not 
about the cosmic grace of Christ being available 
wherever among mortal men the fit response is 
shown. Our doubt is about the likelihood of any 
sufficient response among many both at home 

84 The Challenge to Missions 

and abroad. But, certainly, if God All-wise 
accepted the man who offered a slain bullock as 
a symbol of his self-devotion, we may be sure 
that He has an eye and an ear for any symbol- 
language of the human heart appealing to the 
Unseen wherever He finds it, whether among 
simple suppliants of the Merciful Virgin or 
others of the same order. It is not righteous- 
ness. But, according to Scripture, God, so far 
as it is true, counts it for righteousness ; for it is 
the germ and prophecy of righteousness under 
happier conditions to come. 

For judgment goes, not by absolute present 
character, but by the germ of potential character 
which is wrapped up in faith in Good or sym- 
pathy with Humanity. The penitent thief on 
his cross had not time to acquire good char- 
acter ; but in his appealing cry to Christ there 
germinated the seed of potential goodness. 

Attitude is destiny. Not absolute attain- 
ment : have average Christians much more than 
their faces turned towards the light, more than 
mere seeds of holiness ? But, however meagre 
their attainments, they have taken an attitude 
in relation to the light in Christ; and that 
attitude is the forecast of their destiny. What 
lies in heart-faith, however crudely formed, is 
the seed of righteousness, of ultimate character. 

If anywhere, East and West alike, by dim 
or clear faith the Light of the Eternal Word 

Liberal Thought and Destinies 85 

has met with response, there the grace in- 
carnated in Christ may find the attitude of 
spirit it everywhere is seeking as the condition 
of higher blessing. Thus no one anywhere is 
saved except by the Eternal Christ— unrecog- 
nised perhaps, i^' when saw we Thee?") — and 
except through faith or desire as the germ that 
grows to goodness and fruits in bliss. Whatever 
further scope or cycles of existence for the 
development of these faith-germs or love-seeds 
of good may come in other aeons having their 
own new issues, we see only thus far, that the 
issue of this aeon is determined by these attitudes 
of the secret soul. 

How seldom or how often God perceives 

such germs of faith, either in Anglo-Saxon, 

Asiatic, or African, He alone can know. We 

are not one step nearer being able to say who 

among the heathen are blest and who suffer 

loss. We can as little assign destinies to them 

indiscriminately as we can to the folk who live 

next door to us — enough and well if we can 

forecast our own. To read destinies is not our 

aim in these pages. None but the Omniscient 

Heart-Interpreter has the materials for such 

discrimination. Yet much is gained if we can, 

humbly, discover the lines on which God deals 

with men of all colours and conditions. Even 

as to ourselves we only know the principles of 

divine judgment and the grounds of faith and 

86 The Challenge to Missions 

hope. And the discovery frees us on the one 
hand from the goad of the old, unthinkable 
horror over indiscriminate destinies, and on the 
other from lax latitudinarianism as to the needs 
of the heathen. 



Does Liberal Thought cut the Nerve of 




Does Liberal Thought cut the Nerve of 
Missions ? 

Does this modern way of viewing the heathen 
relax the missionary motive ? 

Certainly the older conception of their 
destinies gave a sufficiently violent reason for 
missionary urgency. It held up a picture which 
was vivid, concrete, and therefore calculated to 
tell on crude or emotional natures. On the 
other hand, the unthinkable issues for these 
unenlightened and unfortunate millions, if rea- 
lised in clear imagination, instead of offering 
an inspiring incentive, would singe and sear 
the sensitive heart, would stun the mind and 
paralyse the energies. The vision would over- 
whelm us. 

What is the motive, then, for urgency in 
sending the gospel to the heathen? 

The same motive as we find at work in the 
hearts of the first apostles. Not once in the 
New Testament do we find these ardent mis- 
sionaries introducing a bare mention of heathen 


90 The Challenge to Missions 

destinies as an argument for evangelising the 
world. Their eyes never look that way. None 
of their zeal comes visibly from that quarter. 
It is not a question of future destinies at all 
with them. What impels them is the sense of 
the people's utter moral need and spiritual 
darkness, their religious destitution, their " lying 
in sin," and the burning desire to carry to all 
men the blessed news of the Divine redemptive 
love which has wrought such a transformation 
in their own lives. 

It is the same sense of the world's utter 
moral need, sin, spiritual darkness, and religious 
destitution, the same sense of unspeakable 
obligations to Christ for new life and hope, 
and the same eager desire to convey to all men 
the grace which has brought us spiritual bless- 
ing — it is this that must, and does, serve as a 
sufficient motive for our missionary zeal. If 
this fails to inspire us, it is a sinister sign that 
we lack the very essence of the Christian mind, 
the love which flamed in the apostles' hearts, 
and that we have missed the true meaning 
of salvation. 

Our conception of salvation itself has been 
changing at the very time when our theory of 
the heathen has been changing, and the one 
comes in aptly to interpret or correct the other. 
The enlightenment which has been enlarging 
our sympathies has in the same process been 

Can the Motive Survive? 91 

deepening our insight into the true nature of 
salvation. Here enters our fourth principle, 
that salvation is salvation from sin, not from 
destinies. The real and urgent question is 
not a matter of destinies at all, one way or 
the other. It is one of present moral condition 
and character. It is not what we are coming 
to, but what we are becoming, that matters. 
Destinies, good or bad, while momentous 
enough, hang entirely on the character which 
constitutes their quality. The actual problem 
is, not the man's future, but the man. 

Look at pagan peoples with the most God- 
like eye, and there is enough in their condition 
to appal our hearts, if we can see beneath the 
surface of their natural content. However 
large the mercy of Heaven, they most palpably 
stand in dire need of being morally saved from 
sin's degradation and spiritually enlightened 
and enfranchised as the sons of God. 

Properly we cannot speak of pagans being 
either "saved" or *'lost" in the full Christian 
sense ; for these words are polarised, charged 
with a depth of moral significance which is the 
creation of Christianity, and their meaning is 
not rightly applicable outside Christian spheres. 
But we can speak of them being sunk and 
dark, needing the salvation that elevates and 

The old idea about the heathen — that they 

92 The Challenge to Missions 

were consigned to hell — was false in its crude 
form, yet it was profoundly true in the moral 
impression it conveyed. Take hell as the 
symbol of their moral need, of the measure- 
less calamity of sin and inward degradation, 
as the awful canvas on which is flamingly 
projected before our imagination the unspeak- 
able evilness of evil and the catastrophe it 
involves. When men could not picture to 
themselves the inward deterioration in which 
lay the true " damnum " (" loss "), this vivid 
vision of future destinies gave them the full 
measure of it, conveying the right moral im- 
pression. Because the old forecast of heathen 
destinies is softened away, some are being 
blinded to the deep moral destitution and 
darkness in which millions lie. What we have 
now to fear is the swing of the pendulum to 
the opposite error — that "it's all right with 
the heathen." And undoubtedly it will take 
time to plant the new conception of salvation 
victoriously in the average Christian mind ; 
and meanwhile the missionary spirit of some 
may cool. But the transition-time will pass, 
and the higher motive will become as strong 
a dynamic as the old one. 

If we have Christ's compassionate heart, we 
burn to save all, whether heathen at home or 
heathen abroad, from their sins and moral 
degradation, from the things which waste and 

Can the Motive Survive? 93 

destroy their manhood, to redeem them from 
the power of the flesh and the world and all 
that defiles. Knowing Christ precious to our- 
selves and what He can do for all men, we 
thirst to see all spiritualised and made new 
creatures in Christ Jesus, to send them that 
which will raise them in character and make 
them full men completed in Christ, that which 
will not only enlighten, free, gladden, bless, 
and enrich their existence, but will elevate 
their corporate social and domestic life 
and establish the kingdom of God among 

Such is the true missionary motive, and 
motive enough. 

Even on a less tragic ground, why is it a 
matter of urgent duty and concern on a 
parent's part to teach his child the story of 
Christ and train him in Christian truth and 
life? The more modern theory of the dead 
child's future — does it relax parental anxiety 
to impart Christian light and teach him to 
love and imitate Jesus ? What is the parent's 
motive now? Simply the sharp sense of the 
value of Christ to every human being, young 
or old — the perception of the child's need and 
peril if he does not get the saving power of 
Christ upon him ; the sense of the native 
worth and value of being a Christian in soul 
and character; the desire to lift him out of 

94 The Challenge to Missions 

"the natural man" to "the measure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ." 

If that motive be not strong enough to 
inspire us with zeal for taking the blessing 
of Christ to the heathen, then Christ has still 
much work to do upon us to make us Christian 
in mind and spiritual sympathy. 



"Counting the Game" 




"Counting the Game" 

What have laymen, personally acquainted 
with foreign countries, to say of the effects 
that missions have had upon the natives ? Is 
the Church herself satisfied with the results 
produced? When sea-going people, traders, 
travellers, and civil servants deprecate or 
decry the missionary's work, it is commonly 
on the ground that it spoils the natives, that 
to educate them is only to make them worse, 
or that the converts are so few that they cost 
so many hundred pounds per head ! 

Some of the best civilians have a more 
favourable report to give. Indeed it is 
generally the highest class of civilians, hold- 
ing responsible positions, who declare that 
missions are doing an immense amount of 
direct or indirect good. Sir Claude Macdonald, 
late British Minister at Pekin, formerly British 
Agent at Zanzibar and on the Niger, Sir Chas. 
Aitchison, Lieut-Governor of the Punjab, Sir 
R. Temple, and other men of like position have 
been steadfast supporters of mission work. Sir 

G 97 

qS The Challenge to Missions 

Harry Johnston's tribute appeared but lately in 
the secular press. And Lord Lawrence's words 
are not forgotten : " Notwithstanding all that 
English people have done to benefit India, the 
missionaries have done more than all other 
agencies combined." 

Their verdict is not quoted as foreclosing 
the case. But, as criticisms from mission 
censors are so largely introduced in these 
pages, it is fair to show that men of sane 
and independent judgment, in the highest 
quarters where they are likely to see the 
work on the large scale and know its effects 
by long residence, express an estimate of it 
entirely different from the airy gossip current 
in camps and treaty ports. Yet one must 
deal with the average opinion that one en- 
counters in moving about in the world. 

First take briefly the question of numbers. 

Dr Morrison, who has clearly been at school, 
mirthfully reduces the outcome of the work to 
fractions. " Expressed succinctly their harvest 
may be described as amounting to a fraction 
more than two Chinamen per missionary per 
annum. If native helpers are added, the 
aggregate body of converts amounts to nine- 
tenths of a Chinaman per worker per annum." ^ 

Lord Curzon, more sedately, asserts that 
the work is " not advancing with a rapidity 

^ An Australian in China. 

"Counting the Game" 99 

in the least commensurate to the prodigious 
outlay in money, self-sacrifice, and human 
power." ^ So, then, it is not the missionaries 
alone who, as Mr Michie puts it, "sum up 
their success" as "sportsmen count their 
game." If they do so, it is chiefly because 
the Church at home, not unnaturally yet un- 
fortunately, calls for statistics of advance, 
and expects the missionary to produce his 
yearly "tale of bricks." But it is the critic, 
even more than the Church, that demands 
results and "counts the game." 

Lord Curzon himself, like Mr Michie, 
shows that the test of progress does not lie 
in the number of converts. " Much of their 
work is necessarily devoid of immediate 
results, and is incapable of being scientifically 
registered in a memorandum. They sow 
the seed, and if it does not fructify in 
their day or before their eyes, it may well 
be germinating for a future ear-time." He 
pays a tribute to the missionary's "devotion 
and self-sacrifice, his example of pious fortitude, 
the influence of the education and culture thus 
diffused in kindling the softer virtues and in 
ameliorating the conditions of life ; the slow 
but certain spread of Western knowledge ; the 
visible products in organised philanthropy in 
the shape of hospitals, medical dispensaries, 

* Problems of the Far East, 

loo The Challenge to Missions 

orphanages, relief distribution, and schools ; 
the occasional winning of genuine and noble- 
hearted converts from the enemy's fold." 

"You don't get an adequate return for your 
money," says the man who looks on 4 per 
cent, as poor interest for any investment, 
whether sacred or secular. And a return he 
and we are perfectly entitled to expect. But 
how much does he allow for the laying of 
the foundations required before a new order 
of things can be built up? How much for 
the slow progress of rubbing down prejudice 
and distrust, for proving the apostle's dis- 
interested motives, for lifting the heavy inertia 
of age-long custom, for breaking the trammel- 
ling yoke and bar of caste, and for mitigating 
the force of rooted superstitions and vested 
interests ? How much for making dictionaries 
(as missionaries have been the first to do) 
and for translating the Scriptures ? 

And is the critic to count it as nothing in 
the balance-sheet that Christian missions have 
been opening up closed countries to civilising 
influences and national development as well 
as to trade? (It carries no weight with the 
Christian mind, but it might with the com- 
mercial censor, that missions have opened 
many doors for trade, and have brought back 
in commerce far more than they have cost.) 

How much time, and how many lives, were 

"Counting the Game" loi 

spent in cutting down the ancient forests of 
Britain, in taming and tilling the soil, in laying 
roads and building bridges, and making our 
island-home the rich and comely land it is? 
A long taming, tilling, preparatory work of 
a similar kind has to be done among native 
races before the rich harvest of human good- 
ness and enlightened piety can be reaped. 
In the assessment of missionary results, how 
much is allowed for such preparatory, civil- 
ising, educational work? With all this in 
view, can any fair mind reckon up the out- 
come at so many converts per missionary per 
annum, costing so many hundred pounds per 
head, or expect more than a moderate ad- 
vance meanwhile in the numbers won from 
paganism ? 

Yet, even in respect of numbers, the results 
sufficiently attest the progress of the cause. 
In one year alone (1899), excluding the 
baptised catechumens, not less than 100,000 
were added to the number of communicants. 
The appalling fact remains indeed, that the 
number added to the native population of 
such a country as India by natural increase 
is larger each year than the numbers won to 
the Christian fold. But the multiplication of 
the Christian community marches in a rising 
ratio, and will ultimately overtake and out- 
strip the native growth. 

I02 The Challenge to Missions 

The Imperial Census for India taken for 
1 90 1 has been revealing the great strides made 
by Christianity during the previous decade. 
The return for the entire continent, with the 
exception of the Bombay Presidency and 
Burma (the statistics for which had not 
appeared), shows that the number of professed 
Christians had risen from 1,952,704 in 1891 
to 2,501,808 in 1901 — had risen in fact by 
550,000. In these returns European Christians 
are included; but, according to Sir Charles 
A. Elliott, late Lieut.-Governor of Bengal,^ 
they are practically stationary in numbers, the 
same as in 1891. The addition of half a 
million Christians, therefore, has been drawn 
from among the natives. Within ten years 
half a million natives of India have been won 
to the open profession of Christianity. The 
growth in numbers has been thirty per cent., 
and that is four times the growth of the 
general population. It is not merely the large 
increase in itself that gratifies and reassures ; 
it is the rising ratio of increase, four times the 
increase of the populace. And here, of course, 
no account can be taken of those who during 
the same period have become Christians in 
secret, and the larger numbers who have 
been brought within the Christian "sphere of 
influence." (See Appendix B., p. 184). 
^ Times i 3rd December 1901. 

"Counting the Game" 103 

The increase of course varies very greatly 
in different countries. In some places it is 
disappointingly small thus far. In Korea, on 
the other hand, at Pyeng-Yang, there was only 
a handful of Christians in the whole region 
in 1895 ; by 1900 there were 2,500 communi- 
cants, while the total number of adherents 
was 10,000. Not counting the 500,000 Chinese 
claimed by the Roman Catholic Church, there 
are nearly 100,000 Christian communicants in 
China. And the native Christian community 
attached to this church membership — young 
people in schools, catechumens, families, etc. 
— is many times larger. 

In Uganda within a single decade the number 
of baptised Christians has risen, Bishop Tucker 
states, from 300 to 30,000. 

" Why, the captain assured me at tiffin that 
there weren't half-a-dozen Christians in all 
China ; and here in one meeting are more 
than three hundred." This was said by a 
passenger who allowed himself to be con- 
ducted by a friend to a centre of mission 

It is now notorious that those hasty visitors 
and travellers, and even white residents, who 
declare that they have seen plenty of mission- 
aries but few native Christians have never gone 
to examine for themselves what the missions 
are doing. The Christian natives are not on 

I04 The Challenge to Missions 

show in the streets : they are only a fraction of 
the heathen community and not distinguish- 
able among the million ; and of necessity the 
work is usually quiet and unobtrusive. How 
can the success of the campaign be known 
to those who only touch at open ports, or run 
through a country on business or for sight- 
seeing purposes ? They depend for their 
information mainly on the Philistine gossip 
current at the clubs and the dinner-tables of 
residents who live almost entirely apart from 
the native's life and never investigate the work 
done by missions. " A little laudable curiosity 
and a braving of the smells and sounds of 
native streets" would reveal to them that, 
whatever the failures here and there, the 
floating reports do no sort of justice to the 
actual results. 

It is from the lower and less educated classes, 
we are reminded, that the converts are drawn. 
Have any of those whom Oliver Wendell 
Holmes called the "Brahmin classes" of the 
community believed ? Are the literati found in 
the native Church? And certainly, if Christianity 
does not appeal to the enlightened, grave doubt 
is raised — but not about missions, rather about 
Christianity itself. 

But (i) our missionary experience simply 
reproduces Christ's own. " The common people 

"Counting the Game" 105 

heard Him gladly " ; and critics were able to 
ask, " have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees 
believed on Him ? " Yet some of the most 
enlightened rulers, like Nicodemus, did believe 
on Him, although restrained by caste-fears from 
at once confessing Him. It is often the educated 
who are the most closely encased in prejudice ; 
and, if most of the Rabbis and Herodians of 
India and China are the slowest to admit the 
new light, it is only what happened in the first 
days of Christianity. It is clear from the 
Apostolic Epistles that, while some of the well- 
born in Rome and Greece belonged to the 
primitive Church, most of the first Christians 
were of the commonalty, numbers of them 

(2) It is what seizes the great common 
instincts of the people that proves its universal 
truth. What captures the broad base of the 
triangle shows the full width of its conquering 
power. And early missions in the Roman 
empire conquered the community by working 
from the humbler strata upwards. 

Besides (3) it is from the lower-middle (not 
the lowest) classes — those very classes from 
which most of the converts are drawn — that 
the most virile life of the community is recruited. 
"As the husbandman, driving his ploughshare 
into the soil, brings the bottom strata to the 
surface and turns the upper strata to the 

io6 The Challenge to Missions 

bottom, so in the upheavings of Providence the 
lower classes of yesterday become the upper 
classes of to-day." 

It is what we find in the history of races. 
Some ask, " Are not the rude African races 
sure to be overborne and swept away by the 
civilised ? " For one thing, at present these are 
multiplying much more swiftly than the whites. 
And just as the highly cultivated and luxurious 
Romans were spent, and were out-lived by the 
hardy Goths and Germanic races of the north, 
so the ruder earth-children and hillsmen of the 
modern world may have a large contribution to 
make to the stock of the coming race. By the 
same law the religion which conquers the 
simpler, humbler class in the community may 
be planting itself most securely in the genera- 
tions to come. 

But (4) numbers of the enlightened classes 
do respond to mission Avork, markedly in some 
countries if not so extensively in others. 

In Japan, for example, in the year 1900 {cf. 
The Chinese Recorder for 1900) Mr Loomis was 
able to say, " The Minister for Foreign affairs 
and the Secretary to the Prime Minister are 
Christians. The honoured President of the 
Lower House is a devoted member and elder 
of the Presbyterian Church ; and there are 
thirteen or fourteen other Christians in the 
present Diet. Two battleships of the first class 

"Counting the Game" 107 

in the Japanese Navy are commanded by 
Christian captains. There are three Christian 
professors, and upwards of sixty members of 
the Young Men's Christian Association, in the 
Imperial University of Tokio. There are 
thirty Christian Associations and eight hun- 
dred and fifty members among the students 
of Japan." 

If in India fewer of the educated classes 
become professed converts, it is partly because 
of the restraints of caste — numbers of them 
are known to be disciples in secret, afraid of 
the awful ban of the out-caste. Yet a Madras 
writer and philosopher, Mr S. Satthianadhan, 
M.A., LL.M., has shown how Christianity is 
being assimilated by India. 

"What," he wrote, "is the influence of 
Christianity on New India? We have first 
and foremost a large and influential com- 
munity that has severed itself entirely from 
the ancient religion, and has accepted Christ 
as its Saviour. Some of the keenest intellects 
that India has produced, men like Professor 
Ramachander, the author of * Maxima and 
Minima,' Dr Krishna Mohun Banerjee, one 
of the first Indians whom the Calcutta Uni- 
versity honoured with the degree of Doctor 
of Laws ; and Pandita Ramabai, a woman of 
rare intellectual gifts, and well learned in 
Sanskrit literature [he adds other names of 

io8 The Challenge to Missions 

equal importance], have found in the teachings 
of Christ final rest and satisfaction. 

" But the indirect influence of Christianity 
in moulding the thoughts and aspirations of 
the Indians is very considerable. The unique 
personality of Christ is having, consciously or 
unconsciously, a supreme attraction for even 
those who are outwardly opposed to Christi- 
anity. Some who have come under mission- 
ary influences, even though still within the 
visible pale of Brahmaism and Hinduism, 
recognise the claims of Christ as the greatest 
religious teacher and His right to their 
allegiance, though they are not prepared to 
take the step that means the severance of 
family ties, social disgrace, and isolation. 
The most telling testimony to the influence 
of Christianity is to be found in the efforts 
made to read into Hindu religious doctrines 
the moral teachings of Christ." Of this in- 
corporating process the Madras thinker gives 
living examples. (See Appendix B., p. 184). 

Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen — head of the 
Brahmo Somaj, and never attached to the 
Christian Church — asked: "Who rules India .^ 
What power is it that sweeps the destinies 
of India at the present moment? ... If 
India is encompassed on all sides by Christian 
literature, Christian civilisation, and Christian 
government, she must naturally endeavour to 

** Counting the Game** 109 

satisfy herself as to the nature of this great 
power in the realm which is doing such 
wonders in our midst. India knows not yet 
this power, though already so much influenced 
by it. She is unconsciously imbibing the 
spirit of this new civilisation — succumbing to 
its irresistible influence. Therefore India ought 
to be informed as to the real character of the 
course of this reforming influence — Christ. . . . 
Christ, not the British Government, rules India." 

It is by the diffusion of Christian ideas and 
of civilising and humane influences, and the 
general preparatory work already done, that 
the progress of the cause is to be calculated ; 
it is not to be measured by the numbers on 
mission registers. Much of the expenditure 
of life and labour is of the nature of an 
investment ; the large amount of capital sunk 
will bring its return in time to come. 

J. Russell Lowell, American citizen of the 
world and no partizan, may be allowed to 
make the case acutely plain. When the keen 
scrutiny of sceptics " has found a place on this 
planet, ten miles square, where a decent man 
can live in decency, comfort, and security, sup- 
porting and educating his children unspoiled 
and unpolluted, a place where age is reverenced, 
infancy respected, womanhood honoured, and 
human life held in due regard, — when sceptics 
can find such a place, ten miles square, on this 

no The Challenge to Missions 

globe, where the Gospel of Christ has not gone 
and cleared the way and laid the foundations, 
and made decency and security possible, it will 
then be in order for the sceptical literati to 
move thither and ventilate their views. But 
so long as these men are dependent on the 
very religion which they discard for every 
privilege they enjoy, they may well hesitate 
a little to rob a Christian of his hope and 
humanity of its faith in that Saviour who 
alone has given to men that hope of Eternal 
life which makes life tolerable and society 
possible, and robs death of its terrors and 
the grave of its gloom." ^ And this brave 
argument may be extended to the cause which 
carries the benefits of Christianity to pagan 
races and can do for them what it has done 
so amply for all of us. 

1 Cf. the present author's In Relief of Doubt ^ p, 66. Also 
Mr ^leredith Townsend's Asia and Europe^ chap, iii., a wise 
valuation of the situation in India. See outline in Appendix 
B., p. 184. 



"The Mission-made Man" 




"The Mission-made Man" 

But are the natives improved by Christian 
missions ? Are the results morally and socially 
satisfactory? This, and not the matter of 
numbers, is the serious question. And it must 
be seriously and frankly answered. Let the 
lay critic as seriously consider the whole 
situation and do justice to the case. Readers 
will bear in mind that some of the following 
paragraphs deal more particularly with the 
situation among African, Polynesian, and other 
races just emerging out of semi-barbarism, 
while others apply to conditions which exist 
among the settled Asiatic races. 

The late Miss Mary Kingsley — what piquant 
travel books about West Africa she has left 
us ! — said that " the missionary-made man is 
the curse of the coast." ^ In India and the Far 
East we are not allowed to forget the "rice 
Christians" whose change of creed has in it 
the hope of better wages. There are very 

^ Travels in West Africa. 

H "3 

114 The Challenge to Missions 

many among the lay community — numbers of 
them personally Christians — who declare that 
missions only upset and spoil the native, that 
they prefer the raw heathen or natural coolie to 
the mission "boy," the "red" to the "School" 
Kaffir. And they have come across cases 
sufficient to give them reason for what they 

Granted that too often these summary 
verdicts are the result of light gossip among 
unfriendly or easy men of the world, that 
frequently they are second-hand and not drawn 
from personal knowledge, mere echoes which 
resound through treaty ports and foreign settle- 
ments and are caught up by the casual visitor. 
Something has to be discounted from the 
opinion when it comes from a certain class of 
European and American residents, who either 
(i) have little serious interest in religion and 
a traditional prejudice against missions, or (2) 
show a contempt for the " blacks " which warps 
their estimate of work among "niggers," or 
(3) lead a gay or money-hunting life which 
requires that the native be "kept in his place" 
as a feeder for their pleasure or for their speedy 

Yet this only explains a portion of the 
criticism, much of which is offered in good 
faith by men of credit. 

"The Mission-made Man" 115 

The scandal is caused by two classes of 
natives who carry the mission brand. 

(i) Some who have been educated at the 
mission school or college swell with vanity or 
independence, and are perhaps foolish enough 
to think themselves too good for menial labour. 
Without being bad, they alienate the sympathies 
of the white employer. 

(2) There are others who have been educated 
without being morally touched. When they 
have got the education they want, they scale 
off all religious professions and seek only to 
get some post or clerkship with the aid of 
what they have learnt. Some turn out clever 
rogues. Others go away and sink lower than 
they were in a state of nature, adding foreigners' 
vices to their own, perhaps completely " going 
fan tee." 

It is these unsatisfactory or peccant classes 
with whom the shipmaster, the trader, and 
the merchant come into contact. It is the 
" wastrels " who usually gravitate to the ports 
and become known to the foreigner ; the best 
are often "up country." The critic generally 
has the former in his eye, and they blind him 
to the existence of others of a very different 
type. Of the good, reliable Christian natives, 
no worse, according to their stage of develop- 
ment, if no better, than approved communi- 

ii6 The Challenge to Missions 

cants in our home churches, more will be said 

Miss Kingsley, after paying a high tribute 
to the West African missionaries as generally 
brave and noble-minded men and women, 
says : — 

" A really converted African is a very beauti- 
ful form of Christian, but those Africans who 
are the chief mainstay of missionary reports, 
and who afford such material for the scoffer 
thereat, have merely had the restraint of fear 
removed from their minds in the mission 
schools without the greater restraint of love 
being put in its place." " He ' rips,' but he rips 
carefully, terrified by his many fetish restric- 
tions, if he is pagan ; but if he is in that partially 
converted state you usually find him in when 
trouble has been taken with his soul — then 
he rips unrestrained." It is on this account, 
she says, that "the missionary-made man is 
the curse of the coast." 

"When trouble has been taken with his 
soul," the Asiatic may not " rip " — he is already 
semi-civilised, and his case differs from that 
of the African — but he may disappoint in his 
own more self-seeking way, when he is not 
converted to his finger-tips. 

Such sinister cases — although very far from 
representing native Christians generally — must 

"The Mission-made Man" 117 

be explained. And explained they can be, if 
we take a wide enough horizon for our outlook. 
We must ask such questions as these : — 
(i) What length of time, how many genera 
tions, are we to allow undeveloped 
races for ascending through temporary 
failures to the social and moral level to 
which we have risen only after centuries 
of slow evolution ? 

(2) What but unsettlement can we expect 

from races and individuals passing 
through the transition from a lower 
to a higher order of life? 

(3) Are the cases complained of peculiarly 

the result of mission work, and in no 
way connected with the inrush of all 
kinds of foreign influences ? 

(4) Is mission work raising the character 

and life of the majority of the converts 

within the native Church ? 
I. We must grant these raw^ undeveloped 
races time for their evolution. It cannot but 
take several generations before they assimilate 
Christianity, get it into their blood and incor- 
porate it in the habit and traditions of their 
common life. They must have time for pain- 
fully learning the tastes and laws of an 
enlightened existence and settling steadily into 
a higher moral and social order. 

ii8 The Challenge to Missions 

Do we forget how many centuries it has 
taken us in Britain to emerge from barbarism 
and acquire some measure of the Christian 
mind and habit? More than a thousand years 
passed, thirty or forty generations came and 
went, before our race was extensively Christian- 
ised in character and social custom. 

St Jerome tells that when " a boy, living in 
Gaul, he beheld the Scots, a people in Britain, 
eating human flesh ; and though there were 
plenty of cattle and sheep at their disposal, yet 
they would prefer a ham of the herdsman or a 
slice of the female breast as a luxury." The 
first results produced among our barbaric 
ancestors by Columba, Cuthbert, Augustine, 
and other early missionaries — were they even 
as good as those to be witnessed to-day in 
Uganda or the South Seas ? We have reached 
our present mixed state only after Christianity 
has been at work on us for fifteen centuries. 
Are we to expect untamed races now to come 
to the same level of enlightenment at one swift 
leap .? It is preposterous for critics to measure 
the ultimate value of mission work by the 
effects produced in one or two generations. 

Miss Kingsley admits that the children of 
the school, with all their shortcomings, are 
better than the others outside. That in itself 
is much, and is the pledge of more. Has there 

^*The Mission-made Man*' 119 

been some visible gain, some step taken upward 
on the long stairway of ascent ? In spite of 
bad cases, the majority of those who have come 
under Christian influence have made a clear 
advance upon their previous condition. That 
is enough to certify the prophecy of faith — as 
much as can be expected in one generation. 
The world is still young. These dark child- 
races are but beginners in life's career. They 
have the capacity of future maturity, as much 
as our own race had when Rome and Greece 
looked down on it with contempt. We are 
shortsighted judges if we pass sentence against 
the process of elevation at its beginning because 
of the blunderings of certain natives who, with 
no Christian ancestry or Christian environment, 
have failed to absorb Christian teaching. 

2. " The natives are unsettled by the mis- 
sionaryy spoilt by education." Even suppose this 
more widely true than it is. Unsettlement is 
inevitable during their time of transition. There 
is no progress for a people except through a 
stage of unsettlement and stumbling. 

Are they too independent and self-import- 
ant ? Their swollen independence, with all the 
foolishness into which it leads them, may be 
the rude uprising of unbalanced manhood. 
They "strut" as though they were mighty; 
but that strut is the boy's premature attempt 

I20 The Challenge to Missions 

to be a man, and, though it makes us smile, 
it hints self-discovery and coming manhood. 
Their mistakes in misusing their education and 
liberties are the first erratic blunderings which 
a raw people make in the use of their freedom, 
the first unsteady steps on the way to a civilised 

"They are happier in nature's raw state." 
Perhaps they are — in the sense of bovine con- 
tentment, as a Russian mozijzk is happier in 
his sluggish existence without a man's rights 
than a free Briton, as the ignorant are happier 
than the wise. But such happiness is no 
measure of the worth and dignity of their life. 
Do we refuse to educate a child because he is 
happier when ignorant and young than when 
he will be mature and wise ? Yet they are not 
so happy as theorists assume : they live under 
the terrorism of their superstitions. 

Are some of them vain, superficial, unreliable, 
upset by having high " notions " filling their 
heads? No one — except possibly the fond 
padre — wishes to gloss over their faults — and 
even the missionary sees these with distress. 
But the same thing is said of the freedmen of 
the Southern States. The same argument was 
urged against their emancipation. The same 
charge was advanced — that they were happier 
and more serviceable when they were slaves, 

"The Mission-made Man'* 121 

that education and freedom upset and spoilt 
them, turned their heads and broke up the old, 
peaceful relations. And there was truth in the 
charge. Was emancipation an error, then, 
because of the unsteadiness and blunderings of 
the first and second generations of freedmen ? 
Those may think so who live uncomfortably 
close to them ; but we who stand detached are 
able to take a larger, longer view. In the 
course of generations the full benefit will be 
reaped. The unsettlement and errors of the 
transition time are inevitable ; and they are no 
argument against freeing and educating the 

Here at home the same thing is said : the 
lower classes are spoilt by being educated ; 
they are too proud to do menial work — see the 
difficulty of getting servants! And indeed the 
disadvantages of educating the million are 
patent. Possibly they are being too highly 
educated in letters and too little trained in 
industries and practical work. But the abuse 
which the lower classes make of education is 
only incidental to their general elevation. The 
ultimate enlightenment of the masses is worth 
the price which has to be paid during the 

If native races are unsettled and rendered 
unsteady at first by foreign teaching and 

122 The Challenge to Missions 

missions, it is only the inevitable stage on the 
way to their final maturity. The transition 
time is always trying. The first effect of new 
ideas everywhere is unsettlement. This is the 
universal path of progress. We must take the 
far look — say, across the same number of 
centuries as we have had for our ascent — and 
foresee better days. In Sir William Wilson 
Hunter's words (The Old Missionary): "A 
youth who starts life with such a wrench away 
from the order of things around him as is 
implied by conversion may have strange oscilla- 
tions before he reaches true equilibrium or poise." 

Many of the Negroes who revel in Christian 
emotions have not yet ethicised their life. But 
do we not find similar cases often enough 
among ourselves? The last thing to be 
Christianised in some men is their conscience 
in matters of practical conduct. 

The American, so the old story goes, asked 
at Oxford how they got the College lawn 
smooth as velvet. " You roll it, and cut it, and 
roll it, and cut it, for two or three hundred 
years, and then you get it like this," said the 
gardener. If land newly taken in from the 
prairie could not quickly be reduced to soft 
lawn, as little can we expect to produce rich 
Christian character out of raw races without a 
long process of Christian cultivation. To change 

**The Mission-made Man" 123 

the metaphor, is the germ of the Christian life 
set in the heart of native Christians ? We must 
estimate the final outcome by what that germ 
of goodness is capable of ultimately producing. 

The mistake of the "Exeter Hall" idealist 
is that he wishes the natives to be dealt with 
at once as the white man's equal, to be fully 
enfranchised in Church and State, and put on a 
level with our own race. But they are child- 
races, and must be treated as such. What 
alienates the sympathy of many a layman is 
the foolish talk of fond men who want to give 
them the rights and social position for which 
they cannot as yet be fully qualified. But it is 
not the missionary usually who is guilty of this 
fondling foolishness ; it is the theorist at home. 
The missionary knows from practical and often 
mortifying experience — witness the vagaries of 
the " Ethiopian Church " of South Africa — that 
they must continue under guidance and control 
like children, until they have been trained to 
use their new privileges and have matured as 
full-grown men. 

But that is no reason for keeping them 
ignorant and Christless. 

3. Is the missionary alone responsible for the 
results ? It is a perilous and often a calamitous 
time when the old " cake of custom " is broken, 
when custom-law, the sway of chiefs and super- 

124 The Challenge to Missions 

stitions, and the settled tribal rule are destroyed. 
The pagan order has, just as Miss Kingsley 
described it, lost its restraining hold ; and the 
new moral order has not yet mastered the 
nature-folk and wrought itself into their fibre. 
It is small wonder if there be unsteadiness, 
blundering, and temporary failure, when there 
is "one world dead, the other helpless to be 
born." (See Appendix B., p. 184). 

But even if missions were withdrawn, the 
old pagan order of fetish fears and tribal law 
could not possibly long remain. Railways, 
commerce, and the whole mass of Western 
civilisation will in any case proceed irresistibly 
to break up the rule of caste and race-custom 
and the superstitions of the unsophisticated. 
The missionary is not the only foreigner among 
them. By the confession of Dr Morrison and 
Miss Kingsley, he is the best and most 
humane, representative of foreign enlighten- 
ment. Robert Louis Stevenson said the same re- 
garding the missionaries of Samoa — and among 
the finest tributes he ever paid were his paeans 
over the missionary James Chalmers and the 
heroism of a native Samoan preacher. If these 
rude races or old-world nations are not morally 
seized and uplifted by Christianity, the old 
pagan order will fall to pieces all the same, 
and there will be no new moral and spiritual 

"The Mission-made Man" 125 

force set at work to create a new and better 
order with finer restraints and higher law and 

We are urged not to destroy the native 
simplicity of primitive peoples. (The man 
who has seen them in the flesh indulges in a 
smile when the bookish dreamer at home talks 
at large about their simplicity as though it 
were idyllic !) But their so-called " simplicity " 
does not suffer so much from the missionary 
as from foreign trade and civilisation ; the best 
results are to be seen where he is farthest from 
foreign corruption. In any event it could not 
long be preserved even if he disappeared from 
the scene. Our material civilisation is invadine 
the preserves of all the primitive races of the 
world, and nothing can arrest its march. There- 
fore education — which should not be too high 
for their actual requirements and should be well 
balanced with manual, industrial training — and 
all our moral and Christian forces must be set 
at work among them, else they will either be- 
come a direr curse to all who come into touch 
with them, or they will racially perish. 

The proper influence of well-conducted com- 
merce is in many ways wholesome and helpful 
in the spread of the kingdom of God. The 
work of raising a rude native race cannot all 
be done by missions and preachers. It needs 

126 The Challenge to Missions 

the merchant, the artizan, the capitalist each 
to contribute something to the development of 
the people's industrial and social life. Some 
were disappointed when Livingstone, ceasing 
to be a mere evangelist although to the last 
a missionary, went forward as a pioneer into 
Africa to open up the country and prepare 
a way for commerce as well as missions. A 
statesman as well as a preacher, he saw that 
the people could never be elevated and en- 
franchised in the human race without a full 
civilisation being planted among them. Com- 
merce opens up the country, develops its 
resources, creates new wants which compel 
the natives to leave their idle or hunting habits 
and settle to steady work, and lays the material 
basis for a new order of life. 

Yet Manchester goods, railways, and the 
like cannot socially and morally save them. 
Commerce cannot make or mend character — 
and often in its train corruption follows. At 
any rate, for good and ill it pushes its way 
to every square mile of the earth, and it is 
everywhere breaking up the primitive "sim- 
plicity" of native peoples. 

The British Government through its schools 
and colleges has supplied the best youth of 
India with secular education ; and moral failure 
is thus far confessedly the result It has turned 

**The Mission-made Man" 127 

out clever office-seekers, who have " notions " 
put into their heads, in many cases prove un- 
reliable, and think themselves too good for the 
old menial, toilsome labour. Their old pagan 
order and customs are upset — all the more 
disastrously when no new religious power 
accompanies the secular enlightenment to 
balance the unsettlement it produces and 
begin the long process of building up good 

Sir William Wilson Hunter, K.C.S.I., 
specialist in Indian affairs, in his exquisite 
idyll, The Old Missionary^ says through his 
typical hero : " The indigenous schools made 
the native religions too much the staple of 
instruction. Your Government schools take 
credit for abstaining from religious teaching 
of any sort, and in due time you will have 
on your hands a race of young men who 
have grown up in the public non-recognition 
of a God. The indigenous schools educated 
the working and trading classes for the natural 
business of their lives. Your Government 
schools spur on every clever small boy with 
scholarships and money allowances, to try to 
get into a bigger school, and so through many 
bigger schools, with the stimulus of bigger 
scholarships, to a University degree. In due 
time you will have on your hands an over- 

128 The Challenge to Missions 

grown clerkly generation, whom you have 
trained in their youth to depend on Govern- 
ment allowances and to look to Government 
service, but whose adult ambitions not all the 
offices of the Government would satisfy. What 
are you to do with this great clever class, 
forced up under a foreign system, without 
discipline, without contentment, and without 
a God?" There is no inferential argument 
here that Government ought to, or even can, 
mix with its education the saving salt of 
religious teaching.^ Sir William W. Hunter, 
however, is an independent witness to the 
fact that, not the missionary alone, but the 
Government far more with its secular educa- 
tion, is a disturbing agent which inevitably 
breaks up the old order. 

The transition must be gone through ; there 
is nothing else for it under any policy, secularist 
or Christian. The disturbance must be en- 
dured ; it would not be abated if mission work 
were to cease. And those take a very narrow 
and shortsighted view of the case who boggle 
at the present unsettlement and fail to look 
far ahead and see what will result when 
Christian enlightenment has done its slow, 
cumulative work upon successive generations. 

Many of the evils which catch the eye of the 

1 V. Bishop Welldon in Empire Review, September 1901. 

"The Mission-made Man" 129 

critic are part of the demoralisation always 
found where civilised and uncivilised races 
meet and corrupt each other. All the world 
over and in every century, the meeting-line of 
different races, high and low, dark and white, 
has been the scene of surging passions, bringing 
peril to the weak. The white man's vices 
flourish where he has lower races at his dis- 
posal, and the men of the brown or the black 
skin are apt to cast off ancestral restraints and 

Have we estimated how the liquor traffic 
demoralises the natives and works round to 
the detriment of the missionary cause? Miss 
Kingsley did "not agree that the natives of the 
Gold Coast would be better without spirits " — 
she only thought apparently that they would 
be better without the mission school ! But she 
is out-voted overwhelmingly by witnesses of all 
beliefs and of no belief I have seen the havoc 
wrought by " Cape Smoke " sold to the Kaffir 
at ninepence a bottle — natives mad with it. 
The inflammable and unstable nature of the 
natives is easily set ablaze by the fiery liquid. 
This intoxicating curse, both directly and 
indirectly, mars and impedes Christian work. 
It accounts for some of those dark degenerates 
who bear the brand of the mission school. 

Concubinage, too, has something here to 


I30 The Challenge to Missions 

answer for. I have had an Englishman on the 
China seas complacently avow the practice, 
defend it, and assure me that it is quite the 
usual thing for white men in the East. On the 
contrary, one knows well that numbers of white 
residents among alien races are as clean in 
their lives and as honourable as the best of 
us at home. Yet every layman who has mixed 
freely with his kind is aware of the loose lives 
lived by too many of his countrymen when 
"East of Suez, where the best is like the 

Such things as these are associated in the 
native mind with "Christian" countries, and 
they hamper the missionary's work, and do 
damage to the good repute of the white man's 

"These missionaries are a curse to the 
country. They are spoiling it for the white 
man." This was said lately by a man who 
had gone up to Livingstonia to buy cattle for 
the North Charterland Exploration Company, 
after he had stolen the natives' stock, abused 
women and shot men who resisted, and had 
been overtaken, tried upon evidence before the 
English resident, Mr Murray, and severely 
condemned and heavily fined. An extreme 
instance, of course, yet not without a parallel 
in the Congo Free State where the Belgian 

"The Mission-made Man" 131 

officers take their will of the natives, in the 
South Seas under the Kanaka labour system, 
and sometimes under the British flag. There 
are of course good traders as well as bad ; but 
too many of them exploit the natives (no guile- 
less innocents, certainly, but what of that?) 
and use them in cruel ways that make every 
true man's blood boil. 

R. L. Stevenson, while arguing that the 
missionary should do more to keep on friendly 
terms with the trader and win partial support 
from him, wrote from Samoa : " The missionary 
is hampered, he is restricted, he is negated, by 
the attitude of his fellow -whites, his fellow- 
countrymen and his fellow- Christians, in the 
same island." " It has been observed," the 
journalistic mouthpiece of British opinion has 
recently said, " with no little truth that the 
continuous object-lesson of kindliness, truthful- 
ness, and integrity which the missionary con- 
veys in his daily dealings with his neighbours, 
standing, as it often must do, in striking 
contrast to the vices of the ruling class, is the 
chief stone of missionary offence in the sight 
of the average Mandarin " — and, it might have 
been added, for the same reason the chief 
missionary offence in the eyes of many white 
traders, soldiers, and officials. 

*'The missionary unsettles and spoils the 

132 The Challenge to Missions 

natives": in what light do many (not all) of 
the men who say this look upon the natives? 
Largely as "black labour" for the mines and 
the plantations, for coaling ships and bringing 
down rubber, or as carriers for travellers or 
menial servants. They are wanted as human 
"beasts of burden," or as providing markets 
for our goods. In the eyes of numbers they 
are "unspoilt" so long as they supply "cheap 
labour," are subservient, and give no trouble. 
What are "niggers" for if not to be serfs of 
the white man's purpose? Perhaps they are 
less subservient when taught in the mission 
school than when "raw." But are they for 
ever to be treated as having been created for 
ox-like submission and ignorance? When a 
ship-master, a trader, a planter, or an agent of 
a chartered company regards them as existing 
to be exploited by the European and American, 
we know what value to attach to his judgment 
that Christian work " spoils " them. 

It is here again that we see how our secular, 
social, commercial, and political life and action 
and our Christian work are interrelated and 
bound up together for better or for worse. 
The progress of missions does not depend 
alone on what the missionary is, does, or says. 
What is the general influence of the repre- 
sentatives of Europe and America in their 

"The Mission-made Man" 133 

relations with pagan peoples ? The legions of 
Christendom, when abroad in the interests of 
the civil service, the army, the navy, commerce, 
diplomacy, and education — what sort of moral 
forces do they carry with them, and do they 
tell on the whole against or in favour of the 
message of the Church's agent ? On that much 
of his success depends. 

From this comes the force of the argument 
often advanced, that we have plenty still to do 
before the people of our own land are Chris- 
tianised. " You need not go to China and Peru 
when there are so many close to your hand 
who are as 'black' as you could wish." If, 
indeed, we could first completely Christianise 
our entire population and bring in the millen- 
nium by concentrating all our forces at home, 
the plea for this exclusive home policy would 
have weight. But unhappily such a plan is 
unworkable. The work at home and the work 
abroad must go on abreast, and each helps the 
other. All seas find the same level ; and, in 
the close communication between nations in 
modern times, the various races will rise or fall 
together. Our moral conditions at home spread 
their influence far over the world. If Europe 
and America are not every way Christian, the 
effect will be felt wherever Europe and America 
exert their power. 

134 The Challenge to Missions 

The results of mission work among pagan 
races, therefore, do not depend on the missionary 
alone. They are affected by the entire v/eight, 
good and bad, of the commercial, social, moral, 
and political influence which white men bring 
to bear upon those whom the Christian Church 
seeks to Christianise. 

Many of the sinister cases charged against 
the mission school are not the direct product of 
mission work, but are the waste-product of 
native life disorganised by foreign civilisation. 

Of this. Christian work is not the cause, 
indeed, so much as it is the saving corrective, 
the full benefit of which will only appear when 
successive generations have gradually absorbed 
the Christian life. 

But may not the Best be the enemy of the 
Good? The Hebrew race required to be 
trained in Monotheism and the School of Law 
and Kindergarten symbolism before being fit to 
receive the spiritual revelation of Christ. Can 
the uncivilised to-day dispense with this inter- 
mediate stage of gradual education, and leap 
from the lowest to the highest ground ? Would 
not a religion inferior to Christianity, like 
Mohammedanism with its simple monotheism 
and code of rigid rules and penalties, serve 
barbaric Polynesians and Africans better for 
the first stage of their moral evolution ? 

"The Mission-made Man" 135 

But (i) it is impossible to keep any rude 
race detached under such a legal schooling, and 
ignorant of the Christian faith which is on the 
march everywhere. (2) Africans who have ac- 
cepted Mohammedanism have not been trained 
and prepared thereby for the easier reception of 
Christianity. On the contrary, it has arrested 
the development of every race it has won. And 
there is no other religion which is available for 
the work of elementary drilling in legal ethics. 
(3) The purely legal method has been tried 
and has failed. Bishop Colenso made the 
experiment in Natal. He withheld the full 
Gospel from his Zulus and taught them the 
law of commandments, training them in simple 
morals and industry. When his preparatory 
work was completed, his " School Kaffirs," set 
free to go their own way, returned to their old 
paganism again, reverting to type, as others 
have "gone fantee." The full Christian faith 
has proved itself the most powerful for the 
moral development of immature races. It has 
certainly to be taught them in simple, concrete 
form by missionaries who have Moses' gift as 
much as St John's. The reign of law has in 
some measure to be retained alongside the 
Gospel of love, as it is in the Christian education 
of a child among ourselves. The transition for 
such peoples is a somewhat perilous one. 

136 The Challenge to Missions 

But it has to be passed through on the slow 
way to a higher life. There is nothing else for 
it. Let two or three successive generations 
absorb the Christian spirit, and it is seen that 
the Best is the best for them as for us. Our 
own barbaric ancestors proved it when they 
received Christianity and were schooled and 
elevated thereby. It is the one moral training 
agency in the world which suits all grades of 
men, making men as it saves them. 

4. But are the majority of 7iative Christians 
visibly improved by the work of 'missions ? That 
is the paramount question.^ If most of the 
native Church members are measurably better 
in personal character and domestic life than 
they were as heathen, better also than heathen 
of the same class outside, the weak and foolish 
specimens who have had mission training 
supply no argument against the work as a 
whole. It would be as preposterous to take 
the fools and the religious rogues at home 
who have misused their education and their 
Sunday School nurture and build on them an 
argument against the general effects and use 
of current education and Christianity. 

Let the "candid friend" of missionaries, Mr 
Michie, give his evidence as to " the quality of 

^ See Dr Campbell Gibson's calm and wise survey in Mission 
Problems^ published since these pages were written. 

*^The Mission-made Man" 137 

the Chinese Christian converts." " Few as they 
may be, when all told, and mixed as they 
must be with spurious professors, it is a grati- 
fying fact, which cannot be gainsaid, that 
Christians of the truest type, men ready to 
become martyrs, which is easy, and who lead 
* helpful and honest ' lives, which is as hard as 
the ascent from Avernus, crown the labours 
of the missionaries, and have done so from 
the very beginning. It is thus shown that 
the Christian religion is not essentially un- 
adapted to China, and that the Chinese 
character is susceptible to its regenerating 

Numbers of the converts are indisputably 
good and sterling Christians, proportionately 
as consistent and trustworthy as the better 
class of Christians at home. A few of them 
have already the bright signal of the saint in 
their faces and their tested lives. Others have 
not the spiritual faculty highly developed, yet 
are genuinely good. 

Many of these — cases from every country 
could be quoted in scores — have given clear, 
sometimes even magnanimous, proofs of their 
unselfish devotion and renewed life. They 
have abandoned evil heathen practices. They 
have been ostracised by their former comrades, 
their very cattle put under the ban of the clan 

138 The Challenge to Missions 

or guild, and have borne the petty vexations 
that gall the heart. They have endured per- 
secutions, suffering the loss of their possessions, 
and in the last extremity meeting death with 
firm fidelity. What took place during the 
tragic siege of Pekin and in many Provinces 
of China sufficiently attests the statement. 
The letter of thanks written by Mr Conger, 
the United States Minister at the Chinese 
capital, certifies their faithfulness and their 
disregard of their own lives. Comparatively 
few lapse in such "killing times." Living- 
stone and Mackay of Uganda found the same 
loyal devotion in Africa. In India many have 
sacrificed family ties and become out-caste 
{cf. p. 184). 

They learn to give liberally of their means 
for the spread of the Christian cause, in some 
cases organising missions of their own and 
maintaining them at their own cost. Numbers 
of them are proportionately more generous 
than the average Christian at home. 

Lord Curzon, Mr. Freeman Mitford, and the 
picturesque journalist remind us of those who 
"find salvation for the sake of material ad- 
vantages," for occupation and the foreigner's 
wages. Lively young soldiers and civilians, 
or blase " citizens of the world," who themselves 
perhaps have no surplus of encumbering morals 

"The Mission-made Man" 139 

and no religion to speak of, are ready with 
witty sallies at self-seeking "rice Christians." 
That some should enter the fold from low 
motives is only what might be expected. How 
can the most careful missionary absolutely 
prevent some such from creeping into the 
Church ? Protestant missionaries do their best 
to sift the motives of enquirers, subject doubt- 
ful cases to a long probation, and impose 
various other tests of sincerity. Are there not 
some at home who associate themselves with 
churches from low motives, for the sake of 
trade-custom, or for social standing ? As a 
matter of fact the "rice Christians" — profess- 
ing to be Christians for the sake of their rice — 
are comparatively few. And they do not dis- 
credit the genuine majority. 

" Nothing," writes Mr H. C. Thomson as an 
independent lay observer, in his recent China 
and the Powers (p. 271), " nothing has been so 
remarkable during the recent revolt as the 
extraordinary number of converts who have 
suffered the most cruel martyrdom rather than 
recant. Never again will it be possible to make 
use of the old sneer that they are all *rice 
Christians,' converts only for the subsistence 
which they can obtain from the missions. The 
heroic way in which they have gone to a horrible 
death for conscience sake is the most convinc- 

I40 The Challenge to Missions 

ing testimony to the sincerity of their conversion 
and to the noble work which those who have 
been their teachers have, as a whole, done in 

Some, indeed, are weak and limp, " mixed " 
in their faith, with rags of their old superstitions 
still clinging to them. Yet they are palpably 
honest up to their light, and are blundering 
towards a worthy life. 

The misdoings and defections of the weak 
and half-converted are no worse than the lapses 
of certain people in the early Christian Church 
whom the New Testament describes as " spots " 
and backsliders. St Peter had to write, "Let 
none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, 
or as an evildoer." If some in modern mission 
churches lapse temporarily into their old lying 
or vicious habits, it is not so very amazing, 
considering their previous lives, their present 
surroundings, and the blood in their veins. At 
Corinth, according to St Paul, equally great 
offenders were found. Yet the early Christian 
Church was none the less the most potent 
agency for regenerating and uplifting men in 
the pagan world of the time. 

Miss Isabella Bird (Mrs Bishop), who saw 
pagan lands and mission work from a detached 
point of view, says, "It is a remarkable thing 
how anxious they (the native Christians of 

"The Mission-made Man" 141 

China) are for purity, and how strong they are 
against anything which is inconsistent." Even 
those who err have their moral sensibilities 
gradually quickened. The reclaimed acquire 
a keener perception of sin. 

In spite of imperfections, these mission-made 
natives are stumblingly on the upward incline 
towards full manhood and the Christian life. 
They are in the birth-throes of entrance into 
the divine Kingdom. 

We plant Christ in their consciousness, sure 
that He will carry forward His own work in 
their experience, His Spirit steadying and train- 
ing them in goodness. The Power which has 
ruled our moral and spiritual development may 
be relied on to achieve as great an outcome in 
their experience after its own type. 

That Christ-consciousness, too, will move in 
their hearts, as it has in ours, to make the 
Christian cause self-propagating among them. 
Already numbers of them are fired with the 
missionary spirit, and " pass it on." Our only 
business is to light the sacred fire in their 
hearts, guide them as apostles or bishops for 
a time, and train some of themselves to make 
the Christian campaign their own. 





The target of the critic's shafts, when it is not 
the " mission-made " native, is usually the 
missionary himself, or his ways of working. 
And some of those who have the best interests 
of the cause at heart have pertinent questions 
to put regarding the men and women sent out 
and the lines of policy on which they conduct 
their work. It is in respect of men and methods 
that free expression of opinion, alike from 
friends within and from critics without the 
Church, must be held legitimate and proper. 
The sacred cause in itself is inviolable, the 
spread of Christ's kingdom imperative, and the 
ultimate moral development of rude races must 
be vindicated. But the missionaries are not 
sacrosanct, and, when any one takes exception 
to the policy which determines their modes of 
working, he is not to be summarily dealt with 
as though he were touching the ark of God. 

In the eyes of many, the most urgent mis- 
sionary question is the problem of men and 
methods. It is not within the plan of this little 
volume to enter into that discussion. It is 

K ^45 

146 The Challenge to Missions 

enough to touch lightly upon certain practical 
points raised by the average lay observer. 

I. Dr Morrison has a passing tilt at the 
comfortable residences of men who are supposed 
to be making every sacrifice for the heathen. 
That the missionary has "a good time" and 
lives in comfort is the assurance one gets from 
typical " birds of passage." They point to his 
spacious house and his servants, and to the 
bungalow on the hill to which he goes in the 
hot season. 

But (i) the cases differ in different places. 
In the open ports and other centres where 
foreign civilisation is established, there is no 
occasion for the missionary living in uncomfort- 
able quarters. The surprise of voyagers at 
sight of his establishment comes from the 
common romantic impression conveyed by 
missionary literature of the old, crude sort, 
the impression that everywhere indiscrimin- 
ately the sacrifices and hardships are alike 
severe. But in the interior and at many mission 
outposts the hardships and sacrifices are heavy 
enough, not measured by the cubic space of 
the house — the house itself inevitably mean, 
and other conditions of life, not understood at 
home or by the passer-by, sufficiently taxing to 
patience, offensive to white folks' sensibilities, 
and perilous to family life. 

Further, (2) often the mission building com- 

The Men and their Methods 147 

bines boarding-school premises with the mis- 
sionary's house. The writer has stayed in such 
a mission house in the East, where half the 
spacious building was devoted to boarding- 
school purposes. 

(3) The health of all white men, missionaries 
as well as civilians, in hot climates demands, 
where obtainable, airy room-space and verandah 
protection against the sun. It is this that 
largely accounts for the spacious appearance 
of some mission houses. 

(4) The mission house in open ports and 
central points has to accommodate passing mis- 
sionaries on their way to the interior or remote 
regions — and one could tell of lay travellers for 
whom the missionary has brought out his best 
and provided entertainment on a scale beyond 
what he can ordinarily afford, and who have 
gone their way and written about the luxury of 
the missionary's life ! 

(5) There is no virtue in the ascetic life when 
lived for its own sake. Poverty in the foreigner 
does not impress the native — quite the contrary. 
It is quite true that some men make themselves 
more comfortable than the conditions justify; 
a few may be found who feather their own 
nests ; and mission property is sometimes con- 
structed on an unduly grand scale. But these 
cases are very far from being typical of the life 
and homes of the vast majority of missionaries. 

148 The Challenge to Missions 

The Vicarage and the Manse at home are not 
usually the meanest in the parish. And the 
home Church may properly wish to establish 
the missionary in the moderate comfort that is 
available. In any case he has usually plenty of 
disabilities and hardships — loneliness, loss of 
kindred society for his family, discouragements 
which he must consume alone, and the incessant 
tax put upon his patience by the irresponsible, 
slow, " wait-a-bit " ways of the natives with 
whom he has to deal. 

2. The thousands of male and female mission- 
aries, as a matter of course, vary in calibre, 
education, wisdom, aptitudes and tact — vary as 
much as Christian ministers and workers at 
home. If the incompetent, the over-zealous, 
and the misguided are there, it is largely 
because raw novices and new-caught zealots 
have precipitated themselves upon the mission- 
field, and because it has too often been thought 
that distinct mental endowments are not so 
requisite abroad as at home. 

Lord Curzon has cause to animadvert on 
"irresponsible itinerants" who are a law unto 
themselves, and to say that "impulsive virtue 
and raw enthusiasm are not necessarily the 
best credentials for a missionary career." 
Certain societies and movements in par- 
ticular have something to answer for in this 

The Men and their Methods 149 

"On the ship bound for China," wrote Mr 
Julian Ralph as hot-haste journalist, " I was 
struck by the mediocre mental character of too 
many of the men. They are often villagers 
and men of the narrowest horizon." But even 
mere " villagers " and " mediocre men " may do 
laborious and useful service. Yet it is certain 
that the permanent success and good repute of 
the missionary cause can be greatly assisted by 
the elimination of volunteers who have little to 
recommend them beyond their earnest spirit. 
The raw and callow, untrained in the guidance 
of life, ignorant of human nature, with narrow 
view of God and His treatment of the pagan 
peoples, and with no room beside their "one 
idea" for the march of civilisation, do indeed 
win genuine converts and often show a heroic 
evangelising spirit, but they are the civilian's 
stumbling-block, and they are not the men to 
grapple with the larger problems of paganism, 
nor to deal wisely with the shrewd questions 
of the heathen critic. Are they adequately 
equipped if they have made no real acquaint- 
ance with the mental attitude of the people 
whose religions they seek to displace with 
Christianity? Wise selection from the volun- 
teers is imperative, and will contribute much to 
the highest success of the mission cause. And 
means should be taken, as Henry Drummond 
so strongly urged after his visit to many 

I50 The Challenge to Missions 

mission fields, that each be sent to the country 
for which he is naturally fitted. 

The very best that the Church can find 
are wanted — broad-minded, big-hearted, level- 
headed men, able to grasp the larger issues of 
the work as well as deal with the individual 
soul, fired with a Christian earnestness which 
burns on steadily without being consumed with 
its own vehemence. There is need of states- 
manship, generalship, scholarship, as well as of 
evangelising activity. The career of a mis- 
sionary in an ancient land offers the amplest 
scope for the highest gifts. It is a career which 
may well captivate any young man of spirit, 
which will give him the fullest outlet for all 
his powers, and which will satisfy his best 

There are many such men on the field, men 
who would have taken front rank in the home- 
service of the Christian Church. One cannot 
know the missionaries in any country without 
receiving from the majority of them a strong 
impression of their patient fidelity, level-headed 
caution, and brave unacknowledged devotion. 
Men who are as capable as the rest of their 
brethren at home — one feels it an impertinence 
to give them a character. 

They have their own special temptations, 
frankly described by Dr Wenyon. They are 
their own masters as a rule, far from those to 

The Men and their Methods 151 

whom they are humanly responsible, and may 
grow languorous in hot countries, or masterful 
as do many white men living among dusky 
races. They, like soldiers long in the field, 
are liable to become "stale," weary-hearted 
under the unrelieved pressure of hostile, im- 
movable paganism — and the way in which this 
immovable, contented paganism oppresses the 
hearts of sensitive missionaries can scarcely be 
conceived by the home-Christian in a religious 
environment. Against such perils they have 
to brace themselves — none the less although 
they have Divine supports and a religious 
mission — and the risks attending their depres- 
sion should commend them to general sympathy 
and be remembered by the intercessors at home. 
But, despite all temptations, as a class their 
lives are beyond cavil. 

Captain Younghusband, the experienced 
traveller in the Far East, wrote : " Missionaries 
no more than other human beings are free from 
mistakes of judgment. But I have before now 
publicly testified to the noble and self-sacrificing 
work of missionaries which I have seen with 
my own eyes in the far interior of China. . . . 
The most important and the most far-reaching 
work in China is not done by our official repre- 
sentatives, nor by our enterprising merchants, 
but by that great body of Christian men — and 
women too — who are giving their lives to impart 

152 The Challenge to Missions 

to the Chinese the accumulated knowledge of 
the West." 1 

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote : " I suppose 
I am in the position of many other persons. 
I had conceived a great prejudice against 
missions in the South Seas, and I had no 
sooner come there than that prejudice was at 
first reduced, and then at last annihilated. 
Those who deblatterate against missions have 
only one thing to do, to come and see them 
on the spot." They will, he says, see harm 
done — " infallibly in all sublunary affairs." But 
" they will see a great deal of good done ; they 
will see a race being forwarded in many direc- 
tions, and I believe, if they be honest persons, 
they will cease to complain of mission work 
and its effects." The earlier missionaries " broke 
the tabus," and generally were too radical and 
iconoclastic. The new class "think that it is 
best to proceed by little and little, to spare so 
far as it is possible native opinions and set 
native habits of morality, to seek rather the 
point of agreement than the points of differ- 
ence." "The true art of the missionary, as 
it seems to me — an outsider, the most lay of 
laymen, and for that reason, on the old principle 
that the bystander sees most of the game, 
perhaps more than usually well able to judge 
— is to profit by the vast amount of moral 

1 Times, 19th Nov. 1901. 

The Men and their Methods 153 

force reservoired in every race, and to expand 
and fit that power to new ideas and to new 
possibilities of advancement." 

The missionary errs, he thinks — his individual 
opinion on this point is at least worth recording 
— in looking askance on the white traders, who 
are indeed of mixed character, but who, by 
more considerate treatment, might be them- 
selves made better and might also be raised 
up " a brigade of half and half supporters " of 
the work. But "those who have a taste for 
hearing missions, Protestant or Catholic, decried, 
must seek their pleasure elsewhere than in my 
pages." ^ 

Dr Morrison, Miss Kingsley, and other typical 
critics speak in like terms. 

The bulk of missionaries, however, are above 
the need of either testimonial or defence. Their 
life and work speak for them. We only quote 
these verdicts from outside as a means of satis- 
fying readers who discount what the Church 
says about the work. 

3. On the graver questions of policy and 
methods we have "many men many minds." 
It would be vain to discuss the educational 
policy V, evangelistic policy in India without 
intimately knowing the conditions and going 
thoroughly into the very serious and difficult 
problem — and that is not for these pages. But 

^ Life of R. L. Stevenson, ii. 193, and In the South Seas. 

154 The Challenge to Missions 

apparently native education has been too 
scholastic and been carried too far.^ 

A "century of experiments" has passed, 
and some points have become clear. 

(i) It is Christianity in its primitive simplicity, 
not the theological creeds of the West, that 
the missionary has to deliver to the pagan 
world. It is but a small "body of divinity" 
that he has to carry with him — the body of 
Christian essentials. Other races will secrete 
their own interpretation of Christ's revelation. 
Perhaps the Asiatic will penetrate more deeply 
into its mystic meanings than has been possible 
for the matter-of-fact European. 

(2) The Bible must be set in its proper per- 
spective, the Gospels and the Apostolic Epistles 
in the forefront as alone indispensable. Ought 
those portions of the older Scriptures over 
which we ourselves still stumble to be trans- 
lated at once, or to be imposed as on the same 
level of authority as the Christian documents ? 
Some parts of their Old Testament might be 
drawn from the higher prophetic and pre- 
paratory elements in their own old systems 
of religion. Questions of Bible criticism, of 
course, are not for them ; but we must so 

^ On the question in South Africa see Dr Stewart's Experi- 
ment of Native Education — brave warnings addressed to Kaffir 
students at Lovedale. On the question in India the late Sir 
William Wilson Hunter has something to say in The Old 


The Men and their Methods 155 

represent the Hebrew revelation to the native 
Christians that they shall not have to pass 
through the crisis of re-adjustment which has 
been imposed on us by mistaken teaching in 
the past. 

(3) Decaying races are not to be neglected 
because they may not survive the centuries or 
dominate future history. The mission in the 
New Hebrides, said Henry Drummond, has 
no place in the evolutionary career of man- 
kind. " It belongs to the Order of the Good 
Samaritan. It is a mission of pure benevo- 
lence." Our Lord had compassion, and has 
taught us to have compassion, on the waste 
and useless lives. And the races that are 
likely to vanish need the gospel as much as 
single individuals. Yet it must be the supreme 
aim of missionary strategy to win those races 
that bid fair to shape the history of future 

(4) Industrial training, it is felt, must play 
a larger part in the scheme of missions than 
formerly. To educate raw races in their heads 
and not in equal measure in their hands and 
eyes — in husbandry and handicrafts — is to dis- 
qualify them for the career which most of 
them must follow. Habits of industry are 
indispensable to their progress, and it is for 
lack of such habits that numbers of them come 
to grief. Lavish Nature has hitherto provided 

156 The Challenge to Missions 

easily for their needs ; competition and pressure 
from white races will enter their arena and 
compel them to work. In the direction of 
industrial equipment, happily, numbers of mis- 
sionary institutions are developing their educa- 
tional scheme. 

(5) Do not missionaries among half-barbaric 
races place too much stress on getting the 
people clothed? The "reds" in Africa are 
healthier than the " School " natives (who carry 
on their back their whole ill-matched outfit, 
which when soaked with wet causes illness). 
Yet it is in some measure true of Adamic 
races, as it was of Adam and Eve, that, when 
their eyes are opened to themselves in moral 
consciousness, they know themselves naked and 
are ashamed. That desire for covering means 
a discovery of shame and therefore a new 
instinct or finer sense of virtue. At the same 
time, numbers of missionaries seem to think 
that the natives are not properly Christianised 
unless taught the foreigner's habits. This is 
not included in the missionary aim. 

(6) Policy and methods of work are deter- 
mined in many cases when we determine what 
is the missionary aim and final object. 

Henry Drummond reported : " It is the 
deliberate opinion of many who know China 
intimately, who are missionaries themselves, 
that half the preaching, especially the itiner- 

The Men and their Methods 157 

ating preaching, carried on throughout the 
empire is absolutely useless." A certain 
amount of itinerant preaching is imperative, 
indeed, and indispensable for pioneering pur- 
poses. But it will count for less or more 
according to the ruling object which the 
missionary has in view. 

What is the ruling idea and aim that will 
inspire the wisest missionary policy and dictate 
the best methods? This question the next 
chapter will seek to answer. 


The Coming Kingdom 




The Coming Kingdom 

Was Livingstone right in the ruling object he 
had in view, in his missionary ideal? Those 
who believe that the end of the present dispen- 
sation, with the Second Coming of Christ, is at 
hand do not believe in Livingstone's aim, which 
may be called " national Christianisation." As 
they believe the present world-order is soon to 
pass away, their plan of campaign is to " gather 
out " from the nations those who are Christ's 
" own." We are to preach the Gospel " for a 
witness," and, when all have heard it and had 
their chance, then cometh the end. 

" For a witness " : it would seem as though 
the Gospel were to be proclaimed to all " for a 
witness " against them, to the end that they 
may be without excuse and God may be 
technically in the right in condemning them. 
Does not this give rather a sinister bearing to 
mission work ? 

This aim determines the whole of their mis- 
sionary policy. It is the evangelist's business 

T l6l 

1 62 The Challenge to Missions 

to rapidly evangelise everywhere, and his modus 
operandi is to itinerate. He lays no large 
foundations, because his scheme has no great 
human future. He addresses himself to the 
individual alone, and does not seek to establish 
a Christian community-life. Mere " outgather- 
ing" is his aim. 

Many who labour with this as their sole 
object are among the most devoted missionaries, 
and they have their own harvest and reward. 
They are contributing towards the great issue; 
but that issue is larger than they know. And 
their aim and methods of working have some 
unfortunate effects. 

No ; the Christian aim is to establish the 
entire kingdom of God among all the nations 
of the earth. It is to do the whole work of 
Christianity in individual hearts and in the 
national life. It is to do for Asia, Africa, the 
West Indies, and the Pacific Islands everything 
and all that Christ has been the means of doing 
for our personal and social life — to achieve a 
corporate as well as an individual salvation. 
Among races now pagan there is to be the 
same " outgathering " as there has been among 
the Western races. Christ cannot get His own 
out of Asia and Africa unless His full kingdom 
is broad-based there in the Christian common- 
weal. How many of ourselves would have 
been "gathered out" from the world if the 

The Aim 163 

social life and national conditions of our land 
had not been Christianised ? 

The first work of the missionary is to win 
individual converts to the faith and service of 
Christ as Saviour and Lord ; and this effort 
continues to the end. But, with equal step, 
he must endeavour to lay broad foundations for 
the social, educational, national, and economic 
redemption and elevation of the people to 
whom he is sent. Tne Empire of Christ has to 
be planted in the community-life of the nations. 
Only then can it put the people in a position 
to receive the new spiritual life, and so win the 
"great multitude which no man can number 
out of all nations and kindreds^ 

We must prepare for permanency. If any 
event beyond our calculation, if another Advent 
of Christ (even supposing it to be of an external, 
dramatic character), were to arrest the work in 
mid-course, we should be best prepared for it 
by doing the whole work of Christianity. If 
this work of Christianising the communities of 
men throughout their whole life is restrained 
by the expectation of an immediate Second 
Coming, that expectation is in the very act 
raising another argument against itself Truth, 
when rightly understood, does not cramp the 
Christian aim nor limit the benefits which its 
spokesmen carry with them. 

Some who pray earnestly for the hastening 

1 64 The Challenge to Missions 

of the coming of Christ hold such a theory of 
the course of prophetic events that their prayer 
can only be answered by the hastening of the 
increase of wickedness and apostacy. One 
thing is sure, not the " times and seasons," but 
that we can best help Christ to bless the world 
by establishing His many-sided kingdom in the 
entire life of mankind. 

With this aim before us, our plans are laid, 
not for " the casual sharpshooter bringing down 
his man here and there," but for the slow, 
lasting regeneration of the human race. Our 
method of working is so determined as to lay 
foundations for a huge structure, to sow seed 
for future generations to reap. And our hearts 
do not fail us in presence of slow progress and 
the imperfections of the native converts. The 
upward movement is but beginning. The world 
moves slowly, but it moves. The kingdom of 
Christ comes gradually, and " without observa- 
tion." What God makes slowly he means to 






The past century's experience of mission work 
— not to speak of earlier times — has sufficiently 
justified the faith of the pioneers. It required 
audacious faith on their part to confront the 
world's gigantic heathenism with nothing but 
the gospel of Jesus in their hands and call it to 
surrender. Was faith ever more daring than 
when St Paul faced the Roman Empire and 
Greek learning, and foresaw them yield to the 
Son of Man ? Yet the answer of time confirmed 
his faith. 

To stand to-day in some Asiatic, African, 
or Polynesian centre, surrounded by pagan 
customs, pagan temples, and pagan apathy, 
to be one among a few indistinguishable 
Christians in presence of millions who are fast- 
bound in the universal paganism, and to stand 
up to it and believe that the gospel of Christ 
can conquer and regenerate the whole — this 
demands the faith that moves mountains. To 
look on caste-bound Asiatics, and especially on 
raw barbarians who are, in Kipling's language, 

" Your new-caught, sullen peoples, 
Half devil and half child," 


1 68 The Challenge to Missions 

and to find the capacity of full-grown manhood 
in them, and foresee that out of that crude 
material can be wrought the rich Christian 
character — one's faith might well stagger at 
the prophecy. 

We have passed the experimental stage, 
however, and that faith is sufficiently attested 
by the witness of experience. It is only as 
they cast their eyes over the work of ten or 
twenty years that missionaries see much 
measurable increase and improvement. Yet 
from that small arc it is possible to infer what 
curve and course the future is to make. There 
are foretokens that what Coleridge called " the 
miracle of Christendom " is to be followed by 
the miracle of Asia and Africa, the miracle of 
the world. The Gospel works. The world 
goes round the sun. We have as much to go 
upon for this faith as Newton had when he 
inferred from local observation that the law of 
gravitation controls the universe. We have our 
Newtonian principle, in the faith that the 
world will answer to the attraction of Christ's 

Livingstone said that Dr Moffat foresaw 
homesteads and railways covering Africa and 
steamboats plying on its lakes. His anticipation 
is already some distance on its way to fulfilment. 
From these homesteads, he said, the sound of 
Christian worship would be heard ; and we 

The Return-Value of Missions 169 

have foretokens of that prophecy's fulfilment 

Dr Duff, " father of the faithful " though he 
was, had not faith enough to believe that India's 
womanhood could be enlightened. " Female 
education in India, so far as I can see, is 
hopeless. You might as well try to scale a 
wall five hundred yards high as attempt to give 
Christian education to either the women or the 
girls of India." Yet already in Bengal alone 
there are about 100,000 girls receiving education, 
three-fourths of them an education under 
Christian teachers. 

The beneficent social work being wrought by 
missions all over the world is itself alone an 
answer to the critic and an attestation of faith. 
Dr Dennis has crowded two volumes {Christian 
Missions and Social Progress^ with the sum- 
mary of the changes effected — in domestic life, in 
the relief of sickness by medical missions, in the 
enlightenment and elevation of native women 
by lady missionaries and teachers, in the 
reduction of children's sufferings, cruel customs, 
oppression, and caste, and in the purifying of 
the relations of the sexes in marriage and the 
community — in short, in the whole social life of 
the pagan world. It is here that men who have 
no faith in the religious aims of missions are at 
one with us — in cordial approval of the work 
done by missionaries in ameliorating the con- 

I70 The Challenge to Missions 

ditions of pagan life. The visible miracle 
cannot be gainsaid, even by the sceptic. 

" All things grow sweet in Him. 
He draws all things unto an order fair. 
All fierce extremes that beat along time's shore 
Like chidden waves grow mild, 
And creep to kiss His feet ; 
For He alone it is that brings 
The fading flower of our humanity to perfect 

The return-value of Christian missions is seen 
in the evidence they give us of the world-wide 
power and truth of Christianity. In the mission 
field the Christian faith is being verified before 
our eyes. Its universal appeal to the human 
heart, its fitness for mankind under all con- 
ditions, its moral power for the regeneration 
and elevation of the race, and the redeemable- 
ness of the heathen are being openly attested 
anew in . the history of the world. Faith's 
ventures are returning to certify our religion as 
experimentally true. 

Here we have living witness of the contem- 
porary presence and activity of the Spirit ot 
Christ. The Gospel works ; and it works 
moral miracles within present observation. At 
the very time when scepticism heralds the 
downfall of Christianity, it is demonstrating its 
vital force in the regeneration of races and men 
in all nations. 

The Return-Value of Missions 171 

For proof of the dynamic power of Chris- 
tianity in transforming continents our appeal 
formerly was made to the victory it achieved 
over Roman paganism in early centuries. But 
its claims would be weak if we had to reach so 
far back in history in order to adduce evidence 
of its conquering power over the pagan world. 
The same conflict with paganism is proceeding 
now under the lead of the missionary legions, 
and Christianity is repeating its early triumph 
in the same gradual stages. A fresh and 
modern apologia for Christianity is being 
wrought out by mission work before our eyes. 
If some do not see it — well, some did not see 
the miracle even when it was performed visibly 
by the Christ Himself in person. If the 
Christian Church had taken the advice of the 
early opponents of foreign missions, if we had 
"eaten our morsel alone," we should have 
lacked the greatest present-day witness to the 
truth of our religion. 

If we ever ceased to disseminate the gospel 
while paganism survived, it would be because 
we had lost faith in Christ and had nothing 
vital to say to mankind. Our missionary 
enthusiasm is largely the measure of our 
spiritual life. " The love of Christ constraineth 
us." We cannot lie close to Christ's heart 
without hearing how it beats with the passion 
for all races of men. Those to whom He is 

172 The Challenge to Missions 

much will seek to make all men sharers in the 
boon He has brought into their own hearts and 
lives. And the results of faith's endeavour 
will return to confirm their faith and give Christ 
the Saviour world-wide verification. 




{See Chapter II. pp. 88-86) 

The Powers and the Priests in the East 

First the missionary, then the consul, then 
the gunboat — that is the pith of what many 
a Chinaman may be heard to say. What 
he resents most bitterly, and what we have 
exposed in the text — the white priest's inter- 
meddling with native courts, and foreign 
encroachments on territory — important books 
written by independent laymen, British and 
American travellers and officials, as well as 
by reliable missionaries, are continually certi- 
fying afresh. Among these may be specially 
named : China and the Powers^ by Mr H. C. 
Thomson, author of a work on the Chitral 
Expedition ; The Real Chinese Question^ by 
Mr Chester Holcombe, Secretary of American 
Legation at Pekin ; Overland to China, by Mr 
A. R. Colquhoun ; and China in Convulsion, by 
Mr Arthur H. Smith. 

France has been protector of Roman Catholics 
in the East ; it was a French priest who inserted 
in the Chinese translation of the Treaty of i860 
a fraudulent interpolation entitling missionaries 
to reside and acquire property in the interior ; 


176 The Challenge to Missions 

and it was under severe pressure from France 
that in 1899 ^^i Imperial Decree was issued 
conferring on Roman Catholic dignitaries a 
recognised official status in China. 

" The bishops," says Mr A. H. Smith, " adopt 
the rank of a Chinese Governor, and wear a 
button on their caps indicative of that fact, 
travelling in a chair with the number of bearers 
appropriate to that rank, with outriders and 
attendants on foot, an umbrella of honour 
borne in front, and a cannon discharged upon 
their arrival and departure." 

The same status was offered to the mission- 
aries of the Reformed Churches, but they, 
backed by the British Prime Minister, declined 
the offer. 

Mr A. R. Colquhoun, author of well-known 
travel-books, writing as a lay investigator, says: 

" The blood of the martyrs is in China the 
seed of French aggrandisement. France uses 
the missionaries and the native Christians as 
agents-provocateurs \ and outrages and martyr- 
doms are her political harvest. What the pre- 
ponderance of her commerce does for England 
the Catholic protectorate does for France, so 
that the influence of their respective positions 
vis-a-vis of the Chinese is nearly balanced; 
but France makes ten times more capital out 
of her religious material than Great Britian has 
ever done out of her commercial. Under the 
fostering care of the French Government the 

Powers and Priests 177 

Catholics have become a veritable impenum 
in imperio^ disregarding local laws and customs, 
domineering over their pagan neighbours, and 
overriding the law of the land." 

The irony of the situation is visible to shrewd 
Chinamen — the sinister fact that France, which 
protects Jesuit and other Romanist missions, 
and displays so much zeal in backing up their 
propaganda, has expelled these same Jesuits 
from her own borders as a danger to the 
Republic, and has herself rejected the religion 
which she pushes forward in China. Their 
leaders know that " the presence of a Roman 
Catholic bishop in Annam was the thin end 
of the wedge which has split that country in 
twain and brought a part of it under the 
domination of France." The Chinese conclude 
— no wonder! — that Christianity is a useful 
political weapon, the advance agent of territorial 

With tragic results Germany has latterly 
secured that Roman Catholics in Shantung 
shall be under German protection. This was 
brought about through the agency of Bishop 
Anzer. " He began," says Mr Thomson {China 
and the Powers, p. 250), " to assume an offensive 
and dictatorial tone towards the Tsung-li-Yamen 
and to all the district governors, walking into 
their courts as though a superior, and reporting 
any official who did not cringe to him to his 
official superior and ultimately to Pekin. 


178 The Challenge to Missions 

Finally, to put the climax to his proceedings, 
he obtained permission to build a cathedral 
in Yu-Chow-Fu, where Confucius lived and 
where his shrine is, in the province of Shantung; 
and this cathedral was actually begun, and its 
building led to the murder of the two German 
missionaries, which furnished the pretext for 
the forcible seizure by Germany of the port 
of Kiao-Chau." This, he asserts, was one of 
those sparks which set the Boxer patriotic 
movement in a flame and produced such deadly 
disaster. (And the horrible cruelties of the 
Allied Troops during the convulsion in North 
China further deepened native repugnance for 
the foreign religion.) 

Tributes are paid by the same writers to 
the devotion and self-denying labours of in- 
dividual Roman Catholic missionaries ; but 
even good men, though they were Protestant 
and not Papal, could not save this policy from 
working havoc. And some of the better men 
among them are beginning to see that their 
Church is paying too heavy a price for the 
favour of political Powers. 

Why was Japan fast closed against Chris- 
tianity and all intercourse with foreigners for 
centuries ? Xavier and his henchmen had won 
tens of thousands of Japanese converts. But 
the foreigners, following the usual Roman 
Catholic policy, intrigued for political power 
and laid their hands on the reins of govern- 

Powers and Priests 179 

ment. The nation — the story and traditional 
scenes are well known to the author as a 
former resident in Japan — rose up in wrath, 
slew thousands of converts, and practically 
annihilated Christianity in the land, thereupon 
sealing the doors of their islands to all 
foreigners for two hundred and fifty years. 
The noble spirit of the devoted Xavier could 
not have averted such an issue to such a policy. 

What but similar revolt must follow when a 
similar policy is pursued in China ? 

Quite as acute is the Chinese resentment 
when foreign priests intermeddle with the 
courts of law on behalf of their converts. 
"Broadly speaking, in Chinese courts there 
is no such thing as justice." Are the mission- 
aries to leave their native followers to be 
devoured by the " tigers and wolves " of the 
Yamens ? They are naturally tempted to side 
with their own people. But, if they do, they 
are enmeshed in a network of complications 
and animosities. Even if the wrong has all 
been on the pagan's side, there may have been 
indiscretions on the convert's ; and, in any case, 
"whether the stone hits the pitcher, or the 
pitcher hits the stone, it goes ill with the 
pitcher." With good reason the Reformed 
Churches, taught by some bitter experience, 
have for the most part refused to take up the 
lawsuits of their native members. 

The Roman Catholics, on the other hand, 

i8o The Challenge to Missions 

take advantage of their status as local magis- 
trates to intervene in the courts when their 
supporters are involved. 

Let Mr A. R. Colquhoun state the facts. 
"Whenever a Christian has a dispute with a 
heathen, no matter what the subject in question 
may be, the quarrel is promptly taken up by 
the priest, who, if he cannot himself intimidate 
the local officials and compel them to give right 
to the Christian, represents the case as one of 
persecution, when the French consul is appealed 
to. Then is redress rigorously extorted, with- 
out the least reference to the justice of the 
demand." After citing a specific instance in 
detail, Mr Colquhoun adds : " It is not sur- 
prising that arbitrary proceedings like this 
should cause the Christians to be feared and 
hated, and we need not wonder at the occasional 
murder of a priest when such feelings are spread 
generally throughout the country." 

The people know that the foreign priest has 
this privilege; numbers of them appeal to 
missionaries — Protestants included — to be ad- 
mitted members of their churches, in view of 
some threatened dispute or lawsuit : once they 
are within the foreigner's fold the enemy will, 
they imagine, be frightened off. 

"Every Catholic headquarters," says Mr 
A. H. Smith {China in Convulsion^ pp. 50, 51), 
" is served by able Chinese, some of whom are 
expert in Yamen affairs and act as lawyers for 

Powers and Priests t8i 

whoever has a case in hand. ... It is common 
for those who are acting as advance agents of 
the Catholic Church, in fresh woods and pastures 
new, to let it be known that, whatsoever happens 
to those who identify themselves with that 
organisation, they will be protected in their 

Protestants in some regions issue notices 
and tracts to prevent the expectation of such 
help from them ; but, in spite of all, shady 
citizens apply for entrance, and some falsely 
use the name of the missionary for their 
nefarious purposes. 

As the policy of certain Powers and priests 
is likely to continue the same and create trouble 
in the future as it has done in the past, let the 
public discriminate and justly apportion the 

In order to avoid "offences," the Reformed 
Churches should do everything to sever them- 
selves from all political backing, to prove — even 
though it cost a great price in means, the refusal 
of indemnities, and personal freedom — that they 
have no mercenary ends to serve and are 
absolutely disinterested in their campaign. 

There are certain "offences" which are in- 
evitable. In addition to some mentioned 
already, the incursion of Western commerce 
disturbs native industries and trade. "Fire- 
ships," telegraphs^ railways — of such disquieting 
encroachments there can be no arrest. 

1 82 The Challenge to Missions 

It is also a grave offence in the eyes of the 
authorities and the people that Christians 
should decline to conform to the customs of 
the country. Most missionaries and converts 
stand out against the homage paid to departed 
ancestors. Some argue that the custom means 
little more than " paying one's respects " to the 
dead : why not, then, " bow in the house of 
Rimmon " to that extent ? The primitive 
Christians in the Roman Empire had to con- 
front the same question. Why not conform 
just so far as to pay passing homage to the 
Emperor's statue ? But, though the particular 
point was small in itself, it stood for their 
general separation from paganism and formed 
the test of their religious consistency. 

" The refusal of the Christians to perform 
ceremonies which they regard as idolatrous at 
the New Year season, at the spring festival 
when the sacrifices are offered at the graves, 
at weddings, and especially at funerals, renders 
them liable to persecution, sometimes to the 
extent of being driven from their homes and 
expelled from the clan to which they belong " 
{China in Convulsion, p. 34). But in all such 
matters of conscience the animosity aroused is 
inevitable in the nature of the case. It must 
be endured in patience and courtesy, in the 
expectation that the leavening power of 
Christianity will gradually spread enlighten- 
ment and overcome prejudice. Not on these 

Powers and Priests 183 

grounds chiefly can it be said that " the mis- 
sionary is at the bottom of all the trouble." 

" It cannot be too often repeated," writes 
Mr Thomson — and Mr Chester Holcombe has 
already been quoted in the same sense {supra 
p. 33) — "that the feeling against the mission- 
aries was caused, not by their tenets, nor by 
the quiet exercise of their religion, but by the 
use made of them politically by their different 
Governments, and still more by their harmful 
intermeddling on behalf of their converts in the 
courts of law." 


(Chapters VII. and VIII. pp. 102, 108, 124, 188) 

Checks to Progress in India 

Mr Meredith Townsend, of the Spectator, 
in the course of a discriminating discussion of 
the inter-relations between the West and the 
East, in Asia and Europe, makes an interesting 
estimate of the prospects of Christianity in 
India and of the elements that hinder progress. 

The supernatural elements and the com- 
plex creed in Christianity, Mr Townsend says, 
present no difficulty to the Hindu mind. With 
superhuman manifestations of deity in human 
form the Hindu is already familiar : "no miracle, 
however stupendous, overstrains the capacity of 
his faith." On the contrary, Christ is not so 
completely the Hindu ideal because not so 
visibly supernatural and because so like their 
own human ideal of humility and self-sacrifice. 

One serious obstacle to missionary progress 
lies in the attempt generally made by the 
workers from the West, not to make Christians 
merely, but to Europeanise the Asiatic. Mis- 
sionaries insist on " civilising " the Indian after 
the manner of the West. They breed in him 
the desire of imitation, wrench him away from 

Checks to Progress in India 185 

the whole system of things in which he has 
been reared, create a hybrid caste, not quite 
European, not quite Indian, with the originality 
killed out of it. The missionary as a European 
is divided from the people of India by race, 
colour, and incurable differences of thought, of 
habit, of taste, and of language. He never can 
become an Indian. All this is inevitable. But 
Christianity is capable of adapting itself to all 
civilisations. And, as Mr Townsend implies, 
no attempt should be made to create the same 
division among native converts by Europe- 
anising them. As has been argued in preceding 
pages, Christianity must be planted in the 
consciousness of the world-races, and, while 
tended and guided by the Western missionary, 
must be left to adapt itself to their racial 
conditions and become self-propagating along 
their own lines, even at the risk for a time of 
aberrations in the adaptation of Christian 

The convert, too, is required to " break caste " 
irrevocably. Mr Townsend believes caste to 
be " a form of socialism which has through ages 
protected Hindu society from anarchy and 
from the worst evils of industrial and competi- 
tive life — an automatic poor-law to begin with, 
and the strongest form of trades union." But 
"caste in the Indian sense and Christianity 
cannot co-exist." The break-up is inevitable. 
The convert must eat and drink with men of 

1 86 The Challenge to Missions 

other castes, must abandon the seclusion of his 
home and much of his authority over his wife 
and children, and must give up many of his 
rooted habits. It is not only his religion that 
is changed ; everything is changed for him. 
" One can hardly wonder that many, otherwise 
ready, shrink from such a baptism of fire." It 
is, as we know well, on this account that many 
in India remain Christians in secret. 

Sir Charles Aitchison, one of India's Lieu- 
tenant-Governors, said : " I know of one of the 
ruling princes of India who probably never saw 
or spoke to a Christian missionary in his life. 
After a long talk with me on religious matters, 
he told me himself that he reads the Sanskrit 
translation of our Bible and prays to Jesus 
Christ every day for the pardon of his sins. . . 
Statistics of conversion are no proper or 
adequate test of missionary work." 

Moreover, the missionary in India is often 
ridiculed for saying that he has hearers who 
are converts but not Christians. He is stating 
the simple truth, says Mr Townsend. "The 
Hindu mind can believe, and does believe, in 
mutually destructive facts at one and the same 
time. An astronomer who predicts eclipses ten 
years ahead without a blunder believes all the 
while that the eclipse is caused by some super- 
natural dog swallowing the moon, and will beat 
a drum to make the dog give up the prize." 
He may be convinced of the truth of Christi- 

Checks to Progress in India 187 

anity, but the assent is not a transforming 
spiritual faith, and leaves him nearly where he 
was — a baffling puzzle and a disappointment 
to the missionary. 

These obstacles alone account for much 
delay in the victorious progress of Christianity 
and for facts that feed the critics.^ 

Caste, again, has been a buttress to the 
native ; and the removal of the old buttresses 
and tribal habits sometimes leaves the converts 
unsteady. " And," says Mr Townsend, " the 
second generation often shows signs of missing 
the ancient buttresses of conduct. They are 
the true anxieties of the missionaries, and it 
is from them in nine cases out of ten that the 
ill-repute of Indian Christians is derived ; but 
European opinion about them is most unfair. 
They are not converts but born Christians, like 
any of our own artisans ; they have not gone 
through a mental martyrdom, and they have to 
be bred up without strong convictions, except 
that Christianity is doubtless true, without the 
defences which native opinion has organised for 
ages, and in the midst of a heathen society in 
which the white Christians declare their children 
shall not live." 

^ A Scot, it is said, was asked to support a society for the 
Conversion of the Jews. He subscribed once, twice, and was 
appHed to for the third time, when his impatience broke out. 
"Confoond it, are thae Jews no' a' converted _;/^^ ? " Widen 
the application, and is it not symbolically true of many with 
reference to the progress of Christian missions ? 

1 88 The Challenge to Missions 

As to these imperfections in a small propor- 
tion of the converts, the same writer wisely 
adds: "Christianity is always imperfect in its 
beginnings. The majority of Christians in 
Constantine's time would have seemed to 
modern missionaries mere worldlings ; the con- 
verted Saxons were for centuries violent brutes ; 
and the mass of Christians throughout the 
world are even now no better than indifferents. 
None the less is it true that the race which 
embraces Christianity, even nominally, rises 
with a bound out of its former position, and 
contains in itself thenceforward the seed of a 
nobler and more lasting life." 

The inference is clear, as urged in preceding 
pages. We must not compare native converts 
newly emerged from paganism with the best 
life found in Christian lands of the West, but 
with the conditions which existed in our own 
race when as yet the work of Christianity was 
only commenced among us. It is only in the 
course of generations, there as here, that the 
harvest of the truth is reaped. As Mr Kidd 
shows in his Principles of Western Civilisation^ 
the progressive struggles and movements of 
to-day are always for the benefit, not of the 
present generation, but of that " majority which 
constitutes the long roll of the yet unborn 
generations," and Christianity is a vital force 
in that ultimate elevation of the world. 








The challenge to Christian miss 
nOUB 266 U465C 

3 ^^ul dddi bd'^d ? 



.„ Welsh. R. -P!, 


-Tll^.Chaien^e to Christian 

TITLE ^''^^