The modern missionary movement is no longer an experiment. The work of the consecrated cobbler, William Carey, has at last enlisted the sympathies of the civilized world. As the work of Paul the tent-maker gradually ramified the Roman Empire, so the work of Carey has gone on till every nation on earth has felt the momentum of this enterprise. Now, after a little over a century of organized effort, the mere roll-call of societies engaged in this great work, with the results, is absolutely staggering. The very world is being transformed before our eyes.
Witness the work at Tahiti, South Seas, Sierra Leone, Hawaii, New Zealand, Burma and the Karens, Madagascar, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Formosa, Telugus, Japan, China, and Africa, not to mention many other parts of the world that have been quickened into life in this century. If the author of Hebrews were making a list of heroes of faith now, he could add many from mission annals. How these names should stir our blood and revive our faith. They come trooping past, Carey and Judson, Livingston and Moffatt, Duff and Yates, Williams and Paton. "And what shall I more say?"
The whole world has stood in respectful attention while some of the mightiest men of earth, men who have given their lives to work in heathen lands, have counselled together for advance work on the strongholds of darkness. This august and triumphant assemblage of mission workers is in sharp contrast to the Congress of Religions at Chicago during the World's Fair. That was to parley with the foe and to scatter the forces. This is to close up the ranks with a "forward, march."
It is not without significance that President McKinley, ex-President Harrison, Governor Roosevelt, ex-Governor Northen, and others prominent in national affairs, were leaders at the Ecumenical Conference. The dignity of the Missionary enterprise is commensurate with the gifts of the greatest and highest of earth. It is no wonder that even Mr. Darwin became a contributor to missions when he saw what had been wrought in the isles of the sea.
President A. H. Strong struck the keynote of the missionary idea when he said that missions is Christ. It is the presence of Christ upon the hearts of men that compels missionary effort. Jesus himself has loomed in larger stature before the modern world. He has made hearts burn as he walked beside his disciples. Christianity is Christ. Missions is taking Christ to men. This is the heart of the mission problem. The throb of Jesus' love is in this work.
As we sweep into the twentieth century, a wonderful vista rises before us. We stand upon the end of the ages. The achievements of the past century form so many outposts all over the world for effective, aggressive campaigning. Now, at last, the Christian world can grapple with the centres of heathenism. Japan is crying out for light. It is a new Macedonian cry. A nation is ready to fall into the light. Corea [sic] is ready for the harvest. India is already deeply imbued with Christianity. Even Thibet has opened her doors. And China, China at last is reeling under the struggle between darkness and light. The time is ripe to storm the citadel of Satan.
[From J. N. Prestridge, editor, The Baptist Argus, May 10, 1900, p. 8, via Baylor U. digital collection. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
More Missions and Missionaries
Baptist History Homepage