Part 2 out of 4
But there is yet more than this. Everywhere among these peoples, as one
comes into close enough touch to find their hearts, there can be found
underneath the inarticulate, inexpressible yearning for something they
haven't. And they don't know enough to know what it is they long for. But
they are conscious of the constant, weary, yearning tug within. The great
heart of the non-Christian world to-day is asking dumbly, but earnestly,
as only the heart can ask, for the light we have. Its knocking at our
front door is growing louder in its insistent earnestness.
Since Commodore Perry steamed into the harbor of Yokohama, fifty years
ago, with open Bible and American flag, and knocked at the front door of
the Orient, the whole situation has completely changed. Then we knocked
for admission to these shut-in lands. Now they are knocking at our door,
for the knowledge and light that we have in Christian lands because we
May I call your attention to some of the louder of these knockings?
For years students in great numbers, thousands, have been coming from
these heathen nations to our country to get our Western learning.
Throughout the colleges and lower schools of the land, both East and West,
in the greater universities, and in the more modest small church colleges
they can be found.
I remember a sight that never failed to thrill me in my visitations among
the colleges of our Central West. Almost always I saw one or more of these
young men, from Japan, and less frequently from China and India and other
countries, and sometimes young women, too; studying in these institutions.
Quite frequently they came from the better families of their people; often
from old wealthy families of position and influence. So that by blood ties
and position they will be the future men of influence and leaders of their
people. And it is a notable fact that many of them are to-day the leaders
in Japan. Literally thousands of them have come, these thousands of miles
around the world, to knock at our doors, and ask for what we have and they
Even more striking is the recent visitation to us of official commissions
from the non-Christian lands. One after another, these national
governmental deputations have come to us. They have been composed of the
strongest men in these lands, men in leading official position. They have
come by government appointment, and at government expense, to learn the
secret of our marvellous Western progress.
And in addition to these official deputations others have come, men of
like prominence and influence, coming on their own account, to witness our
civilization and learn its secrets.
The Coming Great Leaders.
One of the most remarkable incidents of this most remarkable movement has
been the great migration of young Chinese men to study in the colleges of
Japan. Within a very short space of time, as though by a concerted
movement, fifteen thousand Chinese young men have flocked to Tokyo. The
inevitable sifting process has sent many back, but fully ten thousand
remain, engaged in earnest, hard study.
Will you mark very keenly why they went to Japan? Because to them Japan,
in its new life, stood for the new light and life of the West. Their
little, but mighty, aggressive neighbor on their eastern shore had brought
to their very door the new civilization of the Christian West.
Here was an unusual opportunity. Where hundreds had come clear around the
earth to us, thousands have seized this opportunity close at hand. They
come from every province of China; even that farthest away, on the border
of Tibet, sending hundreds.
The travel involved thousands of miles. And if their slow means of travel
be taken into account, it meant what would be to us practically hundreds
of thousands of miles. Hundreds of them have been sent by the provincial
and local governments. Others have come through private funds made up for
the purpose. And wealthy men have sent their sons. They have gone to Japan
only because Japan has opened her doors so widely to our Christian
civilization. It is not to their conqueror, Japan, they have come, but to
the civilization which Japan has imported from Christian lands.
Was there ever such a knocking at the door of the Christian Church as
this? Ten thousand picked men, of the best and keenest young manhood of
China, representing all parts of the empire, and in large part
representing the government, settling down to years of close study of our
Christian civilization as found in Japan--a tremendous fact for the Church
to-day! Things are crowding in on us. It is the non-Christian world
knocking at our back door. It was too far around to the front. So they
have commenced their knocking at the nearest and handiest door they could
Then there are direct requests coming constantly to the missionaries, from
the peoples in all these lands, earnestly asking and even pleading that
men be sent to teach them of God and of Christ. Whole villages have been
found in the fastnesses of Africa's wilds spending days together, and all
day long, on their knees in prayer; most of ten mute prayer with upturned
faces--their very bent bodies their prayer--that news of the white man's
God might be sent to them.
In Korea and other lands it is no uncommon thing for men and women to
travel hundreds of miles by their slow transportation, or even to come
a-foot, to attend gatherings where the story of Jesus is being preached.
And then, too, there is the indirect knocking in the imitation of our
Western ways, and throwing away of their own. Imitation is the highest
form of compliment that can be paid. It tells of admiration, and of a
desire to be as those imitated. The adapting of Western learning by these
conservative Oriental peoples, the establishment of thousands of colleges
and schools on the model of Christian countries is so radical a thing as
to be nothing short of startling. The abandoning of bad customs, as well
as of their old systems of education, is as startling. Where there were
antagonisms there is now the friendliest imitation.
If to this we add the remarkable immigration to our shores, of a million a
year, it intensifies enormously the opportunity of service brought to us
by foreign peoples. Yet please notice that this latter is not Asia nor
Africa coming to us, but Europe.
However crying their need may be, these are, nominally, not heathen
peoples, but chiefly from Christianized Europe. The Asiatics would have
come in great numbers, but that door was promptly shut and carefully
locked by official hands.
As you swing your eye over these seething masses of the heathen world, and
listen to their voices, let me ask you, with the earnest softness of tone
that belongs to the heart, could there be a louder knocking at the door of
the Christian Church?
What Do They Want?
There can be no doubt about the knocking. But--but what is it they are
after? Well, in plainest talk, they are after the thing that has made
Christian nations great, great to the point of world-leadership and
Do you remember the famous reply, often quoted, given to a foreign visitor
at the English court? He had asked the secret of the greatness of England,
which impressed him so forcibly. And her gracious majesty, of blessed
memory, Queen Victoria, placed her hand upon a Bible, and replied in the
memorable words, "This is the secret of England's greatness."
Just how much that wise woman had in mind I am sure I do not know. I feel
very sure she did not refer to the church system of England. But to
something far more and deeper than that, of which the church system is
only one expression. Where the Bible has gone, and where it has so
largely dominated the life of the people, as in England, there has been
both a moral regeneration and, mark it keenly, a new mental life. Its
touch has awakened the mental powers. There has been aroused and released
into activity that spirit of energy which has become the most marked
characteristic of the Western world.
These two, the mental life and the remarkable energy, lie at the basis of
all our wonderful modern science. And this, in turn, lies at the basis of
all our phenomenal development. It is this that makes the West different
from the East. The leading nations are Christian nations. The germ of
vigorous life is in the Gospel of Christ.
This is the thing the heathen world is knocking so earnestly at our door
for to-day. I do not say that they think of it in that way. They are just
coming, groping out of the darkness, with eyes blinking and blinded by the
brightness of our light. They stretch eager, reaching fingers out toward
the light, without knowing much about it. The glare of it has caught them.
And if they are caught, moth-like, and hurt by its flame--if they copy our
vile vices, which are no part of our Christianity, but the remnants of our
own original savagery cropping out in spite of Christianity--if so, is it
surprising? Their eyes are bothered by the sudden change from black
darkness to brilliant light.
But there's a deeper asking. Underneath all, the thing they are really
asking for, all unconsciously most of them, is that which lies at the
root of all our Western progress. They ask unknowingly for the Gospel of
Christ, the heart of this precious old Bible. When they get that they will
find that it brings the new awakening of mental life and the new
aggressive energy that has made us Christian nations what we are.
Returning Our Call.
Will you please remember that their knocking at our door is a direct
result of our knocking at their door? They are very polite, these far-away
kinsfolk of ours. They are simply returning our call.
The missionary, from Great Britain, and America, and Europe, has been the
West's pathfinder in these foreign-mission lands. He has blazed a way into
these thick woods, and beaten down narrow foot-paths through them. It's
been hard, heroic work. The pathfinder has often gotten his hands and face
badly torn by the thick brambly thorn bushes as he pushed resolutely on.
Then diplomacy entered and broadened the roads. And commerce quickly came
and beat them down into good hard shape for easy travel. And in turn the
missionaries have freely used the broader, better roads.
And now these roads are being trodden by other feet, and in an opposite
direction. Along the pathways made by the Church, and made better by
diplomacy and commerce, these peoples are coming, coming a-running, to ask
us to give them what we have. We received it from Another. He bade us
give it as freely as we received it.
Here they come eagerly knocking at our doors, front door, and back door,
and wherever there is a door. Do you hear them?
Ah! The great question to-day is not a question for the heathen world, but
for the Christian Church--shall we respond to the opportunity they are
flinging in our faces? To-day there are more hands in heathen lands
stretched out for the Gospel of Jesus than there are Christian hands
stretched out with the Gospel. More hearts in those far-away lands are
dumbly praying for the light than there are of us praying that they may
receive the light--far more.
The greatest question for the Church to-day is--shall we enter the open
door? And this is a key-question, too. Its answer includes a full
satisfactory answer to all the other questions we are discussing. All
questions of finance, of uncertain wabbling pulpit voices, of careless and
indifferent or empty pews, and of city evangelization will quickly find an
answer as the Church fully and faithfully answers this. Here is the work
that, if done, and well done, will bring a new circulation of blood into
the whole life of the Church.
Have you noticed the sharp contrast that there is gradually growing up
between the way people at home and these foreign peoples are receiving the
Gospel? Out there there is an openness to the truth, an eager willingness
to believe it simply, and to act upon it, that suggests the way they did
in the Book of Acts. In our home-lands of America and Great Britain and
Germany there seems to be either indifference, or an atmosphere of quibble
and criticism. With questions and doubts naturalistic explanations are
sought that do away with much of the simple force of God's truth.
A like difference is showing itself between the results there and here.
Here they are scantier, and gotten with great difficulty; there much
larger, and with greater ease. There the door is wide-open, and people
crowding in; here there is a feeling that the door is closing, surely and
not slowly people turn away elsewhere. There has come to be an unusual
proportion of pickles and salads and other relishes served with every
spreading of the Gospel meal here. There, just plain unbuttered bread is
eagerly and thankfully sought for. They are hungry. And their hunger is a
wide-open door to us. We need the exercise of foreign travel, and a great
deal of it, to bring back our zest.
May I speak very softly of another side of this knocking at our door?
Who is it that is knocking? Aye, Who?
Do you remember Jesus' words in Matthew, chapter twenty-five? He is
speaking of the settling-up time that is to come at the close of things.
And He does something there that is startling. He identifies Himself
with the hungry and cold and poor. That is, He puts Himself in their
place. They are reckoned as though they were He. He says that when they
asked for some food and warm clothes it was really Himself asking for
food and warmth! We have been really dealing with Him when we have met
these needy ones. The one test question He makes for all is this--What did
you do for these hungry people? Because what you did, or didn't do for
them, was done or refused to Me. Jesus comes in the guise of the needy.
Who is it knocking at our door so loudly to-day?
I suppose if you could think of Jesus actually coming to-day to New York,
the human Jesus I mean, coming as a man just as He came to Jerusalem, but
known to us as He is now--I suppose there is hardly a door that would not
open to Him. He might not be any better understood in New York than He was
in Jerusalem, but the doors of the wealthy would quickly open to Him. I
mean the Christian wealthy, the Church wealthy; other doors, too, no
doubt, but these surely. He would have a great welcome.
And I suppose, too, that if in some wealthy home on Fifth Avenue or
Madison Avenue He were to ask His host to give some large sum, a million
dollars or ten millions, for sending the Gospel to China or Japan His
request would likely be granted. It seems to me rather probable that it
would. Well, how can it be put plainly enough that He does come to our
doors, rich, and less rich, and poor. He's at the front door now, knocking
and asking our help.
In these heathen peoples of His, Jesus comes to us. And we have been
giving Him--shall I say it very softly for sheer shame?--we have given,
not all, but most of us, what is practically the loose change in our
trousers' pocket; not actually, of course; sometimes even that. We have
spent more on everything else. We have made up boxes of cast-off clothes
and old shoes for--Jesus! This has been a large part of our answer. Is
it any wonder the hot blood sends the color climbing into our cheeks at
the thought, and that we instinctively seek for some explanation that will
soften the hard rub of the truth!
I found a bit of a poem in a magazine some time ago that caught fire as I
read it. It was written, I judge, in a personal sense; but it came to me
at once with a wider meaning; and it persists in so coming at every
reading of it.
In this poem there is some one knocking at a door for admission, and a
voice without calls,
"'Friend, open to Me.' Who is this that calls?
Nay, I am deaf as are my walls;
Cease crying, for I will not hear
Thy cry of hope or fear.
What art thou indeed
That I should heed
Thy lamentable need?
Hungry, should feed,
Or stranger, lodge thee here?
But the voice persists--
"'Friend, My feet bleed.
Open thy door to Me and comfort Me.'
'I will not open; trouble me no more.
Go on thy way footsore,
I will not arise and open unto thee.
And still the pleading,
"'Then is it nothing to thee? Open, see
Who stands to plead with thee.
Open, lest I should pass thee by, and thou
One day entreat My face
And cry for grace,
And I be deaf as thou art now;
Open to Me'
"Then I cried out upon him: Cease,
Leave me in peace;
Fear not that I should crave
Aught thou may'st have.
Leave me in peace, yea, trouble me no more,
Lest I arise and chase thee from my door.
What! shall I not be let
Alone, that thou dost vex me yet?
"But all night long that voice spake urgently--
'Open to Me.'
Still harping in mine ears--
'Rise, let Me in.'
Pleading with tears--
'Open to Me, that I may come to thee.'
While the dew dropp'd, while the dark hours were cold--
'My feet bleed, see My Face,
See My hands bleed that bring thee grace,
My heart doth bleed for thee--
Open to Me.'
"So, till the break of day;
Then died away
That voice, in silence as of sorrow;
Then footsteps echoing like a sigh
Pass'd me by;
Lingering footsteps, slow to pass.
On the morrow
I saw upon the grass
Each footprint mark'd in blood, and on my door
The mark of blood forevermore."
That same voice still comes with a strangely gentle persistence--
"Inasmuch as ye did it
Unto one of these my brethren, even these least,
Ye did it unto Me.
"Inasmuch as ye did it not
Unto one of these least,
Ye did it not unto Me."
The Pressing Emergency
The October Panic.
Danger and Victory Eying Each Other.
A Crisis of Neglect and Success.
A Westernized Heathenism.[A]
A Powerless Christianity.
Death or Deep Water.
Saved by Saving.
The Pressing Emergency
The October Panic.
A man walked up the steps of a well-known bank in lower New York one
morning, about a half-hour before opening-time, and stood before the shut
door. In a few minutes another came, and stood waiting beside him. Others
came, one by one, until soon a small group stood in line, waiting for the
door to open.
A messenger boy, coming down the street, quickly took in the unusual
sight. He wasn't old enough to have been through any of New York's notable
panics, and he had never witnessed a run on a bank; but quick as a flash,
or as a Wall-Street messenger boy, he knew as though by instinct that a
run was on at that bank. Instantly he started running down the street to
No prairie wild-fire ever spread so quickly as the news ran over 'phone
wires of the beginning of that run. As though by some sort of invisible
ether-waves, the news seemed to spread through the financial district.
Every bank president seemed to know at once. Then it spread throughout the
city, and the greater city.
So began what has been called the October panic of last year, which
quickly spread through the land, and then throughout the world until every
country bank here, and every capital city abroad, felt the sharp
tightening of the money-bag strings.
It was a strange panic. You couldn't just tell what was responsible for
it. The very variety of explanations, editorial and other, told of the
lack of a common understanding of what caused it. There had been no famine
or drought. The crops, the chief financial barometer of the country's
condition, had been remarkably abundant. There had been no overproduction
or glutting of the industrial world. Indeed, great numbers of concerns had
been embarrassed by orders that they couldn't fill fast enough. The cause
seemed to be wholly in people's minds. A spirit of distrust of some of
the great money leaders and of their methods was abroad. That feeling of
fear sent a few men, by an unplanned concert of action, to a certain bank
before ten o'clock one morning.
The unusual sight of a few men standing in line waiting for the opening of
that bank door was like a lighted match to a barn full of dry hay. At the
first inkling of a suggestion of a financial panic money began to
disappear. Nothing is so cowardly in its cautiousness as money.
Scholarship comes next to it. The savings of years have the tightest grip
on most human hands. As though by magic, money began hunting dark holes in
stockings and cellars and safety-deposit boxes. And the hard grip of the
panic was quickly felt everywhere. It was a fear panic. A terrible danger
was at hand.
At once the regular habit of life was disturbed for great numbers of men.
The Secretary of the Treasury quit his Washington desk and spent several
days in New York so as to be able to give the help of the Government's
funds and enormous prestige where they would count for most, and to give
promptly. Bank officials and other financial leaders cut social
engagements and everything else that could be cut, and devoted themselves
to meeting the sudden emergency. They ate scantily, both to save time and
for lack of appetite, and to help keep their heads clear for quick
decisive thinking and action. The tension was intense. Men sat up all
night conferring on best measures.
A group of the leading money men met in the private quarters of one of
their numbers, about whose rugged personality and leadership they
instinctively rallied. More than one night the gray dawning light of the
morning found them, with white, drawn faces, still in conference. The
emergency gripped them. An emergency always does. The habits of life are
upset, helter-skelter, in the effort to avert the threatening danger. That
was an emergency in the money world. Grave danger threatened. Everything
else was forgotten, and every bit of available resource strained to turn
the danger aside. It was turned aside. That was a splendid achievement.
And even though men have been feeling the effects for this whole year,
what they have felt is as nothing compared with what might have come.
Danger and Victory Eying each other.
An emergency means a great danger threatening, perhaps the very life. But
it means, too, that if the danger can be gripped and overcome there will
be great victory. Two possibilities come up close and stare each other
angrily in the face; the possibility of great disaster impending, and of
great victory over it within grasp, if there be a reaching hand to grasp
it. The deciding thing is the human element, the strong, quick hand
stretched out. If strength can be concentrated, the situation gripped,
then great victory is assured. But it takes the utmost concentration of
strength, with rare wisdom and quick steady action, to turn the tide
toward flood. If this is not done, either because of lack of leadership or
of enough strength or enough interest, disaster comes.
Just such emergencies come to us constantly. A severe illness lays its
hand upon a loved one in the home. The crisis comes. Death and life stand
in the sick-room eying each other. Either one may be victor. No one can
tell surely which it will be. And every effort is strained, the habit of
life broken, other matters forgotten and neglected, that death may be
staved off, and life wooed to stay. And when the crisis passes safely the
joy over the new lease of life makes one forget all the cost of strain and
Who of us cannot recall some time back there, when some emergency came in
personal business matters, and personal and home expenses and plans were
cut down to the lowest notch, to the bleeding-point, that the emergency
might be safely met.
Teachers and parents know that moral emergencies come at intervals in a
child's life, until young manhood and womanhood are reached. One of the
greatest tasks in child-training is to note the emergency, and meet it
successfully. And what keenness and patience and subtlety it does take
only he knows who has been through the experience.
Emergencies come in spiritual matters, too. They are the hardest kind to
meet. It is hardest to make people see them and grip them. In the life of
many a church a spiritual emergency has come, but has not been met. The
church goes on holding services, raising money and paying it out, going
through all the proper forms, but with the life itself quite gone out of
it. The thing is being kept in motion by a humanly manipulated electric
current; there is no free life-movement.
Evangelistic leaders say that such emergencies come in their campaigning.
There has to be a struggle of spirit forces. And the victory that comes,
comes only as a result of close hand-to-hand conflict of soul by the
We all know that such crises come in our personal experience. And those
who know about changing things by prayer do not need to be told of the
emergency that comes at times; nor of how it requires a tightening of all
the buckles, a new reviewing of the promises on which prayer rests, a new
steadying of one's faith, a quietly persistent hanging on, an intenser
insistence of spirit in prayer and more arrow-praying in the daily round
of work--sending out the softly breathed heart-pleadings while busy with
common duties, until the assurance comes that the danger is past and the
It is remarkable to what an extent the great events of history have been
emergency events. With the greatest reverence, it can be said that
history's central event, the dying of Jesus, was an emergency action. Even
though we understand clearly that it was known and counselled from before
the foundation of the world, that He was to shed His precious blood for
our salvation, His dying can never be fully understood save as a great
emergency measure, the great emergency measure, because of the crisis
made by sin.
Now that is the sort of thing--an emergency--that is now on in this great
task of world-wide evangelization which Jesus has committed to our hands.
Some of you may be strongly inclined to lift your eyebrows and ask--Is
there really any such emergency? I know that people don't like those words
"crisis" and "emergency." It is much more comfortable to think that things
are going on very smoothly and well. Even though all is not just as we
might choose to have it, yet we like to think that it will turn out well.
There is a sort of optimism that is very popular. Things will all come out
right somehow, we like to think. But the fact is that things don't turn
out right of themselves. They have to be turned by somebody who gives
heart and life to the turning.
It can be said with sane, sober sense that without doubt there is an
emergency, and a great one, in this foreign-mission enterprise. It is, of
course, true that in a sense there is a continual emergency here. There
are thousands of these foreign brothers of ours slipping the tether of
life daily. The light might easily have been taken to them, and have
changed their choices. But then it hasn't been, and the dark shadow of the
possibility of their separating themselves forever from God, through wrong
choice persisted in, hangs down over each one of them. There can be no
darker shadow except the actual knowledge that they have so separated
themselves from life in Him.
A Crisis of Neglect and Success.
But quite distinct from that, and in addition to it, it is quite safe to
say that there is an emergency now on in the heathen world such as it
has never known before. Such is the mature judgment of our missionary
And we do well to remind ourselves that we have some remarkable men among
these leaders. There are men on the foreign fields and at the missionary
helm at home of most remarkable ability and genius. There are to-day men
of statesmanlike grasp and power, who could easily have taken front rank
in public life, in diplomacy, and professional life, men fully able to
fill the Presidential chair and do it masterfully, who are giving their
life-blood to this great missionary task.
The sober judgment of these men, taken from every angle of vision, is that
the present is a time of unparalleled emergency. It exists peculiarly in
Asia, the greatest of all foreign-mission lands. It has been caused by a
number of things that now come together with such force as to make a
crisis, the crisis of missions, the gravest that has yet come, and that,
it is probably safe to say, will ever come. For the future will be largely
settled, one way or the other, within a few years.
At the basis of all is the great need, of course. That looms big and
gaunt and spectral in any survey of the matter.
Then the neglect by the Church for many generations has greatly
intensified the present situation. The Master's plan plainly is that every
generation of the Church shall give the Gospel to its generation; that is,
to all the people living in the world at that time. Every generation of
men must have the Gospel afresh. No land is beyond the need of a fresh
gospelizing. If Christian America were to lose its churches and the
Gospel, it would surely revert to the heathen type from which we sprung.
But many generations went by with practically nothing of this sort being
done. These generations of inactivity have piled up on the present
generation. The undone work of the past adds greatly to the task of the
present. The present situation is abnormal because of what hasn't been
Then the success of the present has played a big part. Modern missionary
activity has had a big share in making this emergency. A century of
missions is reaching a tremendous climax. The splendid aggressiveness of
church leaders and missionaries is now an embarrassment to a Church, or
any one in the Church, who doesn't want to keep up the pace. It is an
emergency of success, the logical result of what has been accomplished. So
much has been done, and been done so well by a comparatively few, that now
more must be done by the rest of us.
It's because the heathen world is awake that there is an emergency. Their
awakeness is the thing that crowds in on us. And we waked them up. We must
now do more and better, because we have done so well. We have indeed waked
them up, but--to what? A business man would stamp it as rank foolishness
to fail to take advantage of the splendid opening that we have made in the
A Westernized Heathenism.
Now, let us look just a bit at this present pressing emergency. There are
grave perils threatening, and a great victory possible.
Well, first of all there is real danger of a new aggressive heathenism;
a new, energetic, but distinctly un-Christian civilization, in the heathen
world. Many thoughtful men who are keenly watching the world movement
believe that without doubt there is to be a new leadership of the human
race in the Orient. It may be a heathen leadership. That danger is a
distinct possibility. The new world-leadership may have all the enormous
energy and mental keenness of Christian peoples, but without the Christian
That means practically a new heathenism, no longer asleep but wide-awake;
no longer being manipulated by the Western nations, but maybe manipulating
and managing them. An aroused, organized, energized heathen world, with
all the science and inventiveness and restless aggressiveness of the
western nations and, mark you--and all the spirit of the old, Godless,
Christless heathenism dominating its new life--that is the danger.
The heathen world is awake at last after a sleep of centuries. It is
sitting up, rubbing its eyes, and taking notice. It is entering upon a new
life. That's as clear as a sunbeam on a cloudless morning. What that life
shall be depends entirely on the Church waking up. That means, to be more
practical, that it depends on you and me waking up, just now, and doing
what we easily can. It may be a new Christian life, shot through and
through with the blessed principles and spirit of Jesus. It may be a new
life of energized, Westernized heathenism! They may get merely our energy
and mental awakeness without the Christian spirit that gave these to us.
These two opposite things are standing by the bedside eying each other.
Which will get the patient? Who knows? If the Church fail--!
This is a real peril seriously threatening. It is probably far more grave
and far more likely than the best-informed and keenest observer is aware
A Powerless Christianity.
Then there is a second danger climbing in fast on the heels of this, that
is already being plainly felt. These peoples may turn away from a
Christianity that seems powerless to them. As they come to know better
the simple principles of our faith they may see that we are not true to
it. Our Master bade us go everywhere and tell all men of Him, and tell
them most and best by the way we live. But we haven't done it. The Church
of the past nineteen centuries, taken as a whole, hasn't done it. The
Church to-day, taken as a whole, isn't doing it.
How many times have the missionaries been obliged to listen to the
question, which is a reproach rather than a question, "Why didn't you come
before? My father lived and died in distress, seeking for this light you
bring us now. Why didn't your father come and tell my father?" If they
find that our faith hasn't gripped us enough to master our lives they
will naturally doubt if, after all, there is any more real practical
power in it than in their own heathen beliefs.
It seems better in theory, but it seems to lose its ideals in the stiff
test of practice. They would be wrong in thinking that, of course. But
what conclusion more natural to the crowd that never thinks deep. When all
the difficulties and hardships come in the way of their acceptance of
Christ, and the easiest way is not to, how easy to throw the whole thing
The story is told of a Chinaman in this country who applied for a position
as house-servant in a family which belonged to a fashionable church. He
"Do you drink whiskey?"
"No, I Clistian man."
"Do you play cards?"
"No, I Clistian man."
He was engaged, and proved to be a capable servant. By and by the lady
gave a bridge-party, with wine accompaniments. The Chinaman did his part
acceptably, but the next morning he appeared before his mistress.
"I want quit," he said.
"Why? What is the matter?"
"I Clistian man. I told you so before; no heathen; no workee for 'Melican
These heathen brothers of ours are not fools. They are a keen lot. They
judge our religion by us who profess it, as we do with them and theirs.
There may come a wide-spread practical disbelief, or lack of belief, that
there is any practical power in Christ to change a man's life, and really
control his actions. And it will be a perfectly logical conclusion from
what they find in us Christian nations as a whole.
Death or Deep Water.
And then there are some mighty bad dangers on the other side--our side.
If it be true that every generation needs the Gospel, it is just as true
that every generation of Christians needs to give the Gospel. It is the
very life of a Christian to give himself out in earnest service for
others. The man who is failing there has started on the down grade in his
Christian life. If we lose the spirit of "go" we have lost the very
Christian spirit itself. A disobedient church will become a dead church.
It will die of heart failure.
It was John's Man with eyes of searching flame, and tongue of keen-edged
sword, and feet that had been through the fire, who said to a Christian
church, "I will move thy candlestick out of its place except thou change
thy ways." The candlestick isn't the light. It holds the light. The
Church's great mission is to be the world's light-holder.
But unsnuffed candles and cobwebby window-panes seem to have been in
evidence sometimes. The Christian Church in some lands has plainly lost
its privilege of service, and lost its life, too. The old organizations
are kept up, but all life has gone. There's a grave danger threatening
the American Church and the British Church just at this present time.
Long years ago, in the days before steam navigation, an ocean vessel came
from a long sea voyage, up St. George's Channel, headed for Liverpool.
When the pilot was taken on board, he cried abruptly to the captain, "What
do you mean? You've let her drift off toward the Welsh coast, toward the
shallows. Muster the crew." The crew was quickly mustered, and the pilot
told the danger in a few short words, and then said sharply, "Boys, it's
death or deep water, hoist the mains'l!" And only by dint of hardest work
was the ship saved.
If I could get the ear of the Church to-day, I would, as a great kindness
to it, cry out with all the earnestness of soul I could command, "It's
death or deep water; deep water in this holy service of world-winning, or
death from foundering."
Saved by Saving.
And then there's a yet graver peril threatening. It's quite the common
thing to appeal to selfish motives. It is striking that the great strides
that prohibition has made of recent years, have been due to a sort of
legislation and to business regulation that appeal to selfish motives. The
economic motive, and the disagreeable and injurious likelihood of a saloon
being close to one's own home, have had greater influence than higher
moral motives. And we are glad of any motive that will put the damnable
traffic down and out.
Well, I'm going to come down a step here, and remind you of a yet graver
peril that threatens. There is serious danger of a heathenized
Christianity dominating our boasted Christian civilization and Christian
lands. And in time that would be a serious menace to our pocket-books.
That is to say, there may be the energy and keen mental life without the
mellowing and sweetening influence of the Christian spirit. The restless
aggressiveness may come without the poise; the ceaseless activity without
the deeper steadying quality; the keenness without the softening touch of
the true life. In other words, if we don't Christianize heathendom, they
will exert an influence on us that will practically amount to their
Already such influences are seeping in at more than one crack.
Mohammedanism has an active propaganda in Great Britain. Heathen wedges
are slipping their thin edges in, in our land. More and more it will
extend, in time influencing our whole moral fabric, and affecting our
whole national life.
During some recent researches among the ruins of Pompeii the explorers
turned up a find that told its own story. It was the body of a crippled
boy. He was lame in his foot. And around the body there was a woman's arm,
a finely shaped, beautiful, bejewelled arm. The mute find told its simple
story. The great stream of fire suddenly coming from the volcano, the
crowd fleeing for life, the little cripple unable to get along fast
enough, the woman's heart touched, her arm thrown about the boy to aid
his escape; then the overtaking fire-flood, and both lost. The arm that
was stretched out to save another was preserved, and only that. All the
rest of the brave rescuer's body had gone. The saving part was saved. Only
that mercifully outstretched to save another was itself saved.
The Church or the man that selfishly saveth his life shall lose it. He
that forgetteth about his own life in eagerly saving others shall find
that he has saved his own life, and that it has grown into a new fulness
and richness of life.
These are some of the dark ugly faces peering into ours. But there's
another face among them. It is a very bright face, with eyes all aglow,
and features all shining with light. It is the face of victory over every
danger and difficulty that threatens. Many believe that the emergency will
be met. The victory will surely be achieved. But the fact to mark keenly,
just now, is that it will be achieved only by a vigorous, masterful
gripping of the present pressing emergency.
Ah! God, may Thy Church--we men who make Thy Church, who are Thy
Church--may we see the emergency, and be gripped by it; for Jesus' sake;
aye, for men's sake; for the Church's sake; for our own sake; in Jesus'
The Past Failure
Some of God's Failures.
Where the Reproach of Failure Lies.
The Church Mission.
"Christ also Waits."
The Past Failure
Some of God's Failures.
God fails, sometimes. That is to say, the plan He has made and set His
heart upon fails.
Eden was God's plan for man. A weedless, thornless, world-garden of great
beauty and fruitfulness; a man and woman living together in sweet purity
and strong self-mastery; their children growing up in such an atmosphere,
trained for the highest and best; the earth with all its wondrous forces
developed and mastered by man; full comradeship and partnership between
man and all the living creation, beast and bird; and in the midst of all
God Himself walking and working in closest touch with man in all his
enterprises--that was God's Eden plan for man. But it failed.
The Israel plan was a failure, too. The main purpose of Israel being made
God's peculiar people has failed up to the present hour. That plan
originally was a simple shepherd people, living on the soil close to
nature. They were to be, not a democracy ruled by the direct vote of the
people in all things; nor a republic ruled by the vote of selected
representatives; nor yet a kingdom ruled over by the will of an autocrat;
but something quite distinct from all of these, what men have been pleased
to call a theocracy.
That is to say, God Himself was to be their ruler in a very real,
practical sense, directing and working with them in the working out of all
their national life. They were to combine all the best in each of these
forms of government, with a something added, not in any of them as men
They were to be wholly unlike the other nations, utterly unambitious
politically, neither exciting war upon themselves by others nor ever
making war upon others. Their great mission was to be a teacher-nation to
all the earth, teaching the great spiritual truths; and, better yet,
embodying these truths in their personal and national life.
But the plan failed. The glitter of the other nations turned them aside
from God's plan. They set up a kingdom, "like all the nations," very much
Then God worked with them where they would work with Him. He planned a
great kingdom to overspread the earth in its rule and blessed influence,
but not by the aggression of war and oppression. Their later literature is
all a-flood with the glory light of the coming king and kingdom. Yet when
the King came they rejected Him and then killed Him. They failed at the
very point that was to have been their great achievement. God's plan
failed. The Hebrew people from the point of view of the direct object of
their creation as a nation have been a failure up to the present hour.
God's choice for their first king, Saul, was a failure, too. No man ever
began life, nor king his rule, with better preparation and prospects. And
no career ever ended in such dismal failure. God's plan for the man had
Jesus' plan for Judas failed. The sharpest contrasts of possible good and
actual bad came together in his career in the most startling way. He
failed at the very point where he should have been strongest--his personal
loyalty to his Chief.
There can be no doubt that Jesus picked him out for one of His inner
circle because of his strong attractive traits. He had in him the making
of a John, the intimate, the writer of the great fourth Gospel. He might
have been a Peter, rugged in his bold leadership of the early Church.
But, though coached and companioned with, loved and wooed, up to the very
hour of the cowardly contemptible betrayal, he failed to respond even to
such influence as a Jesus could exert. Jesus planned Judas the apostle. He
became Judas the apostate, the traitor. He was to be a leader and teacher
of the Gospel. He became a miserable reproach and by-word of execration to
all men. Jesus' plan failed.
Where the Reproach of Failure Lies.
Will you please mark very keenly that the failure always comes because of
man's unwillingness to work with God? It always takes two for God's
plan--Himself and a man. All His working is through human partnership. In
all His working among men He needs to work with men.
Some good earnest people don't like, and won't like, that blunt statement
that God fails sometimes. It seems to them to cast a reproach upon God.
They may likely think it lacking in due reverence. But if these kind
friends will sink the shaft of their thinking just a little deeper down
into the mine of truth, they will find that the reproach is somewhere
There is reproach. Every failure that could have been prevented by
honest work and earnest faithfulness spells reproach. And there is
reproach here. But it isn't upon God; it is upon man. God's plan depends
upon man. It is always man's failure to do his simple part faithfully that
causes God's plan to fail.
There is a false reverence that fears to speak plainly of God. It seeks by
holding back some things, and speaking of others with very carefully
thought-out phrase, to bolster up God's side. True love has two marked
traits: it is always plain-spoken in telling all the truth when it should
be known; and it is always reverential. It can't be otherwise. The
bluntest words on the lips combine with the deepest reverence of spirit.
God doesn't need to be defended. The plain truth need never be apologized
It's a false reverence that holds back some of the truth, lest stating it
may seem to reflect on God's character. Such false reverence is a
distinct hindrance. It holds back from us some of the truth, and the
strong emphasis that the truth needs to arouse our attention and get into
our some-time thick heads. We men need the stirring up of plain truth,
told in plainest speech. The Church has suffered for lack of plain telling
of the truth. The deepest, tenderest reverence insists upon plain talk,
and reveals itself in such talk.
It is irreverent to hold back some of God's truth. For so men get wrong
impressions of God. It is unfair as well as irreverent. Theology has
sometimes been greatly taken up with adjusting its statements so as to
defend God's character. But the plainest, fullest telling of truth is the
greatest revealer of His great wisdom and purity and unfailing love.
There has been a good bit of teaching about "God's sovereignty". Behind
that mysterious, indefinite phrase has crept much that badly needs the
clear, searching sunlight of day. God's sovereignty is commonly thought of
as a sort of dead-weight force by which He compels things to come His way.
If a man stand in the way of God's plan so much the worse for the man. It
is thought of as a sort of mighty army, marching down the road, in close
ranks, with fixed bayonets. If you happen to be on that road better look
out very sharply, or you may get crushed under foot.
I do not mean that the theologians put it in that blunt fashion, nor that
I have ever heard any preacher phrase it in that way. I mean that as I
have talked with the plain common people, and listened to them, this is
the distinct impression that comes continually of what it means to them.
Then, too, the phrase has often been used, it is to be feared, as a
religious cloak to cover up the shortcomings and shirkings of those who
aren't fitting into God's plan.
God is a sovereign. The truth of His sovereignty is one of the most
gracious of all the truths in this blessed old Book of God. It means that
the great gracious purpose and plan of God will finally be victorious. It
means that in our personal lives He, with great patience and skill and
power, works through the tangled network of circumstances and
difficulties to answer our prayers, and to bring out the best results for
It means further that, with a diplomacy and patience only divine, He works
with and through the intricate meshes of men's wills and contrary
purposes to bring out good now--not good out of bad, that is impossible;
but good in spite of the bad--and that finally all opposition will be
overcome, or will have spent itself out in utter weakness, and so His
purposes of love will be fully victorious.
But the practical thing to burn in deep just now is this, that we can
hinder God's plan. His plans have been hindered, and delayed, and made
to fail, because we wouldn't work with Him.
And God lets His plan fail. It is a bit of His greatness. He will let a
plan fail before He will be untrue to man's utter freedom of action. He
will let a man wreck his career, that so through the wreckage the man may
see his own failure, and gladly turn to God. Many a hill is climbed only
through a swamp road.
God cares more for a man than for a plan. The plan is only for the sake of
the man. You say, of course. But, you know, many men think more of
carrying through the plan on which they have set themselves, regardless of
how it may hurt or crush some man in the way. God's plan is for man, and
so it is allowed to fail, for the man's sake.
Yet, because the plan is always made for man's sake, it will be carried
through, because by and by man will see it to be best Many a man's
character has been made only through the wrecking of his career. If God
had had His way He would have saved both life and soul, both the earthly
career and the heavenly character.
Let us stop thoughtfully, and remember that God has carefully thought out
a plan for every man, for each one of us. It is a plan for the life,
these human years; not simply for getting us to what we may have thought
of as a psalm-singing heaven, when we're worn out down here.
It is the best plan. For God is ambitious for us; more ambitious for you
and me than we are for ourselves, though few of us really believe that.
But He will carry out His plan--aye, He can carry it out only with our
hearty consent. He must work through our wills. He honors us in that
With greatest reverence be it said that God waits reverently, hat in hand,
outside the door of a man's will, until the man inside turns the knob and
throws open the door for Him to come in and carry out His plan. We can
make God fail by not working with Him. The greatest of all achievements of
action is to find and fit into God's plan.
The Church Mission.
Now, God had and has a plan for His Church. That plan is simply this: The
Church was to be His messenger to the nations of the earth. There are
other matters of vast importance committed to the Church, without doubt:
the service of worship and the training and developing of the life of its
members. But these, be it said very thoughtfully, are distinctly secondary
to the service of taking the Gospel to all men.
These two, the chief and the secondary, are interwoven, each contributing
to and dependent upon the other. But there is always a main purpose. And
that here, without question, is the carrying of the message of Jesus fully
to all the earth. In each generation the chief plan, to which all else was
meant to be contributory, was that all men should hear fully and winsomely
the great thrilling story of Jesus.
Shall I say that that plan has failed? It hurts too much even to repeat
such words. I will not say the Church has failed. But I will ask you to
note God's plan for the Church, and then in your inner heart to make your
own honest answer.
And in making it remember the practical point is this--the Church is you.
I am the Church. Its mission is mine. If I say it has failed I am talking
about myself. I can keep it from failing so far as part of it is
concerned, the part that I am. My concern is not to be asking abstractly,
theoretically, about the Church, but about so much of it as I am.
In annual church reports, and triennial and quadrennial, much space is
given to telling of the wealth of the Church. Of course, I suppose its
wealth is meant to be an index of all its work. It may seem a bit odd to
use the world's index-finger to point out our faithfulness to our Master's
will. It is used, of course, to impress the world in the way the world can
most quickly and easily understand.
But the Church was not meant by the Master to be a rich institution in
money and property; though it has grown immensely so. The Master's thought
was that its power and faithfulness should be revealed entirely in the
extent to which all men of all nations know about Himself and have been
won to Him.
If we think only a little bit into the past history of the Church, and
then into present world conditions, we know the answer to that hurting
question about the Church being a failure.
I know that many of you are thinking of the triumphs of the Church; of her
imperishable and incalculable influence upon the life of the world. And I
will join you heartily in that, some other time. Just now we are not
talking of that, but of just one particular fact of its history. One truth
at a time makes sharper outlines and brings the whole circle of truth out
more plainly. I love to sing,
"I love Thy Kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode;
The Church our blest Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood."
We shudder to attempt to think into what these centuries would have been
without the influence of the Church.
But at present we are talking about something else. Let me ask you,
softly, if God's plan for the Church was that it was to be His messenger
to all men, as you think back through nineteen centuries and then think
out into the moral world conditions to-day, would you say the plan had
succeeded? Or had--?
"Christ also Waits."
There's a bit of light here on that vexed question of the Lord's second
coming, about which good, earnest people differ so radically. The Master
said, you remember, that we were to be watching for His return. But many
ask, how can we be watching when it's been two thousand years since He
told us to watch, and the event seems as far off as ever?
I remember one day in a Bible class the lesson was in the twelfth of
Luke, about watching for the Lord's return. Some of the class seemed to
think that it means that we should be in a constant attitude of
expectancy, looking for His return. But one man, an earnest, godly old
minister said, "How can you be looking expectantly for a thousand
But will you mark keenly that the teaching of Jesus Himself was that His
return depended on His followers' doing a certain thing? When all men
had been told fully of Jesus, then He was to return and carry out a
further part of His plan. Clearly if the part we were to play has not been
done, it delays His part. The telling of all men about Jesus seems to bear
a very close connection with what will occur when Jesus returns.
Some of our good friends have been much taken up with figuring out when
the Lord would come back. Some of them seem to have great skill in making
calendars. They even go so far as to fix exact dates. They seem to forget
that word of the Master, "In such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man
cometh." If you think He will come at a certain given time, then you can
know one thing certainly, that He won't come then.
The only calendar we men have is a calendar of dates, fitted to the
movements of the sun and moon. God has a calendar, too, but it is a
calendar of events, not of dates. The completion of His plans doesn't
depend on so many revolutions of the earth about the sun, but on the
faithful revolution of His followers in their movement around the earth
telling men of Jesus.
It looks very much as though the Master's coming has been delayed, and His
plans delayed, because we have not done the preparatory part assigned us.
"The restless millions wait the light,
Whose coming maketh all things new.
Christ also waits; but men are slow and late.
Have we done what we could? Have I? Have you ?"
A little fellow, of a very poor family, in the slum section of one of our
large cities, was induced to attend a mission Sunday-school. By and by, as
a result of the teacher's faithful work, he became a Christian. He seemed
quite bright and settled in his new Christian faith and life.
Some one, surely in a thoughtless mood, tried to test or shake his simple
faith in God by a question. He was asked, "If God loves you, why doesn't
He take better care of you? Why doesn't He tell some one to send you warm
shoes and some coal and better food?"
The little fellow thought a moment, and then with big tears starting in
his eyes, said, "I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets."
Without knowing it, the boy touched the sore point in the Church's
history. I wonder if it is the sore point with you or me.
The Coming Victory
Failure Swallowed By Victory.
The Revised Missionary Motto.
Ahead, But Behind.
In A Swift Current.
Power Of Leadership.
A Minority Movement.
A Great World-chorus.
The Oratorio Of Victory.
The Coming Victory
Failure Swallowed by Victory.
But God's failures are only for a while. They are real. There is the
tragic element in them. There is the deep, sad tinge of disappointment
running throughout this old Book of God. Yet the failures are only for a
time. Sometimes it seems a very long time, especially if you are living
through some of it. But the time reaches eagerly to an end. Victory comes.
And God's victory will be so great as to make us completely forget the
failures that marred the road.
The Eden plan was more than a plan. It was a prophecy of the final
outcome. The Book of God begins with failure, but it ends with a glowing
picture of great victory, painted with rose colors. Every feature of
beauty and of good in Eden has grown greatly in John's Revelation climax.
The garden of Genesis becomes a garden-city. All the simplicity and purity
of garden life, and all the development and power represented by city
life, are brought together. There is now a river of life, and the
tree of life has grown into a grove.
And God isn't through with that nation of Israel yet. The Jew can't be
lost. In every nation under heaven he can be found to-day, a walking
reminder of God's plan. Every Jew, in whatever ghetto he may be found, is
an unconscious prophecy of a coming fulfilment of God's purpose. The
strange racial immortality of the Jew is a puzzle from every standpoint,
except God's. He can't be killed off; though men have never ceased trying
to kill him off. The Jew looms up bigger to-day than for many generations.
The present strange restless Jewish longing for national existence again,
that will not down, spells out the coming victory of God's plan after
centuries of failure. And even though the present tide may run out toward
ebb, it will be to gather force for a new and fuller flood. When God's
plan works out the world will have a wholly new idea of national life, and
of a world-power without army or navy or any show of force, touching all
men, and touching them only to bless.
And though King Saul failed, there was already the ruddy David, out among
the sheep, waiting the anointing oil, and carrying about in his person his
nation's greatest king.
Jesus' Judas failed to realize the promise of his earlier days. He struck
the record note for baseness. But Paul was being prepared by blood
inheritance and scholarly training. Under the touch of the Master's own
hand he became the Church's greatest leader in its life-mission. If Judas
struck the lowest note, Paul rang the changes on the highest note of
personal loyalty to Jesus and to His world-wide passion and purpose.
And the Church has waked up. I said, you remember, last evening, that if
you look over the whole history of the Church since its birthday on
Pentecost, you are pained by the sore fact that the chief mission
entrusted to it has been for the most part forgotten. There has been more
forgetting of it, and neglecting it, than fulfilling it.
Yet always, be it keenly noted, in every generation of these centuries
there have been those whose vision of Olivet never dimmed. There have
always been those who have tried faithfully to carry out the Church's
great mission. The darkest days have never been without some of the
brightest light, made all the brighter by the surrounding night.
The Revised Missionary Motto.
But there's a new chapter of the Church's life being written as we talk
together. Its writing began in the closing twilight of the eighteenth
century. That chapter isn't finished yet. Some of its best pages are now
being written, with more and better clearly coming.
Its first lines were written by a very common pen. Carey's English
cobbler-shop became a sounding-board whose insistent, ringing messages
began to waken the Church. The Church is waking up, and shaking itself,
and tightening on its clothes, for the greatest work yet to be done in
fulfilling the life-mission entrusted to it.
A hundred years ago the fire of God found fresh kindling stuff in the
hearts and brains of a few young college fellows in an old New England
village. The sore need of the world crowded in upon them by night and by
day. But they were few, and young, and unknown. And the task was
stupendous. The rain-storm of a Sabbath afternoon drove them to the
shelter of a hay-stack. And the storm of the world's need drove them to
the shelter of prayer, and then to the shelter of a great purpose. With
simple faith in God, and strong devotion to the great neglected task, they
spoke out to the Church the thrilling words, "We can do it if we will".
And on that same spot a hundred years later the Church gathered. Those
intense words had been heard. The Church had waked up. Men of long service
in far-away lands stood with those of the home circle. They talked of the
past, but far more of the present and future. They revised the century-old
motto. No group of scholars in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey
ever did finer revision work. They said, "We can do it, and we will". No
greater tribute to the memory of the faithful little hay-stack group was
ever made than in that changed motto.
The young collegians' bold cry had sounded out throughout the Church. And
the Church heard and roused up. The modern missionary movement of the
Church is the most marked development of the past century of church
history. It can be said that the Church of our day in its missionary
activity far exceeds the early Church. That is to say, in certain
particulars we have exceeded.
It is common to refer to the missionary zeal of the first centuries.
Fresh from the Master's touch, the early Church was chiefly a missionary
church. One great purpose gripped it, and that was to take the news of
Jesus everywhere. And they went everywhere. We know most about Paul's
journeys in the Grecian and Roman worlds. But there is good evidence that
there is another "Acts of Apostles" beside the one bound up in this Bible.
Out to the farthest reaches of the earth they seemed to have gone in those
early days, preaching and winning men and establishing church societies.
The bulk of the modern movement is without doubt greatly in excess of
the early movement. The number of men out in various fields, the amount of
money being given annually by the Church in America and Great Britain and
the Continental countries is so much greater as to leave comparison
In the thoroughness of organization, the elements of permanency, the great
variety of means used such as hospitals, schools, literature, and
industrial helps, the present probably exceeds by far the early movement.
The statesmanlike study by church leaders of the whole world-field, the
steadiness of movement year after year, in spite of difficulties and
discouragements, the careful systematic effort to inform and arouse the
home church--these are marked features of the present foreign-mission
campaign. They are such as to awaken the deepest admiration of any
thoughtful onlooker. In all of this the modern Church is making a wholly
Ahead, But Behind.
Yet, while all this is true, it can be said just as truly that the Church,
as a whole, is so far behind the primitive Church as, again, practically
to leave comparison out of the question. They were so far ahead in the
mass of their movement that we are scarcely in the lists at all. Then
the whole Church was an active missionary society. Every one went and
preached. The nearest approach to it in modern times probably is the
movement of the native Church of Korea. This foreign people seems to have
caught the early spirit. Our heathen brothers are taking their place as
pace-setters for the Church.
By contrast with that, the modern activity has been by a minority, really
a small minority, though a steadily growing one. The leaders have
struggled heroically against enormous odds in the backward pull of the
Then they went everywhere. That is, they went everywhere that they
could, so far as open doors, or doors that could be pried open, let them.
We have gone actually farther, and to more places probably, but we haven't
begun to go everywhere that we could.
Our ability to go, and the urgent requests for us to come, would carry us
to thousands of places not yet touched. If we began to do things as the
early Church people did, it would stand out as one of the greatest
movements in the history of the race. If a small minority of us have made
such enormous strides what could the whole of us do if we would!
In a Swift Current.
The momentum of the present missionary movement has been startling. It
suggests that we are on the eve of an advance undreamed of by the most
enthusiastic. The last twenty-odd years have seen progress clear
outstripping that of the previous hundred, though all built upon the
foundations so well laid by the earlier leaders of the century.
In answer to the earnest persistent prayer of a few, the Spirit of God
found new stuff ready for His kindling fires among the colleges. The story
of the prayer of a few that preceded the forming of the Student Volunteer
Movement is thrilling. That great movement was literally conceived and
brought forth in the travail of prayer. Its wide-spread influence upon the
colleges, and then upon the churches; its early campaigning, its
remarkable leaders, its great conventions, the steadiness of its growing
influence through more than twenty years, and the distinct mark it has
made upon the whole mission propaganda abroad, make up one of the most
thrilling chapters of church history, ancient or modern. To-day its
influence encircles the earth. Its volunteers are found everywhere.
Its reflex influence upon that other movement, the Young Men's Christian
Association, has been no small part of its work. The two have been
interwoven from the beginning, each contributing immeasurably to the
other. The practical power of the Young Men's Christian Association on
foreign soil is recognized by the Church, and by foreign governments, as
of a value clear beyond calculation or statement.
It has come to be one of the great expressions of the unifying spirit of
the Church on foreign-mission soil. Our churches at home may go their
separate ways, largely. But the pressure of the sore need of the foreign
world has been welding the churches there together remarkably. The
Christian Associations, both of young men and young women, belonging to
all the Church and representing all, have held a strategic position in
action, and been of inestimable service to the Church in its missionary
The Young People's Missionary Movement, whose long, warm fingers are
reaching throughout the whole Church, and the newer Laymen's Missionary
Movement with its aggressive campaigning, are both remarkable expressions
of the new uprising.
The women of the Church were forehanded in their earnest working and
praying. They were up at dawn of day. Their influence is mighty, clear
beyond any words to express. And now at last the men are waking up, and
the new life is showing itself anew within organic church lines. Men's
missionary conventions, with great attendances, are swinging into line,
and revealing the awakeness of the Church.
Power of Leadership.
The enormous power of personal influence and of devoted leadership has
been most marked. In the throng of strong men that lead in all this
activity there are two men that by common consent stand out big in the
group. Young men they are, both of them, not yet in the full prime of
their powers. One has a genius for organization probably never surpassed,
if equalled, by military general, or Jesuit chief, or modern captain of
industry. The other has mental grasp, keenness of thought, and power of
persuasive speech not surpassed by any, if equalled. Both are marked by a
singularly deep, tender spirituality, a rare gift of leadership, a poise
of judgment, and a devotion to the Church's great mission as true and
steady as the polar star.
Around these two young men has grouped up in no small measure this later
missionary activity. And it is probably quite within the mark to say that
no stronger, abler men can be found in any of the great activities of life
to-day in either of these two great English-speaking peoples. It is surely
significant that the modern missionary movement rallies around such
It is worthy of special note, too, that the body of men to whom is
entrusted the administration of this vast network of foreign service, the
foreign-board members and secretaries of the Church, have developed such
remarkable power and skill. No body of men has problems more intricate and
exacting and difficult. And no body of men in any sphere of activity has
shown greater diplomacy and astuteness, hard sound sense, and untiring
Some good friends are sometimes disposed to be critical of methods and
management. They think the affair could be conducted better in some
details which they think important. Well, it would be surprising if it
were not so. The same criticisms are made of every governmental and great
industrial enterprise. Everything human seems to make progress by
correcting and improving. But the thing for you and me to keep a
critically keen eye upon is this: that no such detail be allowed to affect
by so much as a hair's weight the steadfast ardor of our support.
No strong man in the thick of the great driving purpose of his life is
turned aside or stopped by the biting or buzzing of a few insects. If even
they can't be brushed aside, let them buzz and bite, but don't let the
great passion of a life be affected by them. Indeed, they will be clean
forgot, even while they are remembered, by the man who has been caught and
swept by the fire of his Master's passion for a world.
A Minority Movement.
Yet, be it keenly marked, these great strides have been made by a
minority, who have followed the strong leaders. The whole Church is not
yet awake. Many protest strenuously against being waked up. The
alarm-clocks bother them. Sometimes one is inclined to think that the
foreign boards are peculiarly placed between a refrigerator and a furnace.
Missionaries come back home fresh from the front fairly aflame with the
fervor of their enthusiasm. Their convictions of what could be done, and
should be done, are apt to be spoken out with great positiveness. They
seem to some to suggest in an uncomfortable way the thought of a glowing
furnace. And many in the home churches seem able to listen with such
indifference as to suggest to these returned men and women the chilling
air of an ice-box. In between the two sits the Church board engaging in
the difficult task of trying to equalize the temperature. But that's
merely a detail in passing.
The great fact to mark is that never has the missionary movement bulked so
large. And never have such broad statesmanlike plans, such aggressiveness
of spirit, coupled with deep devotion, marked the Church in its great
One morning at a popular summer resort on the Long Island Sound coast
thousands of bathers were enjoying the surf-bathing. The life-saving crew
were stationed for duty, on the lookout for any accident. A gentleman
standing by one of the crew asked him how he could tell if help were
needed. There were thousands of bathers, and a perfect babel of noises.
The weather-beaten man, bronzed and toughened and trained to keenness in
his work by years of service, said, "I can always hear a cry of distress,
no matter how great the noise and confusion. There never yet has been a
cry of need I haven't heard."
For a long time the confusion of noises bothered the Church ears. But now
the cry of distress from over the wide seas is being heard again
distinctly, and is being responded to splendidly. The very earnestness of
response and effort is a forerunner of sure victory.
A Great World-chorus.
I recall vividly a scene in Albert Hall in London nearly fifteen years
ago. A remarkable gathering from all parts of the world had come together
to celebrate the jubilee of the Young Men's Christian Association. About
two thousand men had come from the ends of the earth. It was a
world-gathering. There were sturdy Englishmen, cosmopolitan Americans,
canny Scots, quick-witted Irishmen, sweet-voiced, fervid-spirited
Welshmen, and courtly, suave Frenchmen.
Fair-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavians mingled with olive-skinned,
black-eyed sons of Italy. The steady-going Hollander and the intense
German mingled their deep gutturals with the songs of praise and the
discussions. A few turbaned heads, inscrutably quiet almond-eyes, and
others of energetic step and speech brought to mind the Great Orient,
India and China and Japan. Men won up out of the savagery of Africa sat
with Islanders from the Pacific.
They came from many communions and represented many creeds, and spoke as
many tongues as the Jerusalem crowds on the day of Pentecost. But they
were drawn together not by their attractive diversity, but because of
their oneness. The drawing-power of Jesus was the magnet that drew them.
It was the music of His Name that made all their tongues and languages
blend and chord in sweet harmony.
This night I speak of they had gathered in the great oval-shaped Albert
Hall opposite Hyde Park. With the Londoners, probably, fully ten thousand
persons were present. And I think I shall never forget the vast volume of
sound, as, led by a chorus of Scandinavian students, they all united in
singing, "All hail the power of Jesus' Name."
They didn't sing it to our American tune of "Coronation," but to the old
English "Miles Lane." That tune, you remember, repeats over four times the
words, "Crown Him," in the last line, gradually increasing in volume, and
the fourth time touched with a bit of quieting awe.
I can close my eyes now, and see that great world-gathering and hear again
the sweet rhythmic thunder of their singing:
"And crown Him,
Crown Him, Lord of all."
No one can tell to another the thrill and thrall of such a sight and
sound. It was all unconsciously a bit of prophecy acted out, faint but
distinct, of the great day of victory that is coming.
The Oratorio of Victory.
Have you ever noticed the Oratorio of Revelation? Lovers of music should
study the book of the Revelation of Saint John, for its mighty choruses.
It is striking just now to notice the double key-note of that closing
climactic book of this old Bible. It is this: Satan chained, and Christ
crowned. But note for a moment the oratorio sounding its music through
It opens with a solo in the first chapter. John begins writing with
steady pen until he seems to get a glimpse of Jesus. Then his pen drops
the story, and he begins singing:
"Unto Him that loveth us,
And loosed us from our sin by His own blood;
And hath made us a kingdom,
Priests unto His God and Father;
To Him the glory and the dominion
Forever and ever."
In chapter four comes a quartette. The four living creatures round
about the throne take up the refrain of John's solo. And, as they sing,
their song is caught up by a sextuple quartette, twenty-four
white-robed, crowned men before the throne.
In chapter five the Angel Chorus swings in. They are grouped round
about the quartette, and the twenty-four elders. John begins to count
them. Then his figures give out. His knowledge of mathematics is too
limited. There were ten thousand times ten thousand, and unnumbered
thousands of thousands. As far as his eye could reach, to left and right,
before and behind, was one vast sea of angel faces.
And John listened enraptured and awed, as their wondrous volume of rhythm
rang and thundered out. Sweet sopranos and mellow contraltos; ringing
tenors and deep basses; first one, then the other, back and forth
responding to each other, then all together; marvellous music it must have
Then the refrain of their song is caught up by the Creation Chorus.
Every living creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, as
though unable to resist the contagious sweep, catch up the music and add
their own to it. We don't commonly associate music with the animal
creation, nor with nature. It has been said that all the sounds of nature
are keyed in the minor, as though some suffering had affected them. We
talk of the sighing of the wind, the moaning of the sea-waves, and the
mourning of the doves. Though the singing-birds must be excepted. They
seem to have caught and kept some of the upper strains.
But evidently something has occurred to strike a new key-note. For now
they take up the refrain of the joyous song of the others, and increase
the mighty song by their own.
In chapter seven the music has ceased or softened down and is taken up
afresh by the Martyr Chorus. Again John's figures give out. He
declares that nobody could count the multitudes that make up this chorus.
It is a polyglot chorus. They sing in many different languages, but all
blend into full rhythm. It's a scarred chorus, too. These have been
through great tribulation. Their scars tell the mute story of the
fierceness of the fight, and the steadiness of their faith.
Through their singing runs a distinct strain of the minor. Its strangely
sweet cadence, learned in many an hour of pain, runs as an under-chording
through the song of triumph that now fills their hearts and mouths. And as
they sing, the angel chorus and the quartette drop to their knees, and
swell the wondrous refrain.
In chapter fourteen comes the music of the Chorus of Pure Ones. They
are gathered close about the person of Jesus. They sing to the
accompaniment of a great company of harpers. They sing with a peculiar
clearness in their tones. Theirs is a new song. Purity always makes a
music of its own, unapproachable for sweetness and clearness.
The Victors' Chorus rings out its song in chapter fifteen. These
have been in the thickest of the fighting. The smoke of the battle has
tanned their faces. They have struggled with the enemy at close range, hip
and thigh, nip and tuck, close parry and hard thrust. And they have come
off victors. The ring of triumph resounds in their voices, as to the sound
of their own harps, harps of God, they add their tribute of song to all
And at the last comes the great Hallelujah Chorus, in chapter
nineteen. In response to the precentor's call, they all join their
voices in one vast melody. The Quartette, the Sextuples, the Angels, the
Creation, the Martyrs, the Pure-Ones, the Victors--all sing their song
John tries to tell what it was like. His mind went quickly back to earlier
days in his home city, Jerusalem, when thousands of pilgrims crowded the
temple areas and narrow streets, and spread out over the hills. The
unceasing sound of their voices in speech and in their pilgrim songs of
praise comes back to him. He says it was like that.
But that isn't satisfactory. It is so much more. He thinks of how the
ocean-waves keep pounding, with cannon-roar, on the rocky beach of his
Patmos prison isle. So he said it was like that. But still more is needed
to give an idea of the vast volume of sound. And he remembers how
sometimes the thunders crashed and boomed and roared above him as he lay
in his solitude on that lonely bit of sea-girt land. It was like that. It
was like all of these together.
And what is it they are singing? Well, there's a variety in the wording of
their song, as well as in their voices. But through all runs a refrain
that brings back to me the great London chorus. It is this--
"And crown Him!
Yes, Crown Him
Lord of all."
It is the rehearsal of the great Oratorio of Victory that we are all to
join in singing.
Forces that Win.
The Divine Law of Leadership.
Reaching Out for a World.
"Find My World, And Win It Back."
Forces That Win.
God's world is full of winning forces. The great ball of fire around which
our earth revolves is the greatest winning force in the life of the earth.
It is constantly winning the earth to itself with a power unseen but
tremendous, beyond anybody's power to calculate. The swing of the earth
away from the sun is being continually overcome. By an immense drawing
power it steadily holds the earth where it can pour down its wealth of
warmth and light and life into it.
It woos the moisture up from river and lake and sea, until its gravity
partner in the centre of the earth woos it back again in refreshing rain
and sheltering snow. It wins out of the earth's warm heart bounteous
harvests of grains and fruits, the wealth of forests which affects the
earth's life so radically, the flowers with their beauty and fragrance,
and the soft carpeting of green to ease the journey for our feet. All the
life and beauty of the earth is due to the winning power of the sun.
God Himself is the greatest winning force in all our world. Everywhere men
feel the upward drawing toward Him. They may protest against church
organizations and creeds, against teachings and long-settled practices and
habits of thought, as they do so much, but there is always everywhere a
longing in the human heart for God. It is the answer to the longing of His
heart for us.
And man is a great winning force. Everywhere men are attracted to each
other. There is a winning power within each of us that draws certain
others irresistibly to us. And there are winning forces in life that each
one of us is powerfully affected by. The old home of earlier days has a
marvellous power of attraction for most men. The old fireside, the
familiar rooms, the subtle aroma that seems inseparable from the very
bricks and boards--who has not felt the tremendous drawing power of these?
What a strange power of attraction a man's mother-tongue has for him. How
the heart will give a quick leap, in a foreign land, when, amid a
confusing jargon of strange sounds, all unexpectedly some one speaks the
dear old familiar words. The person speaking may not be specially
congenial or attractive to us, but that sound his tongue gives draws us to
The Divine Law of Leadership.
Now I want to talk with you a bit about the forces at hand for winning our
old world back to our Father's heart and home. God means us to use all the
attractive powers we have in this great world-wooing and world-winning
task. The world is to be won back, not driven. Men drive men, when they
can. But God woos and wins. Man's coming back must be by his own glad,
sweet consent. God won't have it any other way.
There are certain strangely winsome forces at our command for winning man.
They are mighty in their drawing power. But there are counter-currents
that divert and hinder their influence. We need to be familiar with these
winning forces, and with the counter-currents, too.
There are seven great forces at our command for this blessed service of
soul-winning and world-winning. They are not peculiar to foreign-mission
service, for the foreign service itself is not essentially different from
other service, except in the greatness of its need. They are the forces
for use in all our winning work.
Two of these are distinctly human forces. The first is an organization,
the Church. And then that of which the Church is made up, men and women; I
mean the power of personality, developed and consecrated personality.
There are two divine forces that work through the human--Jesus and the
Holy Spirit. I have put these second in order, because they work through
the human. The leadership is in human hands. The initiative of all action
is with us. Of course, if you go a bit deeper in, the initiative is with
God who moves upon our hearts to make us act. But on the distinctly human
level the beginning of service rests in human hands, and these two
mighty, almighty, divine forces work through us.
The divine law of leadership and of cooperation in leadership has not
always been clearly understood. And there has been bad delay often because
of the lack of understanding. Our Lord Jesus in the days of His humanity
surrendered Himself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in His great
mission to men. The Spirit worked through Jesus. After Jesus' Ascension
the order was reversed. The Spirit yielded Himself to the control of the
glorified Son of God. Jesus worked through the Spirit. It was Jesus who
sent down the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost for the special mission
begun that day.
And now, with the greatest awe coming into our hearts at the thought, be
it said that these two work through our human leadership. The leadership
in service among men is human leadership. The wondrous Spirit of God works
through our leadership to reveal Jesus to men in all His winsomeness and
There can be no power at all in our human action and leadership except as
the Spirit leads and controls us, and is allowed to. And, on the other
side, we must not forget, though it has sometimes been forgotten, that
God's working waits upon human action and leadership. Memory quickly
brings up the fact, so often repeated in the history of the Church, that
when men have failed to respond to God's call His work has fallen behind.
Whenever a new chapter of earnest service has been begun it has always
been through a new leadership. Some man has listened to God, and let Him
have the free use of himself in reaching out to other men.
God needs men. He needs you and me. We are the wire for the transmission
of His current of power. The wire is useless without the current. And the
current must have the wire along which to travel to its place of service.
The divine power is through human action and human leadership. The power
is all divine. And the means through which it works is all human. Jesus
and the Holy Spirit work through the Church and through each one of us who
Then there are three spirit forces, or influences, of mighty power in
human hands; namely, prayer, and money, and sacrifice.
To-night we want to talk about the first of the two human forces--the
We ought to remind ourselves of just what that word "Church" means in this
connection. It has many meanings. There are at least two that we should
note here in thinking of it as a great winning force. In its broadest
meaning, the word is commonly used for the whole group of church
organizations taken together, the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox,
the Protestant, and the few primitive societies that still retain their
old original organization. In the deeper, less used meaning, it stands
for the body of those men and women everywhere who are trusting Jesus
Christ, and are allied with Him in the purpose of their hearts.
These two meanings, of course, should be the same. All who trust Jesus
should be in the church organizations. And all who are in the
organizations should be there because of their relation to Jesus. Whatever
the facts regarding that may be, the mission of each is the same. And it
is with that mission that we are concerned just now.
Jesus planned that His Church should be a great man-winning and
world-winning organization. The mission of the Church is to take Jesus
to all men. It is God's messenger of His truth to all. In that it is the
direct lineal descendant and heir of the Hebrew nation.
That nation was chosen to be a messenger or missionary nation. That was
the one purpose of its special creation as a nation. It was not to be as
the other nations, in the characteristics that commonly mark strong
nations. It was to be a teacher-nation, receiving its message of truth
direct from God, embodying that message in its own life, personally and
nationally, and giving it out clearly and fully and winsomely to all the
nations of the earth. And, in spite of its failures and breaks, that
mission was accomplished to a remarkable extent.
The Church is its heir. It was born in the Jewish nation. It became the
heir to its world-wide messenger mission. The great commission given by
Jesus as He was leaving is the Church's commission for its great
life-work. It was spoken to the group of Jewish men who were the nucleus
of that body called the Church, that came into being on the day of
Pentecost. That ringing, "Go ye into all the world and preach my gospel to
the whole creation," is the Master's command to the Church which He
brought into being. That is the Church's marching order by which its life
is to be controlled and its faithfulness judged.
The scene of the Church's birth gives a vivid picture of its
world-mission. It was born in a world-gathering. It was a world-church in
its make-up at its birth. Men from all parts of the world became united in
one body by the Spirit's touch that great Church birthday. Its birth-gift,
the power of speaking many tongues, reveals at once the wide sweep of its
It was the Master's plan that His Church should speak all the languages of
the earth then and now and always, as well as the language of heaven, the
language of love. So every man would learn of Jesus in his native speech.
The language of the cradle and of love-making and of the fireside, the
language that most quickly kindles the fires in a man's heart, that was
the language to be used in carrying Jesus to every man. That was Jesus'
plan. The Church was rarely equipped with winning power for a
world-service on its birthday in the gift of tongues.
Of course, this is not the only mission of the Church. That is to say,
there are other purposes necessarily included in this. Taking the Gospel
of Jesus to all men means more than merely taking it and telling it. The
teaching and training and developing of those won to Jesus is an
inseparable part of the Church mission. The great service of worship has
always been recognized as a vital part of the Church life. Sometimes
indeed these have been thought of, and still are thought of, as its only
mission. But they grow distinctly out of the chief mission and are
distinctly contributory and secondary to it. Indeed, they come into being
only through the faithful doing of the chief task. Men were won. Then they
met for worship and for training.
Reaching Out For a World.
The Church of those first years thoroughly understood what its great
mission was to be. The first chapters of the Book of Acts vividly describe
the ideal Church as planned by the Master, and as understood by those who
felt His own personal touch upon themselves. Everybody went. They went to
everybody. They went everywhere. There is pretty clear evidence that they
actually went everywhere that men could go. They held their lives, and
even their property, subject to the one great gripping purpose.
The greatest leader of the first century of the Church, Paul, who
contributed most to its literature and exerted the greatest influence
upon its life, was above all else a missionary leader. He went practically
everywhere. He didn't go hastily, but by carefully thought-out plans. He
won men to Christ, organized them into church societies, taught them, and
sent them out to win others.
He worked in and out of the world's great city centres of his time.
Ephesus, the Asiatic centre, Corinth, the centre of Greek influence, and,
Rome, the centre of the world's governing power, were the scenes of his
longest and most thorough campaigns. His choice of the centres was a
master's strategic choice. For these centres sent their influence out to
the ends of the earth. Paul's body might be in Ephesus or Corinth or Rome,
but his thought and heart were on the world these cities reached by
constant streams of influence.
And to these churches which he had won out of the raw stuff of heathenism
he taught the same world-wide message. They became filled with this same
world-wide spirit. The Thessalonian and Corinth Churches made their
winning power felt throughout Greece and wherever Greek culture had gone,
that is to say, everywhere. The Church in Rome sent out the message of
Jesus from its golden centre of all Roman roads, out to the farthest
reaches of those far-reaching roads.
It is striking, though not surprising, that the days of the Church's
missionary activity have been the days of its greatest purity and vigor.
When the vision of the Master's face on Olivet, and the ringing sound of
His "Go ye" have been lost, the Church has written pages that would gladly
be blotted out.
The Church has been a winning force beyond any power of calculation or
words of description. All that has been done has been done through its
activity and leadership. It is to-day a tremendous winning force, reaching
its warm hands out to the very ends of the earth, and drawing men to
Jesus. With our earnest prayer it will exert a yet mightier influence in
taking Jesus to all men and in winning men everywhere to Jesus.
The Church is organized Christendom. It stands for the power of
organization in God's service. All the vast power of the men and women
whose hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit can be brought to bear
at a given point with tremendous force through the Church. That was and is
the Master's plan.
Organization is rhythmic action, a crowd of men working by agreement as
one man. Never was the world so impressed with the almost magical power of
organization as to-day. Never has organization been brought up to so high
a pitch of efficiency. The unparalleled progress of the world in our day
is due to the marvellous skill that has been developed in organized
Now, this almost omnipotent power of organization was meant to be used in
winning the world back home. That is the meaning of the birth of the
Church on that great Pentecost day. It is remarkable that the most
perfectly matured bit of organization, in this day of matured and
perfected organizations, is a church. For by common consent of thoughtful
students the most finely adjusted and thoroughly matured bit of human
machinery is the Roman Catholic Church.
If such a masterpiece of organization were controlled by the Spirit that
controls in these early chapters of Acts, what tremendous and thorough and
rapid work would be done in world-winning! And that is the goal toward
which we should be driving. The evangelization of the whole world is an
easy task for the whole Church. It would be a stupendous, if not an
impossible task for the few. It has been a gigantic task for the leaders,
who by dint of great planning and persuasion and earnest pleading have
done as much as has been done. But if the whole Church or half of it were
to go at it as earnestly as men go at other things, it would be an easy
I remember one October morning walking across an old smoke-begrimed bridge
that spans the Ohio at Cincinnati. My eye was caught by a dingy sign in
large plain letters nailed up in a prominent place. It simply, said,
"Processions in crossing this bridge must break step." That was all. But
it was imperative. It was a law. The processions must break step. The
same men might cross the bridge, in as large numbers, at the same time,
but they must not keep step.
The authorities knew perfectly well that for a body of men to march in
step, every left foot set down at once, the impact of every right foot
striking at the same moment, would so--I do not say, add to the force
exerted--would so multiply the force exerted upon the bridge as to
endanger its safety. The power of concerted action is immense beyond any
power of conception. Every bit of power at command can so be brought to
bear at one point with a force beyond any words to express.
Our Master reverses for us the old bridge sign. Out from Pentecost rings
this word: "Let my followers all form in line, close ranks, and move out
to a world conquest, and--keep step." That command of His will make a
winning force so great as to shorten up the world's present calendars, and
shorten up the world's pain, and lengthen out the new life that will come
to untold numbers through Jesus.
"Find My World and Win it Back."
Nearly forty years ago David Livingstone, one of the Church's great
world-winning pioneers, was lost in the depths of equatorial Africa. That
is to say, he had advanced so far ahead of everybody else that the rest of
us lost track of him, and so we called him lost. Perhaps we got the use of
the word twisted, and we were the lost ones because we hadn't kept up. He
had gone where the Church was told to go, but the rest of us had lingered
behind, and so the main column became detached from its leader. Everybody
was talking about the lost leader.
James Gordon Bennett, the owner of the New York Herald, sent a telegram
to one of its correspondents, Henry M. Stanley. Bennett was in Paris, and
Stanley at Gibraltar. The telegram summoned Stanley to come to Paris at
once. Stanley went, reached Paris at midnight, knocked at the great
newspaper-man's door, and asked what was wanted. "Find Livingstone," was
the short, blunt reply. "How much money do you place at my disposal?"
asked Stanley. "Fifty thousand dollars, or a larger sum. Never mind about
the money; find Livingstone."