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THE Students' Lectures on Missions at Princeton Theological Seminary, which form the basis of the book now issued, were delivered by the author in the spring of 1896. The subject treated-"The Sociological Aspects of Foreign Missions "-was suggested to him by the students themselves, especially by members of the Sociological Institute and of the Missionary Society of the Seminary, with the special request that it be chosen for consideration. It has proved an absorbing and fruitful theme. The interest which it elicited was shown by requests from the faculties of Auburn, Lane, and Western Theological Seminaries to have the course repeated at those institutions after its delivery at Princeton. The lectures were limited to an hour each, but in preparing them for publication they have been recast, for the most part rewritten, and greatly expanded. This is especially true of the second lecture, and will be so in the case of the sixth, which will appear in the second volume.
It was apparent from the scope of the subject, and the range of data required to treat it intelligently and with any basis of authority, that no adequate discussion was possible without much fresh and explicit information. The effort was made to obtain this not only from the current literature of missions, but directly by correspondence with missionaries in all parts of the world. A carefully prepared circular, with detailed questions upon special aspects of the theme, was sent to over three hundred missionaries, representing various societies in many lands. The replies were of the greatest value and pertinence, and gave to the author an abundant supply of data from which to collate his subject-matter and upon which to establish his generalizations. Thus through the kindness and courtesy of missionaries an unexpected basis of testimony has been provided for an intelligent judgment as to the sociological scope of missions, and for a broad survey of this somewhat neglected phase of the subject. The investigation was entered upon
with the conviction that it was a promising, but only partially recognized, side-light to missions. It was soon found to yield such varied data of significance and value that a fresh evidential import was given to it, and it became apparent also that it shed a new lustre over the whole field of mission work.
The original authorities to be consulted were not in this instance ancient documents, but living men and women who were able to give expert opinions based upon personal experience. The assertion, sometimes whimsically made, that missionaries cannot be trusted to give reliable information concerning the religious and social status of nonChristian lands is in itself improbable and not justified by experience. The best knowledge which the world has to-day of the social condition and spiritual history of distant peoples whose inner life can only be known by close contact and long observation, is from Christian missionaries,1 whose statements, moreover, are generally fully paralleled by abundant testimony from candid and authoritative lay sources. The moral dreariness and terrible realism of much that they have had to report has made the world half willing to regard it as overdrawn or based upon a misjudgment of the facts. It is sufficiently clear, however, that after all their testimony is true and unimpeachable, and their words the honest reflection of realities, while they themselves are not unlike that ideal artist portrayed by Kipling's graphic pen, who
"Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of
With the resources at his command which have been mentioned, and as the result of a diligent search through the reports and periodicals of many missionary societies for some years past, the author has purposely multiplied references and notes, with a view to facilitating the use of the volumes either as a text-book or as collateral reading by students of foreign missions. The information given in the notes is worthy of confidence and in many instances not easily accessible, at least in collated form. The author-in common, he is sure, with his readers-desires to express to all who have so kindly contributed to the subject-matter of the volumes his grateful acknowledgments and large indebtedness. He has tried, as far as possible, to designate the individuals from whom he quotes, but a burden of obligation of a kind too general to admit of special acknowledgment still remains, for which he can only render his thanks. He must also express his conviction that were it not for the help thus freely given, the book would have lost.
1 Jevons, "Introduction to the History of Religion," p. 6.
much of the representative character which may now fairly be claimed for it. He acknowledges also with thanks the kindness of many friends who have forwarded books, pamphlets, reports, periodicals, and newspapers from mission fields, and of the officers of missionary societies who have extended to him needed facilities, as well as of all those who have aided him in the search for necessary data, and have assisted in other ways in the completion of his task. He especially appreciates the favor rendered by those who have furnished or loaned photographs for use in illustrating different phases of mission effort.
It has not fallen within the scope of the author's plan to extend his survey so as to include other than Protestant missions, although much of interest might be noted in the humanitarian service which the Greek, Roman Catholic, and other Christian churches have rendered to mankind. An inviting field of research awaits representatives of these communions who can give the subject the study which its historic importance and present activities demand.
That there is a striking apologetic import to the aspect of missions herein presented is evident. It is not merely a vindication of the social value of mission work, but it becomes, in pro
of the theme.
portion to the reality and significance of the facts The apologetic import put in evidence, a present-day supplement to the cumulative argument of history in defense of Christianity as a supreme force in the social regeneration and elevation of the human race. The great argument in vindication of the beneficent results of Christianity as a social dynamic in history has been hitherto based upon the outcome of the conflicts of the Christian religion with ancient heathenism in the early centuries, resulting in the gradual differentiation of Christian civilization, with its distinctive insignia, from the classical and medieval paganism. In the present course of lectures an effort is made to introduce an argument founded upon contemporary evidence as furnished by the results of Christian missions in our own day. We must bear in mind that these results are in a very undeveloped stage. Christianity as yet touches the age-incrusted and unyielding surface of heathen society only in spots, and has hardly broken its way through to an extent which enables us to recognize fully its power or to discover its transforming tendencies in the non-Christian world. It is sufficiently apparent, however, that a new force of transcendent energy has entered the gateway of the nations and has planted itself with a quiet persistency and staying power in the very centres of the social life of the people. From its modest haunts of church and