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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
Things as They Are."

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

school, of hospital and asylum, and through its unostentatious instrumentalities of literature, personal example, regenerated home life, and sanctified individual character, it is destined to go forth conquering and to conquer, as a potent regenerator of society and the maker of a new civilization.

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Christianity, by virtue of its own beneficent energy as a transforming and elevating power in society, has already wrought out a new apologia of missions. No elaborate argument is needed to demonstrate it. The simple facts as revealed in the outcome of mission effort in every field will sufficiently establish it. It may not be in harmony with the current naturalistic theories of social evolution, yet it is the open secret of missionary experience that the humble work of missions is a factor in the social progress of the world which it would be intellectual dishonesty to ignore and philosophic treason to deny. The appeal, however, is not simply to facts, but to principles and tendencies, to the testimony of experience, and, above all, to the promises of the Omnipotent Founder of an Everlasting Kingdom. Mathematical demonstration is clearly impossible, as must be said also concerning much of the fundamental truth of the spiritual world. A large measure of faith is essential, and, in view of all the complications and mysteries of the environment, not an unreasonable demand in order to full conviction. The faith required, however, is not without a clear warrant and a solid basis in reason, experience, and revelation. Then, again, the conflict is still in progress-in fact, only fairly begun so far as any serious and concerted effort of the Christian Church to prosecute missions is concerned. We are only just awakening to the enormous difficulties of the undertaking. Many Goliaths stand in frowning array before this unarmed David of Christian missions. Not a few Eliabs are still found in the armies of Israel, who have many doubts about David's bold venture and give him scant encouragement as he goes forth against his giant foe. There are those in every land-some in positions of power and influence, who look with more or less incredulity on what they regard as a questionable project. Christianity, however, is deathless, and Christian missions at the present moment represent the only promise and potency of spiritual resurrection in the dying world of heathenism.

Some of the conclusions presented in these lectures touch closely subjects which are just now prominent in current discussion. The comparative study of religion and the theories of social evolution are 11 Sam. xvii. 28-30.

illustrations of this contact, and concerning these the author ventures a word in explanation of his own point of view.

What is the proper

estimate of ethnic religions?

In considering our theme the social influence of Christianity comes repeatedly into sharp contrast with the social results of the ethnic religions, a subject which is treated at some length in both the third and fourth lectures.1 The comparison has seemed to the writer to be fruitful in results which were favorable to the Christian religion, and virtually to substantiate its divine origin, superior wisdom, and moral efficiency. He has been led in the course of these studies to give to Christianity more firmly than ever his final, unreserved, and undivided allegiance as an authoritative and divinely accredited system of truth, full of salutary guidance and uplifting power to humanity. Many things have coöperated in recent years to bring the status of ethnic religions prominently before the minds of men. This fact, as well as the inherent interest of the subject, gives a special timeliness just now to any serious and candid study of this difficult theme.

That there are plain traces of truth in all the prominent ethnic systems of religion is a fact which is too evident to admit of denial. This is manifested in much of their ethical teaching and in their adjustment of the duties of human relationships, yet it is just in these respects that some of their most serious failures are observable. It is because the religious basis of their ethics is so defective that the practical outcome is so disappointing. All higher truth which is discoverable in the religious history of the race is either directly or indirectly from God, and so far as it appears in ethnic systems is to be traced to God as its Author. Primitive revelation, with its emphatic restatements, covering many centuries in time and reaching mankind through various direct and indirect instrumentalities, was a mighty and pervading religious force in early history.3 It lingered long and worked deeply in human experience. Truth dies hard-if, indeed, it ever dies. Half-truths, and even corrupted and overshadowed truths, can influence men, although partially and uncertainly, in the direction of a sound religious faith.

1 See infra, pp. 381-396, 423-449.

2 Bishop Butler, in his "Analogy," has defined the relation of Christianity to natural religion by designating the former as "a republication and external institution of natural or essential religion adapted to the present circumstances of mankind," with the further value of presenting “an account of a dispensation of things not discoverable by reason." Cf. "The Works of Joseph Butler, edited by the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone," vol. i., pp. 185–196. Cf. also vol. ii., pp. 277–279. 3 See infra, pp. 296-299.

Men are made brave and courageous, and often ready for martyrdom, by whole conviction concerning half-truths. The truth sometimes survives and even lives long in an atmosphere of corruption and degeneracy. Again, it will kindle an earnest aspiration for reform, and a new religion appears in history, but likely to be imperfectly furnished and so in alliance with error that it can do little for the spiritual and moral good of mankind. Truth may be "crushed to earth," but it "shall rise again" and live in the heart of humanity, however it may be throttled and supplanted by the god of this world and his brood of lies. God "left not Himself without witness," and has been "not far from every one of us in all the religious history of man. The "true Light which lighteth every man" has never ceased to shine, however dimly perceived. This thought is to the mind of the author the key to the whole situation. Primitive monotheism, although based upon revelation, failed to hold the allegiance of the entire race, and a line of degeneracy has run parallel to the line of enlightenment and moral achievement. Monotheism having been cast aside or deserted, something must take its place in the presence of the awful and mysterious phenomena of It may be pantheism or polytheism or nature worship in its varied forms. Man then devises-not necessarily in any dishonest or insincere spirit-a religion of his own, for himself or his family or his tribe, according to the conception which he forms of his needs and in harmony with his own philosophy of nature.

The genesis of false religions is, therefore, to be found in the desertion and corruption of the true, and in man's urgent but unavailing struggle after some substitute for what he has forsaken. They are to be traced to treason and surrender in the religious citadel of human history. It is a story of "many inventions" in order to recover what has been lost or forfeited. The non-religious condition even now of many who live in Christendom, resulting from their neglect or rejection of biblical truth, is a suggestive analogue to the status of heathenism in the religious history of the race. Rejected light is the universal epitaph of the buried religious hopes of man. This is far more in accord with the suggestions of reason, the testimony of experience, the lessons of history, and the statements of Scripture than to regard ethnic religions as tentative efforts on the part of God to guide mankind by temporizing compromises, by systems of half-truths, or by mixed dispensations of truth and error- a theory which involves the grave mistake of crediting non-Christian religious systems to God as their Author and Founder.

1 Jevons, "Introduction to the History of Religion," pp. 5, 7, 386–397; Orr, "The Christian View of God and the World," pp. 469, 501-504.

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