China Inland Mission.

China's millions (Volume 1878) online

. (page 26 of 45)
Online LibraryChina Inland MissionChina's millions (Volume 1878) → online text (page 26 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


might cease, and earnestly commended the entire work
of the Mission to the continued care and blessing of God.



lOO



CHINA'S MILLIONS.



GEORGE WILLIAMS, Esq. (Treasurer of the Young Men's Christian Association), in the Chair.

After singing the well-known missionary hymn —

" From Greenland's icy mountains,
From India's coral strand ; "



prayer was offered by Captain the Hon. R. Moreton.

The Chairman said : It must have been an exceed-
ingly interesting gathering when our Lord met the little
company in that mountain of Galilee and said to them,
" All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations." How loving
the words must have been to those who were then
assembled, when He added, " Lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world." These were the last
words, so to speak, of our dear Lord ere He departed
and went up from us — His last utterances — " I am with
you." " Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel to
every creature " — to every creature — to every Chinaman.
Now, our work as a Christian Church, our privilege as
Christian people, is to carry out this last wish of our
blessed Lord. The friends of this Mission are moved
by this word. All the missionaries who have gone out
have done so feeling that the Lord is with them, and
that they are carrying out His wish. Oh, if He could
be here to-night and speak to us, how it would cheer
and strengthen and encourage us in this great work !
The last bounding wish of His heart was not only that
every Chinaman, but every man on the face of the earth
should have the Gospel preached to him personally.
Now, what a thing it is, dear friends, that the Church of
Christ should have been so feeble as not to have done
this all down the centuries from the time of our Lord
till now !

We thank God and take courage that the missionaries
of the China Inland Mission have been enabled to go
from one end of China to the other ; that they are now in
the various districts of that great empire teaching and
preaching the blessed Word of our Lord. I say
that that is a source of unmitigated delight to every
Christian heart.

I have with me a letter just received from the Rev.
Dr. Edkins, of Pekin (of the London Missionary
Society), which shows that the prejudice which has
proved such a barrier to the reception of the Gospel
of Christ in China has in great measure given way
to the power and blessed influences of Divine truth.
He says : "It is astonishing to see the number of
villages impressed with the desire for Christianity.
I have never seen anything like it before. They yield
willingly to exhortation, and put their names down
as candidates for baptism with remarkable willingness.
We have to visit several hundreds of inquirers."
Now, that is in the neighbourhood of Pekin, and he
says that this is brought about in a great measure by
what God is doing in China ; for surely God is at work
in China. He is doing His work, and it is no uncertain
work.

My beloved friends, how many blessings have come to
this country through trial and discipline. The first great
revival of recent years commenced with us in the north
of Ireland, and spread throughout England like a blessed
wave. Let us ask, How did it come to us ? It came
across the Atlantic. It began, first, in America, and it
began with a great commercial crisis. Large fortunes
were lost, and when everything was gone, people began to
pray at the Fulton Street prayer-meeting ; and then it
spread and spread. I believe it was considered that



something like half a million persons were added to
the churches in America during that great revival,
which commenced with a commercial trouble.

Now, God is dealing with China, and though the
affliction be terribly sore, there is no doubt that our
Heavenly Father is wise, and is permitting this for some
wise end. It may be that the Gospel of the grace of
God may gladden the hearts of those vast multitudes of
Chinamen from one end of that country to the other.

Now, I must not detain you. I am thankful to be
here, thankful in any humble measure to be associated
with this great and blessed effort that has done so much
in the last few years, and I hope that we shall have with
us the presence and blessing of the Lord Himself, as we
have been asking in our prayers. Dr. Paterson has an
early engagement, and therefore, before calling upon the
Secretary to read the report, I will ask him to address
you.

REV. H, SINCLAIR PATERSON, M D.

{of Belgrave Presbyterian Church) :
I esteem it a privilege to signify, at least, by my
presence to-night, the great interest that I take in the
work of this China Inland Mission. I attended the
meeting held this afternoon, and my interest in the work
has been deepened by the statements I then heard. I
am persuaded that the agents connected with this
work have a spirit of thorough simple Christian earnest-
ness, combined with intense prayerfulness ; and I do
not know any better assurances that we can have of
success in doing the work of the Lord than these graces
together.

Besides, in listening to the statements made, I formed
this idea, and I am sure it is a correct one, that they
have not only gained the Pauline theology that many of
us talk about and love, but they have gained something
more, which in these days is equally important, the
Pauline spirit — having no place in these parts — not con-
tenting themselves with another man's line of things
made ready to their hand. In looking over the map
which was handed to me, and tracing the various lines
marked out, I found that they have crossed China
almost from one end to the other. We have read about
pioneers of commerce. It seems to me that in China
the Inland Mission is making itself the pioneer of
missions, and they are doing there what Livingstone
and others have been doing in Africa. They are
endeavouring to open up the way for the Gospel by the
Gospel ; not going simply as travellers to find out
the best route, and lay it down for others to follow, but
bearing with them the truth, and making it known.
They are making a people prepared for the Lord, who
will encourage and support other labourers whom God
will send speed! / to work there, and to enter into the
fruit of the lab .urs already performed. Now, I shall
not venture to tpeak farther in this direction.

WHY ENGAGE IN CHRISTIAN MLSSIONS AT ALL.

It seems to me that in the present time we have need
to ask ourselves, very seriously, this question. Why do
we engage in Christian missions at all P I hear some
people talk as if the heathen had a better chance and
likelihood of entering into God's favour hereafter, just
because they are heathen, than any other people have.
Their circumstances are such that they will be dealt
with on quite different grounds, and these grounds are



CHINA'S MILLIONS.



lOI



so utterly different, that their likelihood of being saved is
very, very greatly increased by the darkness and dead-
ness in which they live. i • j r

I must confess that I cannot understand that kind ol
logic at all. Perhaps it is my Scotch thickheadedness,
but I cannot possibly understand it. As I read my
Bible, we are all dead in trespasses and sin ; and I have
yet to learn that the heathen are better than we are.
Some people seem to think that they are greatly better
than Englishmen or Scotchmen or Americans— that they
are of a much milder type somehow, and that they are
able to live a better life, and to commend themselves
to God without the help of the Gospel, or any of those
helps that we have along with the Gospel in our time,
and that their probability of being saved is vastly greater
than that of thousands living in this Christian land.

" The natural mind is enmity against God. It is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." I
pronounce no opinion as to God's method of dealing
with heathen men beyond this, that He will judge all men
justly ; but I know that in heathen lands, as in Christian
lands, man is a sinner, and I know that the wrath of
God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness
of men — aye, against the unrighteousness of those
who imprison the truth in unrighteousness— against all
unrighteousness of man. " For as many as have sinned
without law shall also perish without law, and as many
as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."
There is no way of salvation by deeds for us in these
lands or for men in other lands. We are all
guilty before God, and that man has failed to grasp the
simple teaching of Paul in the letter to the Romans
who has not learnt that " there is none righteous, no, not
one."

" There is no difference." People used to talk as if
the difference were in favour of people living in Chris-
tian lands, but nowadays the talk is as if the difference
were in favour of those living in heathen lands. There
is no differ eiice, Mr. Chairman. We are all guilty, and
we are all condemned, and if any of us are saved it is by
the grace of God, and by the blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ.

Many years ago, when darkness reigned in Scotland,
and some earnest souls, who, stirred by the love of Christ,
sought to arouse the Church to its duty to send men
abroad to preach to perishing millions the grace of the
Gospel, a party in the Church of Scotland distinctly and
doggedly opposed their efforts. One of the leaders of
the side of the truth in those days, standing up in his
place, said to the moderator or chairman of the assembly,
" Moderator, reach me that Bible." (The Bible is always
placed in a prominent position in the Church assemblies.)
And when he got the Bible he opened it at the text with
which you began — the keynote for all such meetings as
this, " Go ye unto all the world, and preach the Gospel
to every creature " — the very same words, you know,
which the Duke of Wellington once spoke home to a flip-
pant clergyman when he was talking about the needless-
ness of sending messengers to the heathen, putting him
in mind that he was bound to obey his marching orders.

Why, the very fact that that was the last message
that Christ gave to His disciples — the one word that He
would have sink into their hearts, and remain fresh in
their memories till He came again the second time with-
out sin unto salvation— ought to make us feel not merely
that this is our duty — not merely that this is something in
which we are privileged to engage, but that it is urgent,
andthat Christ's heart is set upon it, because He knows
its importance, and that whatever God's dealings may be
with heathen men here or hereafter, since it is His plan and
purpose to save them by communicating the knowledge



of the truth through others who have believed, we are
guilty concerning our brother, and his blood will be
sought at our hands, if we have not done what in us
lay to make known to these perishing men the riches of
God's grace.

I confess, sir, that I have little patience with the talk
that one sometimes hears in these times about the happy
state of the heathen abroad— not because I am not in-
clined to take large views of God's mercy, as large as
the Bible allows me, no larger ; because God's thought
about mercy is bigger than man's, whatever man may
think — not because I am not inclined to take large views
of God's mercy, and to give myself unreservedly m fullest
confidence to God's love, but because I know that God
has commanded me, and all others who have received
the Gospel, to be instant in season and out of season in
making known that Gospel, for it is the " power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth." And the
whole message of the Book from beginning to end is a
message of the utmost urgency and importance.

I am afraid, when people get into that way of talking.
It takes a little time to produce fruit : you have the root
underground for some time before the fruit springs up,
and some trees are of very slow growth. Some people
who hold these doctrines about the heathen, and other
things in that direction, are earnest and true in their
service to Christ and in their service to men. Just now,
Iconfess, I have no charge to bring against such; I believe
that they are as thoroughly decided in seeking to do
God's work as we are ; but just let the root grow,_ and it
will as assuredly bring forth its fruit as God has given to
every seed its own body ; and if these heathen men in
an intermediate state, or anywhere else, have the oppor-
tunity afterwards of hearing the Gospel, men will begin
to say, " Well, we need not be so anxious about them
just now. We need only be careful to keep our own souls
from sin, and to do our duty in the sphere in which God
has permitted us to move."

Now, I have ventured just to allude to that subject be-
cause, to my mind, there \'s, a great and a growing danger
here. We may permit ourselves to become lukewarm,
and the Christian Church may have this lukewarmness
and carelessness through false doctrine pervade it in
regard to this matter, that will unnerve hearts, and make
hearts cold, that have hitherto been busied with the
Lord's work and careful honestly to do it. Oh, do let
us seek to realise — and I think this is the shortest
answer to it — to my own mind it is the most simple and
most direct, at least — do let us try to realise that
Christ's heart has laid that commandment upon us, and
He knows the meaning of it — He knows the force of it.
If He says that it is right for us to preach the Gospel to
every creature, and to go unto all the world for that end,
then whatever theories stand in the way of it — if they
stand in the way of it really — they must be false, and in
any case we must not give heed or weight to them for a
single instant.

THE FUTURE OF CHINA.

Now let me say that the importance of the field itself
with which this China Inland Mission deals ought
to make the pressure on our consciences all the stronger.
We have often been told — and we cannot be reminded
of it too frequently — that China contains one-third of
the whole population of the globe. And then, still
more, there is the ficture of China. That is something
that will astonish those who come after us. I am not
sure that we have ever realised it. They are beginning
to realise it on the western shores of America, and we
shall begin to think a little more about it in this country,
I suppose, by-and-by. The Chinese, who have been



I02



CHINA'S MILLIONS.



hermetically sealed, as it were, in their own land, are
now beginning to spread beyond that land into other
lands, and are carrying vices, as well as industry, which
are telling upon the people arnong whom they go. They
have been neglected, and they have held themselves
firmly in certain creeds and thoughts that have been
common among them through many generations ; and
the result of that is to be seen not merely in their pa-
tience and perseverance, but in some other characteristics
which I will not stay to indicate. And how they may tell in
the future no one can possibly form any full idea at this
stage, but we know that they must tell effectually in one
direction or another.

What a great mercy it is that God has opened up to
us this land so wonderfully, and in spite of our unfaith-
fulness, in spite of our maltreatment of them, has given,
and is giving, so many opportunities for making known
to them the riches of Divine grace. And how earnest
should we be and careful to improve these opportunities
while they are continued to us, seeking to impress this
race — one of the most wonderful races, I may almost say
the most wonderful race, in the world. I do not think
any of us can estimate the persistence and power that
they may exert for good or for evil. Oh, if we could get
the Gospel into their hearts !

I do not think the Chinaman's heart is at all more
averse to the Gospel than other people's. It seems to
me that on some sides it lies quite as open to the Gospel
as the heart of a man of any other nationality under
heaven. Confucius was no saint, but he was a sage ;
and the sayings of Confucius have a tremendous amount
of common sense in them. It is very earthly common
sense, but still, such as it is, it has trained these people in
a way of thinking that is not at all repugnant, or in
opposition, it seems to me, to the holy teachings of the
word of God, beyond the common opposition all
human thoughts and all human theories have to the
Divine revelation. Well, then, if it be possible to gain
access to them — and God is giving it — if it be likely or
probable that in the providence of God they are to tell
upon the world effectively, how important it is that the
truth should be put before them.

We were told a little while ago about Buddhist
missionaries threatening to come to England to convert
us. Well, I believe that the Chinese will become
missionaries in their turn, whether in these matters I am
afraid to say. But suppose it is possible to tell upon
this race so as to make them messengers of good tidings
instead of bad in their future wide-spreading — for that
is surely coming ; and just as the days have been in
which they have been enclosed and immured within their
great walls, so I am sure that the day is coming when
they will overflow even to the ends of the earth — if we
could so influence them, and I think you can trace in
China's Millions evidence that it is within our power,
if we are earnest and true to God in this matter — if we
could so influence them that they would go forth, many
of them, thousands of them, bearing the truth, why
not ? Their steadiness and perseverance — their dogged
obstinacy, if you will — may be as useful for good as it
may be on the other side injurious for evil. If we could
thus have them available as teachers of truth and
messengers of the Lord Jesus Christ, what gracious
results we might hope would be seen, at least in the
generations to come !

But I should like, just before I sit down, to say one
thing more, of an individual rather than general cha-
racter. I have been endeavouring to deal with the
subject in its broader aspects ; we need all to learn that
we have —



EACH OF us A STAKE IN THIS GREAT WORK.

I put it in that form that it may touch the con-
science. I would rather say that we have each of us the
grand and glorious opportunity while here of doing
something to gratify the Lord Jesus Christ. Aye, He
is gratified by a cup of water given in His name, by any-
thing done for Him. " Inasmuch as ye did it unto one
of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me."
Have we ever realised fully that if we have received the
Lord Jesus Christ we are not our own, but are bought
with a price, and are bound to glorify God with our
spirits, which are His ?

A great many years ago, in a little town in Scotland,
there was a missionary meeting held. Some very in-
teresting idols were exhibited, and a description was
given of the customs of the heathen land from which the
missionary came, and there were a great many strange
dresses which he tried on in turns. There was a little
boy away up in one corner of the gallery, whose soul was
intensely working within him as he listened to all this
description of what the heathen suffered, and what the
heathen wore, and of all the opportunities which God
had given to the missionaries to turn many of them from
their dead idols to serve the living God, and to wait for
His Son from heaven. And as he looked and listened,
his little heart beat high within him. He said within
himself, " If I live I will be a missionary. I will go to
the heathen myself, and I will try to do something for
them to win them to Christ." By-and-by, when the
meeting was about to close, it was intimated that there
was to be a collection. The little fellow felt in his
pockets, but he had not anything. He had not a single
penny. He felt very sorry, very much ashamed of him-
self, and he did not like to go down and pass the plate
at the door putting nothing in ; so he waited up in the
corner of the gallery until all the people had gone, and
until the two men that were standing at the door should
have had time to carry away the full plates into the little
room behind, to count the" collection, and then with
stealthy step he began to descend the stairs. But the
quick ears of one of the men heard a step coming, and
true to his duty the man remained, and when the little
boy came he held out the plate to him. This was some-
thing he had not e.xpected, and his little face flushed all
over ; but with a quick thought he said to the good man,
" Hold it a little lower, sir." The man held it a little
lower. "Lower still, sir." He put it down lower still.
"A little lower yet." The man put the plate down
lower yet. " Please lay it on the ground, sir. " The good
man, not knowing what he meant, put the plate on the
ground, and the little fellow stepped into it, and said, " I
have no money, but I will give myself: in God's name I
intend being a missionary." That was the biggest
collection they had that night.

Now, the spirit of that boy is just the very spirit we
have in coming to our Lord Jesus Christ. We may not
do it in form, but we do it in fact. We are not our own ;
we give ourselves to the Lord, and I believe that, whether
any of us have the privilege of going out to distant lands
or not, the day is coming when the Spirit will be so
poured out on the Church that it will be a much more
common thing than it is now — that not only learned men
who are trained in our colleges, or in Mr. Guinness's ad-
mirable institution, or in any other institution which we
have for fitting men to go forth as missionaries, but our
mechanics and others who have no training at all, and
who have only the love of Christ burning in their hearts,
will go and learn languages and speak as they can.

Well, whether that be so or not, if now we have it not
in our power, or we do not feel called upon to go, the least



CHINA'S MILLIONS.



103



thing we can do, as it was said in the days of old Andrew
Fuller, is to hold the rope when others go down into the
pit. We can give them assistance, and can support and
strengthen them, not merely by our contributions (that
we are bound to do, and ought to feel it a privilege to do,
as God enables us), but I am sure (and Mr. Hudson
Taylor and his coadjutors will thank me most of all for
this) with our earnest prayers holding up their hands, and
praying that God will give them an open door, and
grant unto them abundant success and wisdom in all
that they undertake.

Extracts from the report were then read by the honor-
ary secretary, Mr. R. H. Hill, and prayer was offered
by the REV. FRANK White, of Talbot Tabernacle, Bays-
water.

BEV. J. McCarthy

{of ike China Itiland Mission).

I am very thankful to the Lord that He permits me to
bring before you some facts to show how good a thing
it is to wait upon the Lord, to trust in the Lord, and
to receive answers from the Lord. I stand before you to-
night a living example of how God answers believing
prayer.

About three years ago I returned with my dear wife
and children to England, having laboured for some nine
years in China. It seemed necessary for them to re-
main some lengthened period in our native land ; but on
my arrival I found that I had regained such a measure
of health and strength by the voyage, that I very gladly
accepted a proposition to return to China almost imme-
diately, leaving my dear wife and children behind, and
taking with me some young brethren going to work in
some of the unevangelised provinces of which you have
been hearing. A number had already gone out, and two
more were ready to sail as soon as I could g-o with them ;
and so, after a stay of a month or two in England, we
started for China. I was very thankful indeed to be on
my way back (again, and the Lord blessed us greatly.
We had time for quiet communion with Him and
with each other over His word, and the journey was a
time of soul refreshment.

When we arrived in China, various circumstances
prevented me from accompanying these young brethren
inland. But when they had acquired a sufficient know-
ledge of the language to be able to communicate freely
with the people, and had prayerfully and maturely
considered the matter, they thought that, looking to the
Lord for His protection and guidance — with suitable
native helpers — they might themselves go into the north-
em provinces of the empire. And so I was privileged
to see the six brethren start on their journey — two for
the province of Kan-suh, two for the province of Shen-



Online LibraryChina Inland MissionChina's millions (Volume 1878) → online text (page 26 of 45)