Copyright
R. E. (Robert Ethol) Welsh.

Challenge to Christian missions : missionary questions & the modern mind online

. (page 9 of 9)
Online LibraryR. E. (Robert Ethol) WelshChallenge to Christian missions : missionary questions & the modern mind → online text (page 9 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


unsteady. " And," says Mr Townsend, " the
second generation often shows signs of missing
the ancient buttresses of conduct. They are
the true anxieties of the missionaries, and it
is from them in nine cases out of ten that the
ill-repute of Indian Christians is derived ; but
European opinion about them is most unfair.
They are not converts but born Christians, like
any of our own artisans ; they have not gone
through a mental martyrdom, and they have to
be bred up without strong convictions, except
that Christianity is doubtless true, without the
defences which native opinion has organised for
ages, and in the midst of a heathen society in
which the white Christians declare their children
shall not live."

^ A Scot, it is said, was asked to support a society for the
Conversion of the Jews. He subscribed once, twice, and was
applied to for the third time, when his impatience broke out.
" Confoond it, are thae Jews no' a' converted ;>'^/ ? " Widen
the application, and is it not symbolically true of many with
reference to the progress of Christian missions ?



1 88 The Challenge to Missions

As to these imperfections in a small propor-
tion of the converts, the same writer wisely
adds : " Christianity is always imperfect in its
beginnings. The majority of Christians in
Constantine's time would have seemed to
modern missionaries mere worldlings ; the con-
verted Saxons were for centuries violent brutes ;
and the mass of Christians throughout the
world are even now no better than indifferents.
None the less is it true that the race which
embraces Christianity, even nominally, rises
with a bound out of its former position, and
contains in itself thenceforward the seed of a
nobler and more lasting life."

The inference is clear, as urged in preceding
pages. We must not compare native converts
newly emerged from paganism with the best
life found in Christian lands of the West, but
with the conditions which existed in our own
race when as yet the work of Christianity was
only commenced among us. It is only in the
course of generations, there as here, that the
harvest of the truth is reaped. As Mr Kidd
shows in his Principles of Western Civilisation,
the progressive struggles and movements of
to-day are always for the benefit, not of the
present generation, but of that " majority which
constitutes the long roll of the yet unborn
generations," and Christianity is a vital force
in that ultimate elevation of the world.

TURNBULL AND SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH



'■HE NEW yoR„ „






1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9

Online LibraryR. E. (Robert Ethol) WelshChallenge to Christian missions : missionary questions & the modern mind → online text (page 9 of 9)