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THE GOSPEL IN ALL LANDS.
AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN MISSION WORK.
BY REV. ERNEST G. WESLEY.
ROM whatever possible standpoint we regard success in missionary labor,
whether home or foreign, most certain is it that true success depends more upon the whole-heartedness of personal consecration to Christ and to his
cause than to anything else. Lack of this consecration, of this offering of the whole self to God for him to use us, when, where he sees best, is the secret of all fail. ure, and the fullness of personal consecration is the secret of all success.
A study of the biographies of all missionary heroes, of the history of all mission fields will show that the success of the workers has ever depended more upon this element of character in the toilers than upon any other cause; this element absent, there has never come success; this element present, even with far greater obstacles, there has never come failure. The heroes of the mission fields have been transformed into heroes through the power of God working through wholly consecrated hearts and minds; their success bas been due to this far more than to any marked superiority in mind, heart, or circumstances. Ordinary abilities, to commence with, will become extraordinary through intense personal devotion to Christ to a much greater degree than will superior abilities, to commence with, without is deep a consecration. I do not overlook the human element, I would but call attention to this fact—the human element in its highest development, without fullest consecration in all work for Christ, will prove inferior to the human in a much less development much more wholly devoted to his service.
What is true of missionaries and of mission fields is no less true of the churches which support the Lord's work outside themselves. A wholly consecrated membership means a church alive with zeal for the conversion of souls; from such a church will pour abundant freewill offerings into the Lord's treasury; such a membership will not pause to ask, “Can we afford this offering to our Master ?” but, rather, “Does the Lord's work need this offering ?” If the need is seen such a church will joyously do its share toward supplying the need. Wholly consecrated parents will not ask, “How can I spare my son, my daughter, for the Lord's work ?” but from such parents will come the glad reply (perhaps not without some struggle with the not wholly subdued flesh), “ Yes, Lord, take all I have ; my all is thine for thee to use as thou seest best." Wholly consecrated individuals will not question the call of Christ to themselves, once convinced he does call; when convinced " it is of the Lord” the answer will come, though through tears, “Yes, Lord, here am I, send me!"
Nor will there be a very long struggle as to the question of time and place. Wherever upon all this earth there is one unsaved soul there is a place for some Christian worker, there must be your place if Christ calls, even though this place should be
An Essential Element in Mission Work.
to your eyes one of the most lowly places in the whole harvest field of God. We sometimes forget that the solitary one brought to Christ may be his chosen means for the conversion of tens of thousands, and that in bringing this one to the light we will do more for Christ's kingdom than had we led a thousand to the fountain of life!
This was the spirit of the early Church; so intensely devoted was it to the Lord that it became intensely missionary, so much so that as persecution broke up the collected circles of worshipers in the various places where they had gathered themselves together, “those scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Gospel of Christ.” No wonder is it that, with such consecrated men and women doing, giving, suffering, preaching, going everywhere, within an ordinary lifetime the Gospel of Christ was known almost throughout the whole Roman Empire. If, against such obstacles as these had to contend with, so immense a work was accomplished, what might not be done to-day, with the larger part of their obstacles swept away, with advantages of which they never dreamed, provided the Church of Christ in America and England was as consecrated as were they? The possibility of evangelizing the whole world before the year 1900 would be an accomplished fact before midnight of December 31, 1899. A consecrated Church is as imconquerable as is God unconquerable; such a Church would be a willing instrument in the willing hands of God to resist which would be impossible.
Self-consecration must be the spirit of the Church as a whole before our Lord can see of the travail of his soul; before the Church will have great necd to enlarge the place of her tent, stretch forth her curtains, lenuthen the cords, or strengthen the stakes. Self-consecration must cause the desert to blossom as the rose; it will bring the dew upon Israel, giving the Church the strength of the cedar, the purity of the lily, the fragrance of Libanon, and the beauty of the olive; it will force those who have mocked and reviled and withstood her to come and worship at her feet, there anckuowledging that she is the Lord's beloved; it will make her terrible as an ever-conquering army advancing to new conquests under banners which have never known defeat. All this, and much more, will come to the Church of Christ as soon as she gives herself wholly to the Lord for him to use when, where, how he sees best.
What I have said may seem to some the language of imagination, but given anywhere on this earth such a devoted Church-and God's own word assures us that I have not touched even the outermost borders of what God has designed for his Church to accomplish—what God has declared shall be accomplished just as soon is the Church: does come up to his own ideal; one capable of realization or he would not have commanded it to ove of the children of men. The whole matter depends upon the consecration of “the gift” to God; full devotion means full acceptance, full acceptance means a Church as strong as God is strong.
How common a thing it is to see a church having members worth their tens of thousands (yes, and their hundreds of thousands) begging for fifteen or thirty minutes in order to raise a few hundred dollars! How common a thing to see pastors and Sunday school superintendents begging for workers and teachers ! How common a thing to see from twenty-five to perhaps fifty per cent of our members absent from the weekly means of grace! If this le the condition of the Church at home is it to be wondered at that the Church in foreign lands languishes from want of overflowing support in the way of money and laborers? And to what is this all dne if not, as the chief thing, to lack of personal self-consecration? In New Testament times we are told that the churches of Macedonia “first gave themselves into the Lord;" they first gave the greater, and this included the rest ! We reverse the method, trying to give tirst of our substance; no wonder that so little is given when we withbold ourselves.
An Essential Element in Mission Work.
What is the actual condition of things in all denominational missionary societies, in all fields of labor, as regards the supply of laborers? Is there one missionary society which has all its needs in the way of contributions? Is there one society which has all the workers it requires ? Perhaps the Moravian Church may be well supplied, I am not sure, but the general cry is for more men as well as for more money. On the other hand, how long is the list of individual churches which really give of their wealth and of their sons and daughters until they feel the giving ? Ilow large is the list of denominational societies which receive anywhere near what the denomination can afford to give ?
The Church of Christ possesses numbers and wealth sufficient to push things” things have never yet been pusheil, even until the uttermost parts of the earth have heard the “old, old story ;
” of this there can be no manner of doubt. Why is not money poured into the Lord's treasury? Why are not recruits filling up the depleting ranks (at home and abroad) ? may evade the true conclusion for conclusions which are not true, but sooner or later we shall be forced to admit that the chief reason is the lack of consecration on the part of the Churches; these are not devoted to Christ, because the membership is not; the membership is not, because of workilliness and iniquity, which breed apathy, selfishness, and neglect.
There is nothing impossible to a Church wholly given to Christ, for when a Church thus gives itself to the Lord he always accepts it to the fullest extent of its consecration; this acceptance means continuous success. There cannot come failure after a full self-surrender to God. The whole power of God is within reach of each one of us, if we first give ourselves to Christ without any reservation of part of self for self. Massillon, in one of his sermons on perfection, forcibly urges “ entire consecration” on all who profess to be followers of Christ ; he tells his hearers that too many Christians live a profession with certain reservations, with certain compromises with conventional habits; he also states what is just as true to-day as it was at the end of the seventeenth century, that too many Christians assume that, while it may be possible for a few to reach a high standard of Christian life, the larger number must be content with a very ordinary level ; to this latter belief we must ascribe very much of the weakness of our missionary efforts.
Great as have been the heroic efforts and sacrifices of the few, the many have done little more than touch the rope; thousands have scarcely done as much as this! Ilad a wholly consecrated Church (or denomination) held the rope the world would be, today, well-nigh evangelized. I do not say the world would be, to-day, Christianized, but that it would have heard the Gospel from east to west, from north to south. It is the duty of the Church to preach the Gospel ; it is the duty of the world to be:r ; it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and bring to Christ. Let a consecrated Church do the first part; the rest is in the hands of men and in the hands of God.
“Consecrate yourselves to the Lord, and he will do great things;" by such a whole consecration the Church will be in touch with God; then will it be an easy thing to reach the masses in all lands, then (and not till then) will the kingdoms of this worla become the kingdoms of Christ.
Providence, R. I.
"The missionary is one called of God, obedient to the command of the risen Lord, endowed with the Spirit of Christ, and sent fortli from Christendom to non-Christian peoples. For each me ber of the body of Christ a missionary place may be found now, as it was in the experience of the Apostolic Church. The many who are not called to go themselves are bound to send substitutes for the service--sons, daughters, offerings—and to pray without ceasing to the Lord of the harvest.”
CHRIST IN LANGUAGES.
BY REV. FRANK W. WARNE.
IN our times, when skeptics seek to frighten Christians by declaring that the
Churches and the Bible are losing their hold upon the people, and that in proportion as the nations become educated the influence diminishes, I suppose
all will admit that we live in an age when education is abroad among the nations as never before. At this time a proper inquiry is, What place does the Bible hold ? Daniel made this remarkable prophecy as he looked forward into the future : “ And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him."
Fasten your eye on the one word languages. It is now about two thousand five hundred years since the prophecy was made. Since then the Bible has been locked up in the tomb of dead languages, but the stone has been rolled away. It has been relocked in monastic libraries, and the copies which escaped were searched out and burnt. Volney, Voltaire, Hume, Hobbes, Paine, and hundreds more have declareil against it, and Voltaire prophesied that in 1900 it would be extinct. Thomas Paine thought he had demolished it and finished it off finally; but while all this was going on, what about the book? The Church often looks back and wonders at the day of Pentecost, when by a miracle the divers tongued multitude were amazed and marveled and said: “Are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our tongue, wherein we were born ?”
It was a wonderful miracle, but what is that compared with the miracles of the nineteenth century ? They only heard a living Peter speak in one place to about five thousand persons, and perhaps for the space of an hour, but the miracles of translation in this century set inspired men who have been dead thousands of years speaking to the nations. I think the miracles which are being wrought now are a wonder even to the saints in glory. How do you think Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and all the others feel as they look down and find themselves speaking in churches, at family altars, in many private places and public assemblies, by sea and by land, to several hundred millions of people in above three hundred languages ?
We speak of miracles as past. Almost supremely greater miracles are going on now than the one at Pentecost. How are Christ's words being fulfilled, “Greater works than these shall he do ; because I go unto my Father.” The translators of the Bible are making not five thousand hear Peter's sermon for an hour, but hundreds of millions to read that very sermon and all the other inspired writers in their own tongue, and that for probable centuries to come. It is a marvelous fact that now in the last, the most enlightened year of the world's history, more Bibles were printed and put into circulation in this one year than had been produced during all the centuries up to the year 1800.
There lies on my table a complete Bible of fifteen hundred pages, printed in the Hindustani language, which is spoken by one hundred millions of people ; and this Bible is sold for the small sum of thirty-five cents, and that but illustrates what is being done in hundreds of languages. I have recently attended several public political meetings among the lindus, and was not a little surprised to hear many quotations from the Bible. The finest passages were quotations from the Bible. Do not these things point toward Christ having dominion in the languages of the nations of the earth ? This is still more significant when we remember that many of these languages were unwritten until they were written for the purpose of Bible tran-lations. It was said in
high places at the beginning of this century, “ There are over sixty different languages in the world, and it is absolutely impossible that the Gospel can find expression in all of them.” Such is the fate of skeptics' boasting. At the present rate of progress the miracle of Pentecost will soon cause not only the few languages represented on the day of Pentecost, or the hundreds of languages into which it is now translated, but all people of the whole earth shall be able to say, “ And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born ?"
Let us not be guilty of fearing for our Bible. It has survived the shocks of eighteen centuries, and now it sways more human hearts than ever. In our own time controversies have broken over it like fierce summer storms, which only brighten and enrich the face of the landscape they threaten to ruin. For a little while the theory of evolution was confidently affirmed to have shaken a strong ground for our belief in the Bible ; it was soon made clear that it had only strengthened it. For fifty years unsparing criticism played upon the historical Christ ; it only brought him nearer and made his glory more visible to men. Hostile investigation has contributed to our knowledge of the New Testament and has left its credit and authority unimpaired, and now the Old Testament is passing through the same fire.
We have no misgiving as to the issue. It is while all this controversy is going on in Christian countries that they are sending the money that makes these miracles of translation possible. When Pharaoh was drowning the first-born of the children of Israel, God was having his own daughter educate the deliverer of the people. So now, while would-be clever men in Christian lands are criticising the word from every possible standpoint, God is giving it to all peoples, and it is delivering through their languages the nations of the earth and fulfilling the prophecy: “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
BY BISHOP H. W. WARREN, D.D.
to Abraham, to Moses, God must come. Moses protests against going to de-
Peter, to Philip, to Paul, and to the Christians at Antioch comes the Holy
After such blessings, epiphanies, loves, and commands about all the world and Gospel to every creature one might think men would carry the Gospel without subse. quent urging.
Why do they not? It is too great for us to comprehend, or, if we comprehend, we despair, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. The plan of saving the world has been made, all necessary power provided, but it will not take care of itself. Men will not do their part without constant incitement of the Holy Ghost. No man goes without his sending ; no man supports one who has gone without his inspiration.
The recent possession, by the whole Church, of the idea of saving all the world is as great a manifestation of the coming of the Holy Ghost into the Church as was the Pentecost. Without his coming this world-wide plan and attempted execution would not have been thought of.
Paul and Barnabas were a part of the possessions of the Christians at Antioch, and