And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will…
Let me give you one or two reasons why missions are especially incumbent upon this nation.
1. First, because we owe to them immeasurable benefits. I throw in without estimate all that missions have done for the cause of science, though there is scarcely one single science that does not owe to them an immense advance. I throw in without estimate all they have done to the cause of civilisation, though no less a witness than Charles Darwin said that the lesson of the missionary was the enchanter's wand. I throw in without estimate all that they have done for the diminution of human misery, the suppression of war, the spread of commerce, the abolition of execrable cruelties. "It is Christ," says Chunder Sen — and you could have no more unprejudiced witness — "it is Christ, and not the British Government, that rules India." "Our hearts," he says, speaking for his countrymen, "our hearts have been conquered, not by armies, not by your gleaming bayonets, and your fiery cannon, but by a higher and different power, and that power is Christ," and "it is for Jesus," he adds, "and for Jesus only, that we will give up the precious diadem of India." Without missions the sagacity of Lawrence and the heroic courage of Havelock would have been in vain.
2. Because to us of this British race God has undoubtedly assigned the whole future of the world. Before a century is over the English-speaking people will be one-third of the whole human race. From this little island have sprung the millions of America, of Australasia, of colonies which are empires on which the sun never sets. Why is it that God has thus enlarged Japhet? Was it for the benefit of brewers and gin distillers? Was it that the coffers of our merchants might burst with their accumulated hoards?
3. Because, if our numbers have increased fivefold, our wealth at the same time has increased sevenfold. For what cause did God pour this river of gold into the coffers of our people? Was it that we should settle on our lees and live in ease on the earth? Or was it rather that we should send forth that great angel who has the everlasting gospel in his hands?
4. Because we have taken with us all over the world a ruinous and a clinging curse, the curse of drink. It is not the only wrong we have done by any means. The diseases we have inflicted have been bad enough, but our drink is worst of all; and as yet the conscience of this nation is as hard as the nether millstone to the fact of our guilt. Let the shameful truth be spoken, that mainly because of drink our footsteps amongst savage races have again and again been footsteps dyed in blood. We have cursed all India. with our drink and our drunkenness; and at this moment, after so short an occupation, we are cursing Egypt with it too. We have poured upon these nations the vials of this plague of ours — are we not bound to give them the antidote?
5. I might dwell on many more reasons, above all the truly apostolical succession of heroic personalities inspired by the immediate Spirit of God whom missions have called forth, of men who, even in this nineteenth century, have won the purple crown of martyrdom, and shown us that there may be something higher and more heroic in religion than the quotidian arguing of our religious squabbles and our ceremonial routine. But this only I will add, whenever a cause is noble, and is necessary, and calls for self-denial, it always evokes a mushroom crop of stale epigrams expressing the wit of prudential selfishness and the excuse of closefisted greed. Do not, then, be misled by the plausible devil's plea that we have too much heathenism at home to trouble ourselves with heathenism abroad. We have heathenism enough at home, God knows, but when long ago a member of the Massachusetts legislature said, "We have not religion enough at home, and cannot afford to send any abroad," a wiser and sincerer man than he answered, "The religion of Christ is such that the more you send abroad the more you have at home."
Parallel VersesKJV: And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.