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CHRISTIANIZING THE WORLD
Canon Farrar, who is as liberal minded as he is fearless and able, in a recent sermon declared that where England made one Christian in heathen lands, she made a hundred drunkards. This was a bold assertion—almost too bold to at first seem true, but the more one examines into it and reads the authorities upon the conditions and recent history of the uncivilized countries where missionary effort has been directed, the more painfully truthful does the statement become. Of course, the reports sent out by missionaries give a more sanguine coloring, but with all due respect to the zeal and self-sacrifice of these worthy gentlemen, the way to arrive at a true appreciation of the situation is to examine all the evidence. When that is done it will be found that what Canon Farrar has said was not a false alarm, but a great evil that the mission work must face squarely and endeavor to remedy.
Remarkable testimony of the correctness of Canon Farrar’s assertion comes from an unexpected quarter. Mr. Joseph Thomson is a distinguished African traveller. He has conducted three expeditions in East Central Africa. He is a Christian, thoroughly imbued with the spirit and interests of his religion. He goes further than Canon Farrar, and says: „For every African who is influenced for good by Christianity, a thousand are driven into deeper degradation by the gin trade.” He declares that four hundred years of contact with Europeans have only succeeded, along the greater part of the coast, in raising a taste for gin, rum, gunpowder and guns. Mr. Thomson says he had seen so much of this sort of thing that he began to believe that the negro was not capable of development. But when he reached the heart of Africa, his pessimism suffered a severe shock. These are his words:
„I could hardly believe I was not dreaming when I looked around me and found large, well-built cities, many of them containing 10,000 to 30,000 inhabitants. The people themselves, picturesquely and voluminously dressed, moved about with that self-possessed, sober dignity which bespeaks the man who has a proper respect for himself. I saw on all sides the signs of an industrious community, differentiated into numerous crafts—evidence sufficient to show, how far advanced they were on the road to civilization. I heard the rattle, the tinkle, and the musical clang of the workers in iron, in brass, and in copper. I could see cloth being made in one place, and dyed, or sewn into gowns or other articles of dress in other places. In the markets crowded with eager thousands, I could see how varied were the wants of these negro people, how manifold the productions of their industry, and how keen their business instincts. Almost more remarkable than anything else, no native beer or spirits, nor European gin and rum, found place in their markets. Clearly there were no buyers, and therefore no sellers.”
What had caused this? Christianity? No, it was Mohammedanism; and not only had it done that, but it had established schools, built churches and made the people as devout as they are prosperous.—Baltimore American.
All this teaches three important lessons. First, It shows the folly of calling any of the „kingdoms of this world” Christian kingdoms. These kingdoms and the masses of the people would do anything for money and power. Whatever good is done is not to be credited to these kingdoms, but to the „Salt of the earth” in them.
Secondly, It blasts the hope which so many seem to cherish, that the missionary and civilizing progress of the present century, if kept up, would in a few thousand years bring about the Millennium of peace. It shows that vice is spreading more rapidly than Christianity and the same is attested in other ways. It proves that, if God is waiting for the church militant to bring about the Millennium, we need not expect it ever. Thank God, that we see his plan more clearly—that by making bare the arm of his power, He is even now about to overthrow, (in a great time of trouble) every agency of evil and corruption, degradation and sin, and to give „the dominion under the whole heavens” to the saints—the anointed Church triumphant, of which Christ Jesus is the head and Lord.
Thirdly, We should draw the lesson that morality and Christianity are not the same thing, as so many seem to suppose. While all true Christians practice morality, all who live a moral life are not Christians. These moral, temperate Mohammedan negroes of Africa, described above, have daily and hourly in their pleasures, comforts, etc., a reward for their morality and obedience to laws of nature, but they are not Christians. A Christian is one who after believing in and accepting of the RANSOM provided for him, in the death of the perfect „man Christ Jesus,” comes into harmony and communion with God. Strictly speaking no others are Christians. Many others however are nominal Christians, or Christians in name only.
— May, 1887 —