Some years ago the Class of 1876 of Yale presented a building to their alma mater. On that building was to be placed a tablet, and on the tablet was to go the name of that member of the class who, in the judgment of his classmates, best symbolized and embodied their aspirations and ideals. It was a distinguished class. On its roll was William H. Taft, then president of the United States. Among the number were chief justices, merchant princes, heads of railroads and financial institutions, presidents of colleges, poets, and authors. But whose name, think you, was chosen to go on that tablet? It was the name of a member of that class who immediately upon his graduation went out to China as a missionary of Christ, and there in that darkness held up the light of Christ and him crucified.
Here is the testimony of Dr. M. S. Culbertson when he was dying in China in 1862. He had passed through West Point with distinction and had drilled many of the noted officers of the Civil War. Two of his friends told him that if he were now at home he might be a major general commanding great armies. His reply was: "No doubt I might. Men I drilled are in that position. Among these are Sherman, Thomas, Rosecrans. But there is not one with whom I would be willing to exchange. There is no post of influence on earth equal to that of a man who is permitted to give the word of God to four hundred million of his fellow men."
The missionary, Robert Moffat, wrote in an autograph album:
My album is the savage breast,
Where tempests brood and shadows rest,
Without one ray of light;
To write the name of Jesus there,
And see that savage bow in prayer,
And point to worlds more bright and fair—
This is my soul's delight.
(Rom. 1. 14; Col. 3. 9-11)
The first message at the birth of Christ was a missionary message—Luke 2. 10;
The first prayer Christ taught was a missionary prayer—Matt. 6. 10:
The first disciple, Andrew, became the first missionary—John 1. 41:
The first message of the Risen Lord was a missionary message—John 20. 17:
The first command of the Risen Lord to his disciples was a missionary command—John 20. 21:
The first apostolic sermon was a missionary sermon—Acts 2. 17-39:
The first reason the Lord gave for Christian love was a missionary reason—John 13. 35:
The first coming of Christ was for missionary work—Luke 6. 13-21:
The second coming of Christ is to be hastened by missionary work—Matt. 24. 14:
Our Saviour's last wish was a missionary wish—Matt. 28. 19:
The last wish of the departing Lord should be the first wish of His waiting people.—(Mark 16. 15)
'My son, if God has called you to be a missionary, your Father would be grieved to see you shrivel down into a king.' said C. H. Spurgeon.
(Acts 26. 17-19)
O Livingstone! Thou hero of my youth,
In toil and travel great and strong for truth!
Man of the humble heart and mighty mind,
Lover of Africa, friend of mankind!
What raptures thrilled thy mighty soul when first
`Mosi-out-tunga' on thy vision burst.—William Blare
(Rom. 15. 20; 2 Cor. 10. 15; 11.26)
The Scorn of Job!
`If I have eaten my morsel alone,'
The patriarch spoke with scorn.
What would he think of the church, were he shown
Heathendom, huge, forlorn,
Godless, Christless, with soul unfed,
While the Church's ailment is fullness of bread,
Eating her morsel alone?
`We do not well, with good tidings for all,'
Said the lepers four at the gate,
`To tell them not, lest mischief befall
If till morning light we wait.'
Dare we lose time ere we gladly spread
The tidings good of the living Bread?
Dare we eat our morsel alone?
`I am debtor alike to the Jew and the Greek,'
The mighty apostle cried,
Traversing continents souls to seek
For the love of the Crucified.
Centuries, centuries, since have sped:
Millions are famishing: we have bread,
Yet we eat our morsel alone.
Ever of them that have largest dower
Shall Heaven require the more.
Ours are affluence, knowledge, power,
Ocean from shore to shore:
And East and West in our ears have said:—
`Give us, give us your living Bread:'
Yet we eat our morsel alone.
`Freely as ye have received, so give,'
He bade Who hath given us all.
How shall the soul in us longer live
Deaf to their starving call,
For whom the blood of the Lord was shed,
And His body broken to give them bread
If we eat our morsel alone?
(Job 31. 17; Mark 6. 37; Rom. 1. 14)