1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Missions

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MISSIONS (Lat. missio, a sending) the term used specially for the propagandist operations of the Christian Church among the heathen, the executants of this work being missionaries. Both “mission” and “missionary” have hence come to be used of similar works in other spheres. The history of Christian missions may, for practical purposes, be divided into three chief periods: (1) the primitive, (2) the medieval and (3) the modern.

The Primitive Period

There can be little doubt that the Christian Church derived its missionary impulse from the teaching of its founder. Even though we may feel some hesitancy, in the light of modern criticism, about accepting as authentic the specific injunctions ascribed to Jesus by Matthew (ch. xxviii. 19) and Luke (ch. xxiv. 47; Acts i. 8), it must be admitted that the teaching of Jesus, in the emphasis which it laid on the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, was bound sooner or later to break away from the trammels of Judaism, and assert itself in the form of Christian missions. The triumph of this “universalistic” element in the teaching of Christ is vividly portrayed in the Acts of the apostles. At the beginning of the Acts the Christian Church is a little Jewish sect; long before the end is reached it has become a world-conquering spiritual force. The transformation was due in its initial stages to broad-minded men like Stephen, Philip and Barnabas who were the first pioneers of missionary work. Their efforts, however, were soon completely eclipsed by the magnificent achievements of the apostle Paul, who evangelized a large part of Asia Minor and the most important cities of Greece. The success which attended the work of the great apostle to the Gentiles stamped Christianity as a missionary religion for ever. From this point onwards Christianity pushed its way into all the great centres of population. We know very little about the missionaries of the first three centuries. We suddenly find province after province christianized though there is nothing to show how and by whom the work was done. The case of Bithynia is an excellent illustration of this. When Pliny wrote his famous letter to Trajan (A.D. 112), Christianity had taken such a firm hold of the province that its influence had penetrated into remote country districts, pagan festivals were almost entirely neglected, and animals for sacrifice could scarcely find purchasers. Yet the history of the conversion of Bithynia is absolutely buried in oblivion. By the time of Constantine, Christianity had practically covered the whole empire. Harnack has tabulated the results which our scanty data allow us to reach in his Expansion of Christianity. He divides the countries which had been evangelized by the close of the 3rd century into four groups: (1) Those countries in which Christianity numbered nearly one-half of the population and represented the standard religion of the people, viz. most of what we now call Asia Minor, that portion of Thrace which lay over against Bithynia, Armenia, the city of Edessa. (2) Those districts in which Christianity formed a very material portion of the population, influencing the leading classes and being able to hold its own with other religions, viz. Antioch and Coele-Syria, Cyprus, Alexandria together with Egypt and the Thebais, Rome and the lower parts of Italy, together with certain parts of middle Italy, Proconsular Africa and Numidia, Spain, the maritime parts of Greece, the southern coasts of Gaul. (3) Those districts in which Christianity was sparsely scattered, viz. Palestine, Phoenicia, Arabia, certain parts of Mesopotamia, the interior districts of Greece, the provinces on the north of Greece, the northern districts of middle Italy, the provinces of Mauretania and Tripolis. (4) Those districts in which Christianity was extremely weak or where it was hardly found at all: the districts to the north and north-west of the Black Sea, the western section of upper Italy, middle and upper Gaul, Belgica, Germany, Rhaetia, the towns of ancient Philistia. It is not possible to obtain even an approximate estimate of the numbers of the Christians at the time of Constantine. Friedländer, for instance, does not think that they exceeded by much Gibbon’s estimate for the reign of Decius, viz. one-twentieth of the population. La Bastie and Burckhardt put the ratio at one-twelfth, Matter at a fifth and Staudlin even at a half (see Harnack ii. 453).

After the end of the 3rd century missionary enterprise was mainly concentrated on the outlying borders of the empire. In the 4th and 5th centuries may be mentioned Gregory the Illuminator, the “apostle of Armenia” (about 300), Ulfilas, the “apostle of the Goths,” about 325; Frumentius,[1] a bishop of Abyssinia, about 327; Nino, the Armenian girl who was the means of converting the kingdom of Iberia (now Georgia), about 330;[2] Chrysostom, who founded at Constantinople in A.D. 404 an institution in which Goths might be trained to preach the Gospel to their own people;[3] Martin of Tours, who evangelized the central districts of Gaul; Valentinus, the “apostle of Noricum,” about 440; Honoratus, who from his monastic home in the islet of Lerins, about 410, sent missionaries among the masses of heathendom in the neighbourhood of Arles, Lyons, Troyes, Metz and Nice; and St Patrick, who converted Ireland into “the isle of saints” (died either in 463 or 495).

The Medieval Period

With the 5th century the Church was confronted with numberless hordes, which were now precipitated over the entire face of Europe. Having for some time learnt to be aggressive, she girded herself for the difficult work of teaching the nations a higher faith than a savage form of nature-worship, and of fitting them to become members of an enlightened Christendom.

(a) The Celtic Missionaries.—The first pioneers who went forth to engage in this difficult enterprise came from the secluded Celtic Churches of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. Of many who deserve mention in connexion with this period, the most prominent were: Columba, the founder of the famous monastery of Iona in 563 and the evangelizer of the Albanian Scots and northern Picts; Aidan, the apostle of Northumbria; Columbanus, the apostle of the Burgundians of the Vosges (590); Callich or Gallus (d. 646), the evangelizer of north-eastern Switzerland and Alemannia; Kilian, the apostle of Thuringia; and Trudpert, the martyr of the Black Forest. The zeal of these men seemed to take the world by storm. Travelling generally in companies, and carrying a simple outfit, these Celtic pioneers flung themselves on the continent of Europe, and, not content with reproducing at Annegray or Luxeuil the willow or brushwood huts, the chapel and the round tower, which they had left behind in Derry or in the island of Hy (Iona), they braved the dangers of the northern seas, and penetrated as far as the Faroes and even far distant Iceland.[4] “Their zeal and success,” to quote the words of Kurtz, “are witnessed to by the fact that at the beginning of the 8th century, throughout all the district of the Rhine, as well as Hesse, Thuringia, Bavaria and Alemannia, we find a network of flourishing churches bearing the impress of Celtic institutions.”

(b) The English Missionaries.—Thus they laid the foundations, aweing the heathen tribes by their indomitable spirit of self-sacrifice and the sternness of their rule of life. But, marvellous as it was, their work lacked the element of permanence; and it became clear that a more practical system must be devised and carried out. The men for this work were now ready, and the sons of the newly evangelized English Churches were ready to go forth. The energy which warriors were accustomed to put forth in their efforts to conquer was now “exhibited in the enterprise of conversion and teaching”[5] by Wilfrid on the coast of Friesland,[6] by Willibrord (658–715) in the neighbourhood of Utrecht,[7] by the martyr-brothers Ewald or Hewald amongst the “old” or continental Saxons,[8] by Swidbert the apostle of the tribes between the Ems and the Yssel, by Adelbert, a prince of the royal house of Northumbria, in the regions north of Holland, by Wursing, a native of Friesland, and one of the disciples of Willibrord, in the same region, and last, not least, by the famous Winfrid or Boniface, the “apostle of Germany” (680–755), who went forth first to assist Willibrord at Utrecht, then to labour in Thuringia and Upper Hessia, then with the aid of his kinsmen Wunibald and Willibald, their sister Walpurga, and her thirty companions, to consolidate the work of earlier missionaries, and finally to die a martyr on the shore of the Zuider Zee.

(c) Scandinavian Missions.—Devoted, however, as were the labours of Boniface and his disciples, all that he and they and the emperor Charlemagne after them achieved for the fierce untutored world of the 8th century seemed to have been done in vain when, in the 9th “on the north and north-west the pagan Scandinavians were hanging about every coast, and pouring in at every inlet; when on the east the pagan Hungarians were swarming like locusts and devastating Europe from the Baltic to the Alps; when on the south and south-east the Saracens were pressing on and on with their victorious hosts. It seemed then as if every pore of life were choked, and Christendom must be stifled and smothered in the fatal embrace.[9] But the devoted Anskar (801–865) went forth and sought out the Scandinavian viking, and handed on the torch of self-denying zeal to others, who saw, after the lapse of many years, the close of the monotonous tale of burning churches and pillaged monasteries, and taught the fierce Northman to learn respect for civilized institutions.[10] The gospel was first introduced into Norway in the 10th century by an Englishman named Hacon, though the real conversion of the country was due to Olaf Tryggvasön. About the same time, and largely owing to the exertions of Olaf, Iceland, Greenland and the Orkney and Shetland islands were also evangelized.

(d) Slavonic Missions.—Thus the “gospel of the kingdom” was successively proclaimed to the Roman, the Celtic, the Teutonic and the Scandinavian world. A contest still more stubborn remained with the Slavonic tribes, with their triple and many-headed divinities, their powers of good and powers of evil, who could be propitiated only with human sacrifices. Mission work commenced in Bulgaria during the latter part of the 9th century; thence it extended to Moravia, where in 863 two Greek missionaries—Cyril and Methodius—provided for the people a Slavonic Bible and a Slavonic Liturgy; thence to Bohemia and Poland, and so onwards to the Russian kingdom of Ruric the Northman, where about the close of the 10th century the Eastern Church “silently and almost unconsciously bore into the world her mightiest offspring.”[11] But, though the baptism of Vladimir (c. 956–1015) was a heavy blow to Slavonic idolatry, mission work was carried on with but partial success; and it taxed all the energies of Adalbert, bishop of Bremen, of Vicilin, bishop of Oldenburg, of Bishop Otto of Bamberg the apostle of the Pomeranians, of Adalbert the martyr-apostle of Prussia, to spread the word in that country, in Lithuania, and in the territory of the Wends. It was not till 1168 that the gigantic four-headed image of Swantevit was destroyed at Arcona, the capital of the island of Rügen, and this Mona of Slavonic superstition was included in the advancing circle of Christian civilization. As late as 1230 human sacrifices were still being offered up in Prussia and Lithuania, and, in spite of all the efforts of the Teutonic Knights, idolatrous practices still lingered amongst the people, while amongst the Lapps, though successful missions had been inaugurated as early as 1335, Christianity cannot be said to have become the dominant religion till at least two centuries later.

(e) Moslem Missions.—The mention of the order of the Teutonic Knights reminds us how the crusading spirit had affected Christendom. Still even then Raimon Lull protested against propagandism by the sword, urged the necessity of missions amongst the Moslems, and sealed his testimony with his blood outside the gates of Bugiah in northern Africa (June 30, 1315). Out of the crusades, however, arose other efforts to develop the work which Nestorian missionaries from Bagdad, Edessa and Nisibis had already inaugurated along the Malabar coast, in the island of Ceylon, and in the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea. In 1245 the Roman pontiff sent two embassies—one, a party of four Dominicans, sought the commander-in-chief of the Mongol forces in Persia; the second, consisting of Franciscans, made their way into Tartary, and sought to convert the successor of Oktai-Khan. Their exertions were seconded in 1253 by the labours of another Franciscan whom Louis IX. of France sent forth from Cyprus,[12] while in 1274 the celebrated traveller Marco Polo, accompanied by two learned Dominicans, visited the court of Kublai-Khan, and at the commencement of the 14th century two Franciscans penetrated as far as Peking, even translating the New Testament and the Psalter into the Tatar language, and training youths for a native ministry.[13]

(f) Missions to India and the New World.—These tentative missions were now to be supplemented by others on a larger scale. In 1488 the Cape of Good Hope was rounded by Diaz, and in 1508 the foundations of the Portuguese Indian empire were laid by Albuquerque. Columbus also in 1492 had landed on San Salvador, and the voyages of the Venetian Cabot along the coast of North America opened up a new world to missionary enterprise. Thus a grand opportunity was given to the churches of Portugal and Spain. But the zeal of the Portuguese took too often a one-sided direction, repressing the Syrian Christians on the Malabar coast, and interfering with the Abyssinian Church,[14] while the fanatic temper of the Spaniard consigned, in Mexico and Peru, multitudes who would not renounce their heathen errors to indiscriminate massacre or abject slavery.[15] Las Casas has drawn a terrible picture of the oppression he strove in vain to prevent.[16] Some steps indeed were taken for disseminating Christian principles, and the pope had induced a band of missionaries, chiefly of the mendicant orders, to go forth to this new mission field.[17] But only five bishoprics had been established by 1520, and the number of genuine converts was small. However, every vestige of the Aztec worship was banished from the Spanish settlements.[18]

(g) The Jesuit Missions.—It was during this period that the Jesuits came into existence. One of the first of Loyola’s associates, Francis Xavier, encouraged by the joint co-operation of the pope and of John III. of Portugal, disembarked at Goa on the 6th of May 1542, and before his death on the Isle of St John (Hiang-Shang), on the 2nd of December 1552, roused the European Christians of Goa to a new life, laboured with singular success amongst the Paravars, a fisher caste near Cape Comorin, gathered many converts in the kingdom of Travancore, visited Malacca, and founded a mission in Japan.

The successor of Xavier, Antonio Criminalis, was regarded by the Jesuits as the first martyr of their society (1562). Matteo Ricci, an Italian by birth, was also an indefatigable missionary in China for twenty-seven years, while the unholy compromise with Brahminism in India followed by Robert de’ Nobili was fatal to the vitality of his own and other missions. Others of the same order evangelized Paraguay in 1582, while the Huguenots sent forth under a French knight of Malta a body of devoted men to attempt the formation of a Christian colony at Rio Janeiro. By the close of the 16th century a committee of cardinals was appointed under the name of the “Congregatio de propaganda fide,” to give unity and solidity to the work of missions. The scheme originated with Gregory XIII., but was not fully organized till forty years afterwards, when Gregory XV. gave it plenary authority by a bull dated the 2nd of June 1622. Gregory’s successor, Urban VIII., supplemented the establishment of the congregation by founding a great missionary college, where Europeans might be trained for foreign labours, and natives might be educated to undertake mission work. At this college is the missionary printing-press of the Roman Church, and its library contains an unrivalled collection of literary treasures bearing on the work.

Modern Missions

Missionary Societies.—Modern missionary activity is distinguished in a special degree by the exertions of societies for the development of mission work.

As contrasted with the colossal display of power on the part of the Church of Rome, it must be allowed that the churches which in the 16th century broke off from their allegiance to the Latin centre at first showed no great anxiety for the extension of the gospel and the salvation of the heathen. The causes of this are not far to seek. The isolation of the Teutonic churches from the vast system with which they had been bound up, the conflicts and troubles among themselves, the necessity of fixing their own principles and defining their own rights, concentrated their attention upon themselves and their own home work, to the neglect of work abroad.[19]

Still the development of the maritime power of England, which the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies noted with fear and jealousy, was distinguished by a singular anxiety for the spread of the Christian faith. Edward VI. in his instructions to the navigators in Sir Hugh Willoughby’s fleet, Sebastian Cabot in those for the direction of the intended voyage to Cathay, and Richard Hakluyt, who promoted many voyages of discovery in addition to writing their history, agree with Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s chronicler that “the sowing of Christianity must be the chief intent of such as shall make any attempt at foreign discovery, or else whatever is builded upon other foundation shall never obtain happy success or continuance.” When on the last day of the year 1600 Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to George, earl of Cumberland, and other “adventurers,” to be a body-corporate by the name of “The Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies,” the expressed recognition of higher duties than those of commerce may by some be deemed a mere matter of form, and, to use the words of Bacon, “what was first in God’s providence was but second in man’s appetite and intention.” Yet a keen sense of missionary duty marks many of the chronicles of English mariners. Notably was this the case with the establishment of the first English colony in America, that of Virginia, by Sir Walter Raleigh. The philosopher Thomas Harriot (1560–1621), one of his colleagues, laboured for the conversion of the natives, amongst whom the first baptism is recorded to have taken place on the 13th of August 1587.[20] Raleigh himself presented as a parting gift to the Virginian Company the sum of £100 “for the propagation of the Christian religion” in that settlement.[21] When James I. granted letters patent for the occupation of Virginia it was directed that the “word and service of God be preached, planted and used as well in the said colonies as also as much as might be among the savages bordering among them”; and the honoured names of Nicolas Ferrar, John Ferrar, John Donne and Sir John Sandys, a pupil of Hooker, are all found on the council by which the home management of the colony was conducted.

In the year 1618 was published The True Honour of Navigation and Navigators, by John Wood, D.D., dedicated to Sir Thomas Smith, governor to the East India Company, and about the same time appeared the well-known treatise of Hugo Grotius, De veritate religionis christianae, written for the express use of settlers in distant lands. Grotius also persuaded seven law students of Lübeck to go to the East as missionaries; the best known of them was Peter Heiling, who worked for 20 years in Abyssinia. A good deal of work was done by Dutch evangelists in Java, the Moluccas, Formosa and Ceylon, but it was not permanent.

The wants, moreover, of the North American colonies did not escape the attention of Archbishop Laud during his official connexion with them as bishop of London, and he was developing a plan for promoting a local episcopate there when his troubles began and his scheme was interrupted. During the Protectorate, in 1649, an ordinance was passed for “the promoting and propagating of the gospel of Jesus Christ in New England” by the erection of a corporation, to be called by the name of the President and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, to receive and dispose of moneys for the purpose, and a general collection was ordered to be made in all the parishes of England and Wales; and Cromwell himself devised a scheme for setting up a council for the Protestant religion, which should rival the Roman Propaganda, and consist of seven councillors and four secretaries for different provinces.[22] On the restoration of the monarchy, through the influence of Richard Baxter with Lord Chancellor Hyde, the charter already granted by Cromwell was renewed, and its powers were enlarged. For now the corporation was styled “The Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent in America,” and its object was defined to be “not only to seek the outward welfare and prosperity of those colonies, but more especially to endeavour the good and salvation of their immortal souls, and the publishing the most glorious gospel of Christ among them.” On the list of the corporation the first name is the earl of Clarendon, while the Hon. Robert Boyle was appointed president. Amongst the most eminent of its missionaries was the celebrated John Eliot, the Puritan minister of Roxbury, Massachusetts, who, encouraged and financially assisted by Boyle, brought out the Bible in the Indian language in 1661–1664. Boyle displayed in other ways his zeal for the cause of missions. He contributed to the expense of printing and publishing at Oxford the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in the Malay language, and at his death left £5400 for the propagation of the gospel in heathen lands.

The needs of the colonial church soon excited the attention of others. George Fox, the Quaker, wrote to “All Friends everywhere that have Indians or blacks, to preach the Gospel to them and their servants.” Great efforts were made by William Beveridge (1637–1708), bishop of St Asaph, William Wake (1657–1737), archbishop of Canterbury, John Sharp (1645–1714), archbishop of York, Edmund Gibson (1669–1748), bishop of London, and afterwards by the philosophic Bishop Berkeley, and Bishop Butler, the famous author of the Analogy, to develop the colonial church and provide for the wants of the Indian tribes. In 1696 Dr Thomas Bray, at the request of the governor and assembly of Maryland, was selected by the bishop of London as ecclesiastical commissary; and, having sold his effects, and raised money on credit, he sailed for Maryland in 1699, where he promoted, in various ways, the interests of the Church. Returning to England in 1700–1701, and supported by all the weight of Archbishop Tenison and Henry Compton, bishop of London, he was graciously received by William III., and received letters patent under the great seal of England for creating a corporation by the name of the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts” on the 16th of June 1701.

Meanwhile, in 1664, Von Welz, an Austrian baron, issued a stirring appeal to the Church at large for a special association devoted to extending the evangelical religion and converting the heathen. He was told that each Christian country should be responsible for its non-Christian neighbours, e.g. the Greeks for the Turks, and that as for the heathen it was no good casting pearls before swine. Finding no better response, he went himself as a missionary to Dutch Guiana. The opening of the 18th century saw other movements set on foot. Thus in 1705 Frederick IV. of Denmark founded a mission on the Coromandel coast, and inaugurated the labours of Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, Henry Plutschau and C. F. Schwartz, whose devotion and success told with such remarkable reflex influence on the Church at home. Again in 1731 the Moravians (q.v.) illustrated in a signal degree the growing consciousness of obligation towards the heathen. Driven by persecution from Moravia, hunted into mountain-caves and forests, they had scarcely secured a place of refuge in Saxony before, “though a mere handful in numbers, yet with the spirit of men banded for daring and righteous deeds, they formed the heroic design, and vowed the execution of it before God, of bearing the gospel to the savage and perishing tribes of Greenland and the West Indies, of whose condition report had brought a mournful rumour to their ears.” And so, literally with “neither bread nor scrip,” they went forth on their pilgrimage, and, incredible as it sounds, within ten years they had established missions in the islands of the West Indies, in South America, Surinam, Greenland, among the North American tribes, in Lapland, Tartary, Algiers, Guinea, the Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon.[23] Up till this time all missionary enterprises had been more or less connected with the state. The era of modern missions, based on associate organizations, begins with William Carey (q.v.), and is closely connected with the great evangelical revival of the latter part of the 18th century. That revival had intensified the idea of the worth of the individual soul, whether Christian or heathen, and “to snatch even one brand from the burning” became a dominant impulse. In 1792, Carey, a Baptist, who was not only a cobbler, but a linguist of the highest order, a botanist and zoologist, published his Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, and the book marks a distinct point of departure in the history of Christianity. Under its influence twelve ministers at Kettering in October 1792 organized the Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, and subscribed £13, 2s. 6d. In June 1793 Carey was on his way to India. Letters from him quickened interest outside his own communion, and in the autumn of 1794 a meeting of Evangelical ministers of all denominations resolved to appeal to their churches, especially with a view to work being started in the South Sea Islands. The chief movers in the enterprise were the Congregationalist, David Bogue of Gosport, and the Episcopalian, Thomas Haweis, rector of Aldwinkle, Northamptonshire. With them were associated Wesleyan and Presbyterian divines, and in September 1795 the London Missionary Society, emphasizing no one form of church government, was formed. £10,000 was subscribed by June 1796, and in August 29 missionaries sailed for Tahiti. Societies formed in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the spring of the same year gave their attention to the continent of Africa.

The need of this continent was also the means of creating the distinctively Anglican organization known as the Church Missionary Society. The evangelical movement had produced philanthropists like Wilberforce and Granville Sharp, and the Eclectic Society, a group of clergy and laymen who fell to discussing the new missionary movements. In April 1799, under the guidance of John Venn and Thomas Scott, was established the Church Missionary Society, originally known as the “Society for Missions to Africa and the East.” Its promoters declared their intention of maintaining cordial relations with Nonconformist missionary societies, and this has largely been done, the older Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, manned by “High” Churchmen, standing more aloof. In 1814 the Wesleyan Missionary Society was formed, Methodist effort of this kind having previously been left to the individual enterprise of Dr Thomas Coke. Thus shorn of two chief bodies of supporters, and Presbyterians in England being then comparatively few, the London Missionary Society became in effect a Congregationalist organization, though it has never departed from the broad spirit of its founders. In Scotland Robert Haldane sold his estate and devoted £25,000 to the cause; with others he would have gone to India himself but for the prohibition of the East India Company, one of whose directors said he would rather see a band of devils in India than a band of missionaries. What Carey did for England was largely done for Scotland by Alexander Duff, who settled in Calcutta in 1830, and was a pioneer of higher education in India. On the Continent the Basel Mission (1815) grew out of a society founded in 1780 to discuss the general condition of Christianity; “Father” Jänicke, a Bohemian preacher in Berlin, founded a training school which supplied many men to the Church Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society; and Van der Kemp, who pioneered the London Missionary Society work in South Africa, organized in 1797 the Netherland Missionary Society, which turned its attention chiefly to Dutch Colonial possessions.

In America as in England the sense of individual responsibility had been developed. In 1796 and 1797 respectively the New York and the Northern societies were formed for work among Indians by Presbyterians, Baptists and Reformed Dutch, acting in concert. News of the London Society stimulated interest in New England, and in 1806 Andover Seminary was founded as a missionary training college. In the same year Samuel J. Mills, Gordon Hall and James Richards, three students at Williams College, Massachusetts, formed themselves into a mission band which ultimately became the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (June 1810), an organization which, like the London Mission, originally undenominational and still catholic, has become practically Congregational. The first offshoot from it was the American Baptist Missionary Union in 1814.

The following chronological lists illustrate the growth of missionary societies in Britain and the United States:—

Great Britain and Ireland.

1691. Christian Faith Society for the West Indies.

1698. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

1701. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

1732. Moravian Missions.

1792. Baptist Missionary Society.

1795. London Missionary Society.

1796. Scottish Missionary Society.

1799. Church Missionary Society.

1799. Religious Tract Society.

1804. British and Foreign Bible Society.

1808. London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews.

1813. Wesleyan Missionary Society.

1817. General Baptist Missionary Society.

1823. Colonial and Continental Church Society.

1825. Church of Scotland Mission Boards.
National Bible Society of Scotland.

1831. Trinitarian Bible Society.

1832. Wesleyan Ladies’ Auxiliary for Female Education in Foreign Countries.

1835. United Secession (afterwards United Presbyterian) Foreign Missions.

1836. Colonial Missionary Society.

1840. Irish Presbyterian Missionary Society.

1840. Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Missionary Society.

1841. Colonial Bishoprics Fund.

1841. Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society.

1843. British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews.

1843. Free Church of Scotland Missions.

1843. Primitive Methodist African and Colonial Missions.
Methodist New Connexion in England Foreign Missions.

1844. South American Missionary Society.

1847. Presbyterian Church in England Foreign Missions.

1858. Christian Vernacular Education Society for India.

1860. Central African Mission of the English Universities.

1862. China Inland Mission.

1865. Friends’ Foreign Mission Association.

1866. Delhi Female Medical Mission.

1867. Friends’ Mission in Syria and Palestine.

1876. Cambridge Mission to Delhi.

1880. Church of England Zenana Missionary Society.

1884. Presbyterian Mission to Korea.

1892. Student Volunteer Missionary Union.
United States of America.

1733. Corporation for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England.

1787. Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians at Boston.

1795. Friends’ Missionary Society.

1800. New York Missionary Society.
Connecticut Missionary Society for Indians.

1803. United States Mission to the Cherokees.

1806. Western Missionary Society for Indians.

1810. Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

1814. Baptist Missionary Union.

1819. Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society.

1833. Free-will Baptist Foreign Missionary Society in India.

1835. Foreign Missions of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

1837. Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church (North).

1837. Evangelical Lutheran Foreign Missionary Society.

1842. Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society.
Strict Baptist Missionary Society.

1843. Baptist Free Missionary Society.

1845. Methodist Episcopal Church (South).

1845. Southern Baptist Convention.

1846. American Missionary Association.

1857. Board of Foreign Missions of (Dutch) Reformed Church.

1859. Board of Foreign Missions of United Presbyterian Church.

1862. Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church (South).

1878. Evangelical Association Missionary Society.

1886. Student Volunteer Missionary Union.

It is not possible to follow in detail the history of the hundred or more organized societies of some size that have thus come into being since the end of the 18th century, still less that of the three or four hundred smaller agencies.[24] It may be noted, however, that the enterprise has followed certain more or less clearly defined lines. These are described as follows by Dr E. M. Bliss, editor of the Encyclopaedia of Missions.

1. The Denominational.—The course of denominational work may be seen in the way in which the London Society and the American Board were gradually left to the Congregationalists, it being recognized that while fraternity was maintained, the widest results could only be obtained as appeal was made directly to the members of each separate denomination. To some extent a similar development is traceable in other lands. In Germany the Rhenish Society (1825) became independent of the Basel Mission, but like it and the Berlin Society founded by Neander and Tholuck has preserved a broad basis and includes both Lutheran and Reformed constituents. The North German or Bremen Society split into a strict Lutheran or Leipzig agency and the Hermannsburg Mission, which aimed at a more primitive and apostolic method. In Denmark, the Danish Missionary Society, founded by Pastor Bone Falck Ronne in 1821, worked through the Moravian and Basel societies until 1862, when it began independent work and concentrated on the Tamil population of South India. In Norway and Sweden missionary activity kept pace with the development of the national life; in the former country the Free Church, in the latter the State Church has been the most successful agency.

In Holland a religious revival in 1846 led to the foundation of several organizations which supplemented the work of the original Netherland Missionary Society. In France protestant missionary effort began after the overthrow of the empire, and in 1822 several isolated committees united to form the Société des Missions Evangéliques, better known as the Paris Evangelical Society. In Tahiti, Madagascar and other fields this society has largely taken over work begun by the London Society, whose operations were viewed with suspicion by the French government.

2. Collateral Aid.—Side by side with the founding of the great missionary societies, Bible and Tract societies sprang up. The dates are significant: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1698), Religious Tract and Book Society of Scotland (1793), Religious Tract Society in London (1799), British and Foreign Bible Society (1804), American Bible Society (1816), American Tract Society (1823). (See further Bible Societies.) Medical Missions have not been so much collateral organizations as departments of the work of the general societies, and the same is generally true of women’s missions. Both of these will be discussed in more detail.

3. Independent and Special Agencies.—The individual element that was so marked a feature in Carey’s generation has never vanished, in spite of the tendency to central control. J. Hudson Taylor in 1853 went to China as the agent of a number of folk in England who feared that missionary work was becoming too mechanical. His aim was to push inland and to work through native evangelists. Out of his endeavours sprang a new organization, the China Inland Mission; and similar undenominational societies, e.g. the Regions Beyond Missionary Union in England, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance in America, have since been founded. Other individual enterprises have been launched by persons or single churches, but such have not usually flourished for any length of time, their workers gradually attaching themselves to the larger associations.

Protestant Missions.—It is generally agreed that the period since 1885 has witnessed a very marked increase of missionary zeal and interest in Great Britain, both in the Church of England and among the Nonconformists. The improvement, indeed, dates back somewhat earlier. So far as the Church of England is concerned it may fairly be said to1. British. have started afresh in the year following the first observance of the Day of Intercession for Missions, on the 20th of December 1872. Both the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Missionary Society were at that time suffering from a general coldness which, in the case of the latter society, had led in that very year to the committee reporting “a failing treasury and a scanty supply of men.” The observance of that first Day of Intercession was followed by an immediate change, and unquestionably there has been progress ever since. Then, less than five months afterwards, David Livingstone died at Ilala; and no event of the whole century did so much to wake up Protestant Christendom. Most of the missions in Central Africa owe their origin to the spirit it aroused. But the year 1884 was also an epoch to be marked. In that year Bishop Hannington went to Africa; and his murder in 1885 (first reported in England on New Year’s Day, 1886) deeply touched the Christian conscience. The speedy publication of E. C. Dawson’s biography of him worked a revolution in the circulation of missionary literature. Another event of 1884–1885 was the going forth to China of “The Cambridge Seven,” in connexion with the China Inland Mission. All were men of good family; some of them went at their own charges; and among them were the stroke-oar of the University Eight (Mr Stanley Smith) and the captain of the University Eleven (Mr C. T. Studd). Probably no event of recent years has exercised a wider influence in the cause of missions. In particular, university graduates have since then gone out as missionaries in much larger numbers than before. There are now five missions definitely linked with the universities. The Central African Mission (1858), indeed, is not for the most part manned by graduates, though it is led by them; but the Cambridge Mission at Delhi (1878), the Oxford Mission at Calcutta (1880), and the Dublin Missions in Chota Nagpur (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1891) and the Fuh-Kien Province of China (Church Missionary Society, 1887) consist of university men. Moreover, the older and larger societies have much increased the proportion of graduates on their staffs.

The cause of missions in the universities has been fostered greatly by the Student Volunteer Missionary Movement, initiated in America in 1886, and organized in England in 1892. The Union has over 3000 members (of whom 1400 have gone to the field), and has adopted as its watchword, “The Evangelization of the World in this Generation”; and this motto has been approved by several bishops and other Christian leaders. Another influence upon university men and others who have taken holy orders is that of the Younger Clergy Union of the Church Missionary Society (1885) and the Junior Clergy Association of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1891). At the same time there has been a great accession of men to the missionary ranks from among other classes of society. The Anglican societies and the regular and older Nonconformist societies (Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and the London Missionary Society, which is virtually Congregationalist) have shared in these humbler recruits; but a large proportion of them have joined several younger “non-denominational” or “interdenominational” missions. Of these the China Inland Mission is the largest and most influential; and while it has sent forth many of this class, it has also enrolled not a few men and women of considerable wealth, education and social status. The South Africa General Mission, the North Africa Mission, and the Congo Balolo Mission come next in importance; but there are several smaller bodies working in different countries. The Salvation Army also has missions in India, Ceylon and Japan; but these cannot be called “non-denominational,” because the Army has gradually become a very strict denomination itself. There is one Anglican society working, like some of those just mentioned, in one particular field, viz. the South American Missionary Society, founded in 1844. Many foreign dioceses also have associations in England for their help and support. Medical men have come forward in increasing numbers for missionary service, and medical missions are now regarded as a very important branch of the work of evangelization. They are especially valuable in Mahommedan countries, where open preaching is difficult and sometimes impossible, and also in works of mercy among barbarous tribes; while in China, which comes under neither of these two categories, they have been largely developed. There are 980 doctors (most of them fully qualified) labouring in British and American missions; and in 1910 it was calculated that the in-patients in mission hospitals exceeded 160,000, while the visits of out-patients in a year were about 5,000,000. In several of the great London hospitals there are missionary associations, the members of which are medical students; but a chief source of supply in the past has been the Edinburgh Medical Mission, founded in 1841, which, while working among the poor in that city, has trained many young doctors for missionary service.

The most remarkable development of missionary enterprise has been the employment of women. From an early date many of the wives of missionaries have done good service; but the going forth of single women in any appreciable number has only been encouraged by the societies in the last quarter of the 19th century. The Society for Promoting Female Education in the East (now absorbed by others, chiefly by the Church Missionary Society) was founded in 1834; the Scottish Ladies’ Association for the Advancement of Female Education in India (which subsequently became two associations, for more general work, in connexion with the Established and Free Churches of Scotland respectively) in 1837; the Indian Female Normal School Society (now the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission) in 1861 (taking over an association dating from 1852); the Wesleyan Ladies’ Auxiliary in 1859; the Women’s Association of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the Baptist Zenana Mission, in 1867; The London Society’s Female Branch, in 1875; the Church of England Zenana Society (an offshoot from the Indian Female Society) in 1880. But the earlier of these organizations only contemplated employing women for educational work on a very small scale. Out of it grew the visitation of Indian zenanas. The employment of women in general evangelistic work, such as village itineration, house-to-house visiting in towns, classes for female inquirers, training of native female workers, &c., although recent, has rapidly extended. The Church Missionary Society, besides relying on the above-named Zenana Bible and Medical Mission and Church of England Zenana Missionary Society for women’s work at several of its stations in India and China, sent out 500 single women in the fifteen years ending 1900; and the non-denominational missions above referred to have (including wives) more women than men engaged in their work—especially the China Inland Mission, which has sent out several hundreds to China. Women’s work and medical work are combined in the persons of nearly 300 fully-qualified lady doctors in various missions. Although nearly half the male missionaries (Protestant) are unmarried, these are exceeded in number by the unmarried women; and consequently, the husbands and wives being equal, the aggregate of women in the Missions is greater than the aggregate of men.

The home organization of missions is a subject that has been much considered. The bulk of the work has been done by voluntary societies, membership in which depends upon a pecuniary subscription, and the administration of which is entrusted to elected committees. These committees comprise not only real experts, such as retired veteran missionaries, and retired civil and military officers who have been active friends of missions while on foreign service, but also leading clergymen and laymen who, though not personally acquainted with the mission fields, become almost equal experts by continuous attendance and careful study. In the case of the two leading Church of England societies, the bishops (being members) are ex officio on all executive committees; but their labours in other directions prevent their ordinarily attending. The numerous non-denominational missions previously referred to are differently worked. There is no membership by subscription, nor any elected committee. The “mission” consists of the missionaries themselves, and they are governed by a “director,” with possibly small advisory councils in the field and at home, the latter undertaking the duty of engaging missionaries and raising funds.

On the other hand, there is a growing sense that missions should be the work of the Church in its corporate capacity, and not of voluntary associations. This is the system of the Presbyterian Churches, the missions of which are entirely controlled by the General Assemblies in Edinburgh, Belfast and London respectively. The Wesleyan Society also is under the authority of the Conference. In the Church of England the question was broached in Convocation, shortly after the revival of that body, in 1859; and during the next few years many suggestions were put forth for the establishment of a Board of Missions which should absorb the societies, or at least direct their work. It soon appeared, however, that neither the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel nor the Church Missionary Society was willing to be absorbed; and it was urged by some that in a great comprehensive national Church, comprising persons of widely different views, more zeal was likely to be thrown into voluntary than into official enterprises. Eventually, in 1887, the Canterbury Convocation and Archbishop Benson formed a Board of Missions; and York followed shortly afterwards. These boards, however, were not to supersede the societies, but to supplement their work, by collecting information, fostering interest, registering results and acting as referees when required. They have already done some useful work, and will probably do more. Their most active members are men who are also leaders in their respective societies, and have thus gained experience in missionary administration. But the Church of England has not yet put missions in the prominent place they occupy in the Nonconformist denominations.

The closing years of the 19th century were remarkable for the centenary commemorations of the older missionary societies. The Baptist Society celebrated its centenary in 1892; the London Missionary Society (Congregational) did the same in 1895; the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge kept its bicentenary in 1898; the Church Missionary Society its centenary in 1899; the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel its bicentenary in 1900–1901; and the British and Foreign Bible Society its centenary in 1904. Considerable special funds have been raised in connexion with these commemorations. A good deal of interest has also been awakened and maintained by missionary exhibitions, and by a more intelligent type of missionary literature.

Colonial missions next claim attention. By “colonial” is meant, not missions to the British colonial population, but missions from the colonial population to the heathen. The former have been very largely the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and, in a smaller degree, of the Colonial Church Society (Church of England) and2. Colonial. the Colonial Missionary Society (Congregational). Those missions, however, are more properly an outlying branch of home missions, being to the professing Christian settlers or their descendants. But these Christian settlers have their own missions to the heathen—both to the heathen at their doors and to the great heathen lands beyond.

In Canada and Australia, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and other communities have regular organizations for foreign missions. The non-episcopal missions thus formed and supported are worked quite independently of the home societies of the denominations respectively. The Australian Presbyterians have important agencies in the South Seas and in Korea, the Australian Baptists in Bengal, the Canadians of various denominations in the Far North-West of the Dominion, and in India and China. The Anglican Church in Canada has its Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, working in the North-West and in Japan; and in Australia it has a Board of Missions, working amongst the Australian aborigines and in New Guinea. The Melanesian Mission, associated with the names of Selwyn and Patteson, is officially connected with the Church of New Zealand, but is also largely supported in Australia. In New South Wales, Victoria, New Zealand and Canada there are also Church missionary associations which supply missionaries, and support them, for the mission fields of the Church Missionary Society.

The German societies are numerous and important, and have increased in number and in vigorous work. The Moravian Church, whose missions are the oldest (1732), is itself a missionary organization in a sense in which no other Christian community rivals it. Its total membership is under 100,000, and it has some 350 missionaries,3. Continental. labouring in the most unpromising fields—Greenland, Labrador, Alaska, Central America, Tibet, and among the Hottentots. The Basel Society, with its famous seminary at Basel, which formerly supplied many able German missionaries to the Church Missionary Society, has extensive work in India, West Africa and South China. The Berlin Society and the Rhenish Society labour in South Africa and China, the Hermannsburg Mission (Hanover) in South Africa and India; Gossner’s Mission (Berlin) and the Leipzig Lutherans in India. At least two of these societies, and other new associations formed for the purpose, and the Moravians, have taken up work in German East Africa. The principal organizations in Holland are the Netherlands Missionary Society and the Utrecht Missionary Society, working mainly in the Dutch colonies. A Danish society has a mission in South India. The old Swedish and Norwegian missionary societies work in South Africa, Madagascar and India; but large numbers of Scandinavians have been stirred up in missionary zeal, and have gone out to China in connexion with the China Inland Mission; several were massacred in the Boxer outbreaks. The French Protestants support the Société des Missions Évangeliques, founded in 1822. Its chief mission has been in Basutoland, since extended to the Zambesi; but it has also followed French colonial extension, establishing missions in Senegambia, the French Congo, Madagascar and Tahiti.

The newer American organizations are, as in England, non-denominational and “free-lance,” especially the Christian and Missionary Alliance (1897), developed from the International Missionary Alliance (1887), which has sent many missionaries to India and China. The older societies attribute to these new agencies more zeal than4. American. discretion, while the newer credit the older with a discretion that cripples zeal. The Student Volunteer Movement, already referred to, has had large influence in the United States, where it arose; and its leaders have proved themselves men of rare intellectual and practical capacity. In a journey round the world in 1895–1897, J. R. Mott succeeded in forming students’ associations in universities and colleges in several European countries, as well as in Turkey in Asia, Syria, India, Ceylon, China, Japan and Australia; and all these associations, over 150 in number, are now linked together in a great International Student Federation. The older American societies, especially the American Board (Congregational), the Presbyterian Boards, the Methodist Episcopal Church Society, the Baptist Missionary Union, and the Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church, have much extended their work. The “Ecumenical Missionary Conference,” held at New York in April 1900, was an astonishing revelation to the American public of the greatness of missions generally and of the missions of their own churches in particular. The Laymen’s Missionary movement is a significant outcome of the interest then awakened.

Missions to the Jews are worked by distinct organizations. There are several societies in England, Scotland, Germany and America. No special development has to be reported, except the great extension of John Wilkinson’s Mildway Mission to the Jews, and its energy in the free distribution of Hebrew New Testaments. Converted Jews are commonly supposed to be very few, and in numbers they do not compare with converted heathen; but they are more numerous than 5. Missions to the Jews. is usually imagined, especially if the second and third generations of Christians of Hebrew race are included. A number of them find in Unitarianism a form of Christianity that appeals to them. It is estimated that 250 Anglican clergymen are converted Jews or the sons of converted Jews. The London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews includes among its missionaries about 80 who are converts. Professor Delitzsch estimated that 100,000 Jews had embraced Christianity in the first three quarters of the 19th century; and Dr Dalman of Leipzig says that “if all those who have entered the Church and their descendants had remained together, instead of losing themselves among the other peoples, there would now be a believing Israel to be counted by millions, and no one would have ventured to speak of the uselessness of preaching the Gospel to the Jews.”

Interesting as is the story of Protestant mission work in Austria, Spain, Italy and Russia, it does not fall within the scope of this article. Nor do the proselytizing enterprises of Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Mormons and other American bodies rightly find a place here.

Roman Catholic Missions.—At the beginning of the 19th century the Roman Communion seems to have shared to some extent in the torpor and stagnation as regards missions that characterized the Protestant churches. There was little of the zeal which had carried the Franciscans all over Asia in the 13th century, and the Jesuits to South America, India and Japan in the 16th. But the 19th century witnessed a great change, and Roman Catholic missions have been extended pari passu with Protestant. The revival was not a little due to the foundation in 1822, by a few earnest but (as they called themselves) “humble and obscure” Catholics at Lyons, of a new voluntary society, called the Institution for the Propagation of the Faith. It collected in its first year about £2000 from the shopkeepers and artisans of Lyons. Thirty years later its income was £200,000 a year; and now it is £300,000. It has sent out no missionaries of its own. It merely makes grants to the various missionary parties sent forth, and it has done much in this direction. Roman missions are carried on both by missionary societies and by religious orders, all under the supreme direction of the pope, and also more or less under the general supervision of the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide at Rome since its foundation by Gregory XV. in 1622. This important congregation has been described as corresponding pretty much in the Catholic Church to the colonial office in the British empire, and its head, the “Prefect of Propaganda,” to the secretary of state for the colonies. It holds supreme control over all the foreign missions in heathen countries, and also over large and important parts of the church in Christian countries whose governments are not Catholic—including the British empire, the United States, Holland, the Norse kingdoms, Greece, and some parts of Germany and Switzerland. A special section (erected by Pius IX.) has charge of the affairs of all the Oriental rites in union with the Roman see. Confining our attention at present to the missions strictly understood under “foreign,” i.e. to heathen or non-Christian countries, we shall find the whole of these parts of the globe carefully mapped and parcelled out by propaganda to a variety of missionary agencies or religious orders. The government of the various mission fields is generally carried on by “Vicars-Apostolic” (i.e. titular bishops acting as vicars or delegates of the Apostolic see) or “Prefects-Apostolic” (i.e. priests with similar powers, but without episcopal rank). In some few cases (notably India and Japan) a regular territorial hierarchy has been established, just as in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Of the religious societies engaged in the evangelization of these many fields of labour, some have been established exclusively for foreign missionary work among the heathen—notably the famous Société des Missions Etrangéres of Paris, the oldest and greatest of all (dating from 1658, and consisting of 34 bishops, 1200 European missionaries and 700 native priests); the German “Society of the Divine Word,” whose headquarters are at Steyl in Holland; the Belgian Society of Scheat; the celebrated French Society of the “White Fathers,” founded by the late Cardinal Lavigerie for African missions; the English Society of St Joseph, founded at Mill Hill by Cardinal Vaughan; and some others. The other missions are entrusted to the care of various religious orders and congregations, which take up foreign missionary work in addition to their labours in Christian countries. Such are the Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Lazarists, Augustinians, Marists, &c. Besides the above orders of priests, an immense number of religious societies of women are engaged in works of education and charity throughout the whole of the foreign mission field. These have been reckoned at about 42,000 European and 10,000 native sisters. Again, there are some 20 congregations of “Brothers” (not priests) engaged in teaching, and numbering some 4500 members.

By far the greater part of the Roman missionary work is done by France. The majority of the missionaries are French (over 7000); the bulk of the money—so far as it is voluntary contribution (but the propaganda at Rome has large endowments)—is raised in France. The French government, anticlerical as it is at home, is the watchful and strenuous protector of the missions abroad; and it is evident that not a little political influence in foreign countries is gained thereby. L’Année de l’Eglise, in reporting on the missions in all parts of the world, dwells continually on this with satisfaction. Protestant missionaries are opposed, not merely because they are heretical, but because they are English or (if American) English-speaking; and the Greek Church missionaries in Persia and Japan, not only because they are schismatic, but because they are Russian—the Franco-Russian alliance notwithstanding. This is a feature in French Catholic missions which cannot be overlooked in the briefest account of them.

The following list shows the principal foreign Roman Catholic missionary societies and their fields of work:—

I. Société des Missions Étrangéres (Paris, 1658).—Missions: Manchuria, Korea, Tibet, Japan, China (Sze-Chuen, Kui-Chow, Kwang-tong, Yunnan), Indo-China (W., S. and Upper Tongking, E., W. and N. Cochin-China; Cambodia, Siam), Malay Peninsula, Burma (S. and N.), S. India (dioceses of Pondicherry, Kombakonam, Mysore, Coimbatore).
II. Society ofWhite Fathers” (founded by Cardinal Lavigerie, 1868).—Missions: Algeria, Sahara, Nyasa, Victoria Nyanza, Tanganyika, Unyanyembe, Upper Congo.
III. Lyons Seminary for Foreign Missions (1856). Missions: Nile Delta, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gold Coast, Dahomey, Upper Niger.
IV. Congregation of the Holy Ghost (1703 and 1848).-Missions: Senegambia, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Lower Niger, Gaboon, French Congo, Lower Congo, Mayotte, Nossibé and Comoro Islands.
V. Milan Seminary for Foreign Missions (1850).—Missions: China (Hong Kong, N. and S. Ho-nan), East Burma, India (dioceses of Kishnagar and Haidarabad).
VI. Steyl Society of Foreign Missions (German, 1875).—Missions: S. Shan-tung, China; Togo, W. Africa.
VII. Scheat Society of Foreign Missions (Belgian, 1863):—Missions: Mongolia, Kang-Su (China), Belgian Congo.
VIII. Picputian Society[25] (Paris, 1817).—Missions: Hawaii, Tahiti, Marquesas Islands.
IX. Mill Hill Society (English, 1866).—Missions: N. Borneo and Labuan; N. Punjab, Kashmir and Ladak; Telugu missions of Madras; Maori missions of N. New Zealand; N. Uganda.
X. Congregation of the Sacred Heart (Issoudun, France, 1855).—Missions: New Guinea, New Pomerania, Gilbert Islands.
XI. Society of the Divine Saviour (Rome, 1881).—Mission: Assam.
XII. Verona Society for African Missions.—Mission: The Sudan, Upper Egypt.
The following societies are engaged in home as well as foreign missions:—
XIII. Marists (French, 1816).—Missions: Fiji, Navigator’s Island, New Caledonia, Central Oceania, Solomon Islands, parts of New Zealand (dioceses of Wellington and Christchurch).
XIV. Lazarists (founded by St Vincent de Paul, 17th century).—Missions: Abyssinia, Persia, China (Peking or N. Chih-li, S.-W. Chih-li, Kiang-si, Che-Kiang), S. Madagascar.
XV. Oblates of Mary Immaculate (1840).—Missions: Ceylon (nearly all), S. Africa (Basutoland, Natal, Transvaal, Orange River Colony), the “Great North-West” of Canada (Athabasca-Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, St Boniface, New Westminster).
XVI. Salesians (founded by Don Bosco).—Missions: Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, Falkland Islands, Indians of S. America (Ecuador, Brazil, Argentine); some missions in Palestine.
XVII. Pallottines.—Missions: Cameroon, W. Africa; Australia (Beagle Bay, native settlement).
XVIII. Jesuits.—Missions: India (dioceses of Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, Madura, Mangalore, Trichinopoly), Ceylon (dioceses of Galle and Trincomalee), China (Kiang-nan, S.-E. Chih-li), Madagascar, Koango (W. Africa), Zambezia, Jamaica, British Guiana, British Honduras, Alaska.
XIX. Dominicans.—Missions: Asiatic Turkey (Mosul), Tongking (N., E. and Central), China (Amoy, Fokien), Curaçao, Trinidad.
XX. Franciscans.—Missions: Egypt, Tripoli, Morocco, China (N. and S. Shan-si, N. and E. Shan-tung, N. Shen-si, E., N.-W. and S.-W. Hu-pe). Capuchins: Aden and Arabia, India (dioceses of Agra, Allahabad, Lahore), Seychelles, Eritrea (Red Sea), Gallas, Cephalonia, Trebizond, Mardin, Crete, Caroline Islands, Araucania, Brazil, Bulgaria. Conventuals: Jassy (Rumania).
XXI. Benedictines.—Missions: Ceylon (diocese of Kandy), New Zealand (diocese of Auckland), N. American Indians (Indian Territory and Oklahoma), Australian natives (New Nursia).
XXII. Trappists.—Missions: Settlements in Natal (Marianhill), West Africa (Congo), China, Japan.
XXIII. Augustinians.—Missions: Philippines, China (N. Hu-nan), Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor (“Assumptionists”).
XXIV. Carmelites.—Missions: Bagdad, India (dioceses of Verapoly and Quilon).
XXV. Redemptorists.—Missions: Dutch Guiana.
XXVI. Passionists.—Missions: Bulgaria (diocese of Nicopolis).

These missions are largely supported by the Society of the Propagation of the Faith (est. in Lyons, 1822), Society of the Holy Childhood (est. 1843 as auxiliary to the former; “children for children”) and Society of the Schools of the East (est. 1855).

On figures given in H. A. Krose’s Katholische Missions-statistik (1908), the following totals of Roman Catholic Missions amongst non-Christians have been compiled: European priests, 7933; native priests, 5837; lay brothers, 5270; sisters, 21,320; catechists, 24,524; native membership, 7,441,215; catechumens, 1,517,909. The annual baptisms of adult heathen are 190,000; those of heathen children at the point of death, 450,000. Over 840,000 children are in lower schools, 66,000 in middle schools, and 90,000 in orphanages. The total number of schools is 24,000, of churches and chapels 28,000, and of mission stations 43,000.

Note.—Where figures for 1910 are quoted in this article they are really those of two or three years earlier, collected for the World Conference of 1910.

Orthodox Eastern Church.[26]—When the tsar Ivan the Terrible (1533–1584) began the great advance of Russia into Northern Asia, a large number of missionaries accompanied the troops, and during the 17th century many thousands of Tatars were baptized, though from lack of fostering influences they lapsed into heathenism. Very little was done until 1824, when John Veniaminov (d. 1879), a priest of Irkutsk, afterwards Archbishop Innocent, began a career of evangelistic activity which has few parallels. He founded missions in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, Kamtchatka and throughout Eastern Siberia, and established the Orthodox Missionary Society at Moscow. In Altai (Central Siberia) the Archimandrite Macarius, and among the Tatars in south-east Russia with headquarters at Kazan the great linguist Ilminski, did similar work. In addition to the nine distinct missions (300 workers) in Siberia and the six (with 50 workers) in European Russia, the Orthodox Church (Russian) has three foreign missions: (1) in China, founded at Pekin 1714, in the face of Jesuit opposition; (2) in Japan, established about 1863 by Bishop Nicolai, a chaplain at Nagasaki; (3) in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, the bishop residing at San Francisco and having jurisdiction also over members of the church settled in the United States of America. Altogether the Russian Church spends over £30,000 annually on these missions, and works with the British and Foreign Bible Society in translating and distributing the Scriptures. In Japan the mission has become a practically independent branch of the Church.

History of Mission Fields

The continuity of missionary enthusiasm maintained through the primitive, the medieval, and the modern periods of the Church’s history, operating at every critical epoch, and surviving after periods of stagnation and depression, is a very significant fact. It is true that other religions have been called missionary religions, and that one of them long held first place in the religious census of mankind. The missionary activity of Buddhism is a thing of the past, and no characteristic rite distinguishing it has found its way into a second continent. Mahommedanism indeed is active, and is the chief opponent of Christianity to-day, but the character of its teaching is too exact a reflection of the race, time, place and climate in which it arose to admit of its becoming universal. It is difficult to trace the slightest probability of its harmonizing with the intellectual, social and moral progress of the modern world. With all its deficiencies, the Christian church has gained the “nations of the future”, and whereas in the 3rd century the proportion of Christians to the whole human race was only that of one in a hundred and fifty, this has now been exchanged for one in three, and it is indisputable that the progress of the human race at this moment is identified with the spread of the influence of the nations of Christendom.

Side by side with this continuity of missionary zeal, a noticeable feature is the immense influence of individual energy and the subduing force of personal character. Around individuals penetrated with Christian zeal and self-denial has centred not merely the life, but the very existence of primitive, medieval and modern missions. What Ulfilas was to the Gothic tribes, what Columba and his disciples were to the early Celtic missions, what Augustine or Aidan was to the British Isles, what Boniface was to the churches of Germany and Anskar to those of Denmark and Sweden, that, on the discovery of a new world of missionary enterprise, was Xavier to India, Hans Egede to Greenland, Eliot to the Red Indians, Martyn to the church of Cawnpore, Marsden to the Maoris, Carey, Heber, Wilson, Duff and Edwin Lewis to India, Morrison, Gilmour, Legge, Hill, Griffith John to China, Gray, Livingstone, Mackenzie, Moffat, Hannington, Mackay to Africa, Broughton to Australia, Patteson to Melanesia, Crowther to the Niger Territory, Chalmers to New Guinea, Brown to Fiji.[27] At the most critical epochs such men have ever been raised up, and the reflex influence of their lives and self-denial has told upon the Church at home, while apart from their influence the entire history of important portions of the world’s surface would have been altered.

If from the agents themselves we turn to the work that has been accomplished, it will not be disputed that the success of missions has been marked amongst rude and aboriginal tribes. What was true in the early missions has been found true in these latter times. The rude and barbarous northern peoples seemed to fall like “full ripe fruit before the first breath of the gospel.” The Goths and the Vandals who poured down upon the Roman Empire were evangelized so silently and rapidly that only a fact here and there relating to their conversion has been preserved. This is exactly analogous to modern experience in the South Seas, Asia and Africa, to a survey of which we now turn.

The South Seas.—Missionary work in the Pacific began with Magellan (1521), when in a fortnight he converted all the inhabitants of Cebú and the adjacent Philippine Islands! The Jesuits, Recollets and Augustinians also worked in Mariana, Pelews and Caroline Islands, though the two latter were soon abandoned. The beginning of modern effort was made by the London Missionary Society in 1797.

Australia and New Zealand.—The earliest attempt to evangelize the aborigines of Australia by a separate mission was that of the Church Missionary Society in 1825. This work centred at Wellington Valley and Moreton Bay, but was given up in 1842. A new beginning was made in 1850 by the Anglican Board of Missions for Australia and Tasmania, and now each diocese is responsible for its own area. At Bellenden Ker, near Cairns, in North Queensland (diocese of Carpentaria), many natives have settled upon a reserve granted by government to the Anglican Church, and at another reserve, Fraser Island, the diocese of Brisbane has also undertaken successful work. Nomadic aborigines have hardly been touched. Apart from Queensland most of the black population is in West Australia; here the Roman Catholic Church is the main evangelizing agency. In the north and central districts the German missions have been active. Both in Australia (especially in Sydney and Melbourne) and at Thursday Island there is work among the Chinese.

In Tasmania the aborigines are extinct, the last pure-blooded native dying in 1876. The half-castes settled in the Bass Straits are ministered to by the bishop of Tasmania. The Maoris of New Zealand first came under Christian influence through the efforts of Samuel Marsden, a colonial chaplain in New South Wales about 1808. In 1822 Wesleyan missionaries reached the island. The first baptism was in 1825 but during the next five years there was a great mass movement. In 1840 the country became a British colony, and soon afterwards George Selwyn was consecrated bishop. He was so impressed with the work of native evangelists that he founded a college in Auckland where such teachers could be trained. In this he was helped by J. C. Patteson, and out of it grew the Melanesian Mission. The Maori rebellion, fomented by French Catholics, was an outbreak against everything foreign, and the strange religion Hau-hauism, a blend of Old Testament history, Roman Catholic dogmas, pagan rites and ventriloquism, found many adherents. Yet the normal missionary organization suffered very little. Later came Mormon missionaries, and these have to some extent further depleted the Christian ranks.

New Guinea.—In this large island some Gossner missionaries (1854) were the pioneers. They could not do much, but their successors, the Utrecht Missionary Union, who began work when the Dutch took possession of the north-west of the island, are making themselves felt through their six stations. In German New Guinea the Neuendethelsau (1886) and Rhenish (1887) Societies have fourteen stations. In British New Guinea, the south-east portion of the island, the London Mission (1871), the Australian Wesleyans (1892) and the Anglican Church of Australia (1892), have arranged a friendly division of the field and met with gratifying success. Work was begun in 1871–1872 when under the oversight of S. Macfarlane and A. W. Murray a number of native teachers from the Loyalty Islands Rarotonga and Mare settled on the island. The first converts were baptized in 1882 and the establishment of a British Protectorate (1884–1888) gave the work a new impetus. The name of W. G. Lawes and James Chalmers (who with O. Tompkins was killed by cannibals, 1901) of the London Missionary Society, and that of Maclaren, the pioneer of the Church Missionary Society’s work, are immortally associated with Papua. The history of mission work here is one of exploration and peril amongst savage peoples, multitudinous languages and an adverse climate, but it has been marked by wise methods as well as enthusiastic devotion, industrial work being one of the basal principles. Besides the Protestant agencies already named, the Roman Catholic Order of the Sacred Heart has been working in the island since 1886; its centre is at Yule Island, and it works up the St Joseph’s river.

Other Islands.—The London Mission ship “Duff” in 1797 landed eighteen missionaries (mainly artisans) at Tahiti, ten more in the Tonga or Friendly Islands, and one on the Marquesas. Those in Tahiti had a varying experience, and their numbers were much reduced, but in July 1812 King Pomare II. gave up his idols and sought baptism. By 1815 idolatry was abolished in the larger islands of the group and there ensued the task of building up a Christian community. Foremost in this work were William Ellis (q.v.) and John Williams (q.v.), who formed a native agency to carry the gospel to their fellow islanders, and so inaugurated what has since been a characteristic feature of South Sea Missions. In 1818 two Tahiti teachers settled in the Tonga islands, which the “Duff” pioneers had abandoned after half of them had been killed for a cannibal feast. When the Wesleyans came in 1821 the way had been prepared, and soon after, led by their king, George, the people turned to the new faith. About the same time Rurutu in the Austral Islands and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands were evangelized, also by natives, and Christianity spread from island to island. John Williams himself removed in 1827 to Rarotonga and from there influenced Samoa, the Society Islands and Fiji. To Fiji in 1834 came James Calvert and other Wesleyan missionaries beginning a work which under them and their successors had extraordinary success. Williams met his death at Erromanga in 1839, but he had established a training school on Rarotonga, and bought a ship, the “Camden,” which was of the greatest service for the work. In 1841 work was begun in New Caledonia, in 1842 in the Loyalty Isles and in the New Hebrides, associated from 1857 with the memorable name of John G. Paton. In 1846 a teacher was placed on N iué, Savage Island, and in ten years it was evangelized. Meanwhile the original work in Tahiti had been taken over by missionaries of the Paris Society, though the last London Missionary Society agent did not leave that group till 1890. In 1861 Patteson was consecrated bishop of Melanesia, and the Auckland training school was removed to Norfolk Island. By arrangement with the Presbyterians the area of the mission includes the Northern New Hebrides, Banks, Torres, Santa Cruz and Solomon Islands. Patteson was murdered in 1871, a victim of the mistrust engendered in the natives by kidnapping traders. In 1877 John Selwyn was consecrated bishop. Wesleyan native evangelists from Fiji and Tonga carried Christianity in 1875 to the Bismarck Archipelago.

The solitary worker (W. P. Crook) on the Marquesas did not remain long, and after he went nothing was done till 1833–1834, when first some American and then some English missionaries arrived, but met with scant success and gave it up in 1841. Since 1854 teachers from the Hawaiian Islands have worked in the Marquesas, but results here have been less fruitful than anywhere else in the South Seas. In Hawaii itself much was accomplished by American missionaries, the first of whom were H. Bingham and A. Thurston (1820), and the most successful, Titus Coan, under whose leadership over 20,000 people were received into the churches between 1836 and 1839. Under the reign of Kalakaua (1874–1891) there was a strong reaction towards heathenism, but since the annexation of the islands by the United States of America the various churches of that land have taken up the task of evangelization and consolidation.

In the Micronesian Islands, while animism and tabu were strong, there was not the cannibalism of the southern islands. Work was begun in the Caroline Isles in 1852 and in time spread to the Gilbert and Marshall groups. In the Carolines and Marshalls it has now largely passed to German missionaries, the Americans having enough to do in the Philippines, where there are already over 27,000 Protestants.

The outstanding features of missionary work in the South Seas are (1) its remarkable success: cannibalism, human sacrifice and infanticide have been suppressed, civilization and trade have marvellously advanced; (2) the evangelical devotion of the natives themselves; (3) the need of continued European supervision, the natives being still in many ways little better than grown-up children.

Africa.[28]—In Africa, as in the South Seas, mission work has gone hand in hand with geographical discovery. It is in every sense a modern field, or rather a collection of fields, varying in physical, racial, social and linguistic character. The unaccustomed conditions of life and the fatal influence of the climate have claimed as many victims here as did savagery in the Pacific Islands. The partition of the continent among the various European nations has been on the whole favourable to mission work. The nature of the task and of the results may be best approached by considering the different divisions—North, South, East, West and Central Africa.

North Africa, along the Mediterranean from Morocco to Egypt, is distinctly Mahommedan. To these regions came St Louis and Raimon Lull, and one may in passing remember the strength of Christianity in Proconsular Africa in the days of Tertullian and Cyprian, and in Egypt under Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Athanasius. To-day Islam is supreme, though the North Africa Mission, working largely on medical lines, has penetrated into many cities. In Egypt the United Presbyterians of America have met with considerable success among the Copts, and their fine educational work has proved a valuable asset both to themselves and the country. The Church Missionary Society is doing steady work in Cairo and in Upper Egypt. In the Eastern Sudan a promising beginning has been made, but the regions south of Kordofan have hardly been touched. In Nigeria the Hausa tribes are coming to be better known, and to respond to the Christian teaching. In the Sahara and at Suakin there are Roman Catholic missions. There is a Roman mission to the Gallas in Abyssinia. That country has its own crude form of Christianity, and is much the same today as when Peter Heiling in the 17th century endeavoured to propagate a purer faith. A mission undertaken by the Church Missionary Society in 1830 was closed by French Jesuit intrigue in 1838.

South Africa.—The Moravians, represented by George Schmidt, who arrived at Cape Town in July 1737, were the first to undertake mission work in South Africa. Schmidt won the confidence of the Hottentots, but the Dutch authorities stopped his work. In 1798 John T. Vanderkemp, an agent of the London Missionary Society, founded a mission to the Kaffirs east of Cape Town, and Robert Moffat (1818) went to the Bechuanas. David Livingstone was as determined to open the interior as the Boers were to keep it shut, and he succeeded, pushing north, discovering Lake Ngami, and consecrating a remarkable life to the evangelization of Central Africa. The London Mission has also largely evangelized the Matabele. In 1814 the Wesleyans began work among the Namaquas and Hottentots, and afterwards went into Kaffraria, Bechuanaland and Natal. They were followed by the Glasgow Missionary Society (1821), the Paris Evangelical Society (1829), the Moravian, Rhenish and Berlin Societies, and the American Board. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel came in 1819, mainly for colonists, the Church Missionary Society in 1837. The province of South Africa has ten dioceses, the bishop of Cape Town being metropolitan. The Glasgow Society’s work was ultimately taken over by the Free Church of Scotland, whose great achievement is the Lovedale Institute, combining industrial and mission work. The Germans and Scandinavians have also been ardent workers in South Africa, and the Dutch Reformed Church has not entirely neglected the natives. One Dutch society gives its attention to the northern part of the Transvaal. The chief difficulties in the way of evangelization have been (1) the hostility of natives races aroused by European annexations, (2) the introduction of European vices, (3) the movement known as Ethiopianism. The British Wesleyans refused to confer full rights on negro pastors, who then appealed to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a product of American evangelization. One of them, J. M. Dwane, was made Vicar-Bishop, and a large and powerful independent negro church organized. Dwane afterwards approached the Anglicans, and in 1900 that church formed the “Ethiopian Order,” ordaining Dwane a deacon and making him Provincial of the Order. Each bishop now deals with the Ethiopians in his own diocese. The South African governments foresaw dangerous developments in the Ethiopian movement, and steps were taken to restrain its growth. Ethiopianism, if ecclesiastical in its origin, gained strength from racial base. The task of averting the racial bitterness so dominant in the United States of America is a most formidable one. There are in South Africa several vicariates and prefectures of the Roman Church, the principal missions being French, those of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Oblates of Mary.

West Africa was first visited by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1752. Its agent, T. Thompson, trained Philip Quaque, said to be “the first convert who ever received ordination since the Reformation in the Reformed Church.” The Church Missionary Society came in 1804 and has worked heroically and successfully, though the largest mission now is that of the Wesleyans, who came in 1811, settling first at Sierra Leone. The American Baptists in Liberia (1821) and the Basel Mission in the Gold Coast (1827), the Congregationalists of the United States of America and Canada in Angola, and the English and American Baptists on the Congo (since 1875) have also extensive and prospering agencies. West Africa has taken heavy toll not only in money but in life, but the lesson has now been learned, and a system of frequent furloughs combined with a better understanding of the climatic requirements have appreciably lessened the peril. This region is linked with the name of the Anglican negro Bishop, Samuel Crowther, and with one phase of the ceaseless strength of Islam, which has so far failed to reach the west coast, finding itself confronted by the Christian influences which are at work among the great Hausa tribes and other peoples within the area of the Niger mission. The Portuguese in Angola and the agents of King Leopold in the Congo State have not been conspicuous friends of missionary enterprise, and the light-hearted childishness of the native character, so well portrayed in Miss Kingsley’s writings, shows how difficult it is to build up a strong and stable Christian church. Bishop Taylor’s effort at creating a self-supporting mission proved fruitless. The American Lutherans are attempting the same task on rather different lines, and with more promise. The Roman Catholic missions are chiefly French, and organized by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Lyons African Mission.

Central Africa.—The upper Congo region opened up by Livingstone and Stanley has been a favourite sphere for what are known as “faith societies,” e.g. the Plymouth Brethren, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Regions Beyond Missionary Union. The American Baptists continue the work started by the Livingstone Inland Mission in 1878, and the Southern Presbyterian Board (American) have done notable work. The Paris Society, represented especially by Francois Coillard, has been successful along the Zambezi, and Scottish, German, Moravian and Jesuit agencies are also well represented. Northward, Central and East African organizations, following the Cape to Cairo route, are in touch with North African agencies working up the Nile.

East Africa.—When the Abyssinia mission was closed in 1838 one of the missionaries, Krapf, went among the Gallas and then on to Mombasa, working in company with Rebmann. Since H. M. Stanley’s appeal (1875) most satisfactory work, extensive and intensive, has been accomplished in Uganda, by the Church Missionary Society. The names of Mackay, Hannington and Pilkington, who lived and died here, are amongst the greatest in the roll of missionary heroes. The Roman Mission too has been very successful; for some years a French agency, the White Fathers of Algeria, carried it on, but they were afterwards joined by English helpers from St Joseph’s Society at Mill Hill. The White Fathers also work in the Great Lakes region, and on the Zanzibar coast are the French Congregation of the Holy Ghost and German Benedictines. Zanzibar is also one of the centres of the Universities Mission, another being Likoma on Lake Nyasa. Near this lake the Scottish churches are also doing noble work. Besides Uganda the Church Missionary Society is responsible for Mombasa. The London Mission is meeting with success at the south end of Lake Tanganyika in North-east Rhodesia. The English United Methodists and some Swedish societies have begun work among the Gallas. German Missionary agencies have also come in with German colonization. In East Africa, as in the West, Christian missionaries fear most the aggressive Moslem propaganda.

Madagascar[29] is one of the most interesting mission fields. Work was begun by the London Mission in 1819, and the work of civilization and evangelization went steadily forward till 1835, when a period of repression and severe persecution set in, which lasted till 1861. When the work was recommenced it was found that the native Christians had multiplied and developed during the harsh treatment of the 25 years. In 1869 the idols were publicly destroyed and the island declared Christian by royal proclamation. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1864), the Norwegian Missionary Society (1866), and the Friends’ Foreign Missionary Association joined in the work, the prosperity of which received a severe check by the French annexation in 1896. The French authorities were hostile to the English missionaries, and even the handing over of part of the field to the Paris Evangelical Society did not do much to ease the situation. Laws were first enacted against private schools, then against elementary schools, and in 1906–1907 measures were passed which practically closed all mission schools. Family prayers were forbidden if any outside the immediate family were present, and religious services at the graveside were prohibited. Missionary work in the island has thus passed through a peculiarly trying experience, but happier conditions are now likely to prevail. In Mauritius and the Seychelles the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel are at work, especially among the coolies on the sugar plantations.

The outstanding problem of African missions at least north of the Equator (south there is the Ethiopian question) is not the degradation of the black races, nor the demoralizing influences of heathen Christians, nor even the slave dealer, though all these obstacles are present and powerful. The all-decisive conflict is that between Christianity and Islam, and the Christian agencies must show much more co-operation if they are to be successful. The lines of missionary work have been, generally speaking, simple gospel preaching followed by education and industrial work. So rare were the ordinary comforts, and even necessities of life, that the latter had to take a prominent place from the beginning: the missionary had to be farmer, carpenter, brickmaker, tailor, printer, house and church builder, not only for himself but for his converts. The work of Bible translation has been particularly long and difficult; for the innumerable peoples who did not speak some form of Arabic the languages had first to be reduced to writing, and many Christian terms had to be coined.

India.[30]—The earliest missionaries to India, with the possible exception of Pantaenus of Alexandria (c. A.D. 180), were the Nestorians from Persia. The record of their work is told elsewhere (see Nestorius and Nestorians). The Jesuits came in the 16th century, but were more successful quantitatively than qualitatively; in the 18th century the Danish coast mission on the coast of Tranquebar made the first Protestant advance, Bartholomaus, Ziegenbalg (1683–1719), Plutschau and Christian Friedrich Schwartz (1726–1798) being its great names. Up to this time the chief results were that (1) Christianity had gained a footing, (2) it had continued the monotheistic modification of Indian thought begun by Mahommedanism, and (3) the futility of sporadic and fanatical proselytism had been shown. A new era began with the arrival of William Carey and the founding of the Serampur Mission (15 m. north of Calcutta), though the hostility of the East India Company made the early years of the 19th century very unproductive. When Carey died in 1834 he and his colleagues Marshman and Ward had translated the Bible into seven languages, and the New Testament into 23 more, besides rendering services of the highest kind to literature, science and general progress. They founded agricultural societies and savings’ banks, and helped to abolish suttee, infanticide and other cruelties. At Travancore in the south, Ringeltaube, an agent of the London Missionary Society, had begun a work, especially among the Shanars or toddy drawers, which by 1840 had 15,000 Christians; and the Church Missionary Society, led by Rhenius, had equal success in Tinnevelly. The Baptists, drawn by the fame of the temple of Jagannath at Puri on the east coast, established a mission in Orissa in 1821 which soon bore fruit; the Wesleyans were in Ceylon, Mysore and the Kaveri valley, the London Missionary Society at the great military centres Madras, Bangalore and Bellary, agents of the American Board at Ahmednagar and other parts of the Mahratta country around Bombay. The headquarters of Hinduism, the Ganges valley, was occupied by the Baptists, the Church Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society, these entering Benares in 1816, 1818 and 1820 respectively. Alexander Duff, a Scottish Presbyterian, had begun his great educational work in Calcutta, and Bible tract and book societies were springing up everywhere. Chaplains and bishops of the Anglican Church like James Hough in Tinnevelly, Henry Martyn in the north, Daniel Corrie in Agra, T. F. Middleton in Calcutta, and Reginald Heber all over India, were eagerly using their opportunities. In 1830 ten societies with 106 stations and 147 agents were at work; 1834 saw the founding of the Basel Mission on the west coast, the American Mission in Madura, the American Presbyterian Mission in Ludhiana. It would be impossible to trace in detail the work done by the different societies since Carey’s time. The task as it presented itself may be analysed as follows: (1) to replace the caste system and especially the oppressive supremacy of the Brahmins by a spirit of universal brotherhood and the establishment of social and religious liberty; (2) to correct and raise the standard of conduct; (3) to attack polytheistic idolatry with its attendant immoralities; (4) to replace the pantheistic by a theistic standpoint; (5) to elevate woman and the pariah. Besides these matters which concerned Hinduism there was the problem of converting sixty million Mahommedans. The chief methods adopted have been the following: (1) vernacular preaching in the large towns and on itineraries through the rural districts, a work in which native evangelists guided by Europeans and Americans played a large part. (2) Medical missions, which have done much to break down barriers of prejudice, especially in Kashmir under Dr Elmslie of the Church Missionary Society, and in Rajputana at Jaipur under Dr Valentine of the United Presbyterians. (3) Orphanages, in which the Roman Catholics led the way and have maintained their lead. (4) Vernacular schools, a good example of which is seen in the American Board’s Madura Mission. (5) English education, in which the missionary societies have amply supplemented the efforts of the government, outstanding examples being the Madras Christian College (Free Church of Scotland), so long connected with the name of Dr William Miller, the General Assembly of Scotland’s Institution at Calcutta, founded by Duff, Wilson College, Bombay (Free Church of Scotland), and St Joseph’s College (Roman Catholic) at Trichinopoly. Work of this kind is followed up in some centres by lectures and conversations with educated Hindus. The Haskell Lectureship, which grew out of the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, belongs here. (6) Female education and zenana work. (7) Uplifting work among the Panchamas or low-castes, which has been strikingly successful among the Malas (American Baptists) and the Madigas (London Missionary Society) of the Telugu-speaking country, who come in mass movements to the Christian faith. (8) Missions among aboriginal tribes, e.g. the Kols and Santals of Chota Nagpur (Berlin Gossner Mission and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel), and the tribes of the Khassia Mountains east of Bengal (Welsh Calvinistic Methodists). (9) Christian literature, in which connexion the name of Dr John Murdoch will always be honourably remembered. (10) Pastoral work and the care of the churches.

The great changes that have been wrought in India, politically, commercially, intellectually and religiously, by the combined action of the British government and the Christian missions, are evidenced among other tokens by the growth of such societies as the Arya Samaj and the Brahmo Samaj. Orthodox Hindus, especially those whose social status and very livelihood are imperilled by the revolution, have shown their alarm either by open opposition, subjecting converts to every sort of caste coercion, or by methods of defence, e.g. Hindu tract societies and young men’s associations, which are modelled on Christian organizations. A counter reformation can also be traced which attempts to revive Hinduism by purging it of its grossness and allegorizing its fables and legends. A new Islam is also a factor of the situation. Comparatively few converts have been made from Mahommedanism to Christianity, and these have been chiefly among the learned. But there is a wide prevalence of free-thinking, especially among the younger and educated classes of the community.

The special difficulties of mission work in India may be thus summarized. (1) Racial antipathy. (2) The speculative rather than experimental and practical nature of the Hindu consciousness—historical proofs make no appeal to him. (3) The lack of initiative: in a land where the joint family system is everywhere and all powerful, individualism and will-power are at a discount. (4) The ignorance and conservatism of the women. (5) An inadequate sense of sin. (6) The introduction of European forms of materialism and anti-Christian philosophy. Perhaps, too, the methods adopted by missionaries have not always been the wisest, and they have sometimes failed to remember the method of their Master, who came “not to destroy, but to fulfil.” In spite, however, of all the difficulties, permanent and increasing results have been achieved along all the lines indicated above. The establishment of a strong native church is far from being the only fruit of the enterprise, but it is a fruit that can be gauged by statistics, and these are sufficiently striking. In a necessarily inadequate sketch it is impossible to give more than the barest mention to one or two other features of modern missionary achievement in India, e.g. the development of industrial schools, the establishment of a South India United Church, in which the Congregationalist agencies (London Missionary Society and American Board) and the Presbyterians have joined forces, and the endeavour to train an efficient and educated native ministry, which is being promoted especially at Serampur, where an old Danish degree-granting charter has been revived in what should become a Christian university, and at Bangalore, where Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Wesleyans collaborate to staff and maintain a united theological college. The government census for India and Burma (1901) gives a Christian population of 2,923,241 (native Christians 2,664,313) out of a total population of 294,361,056, or about 3%. The inclusion of Portuguese and French possessions would add about 350,000 to the Christian total. Though the number does not seem relatively high, it is significant when compared with that of former censuses—in 1872, 1,517,997; in 1881, 1,862,525 (increase 22·7%); in 1891, 2,284,380 (increase 22·6%); in 1901, 2,923,241 (increase of 28%). The increase of 28% between 1891 and 1901 has often been compared with the fact that the total population of India only registered an increase of 21/2% in that decade. In the words of The Pioneer, “this is a hard fact which cannot be explained away” and “the most remarkable feature of the returns.” The increase was shared by every province and state in India. In 1910 there were 4614 missionaries (including wives), representing 122 societies, 1272 Indian ministers, and 34,095 other native workers, including teachers and Bible-women.

The growth of the Protestant Native Christian community between 1851 and 1910 is shown in the following table:—

Native Christian Community. Communicants. Native Agents.
Number. Rate of
 Number.  Rate of
of the
Ordained. Unordained
 %  %
1851   91,092  14,661 16·0  21  493
1861  138,731 52·3  24,976 70·3 18·0  97 1266
1871  224,258 61·6  52,816 111·4 23·5 225 1985
1881  417,372 86·1 113,325 114·5 27·1 461 2488
1890  559,661 34·0 182,722 61·2 32·6 797 3491
1900  854,867 52·8 301,699 65·1 35·3
1910  1,472,448 72·2 522,743 73·3 1,272 

The Protestant community in India in 1910 was over a million strong, well distributed among the chief provinces, a fine spiritual force, easily first in female education, and rapidly growing in wealth, position and influence. A recent report of the Director of Public Instruction for the Madras Presidency says: “I have frequently called attention to the educational progress of the native Christian community. There can be no question, if the community pursues with steadiness the present policy of its teachers, that in the course of a generation it will have secured a preponderating position in all the great professions.”

What India wants (as Nobili 300 years ago saw, and attempted, though by fatal methods of deceit, to supply) is a Christianity not foreign but native, not dissociated from the religious life of the land but its fulfilment. Though there are many Christians in India to-day, the Hindu still looks askance at Christianity, not because it is a religion but because it is foreign. “India is waiting for her own divinely appointed apostle, who, whether Brahmin or non-Brahmin, shall connect Christianity with India’s religious past, and present it as the true Vedanta or completion of the Veda and thus make it capable of appealing to the Hindu religious nature.”

It only remains to be said that the work of the missionaries individually and collectively has over and over again received the warmest recognition and praise from the highest officials of the Indian government.

China.[31]—The earliest Christian missionaries to China, as to India, were the Nestorians (q.v.). Their work and that of the Roman Church, begun as the result of Marco Polo’s travels about 1290, faded away under the persecution of the Ming dynasty which came to power about 1350. The next attempt was that of the French Jesuits, following on the visit and death of Xavier. They established themselves at Canton in 1582, and on the accession of the Manchu dynasty (1644) advanced rapidly. In 1685 there were three dioceses, Peking, Nanking and Macao, with a hundred churches. The Orthodox Eastern Church gained a footing in Peking in the same year, and established a college of Greek priests. Friction between Jesuits and Dominicans led to the proscription of Christianity by the emperor in 1724, missionaries and converts being banished. The story of modern missions in China begins with Robert Morrison (q.v.) of the London Missionary Society, who reached Canton in 1807, and not being allowed to reside in China entered the service of the East India Company. In 1813 he was joined by a colleague, William Milne, and in 1814 baptized his first convert. In 1829 came representatives of the American Board, in 1836 Peter Parker began his medical mission, and on the opening of the Treaty Ports the old edicts were withdrawn, and other societies crowded in to a field more than ample. After the war of 1856 a measure of official toleration was obtained, and the task of evangelizing the country was fairly begun. Though the missionaries were chiefly concentrated in the treaty ports they gradually pushed inland, and here the names of W. C. Burns, a Scottish evangelist, J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, and James Gilmour, the apostle of Mongolia, are pre-eminent. But for more than half a century China seemed the most hopeless of mission fields. The upper classes were especially anti-foreign, and the whole nation vaunted its superiority to the rest of mankind. In 1857 there were only about 400 baptized Protestant Christians in the whole of China. Even after the removal of the edicts the old prejudices remained, and the missionaries were regarded as political emissaries, the forerunners of military aggression. Native Christians were stigmatized as traitors, “followers of the foreign devils.” In 1870 there was a great outbreak concentrating in the massacres at Hankow and Tientsin; in 1891 at Hunan and in 1895 at Ku Cheng there were other attacks which were only preliminary to the Boxer uprising of 1899–1900, when 135 missionaries, besides 52 children and perhaps 16,000 native Christians, whose heroism will always be memorable, perished, often after horrible tortures. There is little doubt that this savage outburst was directed not against religious teaching as such, but against the introduction of customs and ideas which tended to weaken the old power of the mandarins over the people. These leaders skilfully seized upon every breach of tradition to inflame popular passion, attacking especially the medical work as a pretext for mutilation, the schools as hotbeds of vice, and the orphanages as furnishing material for witchcraft. Out of the agony, however, a new China was born. The growing power of Japan, seen in her wars with China and Russia, and the impotence of the Boxers against the European allies, made all classes in China realize their comparative impotence, and the central government began a series of reforms, reorganizing the military, educational, fiscal and political systems on Western lines. Educational reforms became especially insistent, and modern methods and studies supplanted the immemorial Confucian type. Students went in great numbers to Japan, Europe and America, and the old contempt and hostility toward things Western gave place to respect and friendliness. Early in the 19th century the missionaries had not been able to do much by way of education, but the new openings were seized with such power as was possible, and while in 1876 there were 289 mission schools with 4909 pupils, in 1910 there were 3129 schools with 79,823 scholars. More significant still is the way in which the foremost Chinese officials have turned to missionaries like Timothy Richard and Griffith John for assistance in guiding the new impulse. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, under the inspiration of Lord William Cecil, were interesting themselves in 1910 in a scheme for establishing a Christian university in China.

One of Morrison’s contemporaries hoped that after a century of mission work there might possibly be 2000 Christians in China. That number was reached in 1865, and in 1910 there was a Protestant community of 214,546 church members and baptized Christians. These numbers are more than double what they were in 1900. In addition there are more than as many adherents.[32] The excellence of the converts, upon the whole, is testified to by travellers who really know the case; particularly by Mrs Bishop, who speaks of the “raw material” out of which they are made as “the best stuff in Asia.” The total number of Protestant missionaries (including wives) in China in 1910 was 4175, one to about 1100 sq. m., or to more than 100,000 Chinese. There are over 12,000 Chinese evangelists, Bible-women, teachers, &c. The Roman Catholic returns give 902,478 members and 390,617 catechumens. The work is carried on by eleven societies or religious orders with over 40 bishops and 1000 European priests, mostly French. A large feature of the work is the baptism of children. An important concession was obtained in 1899 by the French minister at Peking, with a view to the more effective protection of the Roman missions. The bishops were declared “equal in rank to the viceroys and governors,” and the priests “to the prefects of the first and second class”; and their influence and authority were to correspond. The Anglican bishops agreed to decline these secular powers, as also did the heads of other Protestant missions. It is alleged by some that the exercise of the powers gained by the Roman hierarchy was one cause of the Boxer outbreaks. Certainly their native adherents had their full share of persecution and massacre.

The Anglican Church is not so strong in China as in some other fields; the American Episcopalians were first in the field in 1835, followed by the Church Missionary Society (in 1844), which has had stirring success in Fu-Kien, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in 1874. There are five dioceses, and in 1897 an episcopal conference was held in Shanghai. Since the Japanese War the Scottish and Irish Presbyterians have made wonderful progress in Manchuria; native evangelists do an increasing share of the work, and there is hardly any town or village without Christians. The London Mission has always been conspicuous for the contribution made by its agents to linguistic and literary knowledge, the name of James Legge being an outstanding example; it is now, in co-operation with other societies, earnestly taking up the new educational and medical openings. One of the most interesting features of missionary work in China is the comity that prevails among the workers of different societies and agencies. Thus in 1907 at the Centenary Conference in Shanghai, when many topics were discussed centring in the question of the native Chinese Church, a general declaration of faith and purpose was adopted, which, after setting out the things held in common, proceeded, “We frankly recognize that we differ as to methods of administration and of church government; that some among us differ from others as to the administration of baptism; and that there are some differences as to the statement of the doctrine of predestination, or the election of grace. But we unite in holding that these exceptions do not invalidate the assertion of our real unity in our common witness to the Gospel of the Grace of God.” The conference reported, “We have quite as much reason to be encouraged by the net result of the progress of Christianity in China during the 19th century as the early Christians had with the progress of the Gospel in the Roman Empire during the first century.”

Japan and Korea.—The Christian faith was brought to Japan by Portuguese traders in 1542, followed by Xavier in 1549. This great missionary was well received by the daimios (feudal lords), and though he remained only 21/2 years, with the help of a Japanese whom he had converted at Malacca he organized many congregations. In 1581 there were 200 churches and 150,000 Christians; ten years later the converts numbered 600,000, in 1594 a million and a half. Then came a time of repression and persecution under Iyeyasu, whose second edict in 1614 condemned every foreigner to death, forbade the entry of foreigners and the return of Japanese who had left the islands, and extinguished Christianity by fire and sword. The reopening of the country came in 1859, largely through American pressure, and in May of that year two agents of the Protestant Episcopal Church began work at Nagasaki. They were followed by others from the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, and by their great intellectual ability, patience and tact these pioneers (S. R. Brown, J. C. Hepburn and G. F. Verbeck), as the Marquis Ito said, contributed very largely to the progress and development of Japan in the days when she was first studying the outer world. They did an immense amount of preparatory work along evangelistic, medical and educational lines, and skilfully gathered the youths of the country around them. The accession of a new mikado in 1868 finally ended the old seclusion; financiers, engineers, artisans poured in from Western Europe, and from America came bands of teachers, largely under missionary influence. In 1869 the American Board (Congregational) sent its first band; in 1870 Verbeck was called on to organize a scheme for national education. In 1872 the first Japanese church was formed; in 1875 Joseph Neesima, who had been converted by a Russian missionary and then educated in America, founded a Christian Japanese College, the Doshisha, in the sacred city of Kyoto. Meanwhile the Christian calendar had been adopted and the old anti-Christian edicts removed. By 1889 there were 30,000 Protestant communicants. It was at this time that the nation, conscious of its new life, began to be restive under the supercilious attitude of foreign nations, and the feeling of irritation was shared by the native Christian communities. It showed itself in a desire to throw off the governance of the missionaries, in a criticism of Protestant creeds as not adapted to Japanese needs, and in a slackened growth numerically and intensively. After a period of stress and uncertainty, due very largely to the variety of denominational creed and polity, matters assumed an easier condition, the missionaries recognizing the national characteristics and aiming at guidance rather than control. The war with China in 1894 marked a new chapter and initiated a time of intense national activity; education and work for women went forward rapidly. Missionaries went through the island as never before, and their evangelistic work was built upon by Japanese ministers. In the war with Russia Japanese Christianity found a new opportunity; on the battlefield, in the camp, at home, Christian men were pre-eminent. In 1902 there were 50,000 church members; in 1910, 67,043; the total Protestant community in 1910 was about 100,000, and had an influence out of all proportion to its numbers; the Roman Church was estimated at 79,000, and the Orthodox Eastern Church (Russian) at 30,000.

No sketch, however brief, can omit a reference to the Anglican bishop of South Tōkyō, Edward Bickersteth (1850–1897), who from his appointment in 1886 guided the joint movement of English and American Episcopalians which issued in the Nippon Sei Kokwai or Holy Catholic Church of Japan, a national church with its own laws and its own missions in Formosa. In April 1907 the Conference of the World’s Student Christian Federation (700 students from 25 different countries) met in Tōkyō, and received a notable welcome from the national leaders in administration, education and religion.

In Korea, the “Hermit Nation,” or as the Koreans prefer to say, “The Land of the Morning Calm,” Christianity was introduced at the end of the 18th century by some members of the Korean legation at Pekin who had met Roman Catholic missionaries. It took root and spread in spite of opposition until 1864, when an anti-foreign outbreak exterminated it. The door was re-opened by the treaties of 1882–1886, and even before that copies of the gospels had been circulated from the Manchuria side. The Methodist Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Board, both of America, entered the country in 1885, and were soon joined by similar agencies from Canada and Australia. The Anglican Church began work in 1890, the work was thoroughly planned, the characteristics of the people were carefully considered, and the successes and failures of other mission-fields were studied as a guide to method. The medical work won the favour of the government, and so wisely did the missionaries act, that during all the turbulent changes since 1884 they escaped entanglement in the political disturbances and yet held the confidence of the people. The persistence and growth of Christianity among the Koreans is largely due to the fact that Christianity had not been superimposed on them as a foreign organization. They had built their own churches and schools, adopted their own forms of worship and phrased their own beliefs. Korea vies with Uganda as a triumph of modern missionary enterprise. In 1866 there were not more than 100 Christians; official returns in 1910 show 178,686 Protestants, including 72,000 church members and probationers; and 72,290 Roman Catholics. Theological colleges, normal training colleges and higher and lower grade schools bear witness to an activity and a success which are truly remarkable.

South-East Asia and the East Indies.—The work of Christian missions in this area has had the double advantage of freedom from political and social unrest, and of comparatively little overlapping, each country as a rule being taken over by a single society. In Burma the American Baptists, whose work began with Adoniram Judson in 1813, are conspicuous, and have had marked success among the Karens or peasant class, where the pioneer was George Dana Boardman (1827). The Karen Christian communities are strong numerically and have a good name for self-support. The Baptists have also stations in Arakan and Assam where they link up with the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists (1845). The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Methodist Episcopal Church work in and around Rangoon. In Siam again the Americans, especially the Presbyterians, have been most prominent. Medical work made an impression on the people and won the favour of the government, which has always been cordial and has employed missionaries as court-tutors. Buddhism is at its best at Siam, and this and the enervating climate are responsible for the comparatively small direct success of Christian propaganda in Siam proper. In the Laos country to the north, however, much more has been done, and a healthy type of Christian community established. Native workers have done something to carry the Gospel into the French colonies of Tongking and Annam. Here the Roman missions are very extensive, and have over a million adherents, despite violent persecution before the French occupation.

The peninsula and archipelago known as Malaysia presents a remarkable mingling of races, languages and beliefs. Tatar, Mahommedan and Hindu invasions all preceded the Portuguese who brought Roman Catholicism, and the Dutch who brought Protestantism. This last resulted in a great number of nominal conversions, as baptism was the passport to government favour, and church membership was based on the learning of the Decalogue and the Lord’s Prayer, and on the saying of grace at mealtimes. In the Straits Settlement the foundations of modern missionary effort were laid by the London Missionary Society pioneers who were waiting to get into China; they were succeeded by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1856), English Presbyterians (1875), Methodist Episcopalians (1884), who have a fine Anglo-Chinese College at Singapore, and the Church of England Zenana Society (1900).

In the Archipelago most of the work has naturally been in the hands of the Netherlands Missionary Society (1812) and other Dutch agencies, who at first were not encouraged by the colonial government, but have since done well, especially in the Minahassa district of Celebes (150,000 members) and among the Bataks of Sumatra (Rhenish Mission). In Celebes and the Moluccas the work is now under the Colonial State Church. In Java the government has favoured Mahommedans (there is active intercourse between the island and Mecca), but there are some 25,000 Christians and a training school and seminary at Depok near Batavia. In Dutch Borneo the Rhenish Society is slowly making headway among the Dyaks; in British Borneo the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1848) and the Methodist Episcopalians occupy the field. The total number of Christians in British Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies is about 600,000 (including 57,000 Roman Catholics).

Western Asia and the Turkish Empire.[33]—The American Presbyterians and Congregationalists have the largest Protestant missions in these lands, working, however, mainly for the enlightenment and education of the Oriental Christians. With the same object, though on different lines, the archbishop of Canterbury’s Assyrian Mission seeks to influence the Nestorians. The Roman Catholics have extensive missions in these countries, directed at winning adherents to the unity of the Holy See from the Oriental Churches, which are regarded as schismatic and heretical. In this enterprise there has been great advance in Egypt among the Copts, and in 1899 the Pope signalized “the resurrection of the Church of Alexandria” by appointing a Patriarch for Egypt, Libya and Nubia. Farther east, on the borders of Turkey and Persia, the Roman and Russo-Greek Churches compete for the adhesion of the Nestorians, Chaldeans and Armenians. The Franciscans, Dominicans, Lazarists and Jesuits are engaged in all these works. Direct work among Mahommedans is done, though with small result, by the North Africa Mission (non-denominational) and the Church Missionary Society. The Egypt, Palestine and Persia missions of the latter society have been largely reinforced and extended since 1884, medical work and women’s work being especially prominent. Four cities in southern Persia are now occupied. Three missions just touch the border of Arabia, viz. the United Free Church of Scotland at Aden, founded by Ion Keith-Falconer (1856–1887) son of the 9th earl of Kintore and Arabic professor at Cambridge; an American Presbyterian Mission on the Persian Gulf; and the Church Missionary Society’s Mission at Bagdad. The American Robert College at Constantinople and the work of the Friends’ Missionary Association in Syria are honourable and successful enterprises. The chief difficulties have been (1) the antagonism of the officials of the Oriental churches, (2) the suspicion and hostility of Islam, (3) the jealousies, religious and political, connected with the Eastern Question.

Missions in Christian Lands.—Australia has been referred to already (see South Seas, above). In the Western Hemisphere we may distinguish the following: (1) Early Roman Missions began with the discovery of the continent and practically ceased in the middle of the 18th century. Conspicuous among their achievements was the conversion of Mexico, 200,000 converts being enrolled within six years after the capture of the capital (1521), and a million baptized by the Franciscans alone within thirty years. In South America the passive character of the population made them submissive alike to the Spanish government and the Roman faith. Their natural devotion and their susceptibility to pomp and ritual was a factor skilfully used by the priests, but hardly anything was done to strengthen their moral power. The influx of base European strata helped to reduce the whole continent south of Mexico in about a century to a level as low as that preceding the first mission. About 1600 the Franciscans and French Jesuits began their work in North America and among the Indians did a successful work marked by much heroism. They also enabled the Roman Church to keep its hold on the French colonists of Quebec and Montreal, and were pioneers in California. (2) Modern Missions in North America.—Missions among the Red Indian tribes in the North-West Territories of both the United States and Canada have long been carried on by several societies. The first workers were Thomas Mayhew, junior and John Eliot at Martha’s Vineyard (1643) and Roxbury (1646). Bishop Whipple of Minnesota was justly called the Apostle of the Indians, so far as the work of the American Episcopal Church was concerned. In the Canadian North-West the Church Missionary Society’s Missions have reached many tribes up to the shores of the Polar sea, and made some thousands of converts. Even the wandering Eskimos, thanks to the Moravians, are mainly Christians. The Anglican Church has nine dioceses in the province of Rupert’s Land. The Roman Catholic missionaries also are scattered over these immense territories, and have a large number of Indian adherents. Besides the Oblates many are Jesuits from French Canada. The Russo-Greek Church has a mission in Alaska, dating from the time when it was Russian territory, and various American societies are also represented. The total number of Indians in British North America is 99,000, of whom about 27,000 are still pagan, and the rest are about equally divided between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Missions. (3) Central and South America.—Protestant missions to Indians here have been very limited. Von Weltz did something in Dutch Guiana (c. 1670), and the Moravians among the Arrawak Indians of Surinam (1738–1808). Since 1847 they have worked on the Mosquito coast of Central America. American Missions are at work in Mexico and adjacent countries. In the West India Islands the negro population has been reached by most of the larger British societies. The South American Missionary Society, founded by the ill-fated Captain Allen Gardiner, has much extended its work among the Indians of the interior of what has been well called “the Neglected Continent”; it has been specially successful among the Araucanians of Chile and the Paraguayan Chaco. Their work among the Fuegians drew a warm tribute from Charles Darwin. Several American missions are also at work. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has an important mission in British Guiana. But there are numerous heathen tribes never yet reached. The Roman Church, which is dominant throughout the continent, has been engaged in serious struggles with the anti-religious tendencies of the Republican governments, and L’Année de l’Eglise makes no mention of missions among the Indians. In fact the Pope in 1897 was obliged to send a severe rebuke to the clergy for their lack of consistency and zeal. Protestant societies have done much to bring the Bible to the knowledge of the nominally Roman Catholic population.

Results of Missions

The Christian Church bases its missionary enterprise upon the spirit, the example, and the commandment of its Founder, and regards the duty as just the same whether the results be large or small. It appeals to common sense, saying in effect, “If it be a fact that a Divine Person came into the world to bless mankind, all men ought to know it, and have a right to know it. However much or (if you will) little a Buddhist or a Moslem may need to know of Christ, he certainly has a claim to be told of Him. The responsibility, if there be any, of believing, rests with the individual told; the responsibility of telling him rests with the Christian Church.” On this view of the matter, results, however desirable, are no certain test of a mission doing its work. A mission in Persia, with its handful of converts, has, on this view, as much right to support and appreciation as a mission in southern India with its tens of thousands. Again, on the hypothesis that Christianity is true, the statistics at a particular period are no test of success at all. For in them the dead are not counted; and the converts who are already dead are—at least in respect of individual salvation—the surest of results. If, however, we are to take statistical returns for what they are worth, it is estimated that the Christians in heathen lands gathered by Protestant missions probably amount to five millions, and a similar total may be ascribed to Roman Catholic missions, making ten millions in all. This, however, includes adherents still under instruction for baptism, and their children. The inner circle of communicant members is hardly more than one-third of the total.

Missions are however a far greater thing after all than simple proselytism. It would require many a volume to tell of what they have done for civilization, freedom, the exploration of unknown regions, the bringing to light of ancient literatures, the founding of the science of comparative religion, the broadening of the horizon of Christian thought in the homelands, and the bringing of distant peoples into the brotherhood of nations. These are results that cannot be put into figures. While it is true that very diverse opinions are held concerning missions, it is indisputable that the most favourable testimonies come from those who have really taken the most pains to examine and understand their work. The one discouraging feature, from the Christian point of view, is the backwardness of Christendom in its great enterprise. If the Churches did their foreign work with the same energy which they throw into their home work, the results would be very different.

The figures given below are taken from a table compiled by Dr D. L. Leonard, and refer only to Protestant missions to non-Christian and non-Protestant peoples. The figures are for 1907, and should be compared with those in the Statistical Atlas. This list gives a total of 69 Foreign Missionary Societies, of which 34 are American, 19 British, 10 German, and 6 other societies. The statistics for these 69 societies may be grouped as follows:—

(From The Blue Book of Missions, 1907).

Christians. Jews. Moham-
Buddhists. Hindus. Confucian-
ists and
Shintoists. Animists,
Unclassed. Totals.
Protestants. Roman
Africa. 2,665,000 2,493,000 3,799,000 381,000 50,810,000 11,000 277,000 31,000 97,179,500 125,500 157,722,000
America, N.  64,488,000 36,693,000 2,000,000 1,069,000 15,000 5,000 94,000 85,00 20,000 8,002,000 111,651,000
America, S. 362,000 36,125,000 22,000 10,000 108,000 4,000 1,262,000 63,000 37,956,000
Asia . 1,542,000 5,385,000 17,144,000 482,000 141,456,000 137,900,000 209,152,000 291,030,000 24,900,000 41,436,000 5,693,000 876,120,000
Australasia 3,424,000 964,000 1,000 17,000 3,000 4,000 1,000 31,000 40,000 70,000 4,555,000
Europe. 92,922,000 183,754,000 98,213,000 9,247,000 3,576,000 1,319,000 389,031,000
Malaysia 416,500 7,095,500 3,000 20,760,000 27,000 570,000 16,445,000 62,000 45,379,000
Oceania 247,000 129,000 1,000 15,000 65,000 507,000 18,000 982,000
Aggregate 166,066,500 272,638,500 120,157,000 11,222,000 216,630,000 137,935,000 209,659,000 291,816,000 24,900,000 157,069,500 15,352,500 1,623,446,000



American. British. German. Other Societies, viz.
Paris Society,
Swiss Romande,
Netherlands Societies,
Scandinavian Societies,
Totals for
Totals for 1895
(showing growth
between 1895 and
Ordained Missionaries 1,911 1,980 932 912    5,735  4,028  
Laymen 535 1,738 168 361    2,802  1,477  
Unmarried women 1,527 2,332 150 378    4,387  2,578  
Ordained natives 2,312 2,141 197 623    5,273  4,295  
Communicants (full members)  545,180 561,179 240,883 466,208    1,817,450  995,793  
Numbers added in 1906 63,916 38,614 25,983 12,336    140,849  63,081  
Adherents 1,286,259 1,398,306 540,073 1,136,500    4,361,138  2,770,801  
Schools 8,855 11,789 2,878 5,346    28,868  19,384  
Scholars 344,213 619,399 139,891 199,402    1,302,905  786,002  


1895  . . .  £2,724,194 1906  . . .  £4,256,029
1900  . . .  £3,095,915 1907  . . .  £4,473,933[34]
1905  . . .  £3,932,377

A world missionary conference was held at Edinburgh in June 1910, which aimed at making, on a scale far more comprehensive than had been previously attempted, a thorough and scientific study of the problems involved in the relation of Christianity to the non-Christian world. For two years preceding the conference eight representative commissions investigated the following questions: (1) Carrying the Gospel to all the non-Christian world; (2) the Church in the mission field; (3) education in relation to the Christianization of national life; (4) the missionary message in relation to non-Christian religions; (5) the preparation of missionaries; (6) the home base of missions; (7) missions and governments; (8) co-operation and the promotion of unity. The reports on these subjects in eight volumes, together with a ninth volume giving the proceedings of the conference itself, and a statistical atlas, will for some time be the vade mecum of information on Christian missions, and precludes the need of any attempt at a bibliography here, an attempt which would indeed be doomed to failure. It may not however, be out of place to call attention, in addition to literature already cited, to a few recent books, chiefly manuals, in several of which full lists of missionary books are given.

E. M. Bliss, The Missionary Enterprise (1908); E. Stock, A Short Handbook of Missions (1904); H. H. Montgomery, Foreign Missions (1904); T. Moscrop, The Kingdom Without Frontiers (1910); W. T. Whitley, Missionary Achievement (1908); S. L. Gulick, The Growth of the Kingdom of God (1897); B. Lucas, The Empire of Christ, a study of the missionary enterprise in the light of modern religious thought (1907); R. H. Malden, Foreign Missions, a study of some principles and methods (1910); G. Smith, Short History of Christian Missions (1897); G. Warneck, Outline of a History of Protestant Missions (1901; new German ed., 1910). See also J. S. Dennis, Centennial Survey of Foreign Missions (1902), Christian Missions and Social Progress (3 vols., 1897); G. Warneck, Modern Missions and Culture (1882); E. Stock, History of the Church Missionary Society (3 vols., 1899); J. B. Myers, Centenary Volume of the Baptist Missionary Society (1892); R. Lovett, History of the London Missionary Society (2 vols., 1899); J. Lowe, Medical Missions, Their Place and Power. A somewhat overlooked side of missions, viz. the “attempt to estimate the contribution of great races to the fulness of the Church of God,” is presented in Mankind and the Church, edited by Bishop H. H. Montgomery (1907). The Encyclopaedia of Missions (2nd ed., 1904) edited by Bliss, Dwight and Tupper; The Blue Book of Missions by H. O. Dwight (1907); and the already mentioned Statistical Atlas of Missions (1910) by H. P. Beach, are all of the highest value. For Roman Catholic Missions see Missiones Catholicae cura S. Congregationis de Propaganda Fide descriptae (Romae, ex Typographia polyglotta S. C. de Prop. Fid. [official biennial publication]); Louvet, Les Missions Catholiques [au] xixᵉ. Siècle (Lyon, Bureau des Missions Catholiques, 14 Rue de la Charité, 1900); Piolet, Les Missions Catholiques Françaises [au] xixᵉ. Siècle (6 vols., Paris, A. Colin, 5 Rue des Mézières); H. A. Krose, Katholische Missionsstatistik (1908); K. Streit, Katholischen Missionsatlas (1908).  (E. St.; H. T. A.; A. J. G.) 

  1. Socrates, H.E. i. 15; Sozomen ii. 24; Theodoret i. 22.
  2. Socrates, H.E. i. 20; Sozomen ii. 7; Theodoret i. 24.
  3. Theodoret, H.E., v. 30.
  4. See A. W. Haddan, “Scots on the Continent,” Remains, p. 256.
  5. Church, Gifts of Civilization, p. 330.
  6. Bede, H.E. v. 19.
  7. “Annal. Xantenses,” Pertz, Mon. Germ. ii. 220.
  8. Bede, H.E. v. 10.
  9. See Lightfoot, Ancient and Modern Missions.
  10. See Hardwick, Middle Ages, pp. 109-114.
  11. Stanley, Eastern Church, p. 294.
  12. Neander vii. 69; Hakluyt 171; Huc i. 207.
  13. Neander vii. 79; Gieseler iv. 259, 260; Hardwick, Middle Ages, p. 337
  14. Geddes, History of the Church of Malabar, p. 4; Neale, Eastern Church, ii. 343.
  15. Prescott, Conquest of Mexico, i. 318, iii.
  16. Relacion de la destruction de las Indias.
  17. Prescott, Mexico, iii. 218 n.
  18. Prescott iii. 219.
  19. We must not, however, overlook the remarkable appeal made by Erasmus in the first book of his treatise on the art of preaching (Ecclesiastes sive concionator evangelicus). The salient passages are quoted in G. Smith, Short History of Christian Missions, pp. 116-118; Gustavus Vasa in 1559 made an effort to educate and evangelize the Lapps.
  20. Hakluyt, Voyages, iii. 345.
  21. Oldy, Life of Raleigh, p. 118.
  22. Neale, History of New England, i. 260; Burnet, History of his own Times, i. 132 (“Everyman’s Library” ed., p. 27).
  23. J. B. Holmes, Hist. Sketches of the Missions of the United Brethren, p. 3; A. Grant, Bampton Lectures (1843), p. 190.
  24. For complete directory see Statistical Atlas of Foreign Missions (1910).
  25. Father Damien belonged to this society, which takes its popular name from the Rue de Picpus, Paris.
  26. See E. Smirnoff, Russian Orthodox Missions; an article in The East and the West (April, 1904); and the Statistical Atlas (1910), p. 99.
  27. E. Stock’s Short Handbook of Missions has a chapter on “Some Notable Missionaries” and another on “Some Prominent Native Christians.”
  28. See F. P. Noble, The Redemption of Africa; J. Stewart, Dawn in the Dark Continent; Sir Harry Johnston, “The Negro and Religion” in Nineteenth Century, June 1910.
  29. See T. T. Matthews, Thirty Years in Madagascar.
  30. See E. P. Rice in A Primer of Modern Missions, ed. R. Lovett (London, 1896); J. Richter, A History of Missions in India (1908); The Church Missionary Review (July 1908); Contemporary Review (May 1908 and June 1910).
  31. See A. H. Smith, Chinese Characteristics; Village Life in China; J. C. Gibson, Mission Problems and Mission Methods in South China.
  32. See Contemporary Review (Feb. 1908), “Report on Christian Missions in China,” by Mr F. W. Fox, Professor Macalister and Sir Alex. Simpson.
  33. See J. Richter, A History of Protestant Missions in the Near East (1910).
  34. The Statistical Atlas (1910) puts it at £5,071,225, of which British and American societies each find about £2,000,000, and German societies £427,455.