Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/69

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27
INTRODUCTION

by the Geographical Society, and in the C.I.M. Report for 1878 it was stated that the missionary journeys of twenty pioneers had amounted to an aggregate of 30,000 miles. Could a clearer illustration of Divine guidance be desired than this. The men had been prayed for before there was any evidence of the way being opened. The way was, however, in an unexpected manner opened, and that just as the men[1] were ready to go forward.

Both McCarthy and Cameron in their journeys crossed from China into Burmah, but were forbidden by the British authorities to recross the frontier, and J. W. Stevenson and H. Soltau had to wait for four years before they obtained permission to enter China from the west.[2] These journeys were only the beginnings of a more thorough survey of the unoccupied and less occupied parts of China. As many of these widespread itinerations were severely criticised at the time, it may perhaps be allowable to quote the opinion of so competent an authority as Mr. Eugene Stock. Writing of this period in the History of the Church Missionary Society, he says: "The work, in fact, only professed to be preparatory, and in that sense after years showed that its success was unmistakable. Gradually, but after a considerable time, not only the C.I.M. but many other Societies—the C.M.S. for one—established regular stations in the remoter provinces; and of all these Missions, the C.I.M. men were the courageous forerunners."

If it be remembered that this, the real opening of the interior of China, took place only a generation ago, it will be recognised what an immense advance has since been made. In addition to the above-mentioned itinerations, several long and important journeys had been made by

  1. Of these men Mr. Stock has said: "Some of whom have since made a very definite mark in the history of Missions in China." Among them, special reference should be made to Adam Dorward, who gave eight years to itinerant work in Hunan (see Pioneer Work in Hunan, published by Morgan and Scott, 2s.), and Dr. Cameron, whose extensive journeys took him through seventeen out of eighteen provinces, not to speak of his itinerations in Manchuria, Mongolia, Eastern Tibet, and Burmah.
  2. Mr. Stevenson made an experimental journey across the border in the winter of 1879; returning to Bhamo, he with Mr. Soltau set out in 1880 on what was the first journey across China from west to east.