DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The following is a copy of a letter recently received by a friend of mine from another old, intimate, personal friend, who is now in India as missionary for the Baptists. It illustrates wonderfully the blind gropings of the spiritual leaders of nominal Christendom. (The italics are his.)
My Dear Friend:—Every time I open my writing case, your letter is seen by me. I was very glad to get it and to learn so much of Y.M.C.A. work in Ontario. Every one who writes makes some such statement as follows:—"Well, I need not tell you of Y.M.C.A. affairs, as others will have written you on that subject;" and between them all they keep me well in the dark.
A good many people in writing the missionary, too, imagine they must assume a commiserating air, or rather tone, and talk of self-sacrifice, burden, and all sorts of sentiment. I know people at home look on the foreign mission field as a horrible pit, into which, amid the supplications of home friends for his safety, the heroic missionary descends with only a forlorn hope of being spared to ascend again. And I know the missionaries largely like to have it so. But, as a matter of fact, it is one of the highest deceptions in all creation; and a very rude shock my wife and self received when we came to Madras, and afterwards to our own fellow-missionaries in Cocauade, Tuni, etc., and saw the comfort they lived in. [See Z.W. TOWER for January 1, '92.] Don't misunderstand me—the missionary has as much right (and certainly more need) to live comfortably as the workers at home; but my contention is that the truth should be told, and a little of the sentimental rubbish which pervades, at times, even that unique denominational paper which is published in T__________, should be "sat on."
I am not in the least to be pitied here or commiserated with. Why, on Saturday evenings lately I have been literally howling with delight. People are coming in in large numbers, young men sit down and hear me through attentively. Then we lack nothing, have abundance of food, a house suited to the hard climate, and plenty of servants to do the running for us. We live not like niggers here: we live and dress as Europeans, and are looked up to by the people; though our truth is not believed. And in these days of fast and cheap travel we may entertain a reasonable expectation, if the Lord will, of going home at fair intervals in life to see old faces and places. If I'm spared to come home ever, I'll tell up mission life as it is, or else forever hold my peace. The church is very ripe for judgment. The world is uneasy. Europe is an armed camp. Society shakes in its shoes—the clay and iron has proved itself thoroughly wanting in cohesive qualities, as per the divine Record. The Jews, God's heritage, are casting longing eyes toward the city of David, and God is certainly drawing attention to the ancient land in ways that are marvelous—railways, increased commerce, amazing immigration, increasing fertility, all around us expectancy of a great something, the world cannot tell what. What does it mean? Is he, the Beloved, at the doors? At any rate, it becomes us to gird up our loins as men who wait for their Lord.