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“Here am I; send me.”—Isaiah 6:8

The apostle Paul said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Again he said: “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation.”

I am glad to be here as a missionary. I have the honor today to have lived the best part of my life in China, more years in China than in my native land, and I am sorry for anybody who is not a missionary, from the bottom of my heart. Somebody told me on the train that I did not look like a missionary, and I thought it was rather an insult. I thank God with all my heart for the privilege not only of preaching the Gospel, but of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ where Christ was not named. You probably know something of the joy of winning souls to Christ, but I wonder very much whether you know the fulness of joy that comes to one who preaches the Gospel to people for the first time, to those who never would have known Christ if you had not gone.

I shall never forget the first soul that I led to Christ in the city of Toronto many years ago when I was but a boy. I remember that night coming home from the mission hall, my feet hardly touching the pavements I felt so full of the joy of the Lord, and yet that joy does not compare with the joy that fills a missionary’s heart when he goes into all the world to preach the Gospel, and realizes that Christ is with him, with him “all the days, even unto the end of the age,” and that is the most wonderful thing in my life. It is wonderful to me how God takes weak things, “things that are not to bring to naught the things that are.” He takes things that are absolutely nothing in themselves to spread His Gospel among the nations of the world.

The missionaries who are going out from this church into the world are doing more to shape the history of nations than the statesmen are doing. Those men who are sitting in Paris today imagine they are shaping the destiny of the nations of the world, but the man who knows how to go, and Christ with him, into all the world, and preach this Gospel, the man who knows how in prayer to intercede before the throne of God, is doing more to change this world and shape the destiny of nations than all the statesmen in the world put together.

It is a wonderful thing that God has committed to us, and I want to say right here that it is one thing to know how to preach. I, as a young man, was very ambitious to be a good preacher and know how to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that men would be attracted to Him and would come to Him; but there is one thing greater than that, there is one ambition that has filled my soul, that is far beyond that ambition, and that is to know the secret and the power of intercessory prayer,—to know how to enter into the closet and speak with Him face to face and bring before Him the great needs of His work and the millions of souls that are still unreached.

In China there are still scores of cities, large cities without a messenger of Christ. In our own province in South China there are three score cities without a messenger of Jesus Christ, without a resident Christian. You would think it a hard thing here if a great city of 100,000 people had only one church. We would think that city was occupied and go on to the next city, and wouldn’t bother putting a second church in that city, but would go on to scores of other cities where there isn’t one witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is what we are trying to do, to preach the Gospel where Christ has not been named. We are not going out to establish educational work, nor to do a lot of philanthropic work, or to civilize those people,—we have only one thing to do, only one message to proclaim, and that is the simple, clear, pure Gospel of Jesus Christ to be given directly to the hearts of the people. That is enough; that is what we are told to do, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. These people are creatures, and some who are included in that phrase are way up in the heart of China among the wilds, where never a white man has traveled, where never a missionary has gone, men and women who have never heard if there be a Lord Jesus Christ.

Our work started twenty years ago in China, and it is a story of riot, a story of hatred, a story of persecution. Almost every city that we hold today where the Gospel is being preached has turned out its missionaries, routed them out of the city, and, thank God, while none of our missionaries have shed their blood for the Gospel, it has only been His goodness that has saved them.

We went up from Canton to Kwangsi holding our lives in our hands, or rather, having committed our lives into His hands, having no reasonable assurance that we should return to the coast. The people thought we were coming as spies to steal their country, and considered it their duty to rout us out, and our province was the last of all the provinces of China to allow missionaries to reside in its borders. They prided themselves that no foreigner had ever set foot in that province to reside. They had let missionaries go in and sell the Scriptures, but they would have to go back to their houseboats to spend the night, and often had to pull out into mid-stream to avoid the stones and mud that were thrown at them. To find a house to rent and settle down in those cities in the early days was something that was humanly speaking, impossible. But thank God, by the steady working of His grace and the steady influence of the lives of the missionaries and those they won to Christ, the whole atmosphere of the great province has changed, and these people who were once hostile and bitter, and full of hatred against us, are now welcoming us and glad to receive us.

It used to be a question when we entered a new city whether we could find enough tolerance on the part of the people to stay there. That is no longer a question in our work, we can go to the innermost portion of that province and find everywhere men and women who are willing to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we bring them the story. As I said, our message is not a  work of education, of trying to civilize or change those people in any way save through the Gospel of the grace of God, and that Gospel not only civilizes, but it regenerates men and women and makes them new creatures in Christ Jesus. However deeply they may be steeped in sin and idolatry, God’s grace and God’s power through the foolishness of preaching can regenerate men.

If you cannot go to the mission field, if you will take a word of counsel from me you will be a missionary anyway, and in some way let your life tell out in those heathen lands. Don’t be content with any little sphere of ministry that God may give you at home, but pray, and believe, and work, and go to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The story is told of a man in Vancouver (I do not vouch for this story, but you will get the point perhaps). Out there they have great trees. One of these enormous trees had fallen to the ground and the inside had rotted away so there was a hole there. A man traveling through the forest, was overtaken by a great storm. To protect himself and to keep from being soaked through by the rain, he crawled into the tree. The patter of the rain on the tree trunk was very soothing, he was tired and fell sound asleep. The downfall of rain was very heavy, it caused the tree to swell, and when the man awakened he found himself pinched inside of that tree, a prisoner. He struggled and worked for all he was worth to free himself, and finally he said “I am facing starvation and death,” and like a man who looks death in the face, he began to think of his sins. He thought of this sin, and of that, and he began to repent. Then he remembered how that very morning he had refused to give an offering for foreign missions, and the story says he felt so small that he crawled out and went home.

—From the Missionary Rally, May 1919

(Mr. Rader added: “I hope this old Tabernacle will swell until everyone in it is pinched.”)

Mr. Jaffray is the editor of a Bible Magazine, the Woochow, South China, Magazine which goes out among the Chinese Christian workers, and into Korea.