Putting The World To Work
( Originally Published 1918 )
" Missionaries are such impracticable people. What the heathen need is something more than psalm-singing and theology. Sprinkling water on their heads and giving them a Scripture name has little value. They should be taught to use their hands to saw wood, in modern parlance."
Those who offer such criticisms simply do not know of the extensive industrial mission movement of the present day. The watchword of the German monks of the middle ages, Cruce et aratro" By the power of the cross and the plow " is finding new significance in the twentieth century. In every land the gospel of the plow, the chisel, and the saw is steadily taking its place as a component part of the greater gospel.
The types of industrial education being carried on in different countries are as different as the countries themselves. The missionary must trim his cloth to fit his pattern. The missionaries of the United Presbyterian Church of North America at Gujranwala, India, found that it was necessary to make some provision for the orphans from the famine-stricken areas. They opened an orphanage which soon logically became an industrial school where these boys might be given both an industrial education and a religious education, fitting them to earn a competent livelihood and to become honorable, useful Christian men.
The Adaptable Missionary
A Scotch missionary in Formosa is teaching massage ! The reason is that his students are blind and this is a profession they can easily follow. Thirty of his boys are now earning their living as masseurs. He teaches many other things, too brush making, basket making, interpreting, knitting, and other actions, every subject for study being determined by the abilities of the students and the needs of the country.
In the Philippines, where American modernism has swept in, the Jaro Industrial School of the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society is meeting the situation by teaching such modern subjects as telegraphy, stenography, typewriting, bookkeeping, electrial wiring, and surveying.
In Africa the great industrial opportunity li s in agriculture. That is why the industrial mission a Old Umtali, in Rhodesia, teaches the native how to row more grain and larger vegetables, and instructs him in animal husbandry, including the judging of stock for market purposes and knowledge of simple diseases common to animals in tropical countries. The students of this mission have started large irrigated gardens in about fifteen out-stations. Here green vegetables appear from three to five months earlier than the untrained natives can produce them.
In another part of Africa, at Kambini, the soil is especially suited to the growing of fruit-trees. Accordingly the Methodist Episcopal mission gives instruction in the cultivation of coconut-trees, oranges, apples, lemons, limes, peaches, grapefruit, papaws, lichi, mandarins, sweet limes, and rose-apples. Also peanuts and corn have been found to do well here, so they have been included in the curriculum.
Thus the missionary proves himself adaptable to local conditions. If the community has industrial need of one thing, he tries to furnish that one thing. If he finds himself in a community where there are many needs, he makes his industrial program as many-sided as possible. A good example of such many-sided activity is seen in the work at Elat in West Africa.
Not Much These Boys Couldn't Do
The following letter, relating the visit of the new French governor of Cameroun, who came to the colony after it had been won from the Germans, gives a good description of this remarkable station:
" The Captain of this district brought the new Governor of South Cameroun to visit the station. We took him first to the industrial school and showed him the chair class at work on all kinds of furniture. Right from the first I could see his surprise. He was not looking for such work. He examined the chairs, tables, sofas, and other odd pieces with great interest. He did not seem to understand how such work was possible to these natives. I presented him with a chair and a mahogany-topped table.
" We went then to the hat class, where he saw the different kinds of hats. He was greatly intere ted in the tropical helmets we were making, and examined them in all the different stages. To see these helmets as neatly made and as strong as the average European made article, and made, too, by black boys and in a mission, seemed to be too much for him.
" Then we went to the tailor class, where anther surprise awaited him. He carefully examined the clothing, some of it as good as that he had on. We could see a change in his attitude toward us. next, we visited the room where six boys were working in ivory and ebony. I gave him an ivory and ebony cane. From there we went to the pressroom, here he saw work that was being done for the government, and a small French primer for the French school. Then we went into the industrial school office, here he saw the walls and ceiling and all of the furniture. made of mahogany. We went then to the sawmil and from there to the blacksmith shop, where the boys were repairing an automobile. Then we went to the carpenter shop. We could see that the man was completely taken aback.
" We then went up to our home, where Mrs. Hope had prepared refreshments. Then came the next surprise. The walls of different kinds of mahogany and other beautiful African woods, set him gazing I called his attention to the fact that the whole house and all the furniture in it was made by the boys in the carpenter class he had just seen.
" By that time he was willing to joke with us. The captain asked if that gramophone was not made in the industrial school. I assured him it was, and as I saw the governor looking at a bookcase made of teak-wood, full of books, I laughingly told him that those books were printed on the Mission press. By this time he was full of coffee and American cake, and really seemed to be enjoying himself.
" After a while he said it was time he was getting back to the government station. We told him he had not seen the mission yet, but only a little side line. We then showed him the girls' school, and afterwards the French school. He forgot all about his purpose in coming down to put out the large boys, and never said a word about it. Then he was taken to the big church. When he saw a building that would seat four thousand, he ventured the question : ` Was it ever full?' When told that there had been as many as four thousand on the outside that could not get in,-that finished him. As we were walking to his horse, he said : ` You have a blessed work here with these native people.' Then, on leaving, he said to Mr. Johnston : ' I am greatly pleased with what I have seen here, and if at any time I can be of service to you in your work, you have only to command me.' "
A complete list of the industries taught in the industrial mission schools of the world would astound the uninformed American who supposes that the sole occupation of a missionary is to stand under a palm tree and preach. Here is only a partial list of the more common industrial subjects taught in the mission schools:
Seven Reasons for Industrial Missions
Why this extensive industrial activity on the part of missions? Why should missionaries, who have been sent out to preach the living God, spend an part of their time in teaching industries?
There are at least seven good reasons. W shall take them up in detail in this chapter. Briefly, these seven reasons why industrial education should be a part of missionary endeavor are:
First, to promote the idea of the dignity of labor. Second, to advance moral integrity and character. Third, to raise the social plane and the standards of living of the community. Fourth, to enable students, otherwise unable to attend school, to support themselves while getting an education. Fifth, to provide an opening for Christian teaching. Sixth, to make possible the self-support of native churches. Seventh, to avoid the gulf that has opened in certain Western countries between the laboring class and the church, and to make the faith of the Carpenter of Nazareth the faith of all workers the world over.
From every land comes testimony regarding the effect of industrial education in revolutionizing the native idea concerning the dignity of labor.
" This city is full of learned Christian loafers!" cried one missionary in India. Indian unrest is interpreted by President W. H. P. Faunce to be the direct product of Indian education in subjects having no relation to Indian life. " The dignity of labor is not generally understood by the Bengali," says a missionary, " a written examination being usually considered the only standard of attainment, and office work the only work permissible to a gentleman. To learn to do something, instead of merely saying how it can be done, would have the best effect on individual character."
The same story comes from China. " The Chinese need to develop a sense of shame for idleness. The attitude of the average Chinese family of middle class is to discourage its members who wish to learn a trade, for that would degrade them socially.
" Wrong notions about manual labor must be uprooted and practical training be given to boys and girls that will stand them in good stead in whatever walks of life they may engage."
The Aristocracy of White Hands
Africa, too, has its contempt for the toiler. A missionary to West Africa wrote: " When I came to Batanga we could hardly get men to work for us and the few who came were often sneered at and ridiculed because ` they sold their skin for money,' that is, they worked for wages. During the last few years more men were available than we could employ." At Budo a school was started about ten years ago, admittedly on a literary basis, but the missionary in charge soon discovered that there was great need for some sort of industrial work to supplement and in some cases counteract the effect of the academic work. The boys were taken to Lake Victoria to see the Uganda Railway. - They were impressed, not only by the wisdom of the white man but even more by the way he worked with his hands. These boys, who were practically all sons of chiefs, came back ready and eager to do some sort of industrial work. Industrial courses were immediately established, and the natives of the countryside could scarcely believe their eyes when they saw chiefs' sons and chiefs themselves and even princes digging and planting and making roads; and doing it all without a word of complaint.
It was discovered in St. Andrew's Industrial School for Boys, conducted by the Protestant Episcopal Church at Guadalajara, Mexico, that there was being developed " an aristocracy of white hands and polished shoes and high collars." So the school was moved out of the city to a farm and turned into an industrial and agricultural school. The change for the better in the mental attitude of the students was immediately noticeable.
This disdain for labor is found among almost every backward people. In fact, that is one great cause of their backwardness. It is found in the Philippines, although it is now rapidly disappearing as a result of the American occupation. " If I were compelled to give up, one department of instruction apart from the Bible," states the president of Silliman Institute in the Philippines, " I would give up anything rather than the industrial work. This department gives an energy and strength to the other departments that can be gained in no other way. When Silliman was opened in 1901 the average boy considered it a disgrace to carry his grip up from the boat landing. A year ago, when we were enlarging the athletic field of the school, every boy in Silliman was out on the field with an ax, spade, hoe, or pickax, hard at work, and among them was the son of General Aguinaldo, and the sons of various provincial governors and rich men of the island, who had never done a day's work in their lives until they came to the school. Industrial work broadens a boy's outlook on life."
The dignifying and exalting of labor is then the first great and good reason for industrial education.
Making Lace and Character
Coherent with the first reason is the second the advancement of moral integrity and character.
In the lace-making of Porto Rico the unlimited patience, aesthetic taste, and mathematical accuracy required for this work are found by the missionaries to be tremendous factors in the development of native character. " We find in them the necessary basis for systematic growth and religious zeal."
The enormous Basel Mission in India, which operates a half dozen factories and employs many thousands of people, states as one of its chief reasons for existence its purpose to train the natives " in diligence, honesty, and steadiness of character.
That the native fathers expect much of the missionaries when they send their boys to them for industrial training is to be seen in the following letter which a father wrote concerning his son, who was about to enter the Boys' Boarding and Day School of the American Board at Sholapur, in western India :
" If you will kindly try to read his phrenology, physiognomy, and graphology, you must discover as the most promising boy to turn him out to be President of America as James Garfield, Abraham Lincoln, and others. May God inspire you to satisfy my high aspirations and bless us all in all respects in triumphs. Amen."
The industrial mission schools do not always turn out Presidents, but they do turn out graduates who set formerly unheard-of standards in integrity and character.
Missions and the Standard of Living
The transformation effected by industrial missions in raising the social plane of whole peoples and in bettering the standards of living is so great as to defy measurement. Churchill; of India, has invented a hand-loom which trebles the product of the work people. This means much for the economic betterment of the people when you consider that hand weaving is, next to agriculture, the chief industry of India. Mr. Churchill has refused to patent his invention, preferring that it should be free for the use of any one without the payment of royalty of any kind. The American Deccan Institute at Ahmednagar complains that so greatly does industrial teaching enhance the economic value of the students that "the school has been unable to keep its own pupils, on account of the high wages they can command on finishing their courses." Another mission has taken orphans from among the outcaste leather workers and has trained them in the making of really high-grade leather goods, with the result that they have had repeated calls for their students to come as teachers or as foremen in other institutions and factories, at wages three or four times the wages paid to the ordinary, unskilled laborer. This will undoubtedly have its reflex influence upon all this poverty-stricken group of leather workers. The example set by experts from the mission school will be followed, more or less, by shoemakers and harness-makers throughout India. The improved standards of work will bring a larger remuneration and that, in turn, will mean improved standards of living.
Each Man for Himself Is the Heathen's Motto
Specialized industry is essentially a social institution. " Heathenism is essentially selfish," says F. Stanley Dart, of Rhodesia, Africa. " The native raises his own food in his own little garden, builds his own hut, and is largely dependent upon his own re-sources. He sees no reason for helping anybody else. Specialized industry changes all that. The carpenter works for the mason, and they both buy grain from the farmer. There is a hitherto unheard-of pride in work and a healthy competition in the things which make for thrift. The natural resources are utilized for the common good and a spirit of neighborliness and mutual interdependence springs up, which is a necessary prerequisite for social reform."
Large social reforms cannot take place among a people who live from hand to mouth. A man's in-come must increase to a decent living wage before he can give much attention to such matters as sanitation, housing, tuberculosis campaigns, better-babies contests, and public improvement societies: Therefore improved industries must be taught which will make this living wage possible.
If the missionary could use improved American machinery in teaching these industries, his task would be simplified, but he knows that the natives will not have such machinery to use when they get back to, their villages. So, again, he must be adjustable. He must take the crude, native implements and figure out some way to make them produce bigger results. In the great mission plant at Lovedale, in Cape Colony, for example, very little power is used in the shops, since power will not be available to the natives afterward. Power would reduce the expenses and increase the production of the mission, but the graduate would be quite unable to make use of what he had learned. The proper policy of any industrial mission is " not production for production's sake, but production for education's sake."
One interesting mission, the Congo Evangelical Training Institution, in Kimpesse, Africa, realizes that the social cleaning-up and betterment of a community depends quite as much upon the women as upon the men. Accordingly, they require every man who comes to their school to bring with him his wife and family. Everything from carpentry and brick-making to gardening and housekeeping is taught. " The Institution, drawing as it does whole families from far-lying districts, and sending them out again prepared to build comfortable homes, live well, teach, nurse, and direct work of all kinds, is unique, and will intimately affect the living conditions and moral conditions of a vast area of the valley."
The direct economic and social value of industrial teaching may be seen in the subjects of lectures regularly given in one industrial mission in Africa; tools necessary for a native carpenter their cost and care; house planning for native Christians; the use of building materials found in the veld; molding of brick, and laying of fireplaces and chimneys; methods of protection against white ants, dampness, and decay; draining and sanitation; simple hardware and home-made substitutes; glazing; soldering; blacksmithing; the manufacture of glue; wood stains and finishes; rustic furniture ; cane and rush seating; knots and new basketry weaves; mechanical aids, such as the wedge, pulley, and lever."
An Industry-that Saved a Race
In Labrador missions have saved the Eskimos from economic disaster. The missionaries have been instrumental in building up a large trade in seals and fish, which is being conducted on a profit-sharing basis, so that especially in the case of furs the fortunate trapper obtains the benefit of an advance in price in the London market. " Were it not for the trade con-ducted in connection with the missions, the Eskimos of Labrador would probably before this have become extinct, like their countrymen who formerly lived to the south." In Alaska the missionaries performed a similar task by their active participation in the movement to introduce domesticated reindeer. Large reindeer herds have now been developed. They are bringing a sufficient financial return to enable the Eskimos to enjoy the decencies of civilization, even in this desolate region.
Indian villages in our own West are being cleaned up by the power of lace ! One mission organization maintains lace schools on ten reservations. " This industry," says the report of the Association in charge, has transformed the lives of Indian women undertaking it. They can readily be distinguished from the others by their neat appearance and bright and hopeful faces; indeed, Senator Dawes, of the Dawes Commission, stated at Lake Mohonk that one could recognize the villages where the lace was taught by the general cleanliness of the entire village." An-other senator declared that he had never seen a happier lot of women, and described them as not only working steadily but actually laughing and chatting together, in strong contrast to the apathetic and hopeless squaws found there when the missions first came.
Industrial Experts Instead of Soldiers
The teaching of systematic industries would raise the social plane and standards of living of Mexico and make revolution a thing of the past. Says Henry Ford : " I believe the Mexican problem to be principally industrial. The Mexican never in his life has had a chance to work under decent, self-respecting conditions. He has been taught to hate work, the one thing that every one of us should love. Instead of soldiers, we should send industrial experts down there. Industrial experts from this country could do great things for Mexico. Men like Luther Burbank should be generals of the army we send to Mexico. By thus solving her industrial problem, we also would solve her revolution problem. For Mexicans really busy at making a living, making comfort, making happiness, making homes, would have no time for making revolution."
The tremendous social results alone of industrial missions would be sufficient warrant for their continuance. And, after all, what is social that is not spiritual? Cleaner bodies, better homes, greater interdependence and brotherhood, more skilled hands, and clearer brains lead the way to high ideals and spiritual vision.
Working Their Way Through School
Related to the social and economic value of industrial missions is the provision thereby made for great numbers of poor boys and girls to furnish, in labor, the equivalent of the tuition that they cannot pay and thus get an education which they otherwise could not afford.
The problem and the manner of meeting it is de-scribed by C. M. Deal, manager of the industrial department of the Songdo Higher Common School in Chosen. A boy who has reached the proper age to go off to boarding-school is an asset to the family, and it is just as difficult to spare the only ox as the boy from home. It is not only impossible for the average young man to pay his way through school, but it is very difficult to leave home at all without sending back something to help support the family. So it is very difficult to get many boarding students into our school without either paying their way or providing a way for them to earn it. Formerly we supported these students with scholarships secured in America. During four years we spent six thousand dollars in this way. This helped about fifty boys to stay in school, but many of these were no better off after receiving the help than they were before, because of the deleterious effect of being dependent on others and getting something for nothing. Our industrial department is doing away entirely with this expense. It is helping more students than did the six thousand dollars spent in scholarships, and doing it without the deleterious effect that was inherent in the other system. At the same time, the education secured is worth twice as much to them. It is being done without a cent of cost to the Board of Missions. To illustrate the difference in the old and new method, from an economic or efficiency standpoint : If now we had this six thousand dollars spent in scholarships during the period of four years, to invest in our industrial department, we could enable not only fifty students for four years, but from sixty to one hundred students each year for an indefinite period, to get a much bet-ter education than they were formerly receiving. Not only so, but at any time, years after the investment was made, its economic value would be more than the original investment."
Reaching the heart Through, the Hands
The fifth reason and, from the missionary view-point, a most important reason for industrial mission work, is that it provides an opening for Christian teaching.
There are many people who cannot easily be won by approaching them directly with the gospel message. We must first, in the words of Dr. Grenfell, " do something for them that they will understand." The bloodthirsty Moros, for example, are considered by many missionaries as a people who can best be reached by the industrial appeal. Bishop Brent states : " It would be futile at this juncture, except in unusual circumstances, to preach to the Moro. The history of his race has been such as to close his mind to Christian appeal. We must live our Christianity with him. The hospital, the school, the playground, must be our pulpit."
Much of the success of the great mission of the American Presbyterian Church at Elat, Africa, is credited to the industrial features which, in many cases, have opened the way to the good-will of the people. Sixteen years ago there was no church there. Today there are nine churches. Eighteen years ago there was not a confessing Christian. Today there are eight thousand church-members in regular standing, and more than twice that number on the waiting list! The testimony of Elat is, that from the standpoint of church-membership, industrial missions pay a thousand fold.
True Christian zeal, of the consuming kind, can come out of An industrial mission school. Tuting and Riking were the first two boys converted in Silliman Institute in the Philippines. They hurried home, during vacation, to tell the new story to their family. Toady, in their town, is a church of over one thousand members. Christianity has spread abroad through the valley back of the town among the non-Christian tribes: Ten Sunday-schools have grown up. Industrial missions opened the way.
Another student of Silliman contracted tuberculosis and was sent up to an island-plateau to regain his health. He was expected to rest, and do nothing. But the teaching of Silliman made him see on that plateau an opportunity in the face of which he could not rest. After a few months his unceasing labor resulted in his death. But he left behind him forty converts, and the church which he left there has been growing ever since.
During the last school year one hundred Silliman boys were converted. Remember that this is avowedly an industrial school. At meetings held in October one hundred and fifty-eight promised to serve Christ. Twenty to thirty boys go out every Sunday to hold meetings in the towns and villages throughout that region. After working all the week, many of them walk fourteen miles or more on Sunday to preach the gospel.
Every well-operated industrial mission school can tell similar stories. The training of the hand has proved to be an invaluable approach to the training of heart and soul.
The Native Who Does Not Earn Cannot Give
The sixth reason is a very vital one from the stand-point of mission policy. Mission churches should in time become self-supporting. Americans and Europeans cannot permanently finance the churches on the mission field. But these churches can never become self-supporting so long as their members are too poor to assume the responsibility for church expenses. Industrial missions step in at this point and, by equipping the native with the ability to earn a fair living wage and contribute adequately to his church, the self-support of mission churches is made possible, thus liberating the funds of the mission boards to be used in the development of new work.
That this actually happens may be seen by the experiment in Cameroun, where, in 19o4, the Mission Board was practically supporting the entire work. " In that year a secretary visited the field, and as a result the native church agreed to a yearly ten per cent. reduction in the Board's appropriation, with the understanding that the native church would increase its offerings by that amount until it became self-supporting. The mission did its part and at the end of the probation period had accomplished its purpose. The secretary showed a schedule for Cameroun and pointed to a school, the annual expenses of which were two thousand dollars; nineteen hundred dollars of this was provided by the people themselves. A very important factor in this, however, was the introduction of industrial schools which trained the native to work and gave him the opportunity to became a revenue-producing agent."
A most fascinating account of how a helpless and dependent people were lifted to the ability to support themselves and their church is told by F. W. Walker, of New Guinea, who has been in charge of the remarkable mission organization, the Papuan Industries, Limited.
"As I had only just arrived from a district where a totally different language was spoken, I was compelled to speak to them in `pidgin ' English, with which they are familiar in these islands.
" Thumbing the Bible before me in orthodox style, I said 'This book he speaka, suppose a fellar no work, no catch him kaikai (food) for wife and picaninny belonga him, God angry longa that fellar, all same fellar no go church, no belieb about God.' Continuing, I said You people alonga this place you think you good fellar, you think God berry glad longa this island, cos you kum alonga church all de time, sing an' pray plenty. God not glad alonga you, He very angry. What for? 'Cos wife and picaninny belonga you he hungry, he cry, cry, cry all de time. You big, strong man here too much lazy, you no work, an' this book he speaka suppose a fellar no work, no catch 'im kaikai for wife and picaninny belonga 'im, God angry longa that fellar all same fellar no go church and no belieb about God.'
Idleness Rusts a Knife Why. Not a Mane
Then, as Mr. Walker relates, taking his knife out of his pocket, he held it up before them and said : " You look this knife. White man he make him. What for he make 'im? To lie down all de time, do nothing? No! White man make knife for work, for to do something. Suppose he work, he keep good. Suppose he no work, one year, two year, three year, by-urn-bye you look that knife. He no more good; he all rusty; spoilt altogether. All same man. God make you fellar; He gib you strong body. What for? To sleep all de time? No ! For work.. Suppose you work, you keep good. Suppose you no work you too much lazy—by-un-bye you all same knife; rusty, spoilt altogether. Strong belonga you he finish.
" God been put in de water all round this island plenty pearl-shell, plenty tortoise-shell, plenty bechede-mer (an edible sea-slug for which a great demand exists in China). He gib arm, leg, belonga you go swim an' get 'im. What for you no get a boat (vessel), an' get plenty thing stop alonga salt water? Then you go sell 'im longa Thursday Island, get plenty money; buy flour, rice, biscuit, tin-a-meat. Wife, picaninny belonga you no more hungry, no more cry, altogether fellar kum alonga church, sing an' pray an' thank God, that proper fashion."
After the service was over Mr. Walker went to the mission-house and he had not been there many minutes when there was a knock at the door, and when he opened it he found a great crowd-all the men of the congregation in fact gathered there. The man who had knocked at the door, and who was standing a little in front of the others, said : " Master, all fellar here want to have a yarn alonga you 'bout that talk you been make in de church."
Pleased to find that his words had evidently made an impression upon them, Mr. Walker invited them to come in. They filled the small room, and many had to remain outside, crowding round the door and every available window.
The White Man Cries, "More, More, More!
When they had all settled in their places the spokes-man stood up, and very respectfully addressed Mr. Walker. He said: " Master, you speaka this morning, you say : ' What for me fellar no get a boat, no go work for kaikai for wife and picaninny, belonga me fellar?' Master, all fellar this island like to get a boat an' work. Can't do that. Three fellar been try. First one fellar he go alonga storekeeper. He say: ` Storekeeper, suppose me work; get plenty pearl-shell for you; you gib me boat?' Storekeeper say : ` Yes, suppose you work proper, me gib you boat.' That fellar he say: `Me work proper, Master.' So store-keeper he gib 'im boat. That fellar he work good. Plenty brudder an' friend belonga 'im he help 'im Altogether man he work longa time, get plenty shell.
He take 'im longa storekeeper, he say : ' Master, you look ! Plenty shell; enuff pay for that boat, eh ? ' Storekeeper, he look, he say: ' No! You go get more.' Altogether man he go work again, longa time. By- um-bye he get plenty shell again. He take 'im longa storekeeper. He say : ' Enuff now pay for that boat, Master? That boat not a good boat, Master.' All same white man chuck away. White man no like gib good boat longa native. Well, that storekeeper he look that shell, he say : ' No, not enuff yet; you go get more.' All de time like that---` More ! More! More! ' White man never finish make that talk. By-urn-bye that native he tired. He say: ' No good work for white man. He make fool o' me all de time. He too much gammon. More ! More ! More ! That talk never finish.' By-um-bye he sat down. No more work, and that white man get wild, seize de boat, an' native lose everything. Anudder man he try. All de same. ` More ! More ! More!' White man never finish that talk, an' by-urn-bye he lose everything. All same nudder fellar. One more fellar he try; he think might be he can finish pay. No fear ! He all same. Now all man this island he say : No good work for white man. Too much he make a fool o' me fellar, more better sit down do nothing.' "
Mr. Walker says that he realized at once that what was required was not sermons but practical help. A sermon was of as little use as a discourse on " The Proper Place of Man " to a lot of poor fellows floundering in a bog. What was clearly needed was a friendly hand to help them out of their difficulty." Is not this the fast (or service) that I have chosen; to loose the bonds of wickedness, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke ? was impressed upon him. Accordingly he resolved to secure ŕ boat for them, as he had a little money of his own available at the time.
Like pilgrims of Old, They First Built a Church
Mr. Walker purchased a suitable boat, and arranged with the resident magistrate at Thursday Island, the Hon. John Douglas, C.M.G., who took a deep interest in the matter, to pass the whole business connected with the purchase of a boat by him, and the subsequent payment by the natives, through his hands. Every one said that he was very foolish to risk his money. They said the natives were lazy and good for nothing, and would never work to pay off the debt, and so on. However, to the amazement of all who had seen them under the old conditions, inspired by new hope and confidence they worked with an energy such as no one previously had believed them to be capable of, and in eighteen months the liability of one hundred and twenty pounds was completely paid off, and they were well on their feet. At the end of that time they had the good fortune to discover a large number of ingots of copper, supposed by Mr. Douglas to have been jettisoned from some old Portuguese exploring ship hundreds of years ago. Mr. Douglas negotiated the sale of this copper, and obtained the sum of six hundred pounds hard cash for it. The first act of the natives after receiving this was to vote over three hundred pounds of it to the building of a beautiful and substantial church, which stands on their island to-day as a mark of their gratitude to God for the prosperity which had come to them as the result of a little practical Christian help. The contributions of these people to the London Missionary Society, which previously had only been a few pounds, amounted in 1904 to two hundred and seven pounds for the one year. In other words, they are now practically a self-supporting Christian community.
The betterment of industrial conditions may not be the quickest method, but it is the soundest and most enduring method of making possible a self-supporting and self-respecting Christian church.
A Church That Knows No Classes
The final tremendous argument for industrial missions is that they will help to prevent the formation of that gulf between the laboring class and the church which is found so often in certain Western countries. The missionaries are alive to such a peril, and much of the advocacy of industrial missions is on this score. " The experience of the church in the West in relation to the employed classes," writes J. Merle Davis from Japan, "need not and should not be repeated in the Far East. In America and in England and in the continent of Europe, through the inadequate occupation of the industrial field by the Christian forces in the early stages of development, there has grown a deep and almost uncrossable gulf between the laboring man and the church of Christ. The impression has been fixed among the working classes that the church is the property and the privilege of invested capital and of the employer class; that Christianity, as expressed in the great city churches and their varied institutions, has nothing to do with the man who works." 1
A very clear and practical example of just how Christianity may influence and mold a national industry is presented by Joseph Bailie in his account of the Commercial Press of Shanghai. " Three compositors in the Presbyterian Mission Press, one named Hsia, and two named Ban, took it into their heads in the year 1891 to open a printing place of their own. They began in a little room of about twelve feet by twelve, doing their own work. This was the beginning of the Commercial Press, a firm that now sells about two million dollars' worth of its own printed material every year. The whole is conducted on Christian principles. Day schools are provided for the children of the employees and night schools for the employees them-selves. No philanthropic cause in Shanghai lacks the support of the Commercial Press. Here is Christianity. of the real leavening type.
The Imprint of Christianity upon Industry
"A great many people objected that running a business concern like the Presbyterian Mission Press ought to be left for outsiders, and that the duty of the missionary was to preach the gospel. But the printing business of China has now the stamp of Christianity upon it, and its influence for good is incalculable. Can we not get hold of the other industries by selecting common-sense Christian tanners, hat makers, dyers, spinners, and others, who will come out and live clean, honest lives as missionaries? It is not necessary to preach; the whole life will be a sermon. Can we not get men to go out to begin such industries who are not only excellent, each in his own line, but who will stamp their Christian characters on their employees? If steel plants, spinning mills, weaving factories, tanneries, factories for making hats, and other industrial enterprises were founded by men who felt their responsibilities to live in Christ, we would have the stamp of our Master put not only on the workmen but also on the capitalists."
The shoemakers and printers and bricklayers and machinists of the world need the fellowship of the Carpenter of Nazareth. They must have it. The Christian church must give it to them. We have been in our high pulpit in the cathedral, preaching Christ as the King of kings. We have not had much to say of him as a laboring man. And when "the working classes " began to swarm in the vicinity of our church, we have moved our church up-town. All that must be changed. The great errand of the Christian church throughout the world today is to bear a definite message of hope and help to the world's workers.
The gospel of the cross and the gospel of the plow cannot longer remain two separate gospels. They must become one.
The name of Christ must be stamped on every trowel and chisel, lathe and loom, so that every man who labors shall realize that the tools in his hand are sacred, and the work he is doing divine.