Our church ought to send doctors; the amount of fearful disease that flourishes among the poorer people is just frightful. If Joe Carbrook were not so set on going to the Orient, he could do a big work here, and so could a thousand other doctors. It would be so much more than mere doctoring; it would be the biggest kind of preaching.
And the church should send teachers. You know I believe in conversion; but if the Mexicans I have seen are samples of Latin America’s common people, they need teachers who have the patience of Christ a good deal more than they need flaming evangelists who make a big stir and soon pass on. Because these folks have just got to be made over, in their very minds. They are not ready for the preaching of the gospel until they have seen it lived. Long experience has made them doubtful of living saints, though plenty of them pray to dead ones.
This is the whole trouble, Mr. Drury, it seems to me. They’ve known only a church that had got off the track. Any religious work that reaches them now has almost to begin all over again. It has to undo their thinking about prayer and faith and God’s love and human conduct and nearly every other Christian idea. They have a Christian vocabulary, but it means very little. They think they can buy religion, if they want it—any kind they want. And if they can’t afford it, or don’t want it, they don’t quite think they’ll be sent to hell for that, in spite of what the priest says. They think enough to be afraid, but not enough to be sure of anything. The missionaries have to teach them a new set of religious numerals, if you get what I mean, before it is any use to teach them the arithmetic of the gospel.
“I’m beginning to see that everything among the Latin Americans runs back to the need of Christian living. The wrong notion of religion has got them all twisted. I know Delafield is a long way from being Christian, but the difference between Delafield and such a pitiful mud village as I’ve seen lately has more to do with the sort of Christianity each place has been taught than with anything else whatever. But I never thought of that before.”
As Pastor Drury read that letter his heart warmed within him. He said to himself, “John Wesley, Jr., is ‘beginning to see,’ he says. Please God he musn’t stop now until he gets his eyes wide open. The thing is working out. He’s groping around for something, and some day he’ll find it.”
CHRIST AND THE EAST
For a first trip the Southwestern expedition under Fred Finch’s tutelage had been something of an exploit. Finch’s report to Peter McDougall was more than verified by the order sheets, and the observant Peter, keeping track of things during the succeeding weeks, noticed with quiet satisfaction that not a single order Was canceled.
To himself he said, “The lad’s a find, I’m thinking. From Finch’s talk I should say he has not only a natural knack of selling, but he sells for keeps. And that’s the idea, Peter. Anybody can sell if the buyer means to call off the order by the next mail. This John Wesley boy may go far, and I’ll have to tell Albert Drury the next time I see him that he’s done the house of Cummings a real favor.”