“It is to be deplored-the brethren having heard the teacher William Burns preach the Word for a few months, their spiritual nature only just born again, not yet having obtained firmness in the faith, that just at this time, in the seventh month, the pastor should be separated from us.
“Day and night our tears flow; and with united heart we pray, earnestly beseeching God graciously to grant that of the disciples of the Lord Jesus a pastor hastily come, and preach to us the Gospel, this food of grace with its savoriness of grace, in order to strengthen the faith of us, little children. Moreover, we pray God to influence the saints of your nation that they may always keep us little children in remembrance. Therefore, on the 28th day of the seventh month (August 21, 1854) the brethren with united heart have prayed earnestly beseeching God that this our general letter may be conveyed to the great Public Society, that you may certainly know these our affairs, and pray God, in behalf of us, that this our request may be granted. Please give our salutation to the brethren.
“The disciples of Jesus at Peh-chui-ia.
“Presented to the Public Society that all the disciples may read it.”
Mr. Talmage concludes a letter speaking of the “times of refreshing” in these words:
“This remarkable work may well fill our hearts with gratitude and encouragement. Heretofore, we have always been obliged to wait a long time before we were permitted to see much fruit of our labor; and we were almost led to the conclusion that such must always be the case, in carrying the Gospel to a heathen people. Now we see that such need not be the course of events. We should preach the Gospel with larger expectations, and in the hope of more immediate fruit. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, can shine into the darkest minds, ’to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus’ on the first announcement of the truth as it is in Jesus. When the proper time comes, and His Church is made ready for the great accession, it will be an easy thing for Him to accomplish the expectation that a nation shall be born at once.”
Missionary work in its initial stage has only to do with first principles.
Given shelter, food, power of utterance in a foreign tongue, a preaching spot, a company of hearers, and you have bounded the horizon for the present.
No sooner, however, is a goodly company of believers gathered, but problems, numerous and weighty, confront the missionary.
How shall the company of believers be organized and governed? Shall it be exactly on the model of the church which the missionary represents? If not, what modifications shall be made? Shall the seedling ten thousand miles away be roped to the mother tree or shall it be encouraged to stand alone? What advantages in independence? What perils? What shall be the status of the foreign missionary before the native church just organizing? What relation shall he sustain to the home church?