The Mohammedan religion has such a strong hold in Arabia that it will not be overcome in one day or by one battle. We must expect a long and hard fight. Before Topsy-turvy Land becomes a Christian land there will be martyrs in Arabia. Every Moslem who accepts Christ does so at his peril, and yet there are those who dare to confess Christ before men. When you read in mission reports of troubles and opposition, of burning up books, imprisoning colporteurs and expelling missionaries you must not think that the gospel is being defeated. It is conquering. What we see under such circumstances is only the dust in the wake of the ploughman. God is turning the world upside down that it may be right side up when Jesus comes. He that plougheth should plough in hope. We may not be able to see a harvest yet in this country but, furrow after furrow, the soil is getting ready for the seed.
Don’t some of you want to come and do a day’s ploughing for the King? There are some splendid stretches of virgin prairie yet untouched between Bahrein and Mecca.
TURNING THE WORLD DOWNSIDE UP
The story of mission work in Arabia is not very long, but it is full of interest. From the day when Mohammed proclaimed himself an apostle in Mecca until about sixteen years ago when Ion Keith Falconer came to Aden as a missionary, all of Topsy-turvy Land lay in darkness as regards the gospel. For thirteen hundred years Mohammed had it all his own way in Arabia. Now his dominion over the hearts of men, is in dispute, and there is no doubt that the final, full victory will rest with Jesus the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.
Would you like to hear something, before we close this book about the missions that are now working in this country? There are three missions. The missionaries of the Church of England began work in Bagdad about the year 1882. Bagdad is not at all a small town. It has a population of one hundred and eighty thousand people, and it was once a very important city. You can read all about its ancient beauty and wealth and commerce in the Arabian Nights. Some of the palaces that Harouner Rashid visited are still standing. In the city there are at present sixty-four mosques, six churches and twenty-two synagogues. One-third of the population are Jews, and there are over five thousand Christians. Most of the latter belong to the Roman Catholic faith, or to other twilight churches. The Roman Catholic cathedral, which you see in the picture, is the only church in all Northern Arabia that has a bell. Moslems do not like to hear church-bells, and they were forbidden by some rulers of the Moslem world long ago. The Protestant Christians meet for worship in a dwelling-house. The Bagdad mission has a large dispensary for the sick where thousands of Moslems and Jews and Christians come every year for treatment. Books are sold to the people, and there is a school for boys and girls which is also helping to turn down old prejudices and turn up the right side of child-life. The Moslem children are beginning to believe that the world is round and that Constantinople is not the capital of all Europe.