SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION.
A review of this program as a whole suggests a few thoughts with which we must close.
The facts of history have assuredly fulfilled the prophetic outline, and yet what a concatenation of improbabilities it presented! Consider! That a Redeemer should arise from a ruined race, capable, though the woman?s seed, of grappling with the mighty foe of God and man; that of the three races of mankind the mightiest should become the meanest and most degraded, and the least conspicuous the most enlarged and influential When Moses recorded the Noahic prediction, the race of Ham was far more prominent than any other; it was, indeed, the only one exercising empire at the time. that an aged and childless couple should become the parents of many nations, and especially of one great and important people; that a fate terrible as that predicted by Moses for Israel should overtake that special nation, through whom the world was to be blessed; that a Jewish king who lived 3, 000 years ago in Palestine should have a Son who should sit on the throne of God in heaven as well as on an earthly throne in Zion, and should be adored by angels and by all nations, though ?a reproach of men and despised of the people?; that this great Heir of the throne of Judah should exercise an everlasting and universal sway, though a suffering and dying man; that Messiah the Prince, whose kingdom was to last for ever, should come at a certain predicted time, and, instead of ruling and reigning, be cut off; and, lastly, that our Lord should be rejected by the Jews, and executed by the Romans, and yet conquer the world, without sword or spear, by the force of truth alone; that He should depart, yet remain with His people to the end of the age; that Christendom should become so corrupt as to oppose Christ, and persecute His people to the death; that Rome pagan, becoming Rome Christian, should prove Rome anti-Christian, and be a far worse foe to Christianity than ever paganism had beenall these things seemed, when announced, paradoxical, so unlikely were they ever to occur. Any one of them was a great improbability, and the entire succession was simply a stupendous improbability! In no single instance could experience of an analogous character have suggested these predictions. Human sagacity could not have foreseen the facts that fulfilled them, nor could imagination have pictured them. Yet none can question that the course of history broadly regarded has run precisely on these lines. Historians, ancient and modern, the inscriptions and monuments of antiquity, the very constitution and customs of the society amid which we live, all attest that facts have fallen out in harmony with the prophetic program. There can be no reasonable doubt entertained as to the dates of these predictions, nor, consequently, that they preceded their own fulfillment by hundreds and sometimes by thousands of years. Whatever date be assigned to the Pentateuch, it certainly preceded the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, which it minutely predicts; and whatever the date of the Book of Daniel, it must have been in circulation centuries before the Christian era, since it appears in the Greek Septuagint version. Yet it predicts the exact chronology of the First Advent era, and the desolations of the temple and of Judea, which should follow the rejection of Messiah. Such announcements of future events cannot, therefore, have been mere fortunate guesses. If any one thinks it possible that they may have been such, let him try whether he can describe in advance, in this year 1888, what will happen in Europe for hundreds and even thousands of years to come; let him insert the precise dates at which certain events will take place, and give the chronological measures of the leading episodes of the future history. The attempt might teach the supernatural nature of the task!
Nor can the long correspondence between prediction and fulfillment which we have indicated have been brought about by chance. The law of probabilities forbids the supposition. Chance might account for a few fulfillments out of many failures, but not for uniform fulfillment without exception. Chance? What! In fulfillments as wide as the world and as broad as humanity, and extending over six millenniums? Impossible Had Daniel?s prophecies been mere guesses at what the order of history would be, is it likely that he should have chanced to hit just the right number of the universal Gentile empiresfour, and only four? Why should he not have guessed six or seven? Why should he not have made the first the strongest, since Babylon in its might and magnificence was actually before his eyes, instead of making the last so? Could he guess at the iron-like strength and universal dominion of Rome at a time when its first mud wall was the only fortification of the little cluster of outlaws? huts on the banks of the Tiber? Common sense revolts at the suggestion! The Tiber and the land through which it flows were alike buried beneath the mists of an undreamed-of futurity in Daniel?s day! Was it by chance that he predicted a tenfold division of Rome?s vast empire? Why did he not make it fivefold or fiftyfold, if he shot at a venture? Why did he foresee a double existence for this last of the four empiresa united and a divided? Why did he not attach this singular feature to Medo-Persia, instead of to Rome? Why did he not attribute the swiftness of the he-goat to the Persians, and the heaviness of the bear and the ram to Alexander the Great? How could he by chance assign his emblems with the perfect appropriateness they actually exhibit? Could he imagine the strange phenomena with which the lapse of time has familiarized our mindsthat the old Roman empire of the sword should pass into the new papal empire of the crozier, and that millions more should submit to the latter than ever submitted to the former rule of Rome? No sane man can suppose that happy imaginations account for this prophet?s brief but accurate outline of the events of twenty-five centuriesan outline in which experience itself can detect no flaw!
In the Bible foreview of the history of 6, 000 years no single instance can be indicated in which events have falsified the Divine program. This is a startling fact, and an unquestionable one. It foretells, of course, much that is still future, much that is not yet fulfilled; but as regards the 6, 000 years that have passed away, its anticipative outline is invariably correct.
Let it be noted, also, that the evidence of Divine inspiration afforded by this prophetic program is strictly cumulative; it grows in strength with each separate fulfillment. Some of these are on a small scale, as the birth of individuals; others on a vast one, as the history of Rome; some are national, others ecclesiastic, and others are political and international. Like all the works of God, they comprise infinite variety. We need both microscope and telescope to study them. They contain minute and astronomically accurate statements of chronology, which it requires some exact erudition to unravel, and they contain announcements so comprehensive that we must glance over all lands and ages to appreciate their truth. Their cumulative testimony is all the more irresistible. From various quarters, and from various epochs, these prophecies bring each its own witness that the mind which inspired it was omniscientDivine.
They are all, moreover, evidently the fruit of one and the same mind, for they unfold one plan. The Bible program is no mass of disconnected and unrelated predictions. There are many petals, but one flower; many cantos, but one grand epic; many chapters, but one book. These prophecies unfold one harmonious scheme for the redemption of the human race; they carry it steadily forward, through patriarchal, Levitical, and gospel economies, to ages to come, when its glorious issue shall be attained. There is no contrariety between one section and another; they form a consecutive seriespatriarchal, national, universal.
The channels varied at different times, but the water that flowed through them was always one and the same. Abraham and Moses were very unlike Peter and Paul, and the worlds in which they respectively moved were most dissimilar. But they all unfolded one revelationthe Lamb slain, and the salvation of our race through Him. Now this is very noteworthy, for, outside the realm of inspiration, nothing similar can be found. Can the entire literature of humanity produce a work wielded into one whole by its own contents, by the unity of purpose that runs through it, by the identity of its successive prophecies, and which was yet written by authors some of whom were con- temporary with the Pharaohs of the pyramids, others with Cyrus and Darius, and others again with Josephus and Caesar? The lapse of ages alters merely human religions and philosophies, as it alters customs, manners, and languages. But the prophetic words of Abraham ?My son, God shall provide Himself a lamb ?find their illustration in the lambs of the Mosaic ritual, their echo in John?s ?Behold, the Lamb of God!? and their distant reverberation in the Apocalyptic ?Worthy is the Lamb that was slain? of the heavenly hosts hereafter. Nor is it only as regards the First Advent that we find this absolute agreement in their anticipations between authors who were separated by long ages one from the other. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, announced the Second Advent to judge and punish the ungodly; Daniel does the same, and the apostles quote and confirm both. Moses foretold the present Jewish dispersion; so did Jesus Himself. Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold Jewish restoration, and so did Paul. Again we say, literature has no parallel case. Compare this with the Avestas of Persia, the Vedas of India, the Koran of Mohammed! ?Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.? This is the only rational explanation.
Note, again, the singular definiteness of this program. How far removed is it from the elastic, hazy, and purposely ambiguous utterances of the oracles of antiquity, which were vague enough to fit any event! Is this the case with Noah?s ethnology? How completely would his predictions have been falsified by history had he assigned Shem?s destiny to Japhet, or vice versa! Is it the case with David? How natural it would have been for him to foretell the glories of his great Son, and to omit His sufferings and humiliationsto dwell on His throne in Zion, and omit His prior Melchizedek reign in heaven! The angularity, order, and exact chronology of Daniel?s predictions again are as far removed from oracular ambiguity as pole from pole! These prophetic foreviews admitted of one fulfillment, and of one only. History must take one certain sharply defined course, or else they would be palpably falsified. There is nothing general or vague even in the earliest Eden section of our program, elementary, brief, and enigmatical as it is. Only one great event could fulfil itthe overthrow of moral evil and its author by a suffering Redeemer born of woman. So as to the apostolic outline. It is not content to predict apostasy in a general way, but it defines beforehand the doctrines of the apostate Church, its geographical. seat and sphere, and its chronological epoch. This alone is a stamp of truth. No false oracle would risk its reputation by such precision. Our program does not grope its way doubtfully along, as a blind man might do. It marches boldly forward, planting its feet firmly on the only stepping-stones amid the rushing waters, as one moving with clear, keen vision and steady tread. Amid ten thousand possibilities it selects one, and says, with unhesitating authority at each juncture, although the event be thousands of years ahead, this is what will happenthis, and nothing else.
Is this the manner of man? or bears it not rather the stamp and seal of Divinity?
The sublime and dignified moral character of these prophecies is another proof of their Divine origin. They are worthy of God. How far are they removed from anything transitory or trivial, worldly or wicked! Do they subserve any objects of earthly ambition? do they foster a selfish greed of gain, or pander to pride and human selfishness? Are they not linked with the promulgation of a holy, just, and good law, and with the proclamation of a gracious gospel? Do they not form an integral part of a great economy, the object of which is avowedly and evidently the moral deliverance of a ruined race, the removal of alienation between the blessed God and His creature man, and the everlasting renovation of the earth and of the human race? The very nature of the plan bespeaks the source whence it emanated! Redemption as revealed in its gradual development is and can be the fruit of eternal power and infinite love alone.
In conclusion, then, if the Bible offers as a pledge of its Divine inspiration a complete program of future history, if it has recorded in advance the events of ages to come, and placed the document containing the record in the possession of mankind; if all the events of the slowly unfolding ages have actually fallen out according to its prophetic foreview; if all that was predicted has happened, and nothing has occurred contrary to its program; then, beyond all question, WE ARE BOUND TO HOLD THE BIBLE TO BE FROM GOD, AND PRACTICALLY TO ACKNOWLEDGE ITS DIVINE AUTHORITY.
If we reject it, we do so at our peril. We cannot but recognize that The Infinite Intelligence which created our finite intelligence has, by an intellectual proof of the most conclusive kind, commended to us His revelation of Himself and His purposes. He has given to these last days the supreme miracle of fulfilled prophecy. We may not say, Had we seen the miracles of Christ, had we been convinced by ocular demonstration of His supernatural wisdom and power, we would have believed. Fulfillments of predictions such as we have indicated are every whit as conclusive evidence of supernatural wisdom and power. They are miracles in the realm of mind, and higher than any miracles in the realm of matter. They are also, by their very nature, the proper miracles of the closing days of dispensations. The lapse of time is essential to them. The predictions of Christ and of Paul were no miracles to those that heard them, but they are the mightiest proofs possible of their Divine inspiration to the generations of the nineteenth century.
Men crave in these days some demonstration from the unseen world. Here is abundance of such evidence I Here is clear proof of an unseen and almighty intelligence presiding over human history, and showing us that He does so by describing beforehand the whole course of its events. What need we any further proof? The order of the visible world is evidence of the invisible to him who reads history in the light of prophecy! He beholds the hand of God in human experience, and watches the development of the Divine plan in the progress of the world. He knows, more- over, what events to expect, for he discerns his own chronological position in the stream of time; and as nine-tenths of the program have already been fulfilled, he doubts not that the remaining tenth will be in its predicted and fast- approaching season. And further, it is clear that if by so many infallible proofs we are convinced that the Bible as a whole is from God, no difficulties as to the mode of its inspiration, no scientific or critical objections, should be suffered to interfere with our hearty and thankful reception of its revelation. If God has spoken, man is responsible to hear, to believe, and to obey. And lastly, may we say, that to study the Christian evidences, whether of this or of any other kind, is merely to examine the foundations of the house. It is well at times to do this. But it is better to enter and abide in the house! It is infinitely better to avail one?s self of its shelter from the stormy blast, to enjoy its rich and spacious accommodation, to dwell in safety and peace under its blessed roof and to gaze on the widespread prospect from its windows. There are evidences of the truth and Divine origin of the Christian faith, blessed be God !evidences enough to satisfy any candid inquirer. But, oh, that faith itself the faith or revelation thus evidenced! What thought can measure its unspeakable preciousness! What tongue can utter, what pen can write, its glorious soul-satisfying, world- transforming nature and effects! Darker than midnight is the problem of existence apart from it, blank as the grave our prospects, whether as individuals or as a race. Man without a revelation from his Maker, like a rudderless and dismasted vessel, driven by mighty winds over raging billows towards a rock-bound coast, drifts helplessly, hopelessly towards destruction. Redeemed man, enlightened by the beamings of the Sun of righteousness, steers steadily and peacefully into the desired haven. The pilot is at the helm, home is in sight, and though the voyage has been dark and dangerous, it is all but over, and its blessed end and eternal issue is the kingdom of righteousness and glory, prepared and promised ?from the foundation of the world.?
THE EAST LONDON INSTITUTE
FOR HOME AND FOREIGN MISSIONS
LONDON CENTER ? HARLEY HOUSE, BOW, E.
COUNTRY BRANCH ? HYULME CLIFF COLLEGE, CURBARD, DERBYSHIRE.
YOUNG WOMEN?S BRANCH ? DORIC LODGE, BOW, LONDON, E.
Hon. General Director:
Rev. H. Grattan Guinness, F.R.G.S.
Hon. London Director:
H. Grattan Guinness, M. R. C. S.
Mrs. H. Grattan Guinness.
Sir Arthur Blackwood, K.C.B.
London and South Western Bank (Bow Branch).
Theodore Howard, Esq., Westleigh, Bickley, Kent.
Capt. The Hon. R. Moreton, Le mars, Iowa, U.S.A.
Rev. J. Stephens, M.A., Somerset Villa, Dartmouth Park Hill, N.
Sir Arthur Blackwood, K.C.B., Shortlands House, Shortlands, Kent
Rev. Archibald G. Brown, London
W.T. Berger, Esq., Cannes.
Rev. Henry E. Brooke, Bromley, Kent.
W. Carruthers, Esq., F.R.S.
Rev. Dr. Culross, Bristol.
Rev. Thain Davidson, London.
Charles Finlay, Esq.
Philip H. Gosse, Esq., F.R.S., Torquay.
Rev. S. Hebditch, Sidney
Theodore Howard, Esq., London
Rev. David Lowe, Glasgow
Donald Matheson, Esq.
Captain the Hon. R. Moreton.
R. C. Morgan, Esq., Editor of "The Christian"
The Right Hon. Lord Polwarth.
Robert Paton, Esq., London
Rev. Sinclair Patterson, M.D., London
Rev. C.H. Spurgeon.
Rev. J. Hudson Taylor, China
Rev. H. M. Williamson, Belfast
FIFTEEN years ago, under a strong sense of the claims of the heathen on the Christian Church, we were led to found the EAST LONDON INSTITUTE FOR HOME AND FOREIGN MISSIONS, with a view to the training of earnest and able Christian young men as Missionaries.
Our reasons for making this effort were ?
1. THE UTTER INADEQUACY OF THE EXISTING STAFF OF MISSIONARIES. According to Mr. Keith Johnston?s latest estimates, the world?s population is now over 1,400 millions. Of this vast number, less than 400 million are ? even in name ? Christians. The remainder, of over a thousand millions, are non-Christians, and for the most part heathen. Amongh this almost inconceivable mass, Protestant Missionaries are laboring to spread the gospel, but only in proportion as one to four hundred thousand souls, so that practically, 800 millions of our fellow creatures may be said to be totally unevangelized.
2. THE CONVICTION WE ENTERTAINED THAT TO MEET THIS IMMENSE DEMAND FOR MISSIONARIES, THERE EXISTS AN AMPLE SUPPLY, IF ONLY IT COULD BE UTILIZED. There are numbers of Christian young men in the various sections of the Church well adapted for missionary work, and really anxious to devote their lives to it, who are never likely to do so unless they are helped to secure, first, a suitable training for the mission field; and secondly, an introduction into it.
We felt, that in order to do useful missionary work among the countless tribes of Central Africa, or the teeming millions of the laboring classes in china, not highly educated scholars only were needed; that plain, practical men, if endued with faith, love, zeal, and common sense, might with suitable training, become exceedingly useful Missionaries in such spheres; and that the sending forth of such men might help to solve the difficult problem, how to support an adequate missionary staff, by proving that in some spheres, at any rate, missionaries may be sustained at comparatively small cost, while in others they may become, to a certain extent, self-supporting.
3. THE CONVICTION WHICH WE ALSO ENTERTAINED, THAT BEFORE MEN ARE SENT FORTH TO DO MISSIONARY WORK AMONG THE HEATHEN, ABILITY FOR IT SHOULD BE PRACTICALLY TESTED, AND, WHEN FOUND TO EXIST, DEVELOPED BY PRACTICE IN MISSIONARY WORK AT HOME. Unless a man be a successful soul-winner in his native land, he is not likely to become such in China or in Africa; while cumberers of the ground are more to be dreaded in the mission-field (where their true character and work can be little observed) than at home. Hence it was considered that the special training given to candidates for foreign missions should consist partly of practice in home missions. The preparation for all ordinary work consists in the actual doing of it, not merely in gaining a theoretical knowledge of how it ought to be done. There seems to be no good reason why mission work should be an exception to the rule.
The East of London, with its mass of a million of the working classes, multitudes of whom have, as is well known, lapsed into practical heathenism, was consequently selected as a suitable locality for A TRAINING HOME FOR MISSIONARY VOLUNTEERS.
THE INSTITUTE WAS OPENED IN MARCH 1873. IT IS BROADLY CATHOLIC IN ITS PRINCIPLES; it trains men of all evangelical denominations, of all nationalities, and of all classes; and it trains them for all societies, all lands, and all spheres of Christian effort. It is as comprehensive as it is possible to be, within the limits of evangelical truth.
The students have been of various nationalities; not only English, Scotch, Irish, and American, but French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Bulgarian, Syrian, Egyptian, Kaffir, Negro, Hindoo, Parsee, Koordish, and Jewish: and they have been of various denominations. Those of them who have gone forth as missionaries are now connected with about twenty different societies and associations.
MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED MISSIONARIES ? former students in the Institute ? are now laboring in England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, and Russia; Norway, China, Japan, India, Syria, and Turkey; North, South, East, and West Africa, and the Cape Verde Islands, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Jamaica, the Argentine Republic, Australia, and New Zealand. The object of the Institute is especially to send evangelists to "the Regions Beyond" those already evangelized.
The present branches, and operations of the Institute, are as follows ?
1. A CENTRAL COLLEGE AND TRAINING HOME ? HARLEY HOUSE, BOW, E., ? where forty men of proved Christian character, volunteers for Foreign Mission Service, receive a course of special instruction and practical preparation for the important and arduous work to which they aspire, either as General or Medical Missionaries.
2. A SIMILAR COLLEGE AND TRAINING HOME IN DERBYSHIRE ? HULME CLIFFE COLLEGE, CURBAR ? where, in addition to the usual educational and evangelistic training, a knowledge of practical agriculture and other useful arts is imparted in connection with the farms attached to it. This College likewise accommodates forty men.
3. A FEMALE BRANCH ? DORIC LODGE, BOW ROAD ? where there are trained young women looking forward to service in the Foreign Mission field.
4. BERGER HALL, BROMLEY ? a center of the Home Mission work, in connection with which the students receive practical training. Large Sunday and night schools, mother?s meetings, temperance meetings, and the preaching of the Gospel, are constantly carried on here and elsewhere in East London.
5. HOME MISSIONS are carried on, as a part of their training, by the students of the Institute, in very many other missions and evangelistic efforts both in town and country.
6. FOUR HUNDRED FACTORY GIRLS, and as many rough lads, are reached regularly every night, through evening classes in Berger and Harley Halls (the latter also belonging to the Institute), by the Deaconesses and Students. And as a result of the Home Mission work in East London, three large and flourishing Churches have grown up in Stratford, Hackney, and South Bromley.
7. SEVERAL HUNDRED CHILDREN are taught in the Sunday Schools belonging to and sustained by the Institute in East London.
8. A PASSAGE AND OUTFIL ASSOCIATION connected with the Institute has defrayed the cost of sending out Missionaries ? a large number of young evangelists to the colonies, as well as of Missionaies to the heathen.
IT WAS FORESEEN THAT IN ORDER TO MEET THE NECESSITIES OF THE CASE, THE COURSE OF TRAINING WOULD HAVE TO BE GIVEN GRATUITOUSLY, as most of the applicants for admission would be unable to defray their own expenses, since their entering the Institute would necessitate their relinquishing the employments by which they had previously supported themselves. Such has proved to be the case with ninety-nine out of every hundred of the students who have been received. The Institute consequently involves a considerable expenditure, the ordinary expense being at the rate of about ú50 a year for each of the students in training, and a considerable sum besides being expended in the maintenance of home mission work.
The Institute is conducted in faith in God, and is wholly dependent on the free will offerings of Christian friends of all denominations.
THE BIBLICAL INSTRUCTION is designed to give a clear grasp of the fundamental truths and evidences of Christianity. In addition to the ordinary routine of an English education, the students are instructed in the Greek of the New Testament, in scientific knowledge, and, when needful, in modern languages. Those of them who are preparing to become medical missionaries attend the School of Medicine at the London Hospital.
Young men desirous of devoting their lives to Foreign Missions are invited to write to the Directors.
Full particulars as to the principles and operations of the Institute can be obtained on application to the Secretary,
HARLEY HOUSE, BOW, LONDON, E.
An Illustrated Periodical, entitled ?
"THE REGIONS BEYON,"
is the Organ of the Institute, and is issued monthly.
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