The Contributions Of Missions To Science, Commerce, And Philanthropy -- By: Edward C. Ewing

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 057:226 (Apr 1900)
Article: The Contributions Of Missions To Science, Commerce, And Philanthropy
Author: Edward C. Ewing

The Contributions Of Missions To Science, Commerce, And Philanthropy

Rev. Edward C. Ewing

The material at the disposition of one who undertakes the study of this topic is abundant and constantly increasing. Indeed, it is of proportion so vast that one is embarrassed in making selection of facts and illustrations out of the multitudes that crowd upon him in the attempt to set forth the varied contributions which foreign missions have rendered to the general cause of human civilization and the progress of the world in science, art, literature, commerce, and philanthropy. I content myself with a few samples, or representative specimens, of benefits conferred from this quarter along three or four lines of important service.

First, in the matter of exploration and discovery. The missionary is a pioneer of new lands, and has done much to open them to the tourist, the trader, and the permanent resident. Many a terra incognita has been visited and explored by him in his search for additional tribes of men to whom he might preach the gospel. Geography as a science, and cartography as an art, owe much to the man

who, with the Bible in his hand, a pair of observant eyes in his head, and a well-filled note-book in his pocket, has returned from his wanderings up and down the earth, looking for men, but reporting also mountains and rivers, lakes and plains, and fields for cultivation. Carl Ritter, who has been styled the “Prince of Geographers,” confesses that he could never have written his chief work, “Die Erd-Kunde,” but for the material collected and transmitted by missionaries. And he offers this remarkable testimony:—

The Missionary Herald is the repository to which the reader must look to find the most valuable documents that have ever been sent over by any society, and where a rich store of scientific, historical, and antiquarian details may be seen.”

To the same purport a single sentence may be in place from the pen of Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, himself no mean contributor to the world’s knowledge and prosperity: —

“Hundreds of educated men have given accounts of observations in many lands, describing countries, climates, and modes of travel, nations and races, their physical, mental, and moral characteristics, their social condition and habits, their religion, education, and government, their industries and modes of subsistence, involving a large contribution to our geographical knowledge.”

Missionaries of the gospel, well fitted by the endowments of nature and the special training they have received, have abundantly enriched the world with accurate information in regard to the lands...

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