A Western Scholar’s Reasons For Coming To China -- By: J. B. Remensnyder

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 060:238 (Apr 1903)
Article: A Western Scholar’s Reasons For Coming To China
Author: J. B. Remensnyder


A Western Scholar’s Reasons For Coming To China

J. B. Remensnyder

New York City

[The writer of the following tract, Divie Bethune McCartee, M. D.,was born at Philadelphia, January 13, 1820, and died at San Francisco, July 17, 1900. His mother’s brother was the Rev. George Bethune, D.D., of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, a man of “broad culture, rare eloquence, and a noble and winning personality. He was famous for his edition of Walton’s ‘Angler.’ “

Dr. McCartee was for fifty-six years (1843–99) a missionary, dividing his time nearly equally between China and Japan. He was very active in evangelistic as well as medical work, and wrote or translated no less than thirty-four books and tracts. Of his tracts, two notably have been long and widely useful, both in China and Japan (the first also in Corea), viz. “An Easy Introduction to Christianity,” and the “Western Scholar’s Reasons for Coming to China.” The output of these two tracts up to the present time, will probably reach four hundred thousand copies. They are written in an easy classical style, the very best for the widest circulation, high enough to be acceptable to the learned, and yet low enough to be easily understood by persons of limited education.

These tracts follow so naturally in the lines of Chinese thought, the spirit breathing through them is so sweet and reasonable—the polemic temper being entirely wanting—as to disarm criticism and win assent. The writer has gone to his home above the stars, but the tracts are still carrying their message of love, from beyond the Great Wall, on the north, to Canton, on the south, and far into the interior. I have distributed them for thirty-seven years, and presume they may live on through the century.

Dr. McCartee early perceived the importance of tract-making and tract-distributing. In this work he followed closely in the steps of his grandfather, Mr. Divie Bethune, a New York merchant, who “printed ten thousand tracts at his own expense, kept some in a store for sale, gave them to ministers for distribution, and rarely traveled without them,” and all before the great Tract Societies of America were born.

The life of Dr. McCartee, whose labors went back so near to the beginning of missionary work in China, and who did most important service, as physician, evangelist, and diplomatist, was one of great interest, and we are glad to learn that his Memoir is soon to be published.

The book is written in part by himself, after earnest solicitation, and edited with painstaking care and love by his nephew, who was himself born in China of missionary parents, and is peculiarly fitted for the tas...

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