Reflections of a Pioneer Missionary by William R.S. Miller

Reflections of a Pioneer Missionary by W.R.S. MillerWilliam Miller [1872-1952] was a Church Missionary Society Missionary to the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. He spent 50 years working in that country and assisted in the translation of the Bible into the Hausa language. My thanks to the Church Missionary Society for their kind permission to place this book on-line.

W.R.S. Miller [1872-1952], Reflections of a Pioneer. London: Church Missionary Society, 1936. Hbk. pp.227. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

A bibliography of other works by and about William Miller is now also available.


  1. Introductory
  2. The Team and Their Preparation
  3. The Situation in 1900
  4. Slavery in Northern Nigeria
  5. Seeking a Foothold
  6. Hausa, Fulani, and Pagan
  7. The System of Indirect Rule
  8. The Beginnings of the Misison at Zaria
  9. Mission and Government at Zaria
  10. The Story of an Experiment
  11. Aliyu: Prince, Emir, and Exile
  12. Building for the Future
  13. Marriage Customs and Problems
  14. Moral Standards
  15. Racial Relationships
  16. Language and Literature
  17. Conclusion



Dr. Miller has asked me to write a foreword to this book, and I do so with very real pleasure.

To those who have lived and worked for any length of time in Northern Nigeria, as missionary or government official, no introduction of its author is necessary. Indeed, his name will long be remembered by Africans and Europeans alike.

By some he may be remembered chiefly as a great linguist. He says that he conceived it to be his duty to learn to speak Rausa so that some day he should not be detected, when speaking in the dark, by a native of the country. He was commonly reputed to have achieved that standard of proficiency in Hausa-speaking, and he is probably the only European of whom it could ever truly have been said. Others may have had as great or even greater knowledge of the language from a philological standpoint, but he, to an extent achieved by no other European, had the power to express his thoughts in the Rausa manner, to clothe them with the appropriate words and phrases, using just the right tone and faultless pronunciation. [Continue reading]

The Story of Clifford Harris of Persia [1904-1930]

Ronald West Howard [1887-1960], A Merry Mountainer. The Story of Clifford Harris of PersiaThis little book tells the story of the work of Clifford Harris [1904-1930] in Persia, modern day Iran. It is reproduced by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.

Ronald West Howard [1887-1960], A Merry Mountainer. The Story of Clifford Harris of Persia. London: Church Missionary Society, 1931. Pbk. pp.93. [Click to download in PDF]

Early Days

On a beautiful stretch of Sussex upland, two miles from the town of Horsham, stand the stately buildings of Christ’s Hospital -the ancient school for boys in the new setting to which it was moved from London early in the twentieth century.

Here, on October 24, 1904, Clifford Harris was born; and some account must be given of his early days and of the family life that was to mean so much to him.

He was the youngest of the three children of the Rev. George Harris, a master at the school. Himself of Irish ancestry, the father always made friends by his quick sense of humour and ready fund of enthusiasm. These gifts his youngest son inherited to the full. His mother was a cousin of that famous medical missionary, Dr. Theodore Pennell, who spent his adventurous life of service among the frontier folk of the North-West Frontier Province of India. Something of his mantle was destined
to fall upon his young kinsman.

From his earliest days Clifford, with his brother and sister, knew the happiness of an undivided family life. His sister Ruth, a year older than himself, was his constant companion throughout all his childhood and his best friend in youth. When apart, they wrote regularly to each other every week. Jordan, the elder brother, always exercised a strong inspiration and influence for good over the younger brother. All through Clifford’s career this happy, undivided family life strengthened and moulded his character and service. Those who had most to do with him as a small boy found him delightfully unselfish ; this, and his natural gaiety of spirit endeared him to all who knew him. But he was wholesomely mischievous, too. A governess who had the early management of him-and found the task none too easy-tells how, on the death of her own father, Clifford showed his practical sympathy by saying : ” I am so very sorry your father has died ; and I really will try to behave better now.” Some days afterwards, however, the strain proving heavy, he warned her: “I don’t think I can keep it up much longer “! [Continue reading]

Letters of Archbishop William Ridley, Missionary to Canada

Archbishop William Ridley (22 July 1836 – 25 May 1911)Archbishop William Ridley [22 July 1836 – 25 May 1911] was a missionary to British Columbia in Canada. This collection of his letters appears by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society. Wikipedia gives a brief summary of his life and work. The file size of this PDF is larger than usual because the book contains numerous images which I wanted to include in greyscale.

Alice J. Janvrin, ed., Snapshots From The North Pacific. Letters Written by the Right Rev. Bishop Ridley (late of Caledonia). London: Church Missionary Society, 1904. Hbk. pp.192. [Click to download in PDF]


  1. Introductory
  2. A Summer’s Journey and a Winter’s Campaign
  3. Storms Fulfilling His Word
  4. A Cry and a Response
  5. In Journeyings Often
  6. A Triumph Song
  7. New Work and Old
  8. Peril by Water
  9. Visitation Work
  10. Regions Beyond
  11. An Abundant Entrance
  12. A Memorial Mission
  13. Enlarged Opportunities
  14. First·Fruits From The Stikine River
  15. More Perils in the Sea

Chapter 1: Introductory

The following letters are not in any sense a continuous history of the British Columbia (formerly known as the North Pacific) Mission. Rather, they are snapshots taken at varying intervals, and developed by a skilful hand, so bringing out details of scenery and work with a vividness that is sometimes almost startling. The prevailing thought in the mind of the reader will probably be, that beautiful as are the rushing streams, the gloomy forests, the snow-clad mountains of British Columbia, far more beautiful to the Indians are the feet of those who have taken good tidings and published peace to them. The wilderness and the solitary place have indeed been glad for them, and the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as the rose.

Fifty years ago no attempt had yet been made to reach the Zimshian Indians and other tribes on the north-west coast of the great continent of North America-now Christianity is the rule and Paganism the exception. Neat villages, with their churches, schools, and well-ordered homes, testify to the power of the grace of God to civilize as well as to Christianize. Medicine men have laid down their charms and submitted to the Cross of Christ, and hymns of praise resound where once were heard the fearful sounds of the heathen potlach[Continue reading].

Samuel Callis [1870-1897], Missionary to Uganda

Richard Deare Pierpont [1838-1929], In Uganda For Christ.Uganda still ranks #4 in the Theology on the Web Group Poll, so here is a biography of another missionary to that country – Samuel Callis. My thanks to the Church Missionary Society for their permission to reproduce it here.

Richard Deare Pierpont [1838-1929], In Uganda For Christ. The Life Story of the Rev. John Samuel Callis B.A., of the Church Missionary Society. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1898. Hbk. pp.196. [Click to download in PDF]


  1. Childhood and Early Years
  2. College Life and Preparation for the Ministry
  3. Three Years’ Ministry at All Saints’, Plumstead
  4. The Missionary Call and Dismissal to the Field
  5. The Voyage to Africa and Stay in Frere Town
  6. The Journey to the Front
  7. Arrival in Uganda and Departure for Toro
  8. Journey to Toro
  9. At Work in Toro
  10. The Early Home Call


I have been honoured by the invitation to prefix a few words to the brief story of a young Missionary. I do so with thankfulness and hope, believing that the simple narrative both illustrates a gracious fact and sets forth a wholesome example. In my acquaintance with those who have received the Missionary call, I have been struck by the number who come of a godly seed. The old taunt that the children of pious parents turn out ill, is only based on exceptions which secure prominence by their rarity. On the other hand, as it should be, the instincts created by the Spirit through the influences of a holy home are the commonest causes for Missionary ambition. While there is no such thing as hereditary grace, there is a power in parental prayers, and a holy family history which, without the smallest human suggestion, nay, sometimes in most unlikely ways, prepares the soul for God’s leadings into the Missionary life. [Continue reading]

Robert Moffat One of God’s Gardeners

Edwin W. Smith [1876-1957], Robert Moffat: One of God's GardenersRobert Moffat [1795-1883] was a Scottish Pioneer missionary in South Africa. Edwin Smith’s biography on one the standard biographies, which I am able to upload thanks to the kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.

Edwin W. Smith [1876-1957], Robert Moffat: One of God’s Gardeners. London: Church Missionary Society, 1925. Hbk. pp.251. [Click to download in PDF]


Author’s Preface

  1. Early Life
  2. South Africa a Century Ago
  3. The Bushmen and the Hottentots
  4. A Severe Test
  5. Builders of Hope
  6. The Bechuana
  7. Wars and Rumours of Wars
  8. Kuruman
  9. Journeyings Oft
  10. The Translator
  11. Kuruman Again
  12. A Troublous Time
  13. The Crowning Act
  14. Pioneering at Sixty-Five
  15. The Final Years

Map – South Africa in Robert Moffat’s Day

Author’s Preface

MY object throughout this volume has been to place Moffat in the historical and ethnological setting of South Africa-a country that has changed so much during the last hundred years that it is difficult for the present generation to realize the conditions under which he worked. For the facts of Moffat’s life I have relied chiefly upon his own book, Missionary Labours and Scenes in South Africa (published in 1842), and the biography by his son, the late Rev. J. S. Moffat. Much information has been gathered from the works of the early travellers, some of which are named in footnotes, I would express my gratitude to the London Missionary Society, which gracefully placed its records at my disposal ; and to the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society who allow me to use letters which have never before (so far as I am aware) been printed. My best thanks are also due to the Rev. J. Tom Brown, late of Kuruman, who most generously allowed me to read, and make use of, his manuscript on the history and customs of the Bechuana, which I hope will before long be published. My own experiences as a pioneer missionary in South Central Africa, and a visit I made to Kuruman in 1912, have helped me considerably in appreciating Moffat’s work. [Click to continue reading]

History of Moravian Missions

J.E. Hutton [1838-1937], A History of Moravian MissionsThe Moravian Mission began with a visitation of the Holy Spirit on August 13th 1727. It sparked a 24/7 prayer meeting that lasted or a hundred years and was responsible for sending more that half of the Protestant overseas missionary of the eighteenth century. As no study of missions could be complete without a reference to Count Zinzendorf and the fellowship at Herrnhut (the “Lord Watch”) I am very pleased to be able to upload the official Moravian account of its history.

J.E. Hutton [1838-1937], A History of Moravian Missions. London: Moravian Publication Office, n.d. Hbk. pp.550. [Click to download in PDF]

This book is in the public domain.

Book I. The Eighteenth Century Pioneers, 1700-1800

  1. The Dreamer, 1700-81
  2. The Voice in the Night, 1781-2
  3. The Danish West Indies, 1786-82
  4. The British West Indies, 1754-1800
  5. Greenland, 1788-74
  6. The North American Indians, 1784-1808
  7. The South American Indians, 1785-1808
  8. The Bush Negroes of Surinam, 1765-1818
  9. South Africa: The Hottentots, 1786-44
  10. Labrador, 1752-1804
  11. The Jews, 1788-42
  12. The Flying Scouts, 1784-1822
  13. Zinzendorf as Missionary Leader, 1781-60
  14. The Count’s Successors, 1760-1800

Book II. The Builders, 1800-1914

  1. Jamaica; or West Indies; Western Province, 1805-1914
  2. The West Indies; Eastern Province, 1800-1914
  3. Greenland, 1800-1900
  4. The North American Indians, 1808-1901
  5. Surinam, 1800-1914
  6. South Africa, West; or the Hottentots, 1792-1914
  7. South Africa, East; Or the Kaffirs, 1818-1914
  8. Labrador, 1804-1914

Book III. The Modern Advance, 1848-1914

  1. Nicaragua, 1849·1914
  2. Victoria, 1849-1905
  3. Western Tibet, 1853-1914
  4. The Leper Home at Jerusalem, 1867-1914
  5. Demerara, 1878-1914.
  6. Alaska, 1885-1914
  7. California, 1889·1914
  8. North Queensland, 1891-1914
  9. East Central Africa: Nyassa, 1891-1914
  10. East Central Africa: Unyamwezi, 1898-1914

Book IV. Methods, Measures and Ideals

  1. The System of Government
  2. The Work of the Synods, 1760-1909
  3. The Synod of 1914; Or, Moravian Missionary Ideals Epilogue: By Bishop Arthur Ward



Eclipse in Ethiopia and its Corona Glory

Esmé Ritchie Rice, ed., Eclipse in Ethiopia and its Corona Glory, 2nd ednAccording to the publisher’s summary on the inside front cover, this book…

Tells of the experiences of missionaries of the Sudan Interior Mission during the Italo-Ethiopian war, and is a record of miraculous protection and provision. When war broke out the Society had fifteen stations staffed by seventy-five missionaries, and they all refused to abandon the people in their hour of need.

They offered submission and their services to the new Government, hoping that they would be able to continue under the Italian flag, but disillusionment soon followed, and events made it impossible for the missionaries to continue to respect the Italian Government. Italy is now squeezing out the last of the missionaries. The closing chapter contains moving stories of the native converts left to carry on a Christian witness whilst the missionaries seek other spheres of labour on the outskirts of Ethiopia.

I was able to trace the copyright holder of this book, thanks to the assistance of Tim Allen of Serving in Mission (SIM UK). My thanks to Edward Uren for his kind permission to upload this title, which covers a rarely discussed period in the history of the church in Ethiopia.

Esmé Ritchie Rice, ed., Eclipse in Ethiopia and its Corona Glory, 2nd edn. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Ltd., 1938. Pbk. pp.125. {Click to download in PDF]


  1. First Dawnings
  2. Gleams in the North
  3. War Clouds
  4. The Lighthouse of Lalibella
  5. The Men of the Lamp
  6. Preservation Amidst Destruction
  7. The Way Of Escape
  8. The Shadow of Death
  9. The Evacuation of Gamo
  10. Homeless Wanderers
  11. Inexhaustible Supplies
  12. The Shutters of Rome
  13. Lightbearers of the Future


The greater part of this book tells of the experiences of our missionaries during the ltalo-Ethiopian war, and is a record of miraculous protection and provision.

As we write these lines, Italy is squeezing out the last of our missionaries from Ethiopia, and we should be unfaithful if we did not give testimony as ministers of righteousness as well as of the Gospel.

During the seven years that our Mission was operating under the regime of Ras Tafari as Regent, and later as the Emperor Haile Selassie, we had every reason to believe that he was sympathetic to all efforts made for the social and spiritual enlightenment of his people. When the Mission proposed to establish a Leprosarium, His Majesty not only gave a beautiful site of five hundred acres just outside the capital, but contributed a substantial sum of money, laid the foundation stone, and was present later at the official opening. [Click to continue reading]

A New Era for India’s Outcastes

W.S. Hunt, India's Outcastes: A New EraThe Outcastes, or Dalits as they are now known, are excluded from the Hindu caste system. The terms “Untouchable” and “Scheduled Castes”  refer to the same people group. This book describes the work of God among the Dalits that has swept thousands of them into the Kingdom of God.

W.S. Hunt, India’s Outcastes: A New Era. London: Church Missionary Society, 1924. Pbk. pp.113. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

Reproduced by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.


1 – Mass Movements
2 – The Untouchables
3 – How They Look, Live, Work, and Worship
4 – What Kind of Christians are They?
5 – The Pin of the Wheel
6 – The New Era

Appendix. “Mass Movements” in the Middle Ages.


This book is concerned with one aspect of the coming of the Kingdom of God in India-namely, that presented by the mass movements among the outcastes. The poor have had the Gospel preached to them, and are now “besieging” the Kingdom. While Christ is known and admired, reverenced and loved by many among India’s intelligentsia, it is still the “babes ” who are flocking into His Church. This book is an attempt to sketch the beginning of the reign of God in these Indian souls.

The only excuse for such a book, when we have in “The Outcastes’ Hope ” one that has become a classic on the subject, is that thirteen years have passed since that book was written, and new developments have arisen in connexion with mass movements. These are noted in the following pages. But it has seemed good to go over part of the ground covered in the earlier book, as probably this book will come into the hands of some who have not studied the other.

This book has been written (by request) by a missionary of the Church Missionary Society in Travancore, and for that reason the mass movement in that part of India will seem to many to loom unduly large in it; most of the illustrations have, indeed, been taken from that region and from personal observation. But it will be found that reference (not indeed adequate) is made from time to time to the other areas in which mass movements are taking place. The book does not pretend to be more than a sketch-many points are untouched or merely glanced at. Such as it is, it is sent forth in the hope, and with the prayer, that it may be used to stimulate interest in these movements wherever they occur throughout India, and that it may deepen the conviction that they are in truth works of the Holy Spirit. [Continue reading]

Missionary Training Book on India from 1909

Surendra Kumar Datta, The Desire of IndiaThis book was written as a text book to provide information on the state of mission work in India. As such it provides an useful historical summary of the growth of the church in that country prior to World War I.

The PDF is larger than usual because the book contains some superb greyscale photographs and a colour map which I wanted to make available in a high-quality format.

Surendra Kumar Datta, The Desire of India. London: Church Missionary Society, 1909. Hbk. pp.320.  [Download complete book in PDF]

Reproduced by kind permission of the Church Missionary Society.


Editorial Note
Author’s Preface
Note on Pronunciation

1 – The Land and its Inhabitants
2 – The Life of the People
3 – India’s Search
4 – India’s Invaders
5 – Christianity in India
6 – Problems and Methods
7 – The Indian Church
8 – The Need of India

Chart of Indian History

The Desire Of India

Chapter I

The Land and Its Inhabitants

For centuries Western nations have looked The Wealth of upon India as a land of marvellous wealth, India and the splendours of her kings have seemed beyond the power of imagination. It was the story of India’s wealth that sent Columbus · in quest of the Western route when he discovered America. It was this story that excited the cupidity of Europe, and led to the establishment of British rule in India. Closer investigation has revealed how disappointing have been these dreams of riches. India’s material resources do not approach those of China, and it is questionable whether her people have the capacity to develop them with the vigour and energy of the European and Mongolian races. India’s wealth lies in her people. Their spiritual genius and their religious instincts are her best and most precious treasure. Her greatest sons have ever been possessed with a passion to know the Real and the Infinite, and have pursued it with earnestness of purpose. Their children have entered into a heritage of spiritual capacities and ideals, the development of which may mean the enriching of the world. [Continue reading]

Mary Slessor by Cuthbert McEvoy

Mary Mitchell Slessor [1848-1915]Mary Slessor was recently featured in an on-line list of  six inspiring Christian missionaries, so I thought I would take a brief break from uploading CMS books to include this slim volume:

Cuthbert McEvoy [1870-1944], Mary Slessor, 6th edn. London: The Carey Press, n.d. Pbk. pp.63. Click to download complete book in PDF.

Mary Slessor served in the city of Calabar, which is in Nigeria. This material is in the Public Domain.


1 – Early Life and Trials
2 – “Send Me”
3 – On the Field
4 – Maryu Slessor at Work
5 – A Mysterious Check and a Perilous Enterprise
6 – The Great Achievement
7 – Spade-Work and Honour
8 – Personal Characteristics and Closing Scenes

Chapter I

Early Life and Trials

Mary Mitchell Slessor, the factory girl who became the most remarkable woman missionary of her age, was born on December 2nd, 1848, in Aberdeen. Amid the shadows of a home darkened by intemperance and poverty, Mary, the second of seven children, found guidance in the example of a saintly mother, who, with rare courage and patience, kept the light of faith shining above the dreary sorrow of her lot.

In these facts may be found a clue to the secret of Mary Slessor’s extraordinary career. The land of her birth was the native land of great missionary leaders such as Duff, Moffat, Mackay and Livingstone. The example of intemperance that darkened the days of her childhood explains why it was that her gentle nature flamed into a stem indignation that more than once cowed the drunken loafers of Okoyong. Her noble mother set the compass of her daughter’s devoted life. Her duties as elder sister trained her to be the mother of her people; and the struggle with poverty made her the stateswoman and economist she afterwards became. But in the fact that her spirit was the victor, and not the victim, of the unfavourable elements of her environment; that instead of succumbing, as so many in her position might have done, she soared-in this we can only acknowledge, as she herself would have acknowledged, the gift of the grace of God. [Continue reading]