China Past and Present

My wife Michelle and I have decided to digitise a number of Sunday magazines from the Victorian Era, starting with the Sunday at Home. This was published by the Religious Tract Society in London from the 1850s to the 1920s and contains a wealth of interesting material. Amongst the most interesting are the various missions reports from around the world.

This series of four articles document missions work in China up to 1889.

Rev. John Ross, “China Past and Present,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1815 (Feb. 9th 1889): 86-88. [Click here to download in PDF]

Rev. John Ross, “China: Past and Present, Part II,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1816 (Feb. 16th 1889): 108-109. [Click here to download in PDF]

John Ross, “China: Past and Present. Education,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1824 (April 13th 1889): 236-237. [Click here to download in PDF]

John Ross, “China: Past and Present. Religion,” Sunday at Home 36 No. 1831 (June 1st 1889): 346-348. [Click here to download in PDF]

 China Past and Present

If the changes introduced into the polity, education and manners of the Chinese are less startling and revolutionary than we have seen in the neighbouring kingdom of Japan, they are none the less real or potent, nor will their issues in the future be less far-reaching. The cautious conservatism which forms so large an element in the national character of the Chinese makes it impossible for them to adopt important changes into their political and social life with the facility so characteristic of their light-hearted neighbours. In studying their ancient books, reading the story of the inter¬course of Europeans during the past few centuries and observing the Chinese of the present day, one is particularly struck with the little difference observable in the people, mentally, socially or physically. Even the great upheaval consequent

on the introduction and spread of Buddhism, like their changes of dynasty, was but the sudden rising of a great wave subsiding quickly, leaving everything at its formal level, rather than an earthquake shock pushing up rocks into permanent heights.

From what part of the west the original Chinese migrated, and how they established themselves on the banks of the Yellow River, where the foundations were laid of the present empire with its customs and manners, must ever remain a mystery. But that they attained to a high degree of civilisation at a period when every other existing nationality was still in the grossest barbarism is matter of history. From the earliest recorded times they were surrounded by people and nations who were their mental and social inferiors. How far their settled agricultural life will account for their superiority over houseless nomads is a subject of interest, though hot now demanding investigation. The fact remains that up to and long after the time of Confucius, the Chinese came, whether in peace or war, into contact with peoples from whom they were never able to learn anything valuable, and to whom they always taught whatever amount of civilisation these were capable of adopting. The Chinese did not in those very ancient times know anything of Europe, but had they been brought into familiar contact with European peoples they would have encountered, beyond the borders of little Greece, only savages like their own neighbours.

Click here to continue reading.

Changing Lives and Communities for Christ – Victorian Style.

Changing Lives and Communities for Christ – Victorian Style. 1

From: “Far and Near: Notes of the Month,” Sunday At Home 1902-1903, pages 137-138

Casting Out Devils In Birmingham

Changing Lives and Communities for Christ – Victorian Style. 2
[p.137] ST. LAURENCE PARISH, Birmingham, is not an attractive spot; a death-rate of forty per thousand, and a reputation for ruffianism and rowdyism, have given it a character unenviable. It is here that policemen go two and two on their beats, that the vans from the fever hospitals and the workhouse infirmary are constantly flitting to and fro. Deaths from starvation, back to back houses without thorough ventilation. Courts congested and over-crowded are features of the area, and yet it was to this place that the Rev. T. J. Bass felt he had a call, from the delightful suburban vicarage of Penn Fields, near Wolverhampton.
He lives in the midst of his parish in a disused coffee house, the surroundings of which are of the most unsavoury kind. The light of heaven is blackened by the smoke which curls aloft in thick clouds; the air is vitiated with the odours of a gas works and a mephetic canal, whilst breathing is difficult at times because of the throttling vapours of an acid works.
The people earn their living by precarious methods. Some of the people have been described as “hawkers, labourers, rag and bone collectors, wood choppers, pigeon flyers, dog racers, prize fighters and gamblers, convicts and loafers.” There are, however, not a few respectable people who have come down in the world and are in extreme poverty. Waste paper sorters, meat tin collectors, button stitchers, card-box makers, hawkers of fish and salt, orange sellers, paper fire ornament makers, sand-stone sellers, and persons of other occupations.
Women who live by button sewing find their own cotton, and sew twenty gross, 2,880 buttons, on a card, do eight hours’ work, and get from 8d. [8 pence] to 1s. [12 pence]
The rate of payment for those who stitch hooks and eyes on cards is 9d. a pack: one pack consists of twenty-four gross; a reel of cotton is provided, but l 1/4d. deducted for the same; the cards have to go three times through the workers’ hands-first, stitch on hooks, second, link hooks to eyes, third, stitch on eyes. Clever workers can earn 2s. 6d. per week.
Salt Sellers.- Rate of payment, 2d. a lump off a canal barge. Each lump cuts into four pieces, and is sold at 1d. per piece. Very many are engaged in this occupation, and if three lumps are sold in a day, a man thinks he has done well.
Box Making.- The people have to find their own glue, make 144 boxes, and glue 144 labels on the box; rate of remuneration, 4d. to 1s. 6d., according to size.
Waste Paper Sorters.- Rate of payment,  2s. per cwt. for good white paper clean, 4d. per cwt. for brown or dirty paper. Many miles have to be tramped to get one cwt. of mixed paper; then it has to be taken home and sorted, and after paying for the hire of a barrow, 1s. a day can be earned.
Refuse Meat Tin Collectors.- Some are collected from dust heaps or from private houses, or bought from grocers at 5s. for a large load. The tins are melted down, cleaned, and sold to small tin toymakers. Three men can turn the load referred to into about 15s. a week; it may be noted that 1d. saucepans are often made out of this tin.
Wood Chopping.- Old orange and bacon boxes are bought, which cost 4d. and will make 6d. worth of wood. Our readers can imagine the time it takes to chop a box and sell the wood.
The Children.- The neighbourhood teems with children, a large proportion of whom are only halfclad. It is a common thing in the day schools to be obliged to clothe the naked. The faces of the children are frequently pinched and worn; they have gone to bed supperless the night before and have come to school without breakfast. It is a marvel that any results are obtained by day school teachers. There is a very large percentage of lads and young girls, many of whom are allowed to drift, and they go to make up the criminal class. A melancholy interest attaches itself to the fact that one third of ALL THE CRIME of Birmingham comes from the police division of which this parish is a part; a great number of the offenders are under twenty-one years of age.
The vicar has set about reforming the parish. Six public houses have been closed, one horse-slaughtering place purified; there has been increased lighting, the sewers have been overhauled, fifteen acres of the parish have been condemned and are being dealt with by the sanitary authorities. The police force has been increased. By the action of the Local Government Board, Corporation Street is to be extended and a number of the slums swept away. The death-rate is gradually declining. Mr. Bass has encountered enormous opposition, and the slum property owners are trying to starve him out. He is ably assisted by two nurses, and in the last epidemic of typhoid fever their services were invaluable. The church has been restored. On the parish funds there is a debt of about 400 l. [£], and it is earnestly hoped that those who believe in alleviating the condition of the poorest will sustain Mr. Bass in his heroic effort to lead what some would have thought to have been a forlorn hope.

Dr John Apeh’s book on Social Structure and Church Planting on-line

Dr. John Apeh recently contacted me and asked if I would be willing to digitise the 1st edition of his book on Social Structure and Church Planting. Naturally I was happy to do so and it is now available here:

John E. Apeh, Social Structure & Church Planting. Shippensburg, PA: Companion Press, 1989. Pbk. ISBN: 0914903853. pp.139.

Dr Apeh is currently working on the 2nd edition.

Mission and Meaning: Essays in Honour of Peter Cotterell now Online

The following book is now online in PDF:

Antony Billington, Tony Lane & Max Turner, editors. Mission and Meaning. Essays Presented to Peter Cotterell. Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1995. Pbk. ISBN: 0853646767.


Main Publications of Peter Cotterell



I. Biblical Perspectives
1. The Meaning of Mis David F. Paynesion in Isaiah 40-55

2. Nebuchadnezzar’s Theology and Ours Deryck C.T. Sheriffs

3. The Prophethood of all Believers Mary J. Evans

4. The Concept of Jubilee and Luke 4:18-30 Robert Willoughby

5. Mission and Misunderstanding:Paul and Barnabas in Lystra (Acts 14:8-20) Conrad Gempf

6. Jesus and the Marginalised in the Fourth Gospel Stephen Motyer

7. The Parac1ete and Mission in the Fourth Gospel Antony Billington

8. Paul’s Apostolic Self-Awarenessand the Occasion and Purpose of Romans Daniel J.-S. Chae

9. Mission and Meaning in Terms of ‘Unity’ in Ephesians Max Turner

II. Historical and Theological Perspective
10. A Model Missionary to Muslims:Thomas Valpy French (1825-1891) Michael Griffiths

11. Ten Theses on Justification and Sanctification Tony Lane

12. Edward Irving and Uniqueness of Christ Graham W.P. McFarlane

13. Soundly Converted? Meic Pearse

III. Philosophical and Contextual Perspectives
14. All One Body? A Missiological Appreciationof the Struggles of an Ethnic Church in Indonesia Ailish F. Eves

15. Sickness and Syncretism in the African Context Keith Ferdinando

16. Capital Gains or Christians are not Working Mark Greene

17. Meaning, Mission and Truth Peter Hicks

18. Postmodernity and Rationality:the Final Credits or just a Commercial Break? Nick Mercer

19. The Concept of ‘Living By Faith’ Harold H. Rowdon

20. The Scandal of the Church in the Mission of God’s People Derek Tidball

My thanks to Anthony Billington and Paternoster Press for their assistance in allowing these essays to be republished. Note that until the main missiology site goes live next year this will be the only means of accessing these articles.