Modern Mission Century by Arthur T Pierson

To trace, in the history of the missionary century just closed, the footsteps of God, is the one main end now in view; studying the divine plan, and its unfoldings in action and achievement.

To know the supreme aim of a book helps to a right reading of it, and, if these pages are read in the light of this, its professed purpose, its form and content will, we hope, be found to agree with such design. Form, in its true sense, determines also content, for it is an idea taking shape. It must therefore be one with itself, and must both include and exclude, if unity and consistency are not lost.

To annalize is one thing; to analyze is another. The annals of a hundred years would need volumes, and, if details were treated, a history would take on the dimensions of an encyclopedia. AIJ we now propose is a general survey, as one seeks, from some commanding mountain-top, to glance over the whole horizon; and this end will best be served if we select a few prominent and representative facts which may stand for the many, sufficient both as proofs and as examples oi God’s planning and working.

The conviction that such a divine factor, only, could account for this century of missions, first prompted these studies; and, as the needful steps have been taken in the careful pursuance of the theme, that conviction has grown into a more and more confident certainty. With each new search into the progress of events, and the facts which together make up this hundred years of history, there has come a deeper sense of awe, akin to what Moses felt as he stood before the burning bush. The historic tree ceases to be a common growth when its great branches and even its lesser twigs, touched by the Divine Presence, become aglow with an uncommon meaning. The devout student sees written large, over the whole face of the record of the century’s missions, as in letters of light, DIVINE DESIGN. There are single events, but, above all, combinations of events and sequences of events, which cannot be adequately explained by any atheistic theories of chance, or mere human development and conformity to environment.

The studies in world-wide missions, begun forty years ago, find their latest fruit in this book. The subject has proven, at each new stage, more attractive and instructive. The whole course of mission history is a march of God, shewing His superintendence over all forward movements for bearing His Good Tidings to a lost world. We lay down the pen with an unchangeable persuasion that, from the first yearning of William Carey over the Death Shade of a heathen world, to the last longing of the most recent convert for the salvation of his fellows, God has been at work-the same God who, in the darkness o-f that primal chaos, said, ” Let light be! ” and Light was.

Such studies in mission history give new nerve to all holy endeavour. He who bade us, “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” added the promise, “Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.” His word shall not return to Him void; His everlasting sign shall not be cut off; instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier, the myrtle-tree. He will utterly demolish and abolish the idols. They who do the preaching may rest in the promised Presence which always means Power; and all who go or send, give and pray, may be content, like those of Thessalonica, to “serve and wait.”

To find God’s plan and take part in God’s work is to mount His chariot, and, with Him, ride on to the final goal of the ages, conquering and to conquer.

Arthur T. Pierson, Author’s Prefatory Note, pp.v-vii.

This public domain title was digitised from the copy held at Spurgeon’s College library.

Arthur T. Pierson [1837-1911], The Modern Mission Century. Viewed as a Cycle of Divine Working. London: James Nisbet & Co., Limited, [1901]. Hbk. pp.517. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]


  • Author’s Prefatory Word
  1. Declare His Doings
  2. The Way of the Lord
  3. The Place of My Feet
  4. Times Before Appointed
  5. The Fulness of Times
  6. The Signs of the Times
  7. The True Sayings of God
  8. Every Man in His Own Language
  9. Published Among the Nations
  10. Vessels unto Honour
  11. Meet for the Master’s Use
  12. Prepared unto Every Good Work
  13. Of the Chief Women
  14. Which Laboured in the Gospel
  15. Women Which Ministered to Him
  16. Workers Together with Him
  17. Workmen of Like Organisation
  18. Faithful and Wise Stewards
  19. Of Making Many Books
  20. The Pen of a Ready Writer
  21. The Words of the Wise
  22. The Fire of the Lord
  23. God Working with Them
  24. Confirming the Word
  25. The Everlasting Sign
  26. Fruit Unto Holiness
  27. God’s Husbandry
  28. They Loved not Their Lives
  29. Counted Worthy to Suffer
  30. Slain for the Word of God
  31. The Glory of the Lord
  32. The Joy in Harvest
  33. The Voice of the Lord
  34. The Wiles of the Devil
  35. Some Better Things for Us
  36. The High Calling of God
  • Index

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