Essay I. The Spiritual Responsibility of Empire, by the Rt. Rev. F. T. Woods, Bishop of Winchester (formerly of Peterborough)
Essay II. The Church in India, by D. Jenks, M.A. Formerly director of the Society of the Sacred Mission, Kelham; Assistant Secretary of the Missionary Council of the Church of England.
Essay III. The Englishman in India, by J. G. McCormick, D.D., Dean of Manchester.
Essay IV. The Missionary Enterprise, by E. Priestley Swain, M.A. Vicar of Putney and Hon. Chaplain to the Bishop of Birmingham.
Essay V. The Intellectual Environment and Its Effects upon Faith, by Philip Napier Waggett, D.D., of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cowley, Oxford, Examining Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Exeter.
Essay VI. Personal Religion, by G. Vernon Smith, M.A., M.C.
Essay VII. The Social Application of Christianity, by Jessie E. Higson, Warden of the Josephine Butler Memorial House, Liverpool.
Essay VIII. The Mission of Help, by the Most Rev. Foss Westcott, D.D., Bishop of Calcutta
Essay IX. The Mission of Help, by the Most Rev. Randall Davidson, D.D., Archbishop of Canterbury
We are under no delusions about this book. It is not a great book, and those who read it will search in vain for new and original ideas. It does not offer a solution of urgent and baffling problems, except in so far as it claims that there is no solution of any of the world's problems, including those of India, save such as has been offered by Him whose "Name is above every name." We are well aware also that we lay ourselves open to the criticism of writing a book about India after having been there (except in two cases) for little more than four months, and that this criticism will certainly be made. We have considered this carefully, and have come to the decision that the occasion justifies us in "facing the music." In reply, we only ask our critics to read the book. But we are under no delusions.
On the other hand, we hope that our readers will be under no delusions either, whether about the writers or what they have written. We do not consider ourselves to be issuing what is commonly called "a pronouncement," still less are we attempting to set people right and teach them their job. We desire, too, that it will not be thought that the book is a united effort of the whole body of those who were sent out by the home Church on the Mission of Help. No others are responsible except ourselves, though some have made valuable suggestions to us. Nor, [v/vi] again, is it a concerted work of the writers. Owing to pressure of time, we shall not read each other's papers until we see them in print in the volume; we are responsible each for our own blunders and for nobody else's. We admit no corporate responsibility.
What, then, do we think of our own work, and claim for it and hope about it? It is an attempt to state some eternal Christian principles in the setting of India. From another point of view it is a summary of the things we said in India, of the message we were sent to deliver, but coloured to some extent necessarily by our experiences and what we saw and heard. It is a last attempt to discharge the task for which we were chosen and sent forth, a burden which we undertook gladly, but not without a sense of its weight. It is a dream of the "Church in Action" in India, Burma, and Ceylon. But perhaps it is too bold to say that. It is a glimpse, only a glimpse, of the eternal Gospel in an Eastern setting. But it is certainly too bold to say that!
The book begins with papers on "The Responsibility of Empire" and "The Church." Then follow the subjects of "The Englishman in India," and "The Missionary Enterprise," where is to be found to some extent a closer view of the ideas of the first two chapters. The next three papers deal with the difficulties and possibilities of the religion of the individual Christian in India. At the end of the book will be found some account of the Mission by the Metropolitan of India and the sermon delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey before we sailed, which it is obviously right to include. If we have addressed ourselves primarily to an audience [vi/vii] in India, yet we have kept our eyes partly also upon possible readers at home, and we venture to hope that many will find these pages interesting who have never passed the great statue of de Lesseps at Port Said.
We send our book forth very humbly. Others would have said all that is herein said and said it much better; but we had the opportunity, the "occasion," and they had not. Our single desire is to help. In the last resort nothing matters to nations, empires, kingdoms, peoples, and men and women, but the coming of the Kingdom of God. No one can have been through an experience such as ours without sometimes secretly asking, "How long?"
But the slow watches of the night
Not less to God belong;
And for the everlasting right
The silent stars are strong.
And lo, already on the hills
The flags of dawn appear;
Gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
Proclaim the day is near.
If we did not hope that we might help a little to make that dream, the greatest that man has dreamed, seem more desirable to a few, and to encourage a few others, the "prophet souls," in their proclaiming, this book would never have reached the printer.
Authors' profits, if any, on the sales of this book will be sent to the Metropolitan to be spent on Church Schools in India.
E. P. S.