THE TRUTH IN JAPAN
DEAR MR. RUSSELL:--
God gave me, at the opening of the New Year, a quiet time in which to renew my consecration to him, and to pray for more light. It was, I believe, in answer to such prayer that I was led to read your MILLENNIAL DAWN, the first volume of which has stood unheeded on my book-case for eight years. I read it through three times with growing wonder. How the truth now, as never before, shines out from God's Word! How it transcends anything that I had ever thought of! Eternity will not be long enough to praise him for just this knowledge of his wondrous grace. I want to be found faithful hereafter in manner of living, and in helping to make known the precious Truth to others.
To begin with, I should tell you that I have been [R4028 : page 216] for nearly twenty-five years a member of the West Japan Presbyterian Mission. I have already written to the Foreign Mission Board in New York, as well as to my local home Church, stating my changed views--or, rather, referring them to your books. This will end-- if not on their part, then on mine--in a separation; because duty (and privilege) is much clearer to me now on this point than it was even at the time I wrote to them. Since separation, then, is only a matter of time, I feel justified in writing to you in advance of it, in order to confer with you about the work. Your answer and a final settlement with my Board will thus doubtless come about the same time.
There are three alternatives which suggest themselves to me:
(1) That I accept from the Board traveling expenses and return to America, and there enter (if I may) the Colporteur work. But in order to avail myself of the Board's ticket, I would have to sail, in all probability, not later than August. This will explain my haste in communicating with you.
(2) That I remain in Japan, find some employment as a means of support and teach these precious truths as far as opportunities offer or can be made. But at best it would be a very limited effort that I could make in that way. (a) Time would be limited. (b) Travel would also be impracticable, except at long intervals. But travel would, I believe, be one of the essentials to the accomplishment of any considerable work here. (c) Want of literature, in Japanese, on these truths, would be greatly felt, and would itself be a very serious limitation.
(3) The third alternative is impossible, unless you could supply financial aid from America. It is this: That I remain here and oversee the translation and publication of "The Plan of the Ages," and also of some of your tracts. The tracts could be done first. I could thus begin colporteuring at once. As to the book, I have enquired into the expense, etc., of getting it out. Following is the result:--
Cost of translation............................$ 50.00 gold
Cost of printing 1000 copies (500 pages each in
Japanese) stiff paper covers.................. 225.00 "
The translation could be done by a Christian Japanese whom I know, a man of literary taste and experience in translating. His price ($50.00) is about half what such work would command if done by a professional translator. The undertaking would necessarily be in the nature of an experiment. Humanly speaking, the demand would have to be created. But there are in Japan (see statistics for 1906) 44,228 professing Christians (Protestant). Some of them are God's humble, consecrated, children longing for a better understanding of the things of the Kingdom.
The third alternative is the one that most appeals to me. I cannot think that God intends to leave the Japanese Christians without a witness of his special revelation for these last days. But if he intends me to be such a witness here, he will surely open up the way. He seems to have shut me up to your answer, and I shall expect to abide by that answer, unless in the meantime he gives me some other indication.
I am wholly in the dark as to your methods with workers, but I have sent for "Hints to Colporteurs." Any good working plan, however, will be satisfactory to me. Will you kindly explain the work of the "Pilgrims"?
May I ask you to kindly tell me, when you write, whether you know of others in Japan who hold a "like precious faith," and if so who they are?
Most sincerely and with gratitude,