ENORMOUS difficulties are involved in the preparation of such a book as this, where the field to be covered is the world in space and more than one century in time.
The best authorities have been used, and there has been an earnest endeavor to be accurate in all points, and to observe right proportions. The author has labored under a profound sense of the importance of his task.
In spite of conscientious care, however, it is very likely that specialists in each of the many fields surveyed will discover errors or infelicities. The author earnestly invites all such persons, for the sake of the missionary cause, to write him regarding these points, that the book may become more nearly what it should be.
Let it be kept in mind, however, just what kind of book is aimed at. This is a biographical history of modern missions. It might almost be called an anecdotal history. It is based upon the assumption, true in the writer's case and he believes in most others, that an interest in missionaries is the basis of an interest in missions. An attempt is here made to convey an impression of the great number of beautiful and heroic souls that have wrought to bring the world to its Redeemer. I have tried to show the variety as well as indicate the number of these splendid characters. Under severe limitations of space, I have sought to select, for each brief sketch, not necessarily what Doctor Dryasdust would consider most important, but the deeds and sayings by which the man is known and can be remembered. It is somewhat such a scheme that has made Stopford Brooke's " Primer of English Literature," though it treats even more briefly a greater number of persons, so brilliant and effective a text-book.
Attention might be directed to three other purposes of this little book : ( 1) while relating, as all accounts of missions must relate, the lives of the eminent English and Continental missionaries, yet to emphasize, as no other book has emphasized, the work of our own American denominations ; ( 2) to show the present distribution of that work; and (3) to combine missionary history and graphically present it in a series of cumulative chronological diagrams and simple maps that is, so far as I know, unique. I have supplemented these, in the section devoted to class-work, with plans for many more, with lists of the most accessible books of reference, with many suggestions for further study, and especially with sets of test questions on each chapter. These will be of value to the general reader as well as the student in a class.
AMOS R. WELLS.
Tremont Temple, Boston, Mass.