Yet, be it keenly marked, these great strides have been made by a minority, who have followed the strong leaders. The whole Church is not yet awake. Many protest strenuously against being waked up. The alarm-clocks bother them. Sometimes one is inclined to think that the foreign boards are peculiarly placed between a refrigerator and a furnace.
Missionaries come back home fresh from the front fairly aflame with the fervor of their enthusiasm. Their convictions of what could be done, and should be done, are apt to be spoken out with great positiveness. They seem to some to suggest in an uncomfortable way the thought of a glowing furnace. And many in the home churches seem able to listen with such indifference as to suggest to these returned men and women the chilling air of an ice-box. In between the two sits the Church board engaging in the difficult task of trying to equalize the temperature. But that's merely a detail in passing.
The great fact to mark is that never has the missionary movement bulked so large. And never have such broad statesmanlike plans, such aggressiveness of spirit, coupled with deep devotion, marked the Church in its great life-mission.
One morning at a popular summer resort on the Long Island Sound coast thousands of bathers were enjoying the surf-bathing. The life-saving crew were stationed for duty, on the lookout for any accident. A gentleman standing by one of the crew asked him how he could tell if help were needed. There were thousands of bathers, and a perfect babel of noises. The weather-beaten man, bronzed and toughened and trained to keenness in his work by years of service, said, "I can always hear a cry of distress, no matter how great the noise and confusion. There never yet has been a cry of need I haven't heard."
For a long time the confusion of noises bothered the Church ears. But now the cry of distress from over the wide seas is being heard again distinctly, and is being responded to splendidly. The very earnestness of response and effort is a forerunner of sure victory.