3 DECEMBER 1954, Page 37


A History of the London Missionary Society, 1895-1945. By Norman Goodall. (OUP. 42s.)

Tins survey of the third half-century of the LMS continues Richard Lovett's earlier History (Oxford, 1899) which described the first hundred years (1795-1895). Dr, Goodall opens with seven regional chapters. The first two are the longest, and lire devOted to India and China; the rest deal with LMS work in Bechuanaland and the /t„ hodesias, Madagascar, Papua and the South Sea Islands. The latter part of the volume includes three general chapters con- cerned with Education (an important activity in a Society with a Congregational back- ground), Medical Missions and the Home Base. There is also a useful appendix listing alphabetically the missionaries who served from 1895. The story is a heroic one, and is well told. In conditions that were always difficult, often lonely and sometimes frustrating, men and women of character, faith and perseverance laboured and were rewarded. Orthodoxy was not always the most prized quality, and % he record includes many like William earson, whom a colleague described as ,91e man with the worst theology and the finest Christianity in India.' Inevitably a book of this kind has to mention a great number of people, and the author is not always able to prevent his narrative declining into a catalogue of names. Here and there this makes for dull reading. But Dr. Goodall has dug manfully into the society's archives, and his text is illustrated and enlivened by passages from missionary letters and reports. These quotations make his book as rewarding for the historian as for the theo- ,-,c)Pan. In 1928 the secretary of the LMS china Council wrote: 'There is no disguising the fact that for certain types of minds the present attitude of the Chinese is trying. place of systematically taking the lower P`aee they now naturally claim at least Imlay and at times assume leadership over the Western person. I prefer the new virility to the old docility.' The files of the missionary societies are indeed a rich, and still comparatively unexploited, source for the historian of Asia.

0. B. S.