But there is yet more than this. Everywhere among these peoples, as one comes into close enough touch to find their hearts, there can be found underneath the inarticulate, inexpressible yearning for something they haven't. And they don't know enough to know what it is they long for. But they are conscious of the constant, weary, yearning tug within. The great heart of the non-Christian world to-day is asking dumbly, but earnestly, as only the heart can ask, for the light we have. Its knocking at our front door is growing louder in its insistent earnestness.
Since Commodore Perry steamed into the harbor of Yokohama, fifty years ago, with open Bible and American flag, and knocked at the front door of the Orient, the whole situation has completely changed. Then we knocked for admission to these shut-in lands. Now they are knocking at our door, for the knowledge and light that we have in Christian lands because we have Jesus.
May I call your attention to some of the louder of these knockings?
For years students in great numbers, thousands, have been coming from these heathen nations to our country to get our Western learning. Throughout the colleges and lower schools of the land, both East and West, in the greater universities, and in the more modest small church colleges they can be found.
I remember a sight that never failed to thrill me in my visitations among the colleges of our Central West. Almost always I saw one or more of these young men, from Japan, and less frequently from China and India and other countries, and sometimes young women, too; studying in these institutions. Quite frequently they came from the better families of their people; often from old wealthy families of position and influence. So that by blood ties and position they will be the future men of influence and leaders of their people. And it is a notable fact that many of them are to-day the leaders in Japan. Literally thousands of them have come, these thousands of miles around the world, to knock at our doors, and ask for what we have and they haven't.
Even more striking is the recent visitation to us of official commissions from the non-Christian lands. One after another, these national governmental deputations have come to us. They have been composed of the strongest men in these lands, men in leading official position. They have come by government appointment, and at government expense, to learn the secret of our marvellous Western progress.
And in addition to these official deputations others have come, men of like prominence and influence, coming on their own account, to witness our civilization and learn its secrets.