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Things As They Are by Amy Wilson-Carmichael


WITHIN a few weeks of the publication of Things as They Are, letters were received from missionaries working in different parts of India, confirming its truth. But some in England doubt it. And so it was proposed that if a fourth edition were called for, a few confirmatory notes, written by experienced South Indian missionaries, other than those of the district described, would be helpful. Several such notes are appended. The Indian view of one of the chief facts set forth in the book is expressed in the note written by one who, better than any missionary, and surely better even than any onlooker at home, has the right to be heard in this matter -- and the right to be believed.

And now at His feet, who can use the least, we lay this book again; for |to the Mighty One,| as the Tamil proverb says, |even the blade of grass is a weapon.| May it be used for His Name's sake, to win more prayer for India -- and all dark lands -- the prayer that prevails.

Dohnavur, Tinnevelly District,
S. India.

Confirmatory Notes

From Rev. D. DOWNIE, D.D., American Baptist Mission, Nizam's Dominions, S. India.

I have felt for many years that we missionaries were far too prone to dwell on what is called the |bright side of mission work.| That it has a bright side no one can question. That it has a |dark| side some do question; but I for one, after thirty years of experience, know it to be just as true as the bright side is true. I have heard Miss Carmichael's book denounced as |pessimistic.| Just what is meant by that I am not quite sure; but if it means that what she has written is untrue, then I am prepared to say that it is NOT pessimistic, for there is not a line of it that cannot be duplicated in this Telugu Mission. That she has painted a dark picture of Hindu life cannot be denied, but, since it is every word true, I rejoice that she had the courage to do what was so much needed, and yet what so many of us shrank from doing, |lest it should injure the cause.|

From Rev. T. STEWART, M.A., Secretary, United Free Church Mission, Madras.

This book, Things as They Are, meets a real need -- it depicts a phase of mission work of which, as a rule, very little is heard. Every missionary can tell of cases where people have been won for Christ, and mention incidents of more than passing interest. Miss Carmichael is no exception, and could tell of not a few trophies of grace. The danger is, lest in describing such incidents the impression should be given that they represent the normal state of things, the reverse being the case. The people of India are not thirsting for the Gospel, nor |calling us to deliver their land from error's chain.| The night is still one in which the |spiritual hosts of wickedness| have to be overcome before the captive can be set free. The writer has laid all interested in the extension of the Kingdom of God under a deep debt of obligation by such a graphic and accurate picture of the difficulties that have to be faced and the obstacles to be overcome. Counterparts of the incidents recorded can be found in other parts of South India, and there are probably few missionaries engaged in vernacular work who could not illustrate some of them from their own experience.

From Dr. A. W. RUDISILL, Methodist Episcopal Press, Madras.

In Things as They Are are pictured, by camera and pen, some things in Southern India. The pen, as faithfully as the camera, has told the truth, and nothing but the truth.

The early chapters bring out with vivid, striking, almost startling reality the wayside hearers in India. One can almost see the devil plucking away the words as fast as they fall, and hear the opposers of the Gospel crying out against it.

Paul did not hesitate to write things as they were of the idolaters to whom he preached, even though the picture was very dark. It is all the more needful now, when so many are deceived and being deceived as to the true nature of idolatry, that people at home who give and pray should be told plainly that what Paul wrote of idolaters in Rome and Corinth is still true of idolaters in India.

Miss Carmichael has given only glances and glimpses, not full insights. Let those who think the picture she has drawn is too dark know that, if the whole truth were told, an evil spirit only could produce the pictures, and hell itself would be the only fit place in which to publish them, because in Christian lands eyes have not seen and ears have not heard of such things.

From Rev. C. W. CLARKE, M.A., Principal, Noble College, Masulipatam.

I have worked as Principal of a College for over seventeen years amongst the caste people of South India, and I entirely endorse Miss Carmichael's views as to the actual risks run by students and others desirous of breaking caste and being baptized. While the teaching of the Bible and English education generally have removed a great deal of prejudice, and greatly raised the ethical standard amongst a number of those who come under such influences, Hinduism as held and practised by the vast majority of caste people remains essentially unchanged. To break caste is held to be the greatest evil a person can inflict upon himself and his community, therefore practically any means may be resorted to to prevent such a calamity. It is a commonplace amongst missionaries, that when a caste man or woman shows any serious intention of being baptized, -- in any case, where caste feeling is not modified by special circumstances, -- the most stringent precautions must be taken to protect the inquirer from the schemes of his caste brethren.

From KRISHNA RAN, Esq., B.A., Editor, Christian Patriot, Madras (himself a convert).

The question is often asked whether a high caste Hindu convert can live with his own people after his baptism. It is only those who know nothing of the conditions of life in India, and of the power of caste as it exists in this country, who raise the question.

The convert has to be prepared for the loss of parents and their tender affection; of brothers and sisters, relatives and friends; of wife and children, if he has any; of his birthright, social position, means of livelihood, reputation, and all the power which hides behind the magic word |caste|; of all that he is taught from his childhood to hold as sacred.

From Miss READE, South Arcot, South India.

I am not surprised that anyone unacquainted with mission work in India should be staggered at the facts narrated in Things as They Are. But as one who has worked for nearly thirty years in the heart of heathenism, away from the haunts of civilisation, I can bear testimony that the reality of things far exceeds anything that it would be possible to put into print. One's tongue falters to tell of what is custom in this country. I know a case where a young girl of ten was placed in such a position that her choice lay between two sinful courses of life, no right way being open to her. I think one of the most distressing things we have to meet in caste work in this country is the fact that often as soon as a soul begins to show interest in Christ he or she disappears, and one either hears next that he is dead, or can get no reliable information at all.

Extract from a letter to Miss CARMICHAEL on Things as They Are. (The writer is a veteran American missionary.)

I could duplicate nearly every incident in the book; so I know it is a true picture, not alone because I believe your word, but because my experience has been so similar to yours. Many times, while reading it, the memory of the old heart-break has been so vivid that I have had to lay the book down and look round the familiar room in order to convince myself that it was you, and not I, who was agonising over one of the King's own children who was being crowded back into darkness and hurled down to destruction, because Satan's wrath is great as he realises that his time is short.

I wish the book might be read by all the Christians in the homeland.


While I was reading Things as They Are, I fancied I was living my old life among Hindus over again. I can honestly corroborate everything said in regard to the religious and social life of the Hindus. I came from that part of the country, and I am very glad that the book has succeeded in bringing the truth to light.

From Miss L. TROTTER.

There is hardly a phase of all the heart-suffering retold that we have not known: page after page might have been written out here, word for word.

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