Why did you not come sooner?
On one occasion I was preaching the glad tidings of salvation through the finished work of Christ, when a middle-aged man stood up, and testified before his assembled countrymen to his faith in the power of the Gospel.
"I have long sought for the Truth," said he earnestly, "as my fathers did before me; but I have never found it. I have travelled far and near, but without obtaining it. I have found no rest in Confucianism, Buddhism, or Taoism; but I do find rest in what I have heard here to-night. Henceforth I am a believer in Jesus."
This man was one of the leading officers of a sect of reformed Buddhists in Ningpo. A short time after his confession of faith in the Saviour there was a meeting of the sect over which he had formerly presided. I accompanied him to that meeting, and there, to his former co-religionists, he testified of the peace he had obtained in believing. Soon after, one of his former companions was converted and baptized. Both now sleep in Jesus.
The first of these two long continued to preach to his countrymen the glad tidings of great joy. A few nights after his conversion he asked how long this Gospel had been known in England. He was told that we had known it for some hundreds of years.
"What!" said he, amazed; "is it possible that for hundreds of years you have had the knowledge of these glad tidings in your possession, and yet have only now come to preach it to us? My father sought after the Truth for more than twenty years, and died without finding it. Oh, why did you not come sooner?"
A whole generation has passed away since that mournful inquiry was made; but how many, alas! might repeat the same question today? More than two hundred millions in the meanwhile have been swept into eternity, without an offer of salvation. How long shall this continue, and the Master's words, "To every creature," remain unheeded?