From the opening chapter of his work on the proper method of mission practice (Nevius was at least partly inspired by Timothy Richard's work in Shandong), the following quote is a reminder for those of us who have found what we believe to be a better method for working in China to keep a proper perspective:
Let us bear in mind that the best methods cannot do away with the difficulties in our work which come from the world, the flesh, and the devil, but bad methods may multiply and intensify them. For unavoidable difficulties we are not responsible; for those which arise from disregard of the teachings of Scripture and experiences we are.
Let us also remember that while in undertaking the momentous task committed to us, we should by the study of the Scriptures, prayer for divine guidance and comparison of our varied views and experiences, seek to know what is the best method of work, still, the best method without the presence of our Master and the Spirit of all Truth the other Comforter, will be unavailing. A bad method may be so bad as to make it unreasonable to expect God's blessing in connection with it; a right and Scriptural method, if we trust in it, as our principal ground of hope, might be followed a life-time without any good results.
Nevius, John L. "Principles and Methods Applicable to Station Work, Letter I." Chinese Recorder XVI, no. 10 (1885): 424.
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