Scriptures for Christian Missionaries
When Du Vernet wrote his diary, he did so on a pad of paper from The Canadian Church Missionary Association. Printed above the name of the Association at the top of each sheet are two biblical references and a short quotation from John 4:35 in the King James Version of the New Testament. Each reference includes a word in quotation marks that can be found in the verse being referenced. Du Vernet and other Christian missionaries understood these passages to support their work of making converts to Christianity, work that they considered their God called them to do. Individually, each verse fits into a story arch of the life of Jesus portrayed in each Gospel. But the header on this pad of paper shows how Christians could find individual sentences in different Gospels and combine them to shape new stories. The arrangement on the header seems to tell its reader to that through prayer, they will see that God has made many people ready to hear the gospel, so they must go and share it.
In the ninth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew, the narrator depicts depict Jesus walking from village to village healing sick people. Jesus gains popularity because of this so that more and more people come to be healed by him. Using the metaphor of labourers and a field ready for harvest, Jesus states that while there are too few people to help the sick, but God will send more if asked.
The final chapter of the Gospel according to Mark tells the story of some disciples going to the tomb of Jesus after he had been killed and buried. Although it is not found in all bibles, The King James Version includes an extended ending in which Jesus reappears to his disciples after his death and gives them a series of instructions. One of these instructions is for them to go and tell other people about the “good news” of Jesus death and resurrection. Curiously, a passage almost identical to this one, including the word “Go,” can be found in Matthew 26:19. Perhaps the Missionary Association wanted to include quotations from as many different Gospels as possible.
The fourth chapter of the Gospel according to John tells the story of Jesus going into a region called Samaria and speaking to an unnamed woman there. By the time this story was written, Jews and Samaritans often regarded one another with fear and suspicion. Years of war and violent hostility between them had resulted in the destruction of the Samaritan temple to God, which many Jews deemed illegitimate. Jesus the Jew spoke to the unnamed Samaritan woman and told her about a time when they would no longer be divided over disagreements about where to worship God, since they would be able to worship anywhere. Later, when Jesus’ followers asked him about this conversation, he once again used the metaphor of a harvest to speak about spreading his message. “White already to harvest” probably refers to the bright iridescence of a mature head of grain in the sunlight.