Wiley B. Glass

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Wiley B. Glass (1874 - November 14, 1967) was a Southern Baptist missionary in China with the North China Mission with his primary ministry being established in then Hwanghsien, China. He was best known in China by his local name Kuo Mu-Shih. Glass was dearly loved by Chinese and missionaries alike and was considered the rock in which the missionaries were held together in Hwanghsien and the light that led so many to Christ. His primary work was teaching and then leading the North China Mission's Seminary in Hwanghsien which produced many strong leaders of Christ. He had a great heart for the poor and lead up many famine reliefs and along with his colleagues and some of the native believers helped to establish a Red Cross Organization. This led him to good standing and gave him "great face" for himself and for foreigners among many of the Chinese. Although one of the lesser known missionaries to China during this period, he nonetheless produced some of the greatest work. His daughter Eloise Glass Cauthen, who wrote his biography in her book "Higher Ground", and her Husband Baker followed faithfully in his footsteps and greatly served the Chinese for many years. It can be sure that Wiley Glass's years of faithful service are a reason that the Chinese Church has such a solid foundation and has exploded the way it has.

Early life[edit]

Born in Franklin County, Texas to Henry Clay and Teedie Grass. In Wileys years his father was not a believer and so his mother prayed that Wiley would not grow up in Fathers unbelief. She prayed, “O God, take this child, keep him and use him. And save his father, please.” Not much later his father had a powerful conversion experienced and lived a life full to the Lord.

Years later on the way to Methodist Revival meeting, Wiley’s sister pleaded with him to give His life to Christ. The following morning the preacher spoke on Revelation 3:20 and Wiley let the Lord know he need and wanted him and in that moment he knew the Lord had heard and he walked forward and gave his life to Christ.

Later Wiley was asked to lead up a church, after serious prayer with the Lord he felt called and through preaching in the church got his call to go to Baylor College. While at Baylor, one of Wileys professors, Dr. Tanner, the man who had the most profound influence on his life said after hearing news of the Boxer Rebellion – “these things are added proof of [China’s] need of the gospel. If China had been Christian, this would not be happening.” This moved Wiley to become more zealous about foreign missions. (.33) Soon a revival happened on campus with many admitting that God was calling them to missions, in which Wiley confessed the same. Later on July 22, 1903 Wiley married Eunice Taylor and that fall they set out for China.

Work in China[edit]

Wiley and Eunice began working with the North China mission and were first set up in LaiChowFu and began studying language. Wiley and Eunice had their first baby, Taylor, in August. Unfortunately he caught pneumonia. By the time Wiley could reach the doctor on his new bicycle and come back with him Taylor was too sick and later died. This was a tragic time but soon after Wiley was blessed and his language improved. He helped his Chinese teacher give up bad habits and got him into the book of John. This was the first man he led to Christ.

Soon through the work of the Spirit and Mr. Sun himself nearly the whole village of forty to fifty families was led to Christ. Not much longer in the year of 1906 Wiley and Eunice had their second child and named him Bentley. Later in 1907 World Missions Conference was held in Shanghai, Wiley described Shanghai as, “the New York of the East”. Wiley represented the North China Mission – by this time, 100 years after Robert Morrison first arrived, there were nearly a quarter of a million Christians in China (much more than was ever hoped for).

Shortly thereafter the conference dikes in the Yellow River had broken down and dissolved many homes and drowned thousands. Wiley and his fellow missionary friend, John Lowe went to Chingkiang and volunteered. Horror, death, misery, and starvation were all around. This was an extremely hard, challenging, and exhausting time for Wiley but the Lord used it to help raise support, awareness, and missionaries for China and also to bring a better face to the foreigners. After weeks volunteering Wiley returned home and his first daughter, named Lois Corneille, was born on November 25, 1907.

In 1908 a new step in Wiley’s mission career happened - he became part of the staff for the North China Baptist Training School for Preachers and Teachers in Hwanghsien. Wiley felt that through teaching he could multiply himself by sending numerous native Chinese out to share the gospel. And lo they did. They went into all shantung and into other provinces such as Honan and Anhwei and even up into the far areas of Manchuria. This was a delightful but also strenuous time for Wiley. Lesson preparation took several hours. Especially with Old Testament and Church history in which he had to learn countless names in Chinese. There was much fruit through this time and the student body quickly grew to 40. It was here in Hwanghsien that his second daughter, Eloise named for Eunice’s favorite sister in law, was born.

Finally after 7 years in China and the newest addition to this family, in 1910, Wiley, Eunice, and the children took their first furlough back to America. They had mixed emotions upon returning because Eunice’s mom had died and her father had remarried. However Eunice loved her stepmother and spent a wonderful year with her while Wiley spent most of the time traveling in the Southern states, such as Alabama, and some up north like philly sharing what God was doing in China and raising a lot of money. Following this, they returned to a much disturbed China, the regime of empress Dowager was tottering and new ideas challenged old ways. Armed revolutions marched across Shuntung province so Wiley decided to move Eunice to Chefoo in order that she could have new baby in peace. (p. 74)

The fruitful seminary was closed during this time and anyone without hair queue was subject to beheading. Several Christians were sympathetic to the new movement and cut their hair. Because of this Wiley and family felt they should return in order to protect these men and also in order to help start up the Red Cross organization they were planning. Wiley with a fellow missionaries wife, Bessie Hartwell, returned to Hwangshien to the midst of soldiers shooting at everything. They connected with Lottie Moon at their hospital there.

In October 1912 – north china cities had declared their sympathy with the revolution and ousted the imperial government officials. (p. 76). Eventually imperialists took control of the city and many men not wearing queues were executed. Fortunately most Christians (several of whom had no queues) were working for a Red Cross and taking care of wounded soldiers. This made them neutral and kept from being killed.

Not much later Eunice got sick twice with pleurisy and their 4th child, 2nd boy Wiley B got dysentery and died not much later. Wiley wrote home in his and his wife’s name – “Heaven is nearer and Christ is dearer with our two boys over there in His arms.” His pain however made him sign it – “your sorrowing brother and sister” (p. 86)

The following time in China was a hard and rough time. Famine followed the revolutions, droughts went on for 3 years and death was rampant in Central China and crept closer and closer their way. This was around the time that Lottie moon, even with her indomitable spirit and mental powers, began to wane and became depressed in the midst of all the famine in distress. It was decided she should return to America and she died in Kobe, Japan on the boat. (p. 87)

Despite these great pains and hardships, the ministry was blessed to be very fruitful during this time. “In laichowfu a building had been dedicated for the Woman’s training school, and 2 churches had been organized. The north china mission had 5 stations with work extending from Manchuria on the north to the extreme southwest of shantung. There were 26 churches, they baptized 1003 during the year, about one fourth of the total membership. One day at pingtu 130 were baptized… Sunday schools numbered 95. [The] 111 day and boarding schools had 1,848 pupils nad 3 hospitals treated 25,800 patients. (p.87-88).

Later Eunice took the children on vacation to Chefoo and got sickly ill with a cold. She refused to leave China, not able to bear thinking about hindering wileys work. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis and struggled for nine long months and eventually passed on april 13th. Wiley wrote to his brother and sisters at home – I would be untrue of her glorious, courageious example as she faced the future and endured for nine long months such weariness, pain and anxiety, so joyously, if I were not as brave as she. The inspiration of her pure, noble life is mine forever. I find God’s face not turned from me, but a consciousness of His nearness and love and strength constantly at hand.” Wileys “heavy heart” and the strain of finances made it hard to push on (p. 92). Later he decided to send his two other daughters to boarding school with his 8 year old son Bentley. He was very lonely at Hwanghsien but a new seminary colleague and opportunities kept his mind busy – he helped churches by helping to get Christian lituearte, opening up stores to sell them, and assisting others to sell and distribute them. (p. 92)

Wiley also started housing missionaries in order to fill the house and loved having his kids home on holiday. His heart began to warm again and in 1915 wiley became president of the north china mission. A wonderful, enthusiastic, dearly loved, and dear lover of the Lord, named Jessi Pettigrew, was a missionary and nurse to the people of China and one of the women who so wonderfully took care of wileys children after the passing of his beloved wife. After spending more time with her Wiley feel deeply in love with her and after some years of hardship, eventually all former opposition approved and they married on March 13, 1916 in Japan. The children referred to her as mothers as naturally as if they hand neven known her by any other name. (p. 103) and eventually they had two children of their own – Gertrude and bryan in 1917 and 1919.

Months later many continued to become Christians and were baptized in Hwangshien Church. Eventually there were so many that in a nearby port city, called Lung K’o (pu tong hua – Long Kou or Dragon’s Mouth), the Lung K’o Baptist church was opened on November 7, 1916 and Wiley was chosen to be pastor and had a wonderful reltiaonship with the church throughout his time in China.

1932, the year following a huge calamity and famine where Wiley was once again a wonderful but overwhelmed and exhausted relief work, was one of the sweetest and most special years in Wiley’s work - revival broke out all around and numerous people came to Christ. There was incredible and deep confession of sin all around, people gained an incredible appreciation and zeal for the reading and spreading of the Truth, and many new students came to the seminary. This helped to prepare the people during the persecution when missionaries were forced to leave and financial support from abroad was taken away. (p. 156)

Later, as Wiley was pastor of Tengchow church (Lottie Moons original post), revival continued to happen, church was packed even during freezing weather, and many came to Christ. One man noted – “Christ was made real and precious. Opium smokers were delivered from their bondage, the lost were saved, Christians became witnesses, and churches were established that were self-supporting from the first.”

Years later hwanghsien came under Japanese control. Forty years of wonderful edcuction work in that area came to a close when the authorities demanded that all Christian schools be closed and Confucianism was the way of life. On top of this there forty years of hospital work with Warren Memorial Hospital was closed after Japanese declared they could only see patients with a permit yet allowed no patient to ever have a permit.

Following this Wiley and Jessi, moved to Chefoo. These were some scarce times – about the only food in supply were potatoes and many churches and places were having to close and soon Wiley and all foreigners were assigned to housing units. They soon held services and Wiley was unamoinsly voted Pastor. Eventually they were on their way back to America. Wiley held services on the ship home to a great response. On November 1943 Wiley and Jessi arrived in New York. After Wiley turned seventy there were still many requests from missionaries on the field for him to return to help and preach to all the refugees in the communist overtaken worn torn country. Before he could return he began ministering to Chinese air cadets in training at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. Many men were led to Christ. (p. 214).

Unfortunately Wiley was not able to return to China because of the great communisist takeover and oppression. All foreigners were either made to leave or decided to on their own because of the problem it caused for Chinese Christians. “Sometimes family and others asked if [he] had not thrown [his] life away. Had all the labors in China gone down the drain? ‘No’, [Wiley] said, ‘I am completely satisfied with having given my life to mission work in China. I just wish I had another to give. Although church and mission buildings have been appropriated by the government or destroyed, God remains. And hundreds of thousands of people continue in him and in serving others in his name. The fires that now burn to destroy the Christian religion in China are the crucible of purification that will produce a more virile Christian church – a church that will bless the world in the years ahead.” (p. 218) Throughout the next few years of their lives Wiley and Jessi went around teaching, preaching, and sharing about China and missions wherever they could.

Memorial[edit]

They eventually settled down in Fort Worth, Texas and it was to Wiley’s great joy to teach Sunday school at the Grambling church there. Jessi died on October 14, 1962. Wiley died on November 14, 1967. It was said that Wiley was like a rock in his convictions, and this quality brought stability to all whom he influenced. Withal he was gentle and loving. He was a great preacher. He could read and spoke the Chinese language so that the Chinese respected and loved him. Yet even the unlearned could understand him. He stood on higher ground.” (p. 223)

References[edit]

  • Cauthen, Eloise Glass (1978). Higher ground : biography of Wiley B. Glass, missionary to China. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press. ISBN 978-0-8054-7221-9.