伊諾克•馬瑟•馬文（1823-1877）是循道會（美國南方衛理公會）的主教和作家，1823年6月12日出生在密蘇裡州沃倫縣的鄉村。 1839年加入循道會教堂，1841年被許可佈道，1843年被任命為執事，1845年被任命為長老。美國內戰期間，他曾在同盟軍中擔任牧師，並於1866年在新奧爾良被選為循道會跨密西西比會議的主教。 1876年，他被任命為太平洋地區的主教後，隨即開始了了解循道會海外宣教事工的世界之旅。後來他還出版了幾本書，都是有關世界宣教事工需求方面的。在他去世後不久，有一千五百多人為紀念這位偉大的主教而捐款成立了一所宣教學校。
我們知道林樂知（1836-1907）是一位在中國的非常著名的傳教士。他是循道會於1860年派往中國的，並在中國工作了47年。 1868年，他在上海創辦並編輯了《教會新報》，1874年更名為《萬國公報》。該報為周刊（後來改為月刊），共發行了39年（1868-1907年），對開啟中國讀者的世界觀，尤其是對晚清的維新運動影響巨大，是當時中國知識階層和社會精英了解西方從自然科學到社會歷史知識的重要來源。康有為後來談到該刊物時就曾說對他影響最大的就是傳教士李提摩太（Timothy Richard）和林樂知牧師。林樂知還將十餘部西方自然科學、歷史著作等翻譯成中文，介紹給中國讀者。 1876年，清政府為表彰林樂知在譯書和教學方面的貢獻，還特授予他五品頂戴官銜，後又授予“欽加四品銜” 。
1883年林樂知創立了上海中西書院，並一直擔任校長，直到1895年因健康原因辭職。 1892年，他和循道會傳教士藍柏(James W. Lambuth)創辦了上海中西女塾（後來叫中西女中）。中國早期的不少優秀女性都曾是該校的學生。宋靄齡和宋慶齡姐妹在進入美國衛斯理學院讀書以前也均在該校就讀，作家張愛玲後來也是該校的學生。 1900年，林樂知又在蘇州成立了後來著名的東吳大學，即今蘇州大學[4、5]。
馬文主教是林樂知和循道會中國事工的幕後支持和領導者。在1870年代中期以前，尤其是在1860年代的美國南北內戰期間，循道會的中國事工非常薄弱，林樂知甚至曾經一度不得不尋找傳教以外的其他工作，例如翻譯，來維持自己和家人在中國的生活費用。 1876年馬文被任命為循道會太平洋地區主教後，他的傳教熱忱立即將他帶到了中國。他訪問了位於上海和蘇州的循道會中國宣教站，了解和加強循道會的中國宣教工作。他是循道會歷史上第一位訪問中國的主教，他的訪問被視為循道會中國宣教早期歷史的轉折點。當時，循道會在中國的另一位著名傳教士藍柏評論道：“我們感到在我們中國宣教歷史上這是第一次，是我們在中國本土教會的開端”、“象徵著對中國宣教重新產生興趣。” 
Bishop Enoch M. Marvin: a Strong Supporter of the China Mission
Fig. 1 Portrait of Bishop Enoch Mather Marvin in 1800s, sold in 2016 by an antique seller at Austin, Texas, USA.
When talking about missionaries’ work in China, we naturally focus on the missionaries to China and the work they had done in China. The support from the Christians at home, however, was always very important to the success of the missionaries. The experience of Bishop Marvin provides us with a vivid sample.
Enoch Mather Marvin (1823–1877) is a Methodist bishop and author. He was born in the countryside of Warren County, Missouri, on June 12, 1823. He joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) in 1839, and was licensed to preach in 1841. He was ordained deacon in 1843 and elder in 1845. He served as chaplain in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and was elected bishop of the Trans-Mississippi Conference of the MECS, at New Orleans in 1866. As soon as he was appointed bishop in the Pacific area in 1876, he made a world tour of missions. He later also became the author of several books, each bringing out the need for world missions. Shortly after his death, over fifteen hundred people made contributions in memory of the great bishop for the establishment of a mission school .
We know Young John Allen (January 3, 1836 – May 30, 1907）as a very famous missionary in China. He was sent to China by MECS and worked in China for 47 years. He founded and edited Kiao Hwei Sing Pao in 1868, which was renamed to The Review of the Times (萬國公報), in 1874. It was a weekly (later monthly) publication in China and attracted a wide and influential Chinese readership throughout its thirty-nine-year run (1868-1907). The Qing reformer Kang Youwei (康有為) once said of the publication: “I owe my conversion to reform chiefly on the writings of two missionaries, the Rev. Timothy Richard and the Rev. Dr. Young J. Allen.” . Allen also translated over ten books about natural sciences and histories of the Western countries from English into Chinese. In 1876, in order to recognize his contributions in translating books and teaching, the Qing government conferred him the official title of Five Pins(五品頂戴), and later “Qin Jia Four Pins (欽加四品銜)” 。
Allen founed the Anglo-Chinese College (Shanghai) （上海中西書院）in 1883 and served as president until his resignation in 1895 because of impaired health. In 1892, he was instrumental in founding the McTyeire Home and School (McTyeire School for Girls, 中西女塾), where the Soong sisters attended before they attended Wesleyan College in USA. In 1900, he founded Dongwu University (now Suzhou University) in Suzhou [4、5].
Bishop Marvin was a strong supporter behind the work of Young John Allen and the China mission of MECS. Before the mid-1870s, especially during the Civil War in 1860s, MECS’s support to its China mission was very limited and Young John Allen once had to find other jobs such as translator to support the living of himself and his family in China. In 1876, as soon as Marvin was appointed bishop of MECS in the Pacific area, his missionary interest took him to the fields of China. He visited MECS’s China mission stations at Shanghai and Soochow to review its work and to strengthen its leadership in the China Mission. He was the first bishop to visit China in MECS’s history and his visit was seen as a turning point in the early history of the China Mission of the MECS. James W. Lambuth, another famous missionary of MECS in China at that time, commented: “We feel that we now have, for the first time in our history as a mission in China, the beginning of our native church” “this was a symbol of reviving interest in the China Mission.” 
During Marvin’s visit to China, he organized the first Chinese Mission Conference in December 22, 1876, in Shanghai, and ordained four native helpers as the first group of Chinese preachers in the Church. In addition, Marvin felt a need to expand Southern Methodism’s influence in the Orient by recruiting more missionaries and increasing the financial aid to the China Mission. “Let the Church,” he appealed, “advance in full force upon China . Following Bishop Marvin’s visit to China and his urgent requests for support of the China Mission at home, Y.J. Allen visited USA in 1878 as a delegate to the General Conference to further strengthen the connections of the home board with its China Mission. These appeals encouraged more and more missionaries went to China. For example, Miss Lochie Rankin, another famous missionary of MECS in China whom we have discussed before , went to China in 1878, and her sister went to China in 1879. At the same time, the contributions for foreign missions increased from $65,139 to $160,272 per annum from 1878 to 1882. By 1881, Young John Allen did not need to work on any non-missionary job to earn living support .
Bishop Marvin was of the common people, marked by his ruggedness of character and simplicity. He had never had a day of college training, but he had a deep, impressive piety. He never lost the common touch and was always a favourite of the people. He preached with great power, seeing sinners powerfully convicted and gloriously converted. Some have held that the Southern Methodist Church never produced a man of more eloquence. When he was selected as bishop and the brethren saw him for the first time, certain of them opposed his ordination on the grounds that he wore a flowing beard. The old soldier held his ground, stating, “I was elected with a beard, and you’ll ordain me with a beard!” Thus he became the first man of his church to be elected to the episcopacy with a full beard.