Another very potent incentive to travel has been religion. From its influence have developed the pilgrim and the missionary, types which have furnished some of the greatest travelers of historic times. Pilgrims, led by the desire to visit the holy places of their faith, often undertake journeys of great length and difficulty. Singly or in companies they traverse their hundreds or thousands of miles, their eyes fixed always on the distant goal, and too absorbed in anticipation of the things to be to take notice of the things about them as they go. Treading the same paths which generations before them have trod, whose ups and downs, whose hardships and dangers have become a matter of tradition, they follow like sheep in each other’s footsteps. So they have journeyed and still journey in their thousands, century after century; in early times from China and other parts of Asia to the sacred places of India; from the uttermost parts of Europe to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages; from every corner of the Mohammedan world to Mecca to-day. Each and all are seeking for salvation, for all the reward is of the spirit; we may not blame them, therefore, that they do not heed the world through which they pass.

In one sense pilgrim travel may be said to be centripetal, in that it draws the traveler by known roads to some great center of his faith; missionary travel on the other hand may be said to be centrifugal, in that it leads away from these centers, by untraveled paths into the unknown. Thus the missionary, far more than the pilgrim, has been an explorer; and whether it be the early Buddhist monks who brought their faith from India to much of eastern and southeastern Asia; or Christians who have preached their doctrines in every clime; or fierce followers of the Prophet, who with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other carried Islam alike to Spain and the Spice Islands of the East—all alike have journeyed far and faithfully, led always by the fire of their zeal. They had no foreknowledge of what they might expect, for them new vistas opened as they went; Mohammedans excepted, their lives were spent, their journeys were made, not for their own but for others’ sake; and their interest or pity was aroused in no small degree in the strange peoples whose souls they went to save. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should show a keener interest in what they saw, or that they should have left far more of record than the pilgrim has.

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