« PreviousContinue »
are too often wasted in vainly striving to maintain two Methodist chapels in the midst of sparse populations which can properly support only one. In the large towns the strength springing from union and co-operation would enable us to make Home Missionary efforts on a scale commensurate with their vast and appalling necessities. On the other hand, can anyone mention a single reason for continued disunion that would endure a moment's comparison with the incalculable blessings of union? We are thankful that long steps have already been taken in the direction of this blessed result. The flourishing Canadian branch of the Methodist New Connexion has united with the various Churches in Canada, formerly affiliated with our Conference, to form one great “Methodist Church of Canada," which occupies the whole vast territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific shore. There is a strong desire on the part of the Primitive Methodist Church of Canada to enter this great reunited Methodist Church, and we trust that the Primitive Methodist Conferenre in England will take such an enlightened and magnanimous view of the matter as will lead to that beneficent consummation. Coming nearer home, we find that there is every prospect of the Irish Primitive Methodist Church being. united to the Irish branch of the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion. In England itself there is an honourable desire for union on the part of the New Connexion-a desire which we heartily reciprocate. It will be a good day for England and for Protestantism when the New Connexion, the Bible Christians, the United Methodist Churches, and the Primitive Methodist Connexion unite with the parent body to create the “Methodist Church of Britain." In the meantime let us pave the way for that great result by Christian recognition of these sister-Churches, and by fraternal intercourse with them throughout the length and breadth of the land. — The Methodist.
THE CANADIAN CONFERENCES. The three Annual Conferences, formed out of what was formerly comprised in the Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada, and that of the Methodist New Connexion, have held their several sessions. The London Conference met in Brantford, on the 2nd of June ; the Toronto Conference in Picton, on the 9th; and the Montreal Conference in Kingston, on the 16th of the same month. This arrangement gave the General Conference officers, and ihe treasurers of the several funds, an opportunity to be present at each of them, to represent the interests which have been severally committed to their care. It is matter of congratulation and devout ihankfulness to the great Head of the Church that these ecclesiastical gatherings have been attended with so much unanimity of action and cordial good feeling in every instance. Brethren who met together for the first time wrought as harmoniously with one another as if they had never been connected with separate organisations. So far as the ministers are concerned, at least, the union is complete in spirit, as it is in form; and though time may be required to completely heal the wounds which have been inflicted in particular neighbourhoods in former days, and to obliterate the memory of such a state of things, which happily exists no longer, the demonstration of the feasibility of the fusion of all the separated parts of our common Methodism into one homogeneous amalgam may be considered complete. There has been in each of the Conferences a gratifying increase in the membership of the Church, as compared with last year. The work of Church extension has been pushed forward with commendable zeal; and though in some few instances there has been a slight falling off in the funds, it is readily accounted for by the uncommon stringency of the money market, and the commercial depression which has prevailed throughout the country. Upon the whole, the year just closed has been marked by a gratifying degree of prosperity; and while, as a Church, we raise our stone of remembrance, and put upon it the inscription, “Hitherto the Lord hath helped us,” we have a right to “thank God and take courage,” in the confident assurance that“ the Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge.”—Canadian Methodist Magazine.
Methodist New Conncxion.
TREASURER: J. B. WADSWORTH, Esq., HIGHFIELD HOUSE,
MACCLESFIELD. SECRETARY: Rev. S. HULME, HEATON CHAPEL, NEAR STOCKPORT.
- WE publish an interesting letter from Mr. Innocent who recently visited the churches in Laou-Ling. Facts are given which show very conclusively that the work in that populous district is genuine and capable of great expansion, The opinion of Mr. Bryant coincides with that of the Committee and of our brethren in China, that the residence of two missionaries is imperatively necessary for the conservation and extension of our work. But this distribution of the missionaries is not possible till we have four men, exclusive of the one whose services will be required in the Training Institution. Petty persecutions now and then occur in this district, an instance of which is narrated by Mr. Innocent, but with such exceptions, the churches dwell in peace, our missionaries and their fellow helpers prosecute their work without hindrance, under encouraging tokens of God's presence and blessing. TIENTSIN,
growing churches. The services of July 6th, 1875.
the sanctuary evolved the usual joyMy visit to Laou-Ling, in regard ous interest of the members, and drew to the spiritual interests of the church, together larger numbers than can be was gratifying. I baptized five men, gathered in the absence of the misfive women, and five children. The sionary. The presence of the Lord women and the children are the was also felt among us, and His Word wives or offspring of men already
refreshed the people. connected with the church, and are The dulness of farm labourers is another encouraging proof of the proverbial, and it is a common thing growth of Christian influence in for us to find mechanical and obtuse families. The men may be said to specimens of spiritual life. When represent entirely new conquests, amongst such a people, therefore, we and the breaking up of fresh ground. find one who shows any vivacity in These baptisms were all in the north spiritual matters. his case impresses ern part of the circuit, and thus af us the more. I have met with several ford an additional evidence that the during this visit in whose hearts the Lord is again reviving His work Spirit of God is at work, leading them where coldness has so long prevailed. on to "green pastures and beside We are encouraged by these facts to still waters.'' A man at Wu-Kwanhope that where we have had to Tun, who was last year brought into mourn over decline, we shall soon be the church, is a pleasing instance. able to rejoice over healthy and He is now fifty-six years of age, and
at one time was in very good circumstances, though now
a poor man. He had for many years been the recognized leader in idolatrous festivals, spending his time and money in promoting those scenes of folly and dissipation of which such festivals are the occasion. Now, his heart is altogether changed, and he not only deprecates these proceedings, but has been zealously endeavouring to persuade his old companions to give up the practice, and his neighbours to cease their attendance on such scenes, or even visiting the temples. Of course, he has met with a good deal of abuse, but he seems almost oblivious of this, and thinks chiefly of the few who have seriously listened to his exhortations, and given him
encouragement to think that they will go with him to the chapel and hear the gospel. What struck me was, the keen sense the man has of the truth and reality of God's Word. The passage of Scripture which had most hold on his mind at the time when he came to see me was. “and gather the wheat into his garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 6. Now," he said to me, does not the chaff mean the wicked ?" I replied in the affirmative. He sighed and said, "All my neighbours and old companions are like the chaff! what can I do to save them from the fire ?" In this and a variety of other ways he dwelt on this and kindred passages during my stay, thanking God that He had delivered him from the fire, and de. ploring the wickedness of the people about him and their great danger. He also asked if I would not allow him to go to Tientsin, that he might better study Christian doctrine, and thus fit himself for better instructing his neighbours. He said, “I don't want you to pay me anything—I will keep myself, if you will give me sleeping room, and let me be near the missionaries. I do love the gospel, and I want everybody to know it. I have nothing to keep me at home; my wife is dead, my two sons are married, and can look after the little farm, and they offer to allow me enough to keep me at Tientsin.” And then he added, with beaming eyes, “They, too, (his sons,) want to become Christians, and are so glad that I am one. I satisfied him that under present circumstances it was better
for him to remain at home, but was nevertheless greatly pleased with such a spontaneous effusion of a genuine and generous heart. Several other men, of greater ability, made a similar proposal about going to Tientsin, but none of them showed the same spirituality of mind, or the same obliviousness of self-interest. What an illustration of the truth of the Apostle's words in this man, “ If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new, The enthusiastic idolater is now the enthusiastic Christian, a persecutor made a friend.
At this same place, some of our members have been suffering for some months from the wrongs and insults of a swaggering son of the old squire of the village. He has exercised a sort of terrorism over the people for a long time, and latterly has shown special spite against the Christians. His acts were such as to call for the interference of the magistrate, but the poor people knew that as justice is bought and sold in China, they would not only stand no chance of getting redress if they lodged a complaint against him at the Yamen, but that it would expose them to still greater outrages. This ruffian, however, turned his cattle one day in the spring into a field of wheat belonging to one of our members, who of course turned out the cattle and remonstrated with the offender. The young squire stood on his dignity, and asserted his rufflanly despotism by abusing the poor man, and proceeded to such lengths in the quarrel as to take a band of his men armed with matchlocks and implements of husbandry to the poor man's house to beat him and his family, and drive them from the place. The old man managed, however, to escape privately, and made his way to Tientsin, calling first at Chu-Chia, where Mr. Hu gave him a letter to us stating the whole case. We felt that it was desirable to take some action for the protection of our little church; and on stating the case to our Consul, proposed a plan which he fully approved, but which did not involve (as we did not desire at this stage of the case,) his official interference. On my arrival, I went to see the local magistrate, who received me very courteously, heard
my statement of the whole case, and pleased with the way in which the the annoyances to which our mem thing was settled ; even the squire's bers had been previously subjected, family sent to me expressions of their and claimed that according to Treaty thanks and assurances of permanent our members should not be persecu. good-will towards the little church. ted for their religious opinions. He The incident inspired our members very readily agreed to do all that with confidence, and they rejoiced was necessary if called upon to in that their great enemy had thus been terpose in the matter. I told him we made their friend. We were thankhad no wish to do more at present ful that peace had been secured in a than inform him of the state of way that left no bitterness or ground things, and hoped to be able to ar for revenge when a suitable opporlange privately the settlement of the tunity should present itself. Both matter. This visit to the Mandarin parties invited Mr. Hu and myself to made a great impression on the dinner, the Chinese way of returning young squire, for he had sent his thanks, but we could only accept the spies after us to the city, and they invitation of the Christian brother, returned and reported to him how and very much we enjoyed the good we had been received. I then in things he provided. timated to his father, who called at It may seem to many, that it was the chapel to see me, that we wished a little thing for this man to give this dispute to be settled in a quiet this small sum of money to the church way, and were willing to meet any under such circumstances, but those arbitrators he might appoint to ar who know the Chinese in this part range it, and that I would have of the world, will say, that it was nothing to say in the matter if they what very few men would have done. would only arrange it amongst them He has some noble qualities, which, selves, and at once. There was some under Christian training, and by attempt at evasion, so I sent the divine grace, will make him an excomplainant to the city to lodge his cellent and helpful member of the case, and ask for a summons and a church of Christ. Very few of our trial. When he was gone the offen members appreciate their relation der sent two gentlemen to act for and indebtedness to the church, but him as arbitrators. Mr. Hu and this man has got the true ring in him, another member of the church were and in various ways shows practiappointed to meet them. They dis
cally his disposition to help the cussed and arranged the affair in church. May the Lord raise up among true Chinese style, and the decision us many such men. was, that the offender should apolo We often meet with instances of gize for the wrong he had done, and earnest simple faith among this as a fine, pay the old man his expen people-as to the literal interpreses to Tientsin and back. The hour tation of the word of God—the possiand place were fixed, neither the bility of sickness being cured in temple nor the chapel, but the house answer to prayer, by the direct interof the village schoolmaster ; the position of Christ, as in the days of proud man acknowledged his sin and His flesh. The Chinese are trained apologized to the poor old man in from infancy to pray to certain deities the presence of friends of both in cases of physical suffering, and to parties, and they shook hands, as we regard recovery as the result of the say, and parted friends. When the interference of the God. This is often money for the fine was sent in, the done without the use of medicines, or old man declined receiving a cash, only of such remedies as may be inand wanted to give it towards the dicated by a chance draw from a box expenses of my journey. I would of recipes kept by priests in the not have it, so he forthwith gave it temple. When these ignorant people to the church for the purchase of receive Christianity, they are greatly new seats for the little preaching impressed with the miraculous power room. This is but a brief statement of Christ, and regard this power as of the case ; there were many little available still for those who pray to details both difficult and unpleasant, him. They cannot appreciate arguwhich it is not necessary to mention. ments which go to show that the age It is satisfactory to us to know that of miracles is past; they like a religion ultimately all parties were greatly which can give them physical as well
as spiritual benefits. Two young men little errors are corrected, and much had entered the preparatory school doctrinal and practical instruction we have opened at Chu-Chia, one of conveyed to all who are present. whom stammered very badly, and the But it is most refreshing to be in other froin some throat affection had some of the prayer meetings with hardly any voice. On my representing these poor people-such simplicity. to them that they must go home and such fervour, sach directness of leave the school, they pleaded hard to appeal to God for what they feel be allowed to remain, and they be they want, and all presented through lieved that the Lord would heal them the availing Name, that one cannot of their physical infirmity, for "did doubt the earnestness of the people He not," said they, “make even the or the efficacy of their prayers. dumb to speak?'' and they “constantly prayed that He would heal them.
PROPOSALS FOR L'XION. This is no isolated instance: our There is a Sect very prevalent in churches have many such men ; and Shantung, and in some other places. I have lately heard of a devoted native called the "Mi-Mi-Chiaou." or Secret pastor, in Canton, who is actually Silent Sect. This is the common credited with having performed designation by which they are known several cures by prayer and laying on among the people. It is difficult to of hands.
get acquainted with all their peculiI sometimes find it profitable to arities as they seem to impose a make a little breach in the ordinary solemn restriction on their members and approved method of conducting against divulging certain doctrines the service in the chapel, and on and practices-so that we have only Sunday morning, at Han-Chia, after a general idea of their tenetai
. preaching on 2 Cor. v. 20, I asked the Several of this sect have joined us at members to talk about the subject, different times, and others frequently and let me hear their views, and how attend our services, among whom far they understood my sermon.
I is the head, or leader of the Coogte was greatly pleased to find how fully gation for this particular district. they had got hold of the subject, and I had often seen him at Chu Chia. not only could give the substance of and knew him to be an illiterate but the sermon, but each one used some respectable man. He, however, calleci very apt illustration to set forth the upon me during this visit. with a doctrine of reconciliation with God.” rather novel and plausible proposi. One man very feelingly and graphi tion, namely: that he had been cally described a father sending a recommending his people to come trusty friend to expostulate with a over in a body and join the Yeprodigal son, who is persuaded to C'hiao, or the Jesus sect-and that return home and live a new life, and they had appointed a deputation of the tenderly affectionate reception the six or seven persons to wait upon ne son meets with. Another man, who and here a statement of our doctrines has had a good deal to do with law that they might report to the suits, instanced two neighbours who Society, and if they were satisfed. had a feud, but by the kindly negoti would we be willing to receive then ations of a go-between, have had into our Church ! I felt amazed at their dispute amicably and justly the man's strange proposal, but toid arranged, and become true and loving him I was quite prepared to receive friends. The service was thus a his friends and talk with them about very interesting and profitable one, our doctrines, but their union with and all seemed to enjoy it much. us depended upon their individual At another service, held one evening cordial acceptance of those doctrines. in the Chu-Chia chapel, we had a So, they came and we had a long most profitable conversation on the talk, but of course the subject of • Intercession of Christ.” One young union was not mooted during this man advanced the notion that Christ interview. They listened very seriprayed for those who were dead as ously and attentively to our state well as those who were living, but ments, and Mr. Hu and I elicited he was immediately corrected by a from them some of the views they young student. In this way, and by held. They deprecate all worship of catechetical instruction, the attention idols but invoke the Genii, like the of the people is kept alive, many Taouists. They believe in Heaves