« AnkstesnisTęsti »
PRESBYTERIAN GREETING TO THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
AT the celebration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held in Hanson Place, Brooklyn, November 8, 1894, the following paper was presented and read by Rev. J. D. Wells, D.D., President of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions, having its headquarters at 53 Fifth Avenue, New York city:
The Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America sends its greetings to the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church upon the seventy-fifth anniversary of its organization, and tenders its congratulations upon the moral earnestness and distinguished success which have attended its history from the beginning. Although its threescore years and ten have passed, there is no indication that at fourscore years its strength will be labor and sorrow. Rather may it be said that the present decade of its history is thus far attended with greatly increasing vigor, higher hopes, larger plans, more remarkable successes. The last five years have realized a success in the ingathering of ransomed souls to the fold of God which has added new stimulus and encourage. ment to all friends of missions throughout the world. We review with interest your missionary history from the time when your great apostle, John Wesley, caught the missionary spirit of the Moravian, Peter Böhler, and with it began to enkindle the flame among all Methodists, announcing as his motto, "Henceforth my field is the world." Not less strikingly was the hand of God revealed in the means by which your Church was awakened to a home mission spirit when, in 1816, a devout colored man began his volunteer work among the Wyandots, employing a fugitive slave whom he found there as his interpreter.
From the date of your organization, which occurred three years later, you have taken a very prominent part in the pioneer work of our country. We recognize with satisfaction the elasticity and adaptation of your itinerant system to the needs of the newly settled frontier, and congratulate you upon the sanctified common sense and active devotion with which you have borne the messages of the Gospel to the remotest hamlets of the great prairies and to the mining camps of our mountain ranges. We congratulate you also upon the fact that side by side with this aggressive effort to meet the needs of our rapid frontier development you have given greater and ever greater attention to the work of education, until now your colleges and universities and ladies' seminaries are scattered over the land from ocean to ocean.
Meanwhile, your so-called camp meetings of the early days have in very many instances become prominent summer schools, in which, with whatever
lines of study and instruction, the truth as it is in Jesus Christ is held everywhere supreme. You have compelled your brethren of the more conservative Churches to recognize the value of these aggressive methods, until your Chautauqua systems are being quite generally adopted among other branches of the Church. By systematic courses of reading and study carried out through the year the masses of the people, though beyond the reach of so-called higher education, are greatly advancing in literary and Christian culture.
But very naturally we are interested in an especial degree in the foreign missionary department of your denomination. You have found, like so many other branches of the Christian Church, that the greater the earnestness and fullness of your home evangelization, the more your hearts were enlarged for the conquest of the entire world for Christ; while conversely you have learned that the greater your effort and the more earnest your prayers for the spread of the Gospel in heathen lands, the richer were your churches in all that constituted true spiritual prosperity here at home. It was a memorable saying of one of your bishops that "only a missionary spirit which is broad enough to embrace all mankind can ever prove sufficient to make the conquest of a country like ours."
We congratulate you upon your successes in missionary labor upon the continent of Europe. The fidelity and earnestness of your spirit and your methods, the downrightness of your belief in the all-sufficiency of Christ as a vicarious Saviour, and in the need and power of the regenerating work of the Holy Ghost, have enabled you to work marvelous changes in the lapsed and apathetic formalism of even the Protestant Churches of northern Europe You have improved upon the pietism which had already manifested itself here and there as a protest against rationalism, by investing it with a more aggressive element and a more organic and systematized movement among the masses. You have overcome the too great subjectivity of an otherwise fervent piety, and have taught your brethren of the Old World that their light, however brightly burning, is not to be placed under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, where the ignorant masses may see it and be guided by it.
Your missions in India have furnished an interesting study in what might properly be called the science of Christian evangelization. Perhaps you will give us some credit for the excellent oil which you at first borrowed from our lamps in that incomparable native helper, the devout and tireless "Joel." Having barely begun your work in India before the great mutiny of 1857, your missionaries and your native churches received almost at the outset a