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behalf, which the Committee have seconded, and for which they have been encouraged to expect the personal coöperation of the American minister at the court of Berlin.
An impulse has been given to the cause of religious liberty on the continent by an organization of its friends in England, France, Germany and Switzerland. A conference for this purpose was convened at Homburg in August, the form of an association agreed upon, and a permanent committee appointed. A deputation was sent to present the objects of their association before the Kirchentag, or annual conference of the State churches in Prussia, among whom were the Rev. T. R. Brooke, of the Church of England, the Rev. Dr. Steane, Secretary to the British section of the Evangelical Alliance, and the Rev. Dr. Merle D'Aubigné. The first two named were also commissioned to visit several German states, to institute careful inquiry into cases of persecution, and to make representations to the governments in favor of a mere liberal and Christian policy.
Decisive effect is not to be immediately looked for from these measures, beyond the impression they will give of the state of public opinion abroad on Protestant intolerance. The force of this impression was indicated by the discussions in the Kirchentag, A number of leading members expressed themselves with unwonted liberality. No vote was taken to test the feeling of the assembly, but enough was said to demonstrate that there has been a decided advance in the state churches towards just views of Christian liberty. The organization of a branch of the Evangelical Alliance for Germany, whose meetings were held at Berlin immediately before those of the Kirchentag, cannot fail to have a good effect.
Nor should we omit a reference, in this connection, to a declaration of the King of Prussia against the existing church system, avowing his desire to lay aside the ecclesiastical supremacy annexed to his crown, and to see a restoration of the primitive order, the substitution, for the present hierarchical establishment, of "apostolically formed churches," which he describes as "the independent, self-increasing creations by which, as with living stones, the apostles of the Lord commenced the building of His visible church, and in the fire of persecution secured victory for her"-churches, "in each of which the life, the order, and the offices of the universal church of the Lord on earth are brought into activity." His majesty may not have been aware, in framing this declaration, how accurately he was describing the ecclesiastical principles of the sect whose full recognition is so hesitatingly proposed.
The movement in Elberfeld and other parts of the Wüpperthal, noticed in the last report, has received a remarkable impulse by the withdrawal from the established church of two much esteemed pastors, at Elberfeld and Vollmarstein, who have cast in their lot with our brethren, and both by their preaching and through the press are doing efficient service to the cause. The pastor of Vollmarstein was followed by a number of his flock, and a church has been organized. The public mind in all that region was stirred up to a high degree of excitement, at first mingled with bitterness; but the more it appeared that these men steadfastly labored, not to kindle strife and divisions, but to preach in all fidelity the simple gospel of Christ, in meekness instructing those that
opposed themselves, a more pacific temper was induced, and the interest awakened assumed a more decided spiritual character. Persons who began by inquiring after the peculiarities of this strange sect, ended by asking what they must do to be saved. The Church at Barmen, the first organized in the Wüpperthal, grows in numbers and efficiency. Its Sabbath school and other auxiliary agencies had the effect to provoke the established clergyman, a pious man, to emulation in good works, so that in this way, it was significantly remarked, "the Baptists are a blessing to the national church, though a blessing not prayed for."
The progress of the churches generally has not been less cheering than heretofore. In Hamburg, Lübeck, and the duchy of Oldenburg, peace and harmony have prevailed, and the various departments of Christian activity have been efficiently prosecuted and blessed. Large distribution has been made of Scriptures and tracts. The additions to the churches, though less numerous than in former years, have been such as to encourage the brethren and afford ground for devout gratitude. The churches in Würtemberg have enjoyed outward quiet and a healthful increase. At Heilbronn, large congregations have attended on their worship, and twenty-five were added to their fellowship during the year. A relaxation, of the law on the solemnization of marriage has been granted, much to the relief of the Baptist churches. The churches in Hanover are also much favored externally and enjoy a corresponding measure of spiritual prosperity. That at Othfreesen, formed in 1840 of seven members, and severely persecuted till 1847, now numbers eighty-two. In and about Eimbeck there is "a great desire to hear the word of life."
Nor has proof been wanting of the force of the truth in some of those states where persecution has most raged. In Mecklenburg, indeed, so long as the brethren are virtually prisoners, their meetings are effectually suppressed, and nothing is left for them but to endure patiently the evil day. In Bückeburg, the utmost severity has not deprived the church of the comfort of their fellowship, nor prevented them from receiving occasional visits from one who cares for their souls. In electoral Hesse, also, means are found for eluding the vigilance of the police and of gathering in lonely places for social worship. At Cassel, the capital, several have been added to the church. At Offenbach, HesseDarmstadt, and in the neighborhood, there is manifest progress in the face of great enmity. The government is hostile, and threatens severity, but its threats have not been carried into action, and they have not deterred men from identifying themselves with the despised and hated sect. Light is rising on the horizon. Zurich, from which Mr. Bues was expelled about two years ago, has witnessed the baptism of some believers. A clergyman of the Swiss national church has renounced his office rather than continue the practices of infant baptism, confirmation, and indiscriminate communion.
The churches in Prussia have been greatly favored. At Berlin there were additions by baptism nearly every month through the year, and the congregation so increased as to suggest the necessity of soon enlarging the chapel. A meeting has been commenced in another part of the city, a private dwelling being opened for that purpose. Mr. Lehmann, in addition to his pastoral labors, having many cares in connection with the general interests of the mission, and the work in Berlin
nearly absorbing Mr. Bues's time and strength, the outstations have been of necessity somewhat neglected, and they have had diminished prosperity. But in two of them, Seehausen, and Frankfort-on-the-Ôder, a better state of things has existed, meetings have been well attended, and the means of grace blessed.
The church at Stolzenberg, founded in 1849 by a missionary stationed there, has grown to be the largest in Prussia, having now 372 members. Its numerous outstations are interesting fields of labor; three of them might with advantage be recognized as distinct churches, having an average of seventy members resident at each, if suitable men were to be found to take the pastoral care of them. Memel has also a very important church, numbering 301 members, including more men of wealth and social position than any other in Germany. Their chapel, a large and convenient," not splendid, but respectable" edifice, has 800 sittings and 200 in the vestry, and stands on a prominent and beautiful site in what is termed the "New Park." The Sabbath school has one hundred pupils. It had 200 until it was closed by the magistrates, a measure that was reversed on appeal to the government at Berlin. Though it has not fully recovered from that check, it is conducted with much efficiency and success.
At Breslau, and other stations in Prussian Silesia, a Roman Catholic district, the good seed has been diligently scattered. The word has been preached, and Scriptures and tracts have been extensively circulated. The soil is hard and the immediate increase is small, but the laborers faint not and are assured that they shall reap in due season. They were last year visited by Mr. Bues, of Berlin, who was the means of averting some tendencies to errors in discipline, and in promoting harmony, which these tendencies, if unchecked, threatened to disturb.
The associational meetings of the year were seasons of great harmony and Christian enjoyment. That of the Prussian Association, at Stolzenberg, was of unusual interest. The attendance was large, though Western Prussia was but very partially represented. On the Saturday and Sunday before the sessions commenced, twenty persons were baptized and 300 received the Lord's Supper. The statements presented by the delegates were, in every respect but one, of the most encouraging character: the fields were white, the harvest was plenteous, but the laborers were few. Abundant openings presented themselves on the right hand and on the left, but the men were not found to enter them.
In Pomerania are a number of churches founded many years ago, not included in the general fellowship of the German Baptist Union. Some differences in doctrine and disorders in practice separate them. Mr. Lehmann has visited them several times, but without effecting anything. The association determined to send a missionary to reside among them and seek to bring them into harmony with the main body. More details might be given, showing that Germany is truly "a field which the Lord hath blessed." The clear increase of the churches during the year was 403. Over 500 were baptized and 187 were dismissed, chiefly emigrants to the United States, where the most are doubtless gathered into the German churches. The total membership of the churches at the close of 1853 was 4,618.
The number of preaching stations has increased to 388, thirty-two new posts having been entered upon during the year. The number, it is stated, might be doubled, if there were men to occupy them.
The circulation of Scriptures amounted to 61,000 copies, and of tracts to 751,000, besides 10,000 denominational tracts, an unprecedented activity in this department of the mission. Much of the distribution was among emigrants to this country, by which, in connection with the emigration of members of the churches, our German brethren are returning into our own bosom the benefits we have been enabled to communicate to them.
One of the most pressing wants of our brethren in Germany is the means of erecting suitable chapels. In important cities and towns they are unable to receive all who would attend on their worship, and in many places they are compelled to assemble in mean and unwholesome apartments. With a few individual exceptions they are poor, and unable to supply the deficiency. Mr. Oncken has made it his leading object, during his visit among us, to awaken an interest in this matter, and to raise the funds for building fifteen places of worship in towns where they are most needed. The Executive Committee were so impressed by his statements that they felt called upon to facilitate so far as they were able, Mr. Oncken's efforts to accomplish this object. To this end, they have agreed to make a special annual appropriation of $8,000 for five years, beginning with the last, to be expended according to a plan which he cordially approved, for the aid and encouragement of churches in erecting chapels. They are persuaded that the results accomplished by God's blessing on the operations of this important mission need only to be seen and appreciated, to assure it whatever support and assistance it can reasonably ask.
MISSION TO GREECE.
ATHENS.-Rev. A. N. and Mrs. ARNOLD. One native assistant.
CORFU.-Mrs. H. E. DICKSON.
Three stations; two missionaries and three female assistants; one native assistant.
The mission has gone through another year, with little to modify its aspects or its probable future. Its work has been prosecuted steadily and in faith, and with undiminished confidence in the certainty of ultimate success, strengthened by the present production of evident, though limited effects.
At Athens the Sabbath services were regularly attended, with only two interruptions. The number of hearers was somewhat increased, especially after the opening of a new and more convenient place of worship; and from the beginning of the present year has been larger than Mr. Arnold has witnessed since he began preaching in Greek. There have been one or two attempts at disturbance or intimidation, but nothing serious grew out of them. In a few cases the monthly concert of prayer took the place of the Sabbath evening service. That meeting has been observed eleven times, being omitted once to give place to a sermon in English from the Rev. Dr. Kendrick, then visiting Athens. The week day bible class has been suspended during a large part of the year. Mr. Kynegos has continued in the service of the mission, profiting by his opportunities to commend the truth to his countrymen.