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people do Christianity the greatest favor, they aid it more than they can harm it, for the more Christianity is opposed, the more it always prospers. He was quite astonished at this answer. After some time he remarked; I will not believe until I have been convinced, there is much in the Bible that I cannot understand. True, said I, there is much beyond our comprehension, but many things, incomprehensible to the understanding, are revealed to faith. If you intend to seek after Truth with your understanding alone, you will never find it. He rejoined: Christians do not agree amongst themselves, for they have formed themselves into many sects. I answered: They all agree in the main points, they differ in outward forms and in unessentials. He then silently left me.
The following incident is a proof how the Bible impresses, at times, even the careless.—A man, who in general, pays but little attention to religion, said to me; I do not know the reason, but there is something peculiar about the Bible. I have read many Tomanees and novels, but never have a desire to read a book of this kind, for the second time. Now the Bible 1 have read, in my lifetime, more than twenty times, and yet as often as I read it, the same contents always appear new.
Of this kind have been some of the conversations in which I engaged in the course of my visits. In this way I try to scatter the good seed in the hearts of men.
And for each token of success, for every hour of encouragement ■may there be, "to the only wise God our Savior, glory and majesty dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
P. H. Gapp.
COMMUNICATION, NO. VII.
In our last Communication, No. VI., we took a rapid survey of the manifest intentions and designs of God towards man, in His dealings with him, from which we endeavored to discover whether or no our system was agreeably to His will and designs; and to show that those individuals, communities and nations, which have most fully complied with His divine laws, are the most blest, happy and prosperous.—In continuing our reflections on Churchreform, we feel that there are those who will think that we are transcending our proper sphere, in commenting further upon a subject which they may consider we do not understand, and which runs contrary to our usual pursuits,—that though we have the right, it may be the greater virtue, in this case, not to exercise the privilege. We certainly feel that we are open to such censure and admonition, and can sympathize with them in their sentiments; nor would we have presumed to continue the discussion, had it not bees fully and publicly acknowledged, by the assembled ministers of our Church, that it was in an unflourishing, if not deplorable, condition, and which sentiment seems to bo fully participated in, by a great majority of the Church.
In pursuing our reflections we do not expect to unfold to view, ideas particularly new or striking, so much as to recall to mind, truths and corollaries, which have been lost sight of and neglected, and to show how in the ardent pursuit of lesser objects, the greater have been, in a degree, passed by and disregarded.
There is no doubt but that our Church, during the dark ages, was of great service in the preservation of pure and undefiled religion—that when the great body of Christians had become corrupt to the core, it maintained thei Word in primitive truthfulness, and that at its "renewal" at Herrnhut it adhered to these essential characteristics. But whether or no the Church, at and after its renewal, took the best form that circumstances permitted, we will not stop to consider. Sufficient it is, to say, that the direction it did assume was attended with much blessing,—that it exerted a powerful and happy influence in the cause of Christianity, and that, in Europe, and in Heathen lands, its labors are still accompanied with salutary consequences.
In the United States, however, experience bears ample testimony, that many of its European peculiarities, cannot be maintained consistently with the responsibilities and requirements of a Church. We expect to demonstrate that these peculiarities, belonging to it in its capacity as a society, can and should be here annulled. We could not fail to observe that, however friendly and closely allied it was, as a Society, with christians out of its pale, and with other evangelical denominations, it always adhered to an independent ecclesiastical organization. It was ever studious to avoid sectarianism, and to preserve the form of an Episcopal succession and an Apostolic government;—and which, we presume, constituted it a Church in the full meaning of the word, and if it assumed the character and dignity of a Church, it likewise took the responsibilities attached to a Church; responsibilities which are of too grave and serious a nature, to be taken up or laid aside at pleasure; therefore in our argument, we shall consider and treat it as a Church. We believe also it is under this form, in America at least, that we can most successfully and authoritatively proclaim and spread the Gospel. Circumstances here are entirely different from those in Europe; there seems to be neither a want of, nor a field for usefulness, of a Church so constituted. It is but an useless appendage, and branch of its European parent. It seems a stranger to the habits and genius of the co\mtry; uncomfortable and unsatisfactory to itself, and performing but few of the functions of a Church( in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. There seems to be no sufficient reason why it should not be re-constituted, remodeled and adapted to the genius and institutions of the country of its adoption. And it might still maintain much of its original, simple and distinctive character. Some of its features might be more positively and prominently developed, some revised, and others entirely rescinded. This might be done without injury to its catholicity, its evangelicity ,or its unostentaciousness of character. It has by origin, descent and inheritance, the qualifications of a Church, and contains the essential elements of self-preservation, inherent vitality and provisions for its continued existence, and constitutional amendment. It appears that the time for the exercise of these powers and virtues has fully arrived, and it is for this reason that we desire a free, complete and general discussion of the subject. We wish, if possible, to discover the true state of affairs, and with that view to examine what were the original designs of the Church, to see how they have been accomplished,—what their defects, and what their advantages, and to discern from these premises what is required to supply its deficiencies, in order to render it effective in the performance of its functions, in this vast, growing and populous country, in which it has established itself.
Though the various writers upon the different sides of the question may fail to convince each other, and though neither may be exactly right, and the truth may lie among and between them, we believe the great body of the Brethren, who have been silently and thoughtfully looking on, may judge between them, selecting from each such principles and doctrines as may be sound, and, guided by their own reasoning and meditations, will be quite sure to arrive at correct conclusions. God has rarely, or never, endowed any one man with all wisdom, but has rather divided and distributed it among the many; therefore it is from numbers, that it must be Bought and gathered. We have great faith in such a general and numerous jury, and every Confidence in their verdict. In this view, we believe We ate orthodox and not contrary to the ancient principles and practices of the brethren.
With these objects in mind we propose in our future Communications, to review, succinctly, the Church Theoretically, the Church Practically; alid, in a general manner, the Church Requiredly.
A. B. C.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM BR. JESSE VOGLER,
New Fairfield, Canada West,
Dear Brother:—Knowing that it will interest you to learn what we are doing here, I have the gratification to state that things bear a brighter aspect than has been the case for several years. The Church is well attended on the Sabbath, and there is reason to hope, that the word is as a good seed sown. The School has likewise been attended since September, and the approaching holidays animate the little group.
Our old br. Lewis is still on earth, but unable to rise from his bed. The Sciatica is wearing his bodily frame away, but his faith in Jesus is growing thereby. His desire is, to be found in the blood-bought righteousness of our Savior, when the last struggle shall come. The other sufferer, sr. Amelia, wife of Timothy is not in such a rapid decline, but still seated on her bed as when you saw her, showing a resignation which is not of flesh and blood. My visits are always welcome, and afford mutual satisfaction.
From br. Jacobson's letter I saw, that Bethlehem is about to be lighted with gas. What would some of those say, whose remains are interred there, if they could rise. Especially should they be told that Fairfield is only some forty hours' travel, off.
We are all well. Truly goodness and mercy have followed us through this year. To him—under whose protection we have come thus far—be all the glory.
Jan. ISth, 1854. We had but few visitors on Christmas and New Year, but a good attendance of Indians. Lewis is sinking rapidly in a happy frame of mind. He surely has been taught of the Spirit. With tears rolling down his wasted cheeks, he said last week—" All my sins from my childhood, up to this moment, I lay at the feet of Jesus my Savior: I know Him—He forgives me all."
What an instructive lesson is presented to us in such cases; how cheering for such poor sinners as we all are! Probably ere this reaches you, his spirit will have left his wasted frame.
Your affectionate brother,
STATEMENT OF THE SEPARATE FUNDS FOR 1852.
I. WE8T INDIA TRAINING-SCHOOL FUND.
In Jamaica Receipts.
Balance from 1851 890 80
Interest on the Fund 768 29
Contributions from Europe and North America 723 56
""Antigua and Jamaica 267 09
The following few remarks may assist to explain the present financial position and prospects of the Brethren's Missions, and thus serve as an introduction to the Annual Statement of the Mission-Board.
1. The fact that the income for 1852 is less than that of the preceding year by about $10975., will hardly escape the notice of our readers. The cause of this apparent diminution is not, however, to be traced to an actual falling off in the receipts for 1852, but simply to the deduction, from the amount of legacies received, of a sum of $11700., for the purpose of augmenting the Fund, estalished some years ago, for the support of the Antigua Training Schools.
2. That the account for the year has been able to bear this loss of income without exhibiting a deficiency, is chiefly owing to the reduced expenditure of the Missions in the West Indies, which, in 1881, was about $28588.; in 1882. only $19853. The large outlay required in the former year, for buildings, amounting to nearly $10975., is sufficient to account for the difference.
3. A novel feature in the above Statement, is the amalgamation of the accounts of the Jamaica and Antigua Training-Schools, which will in future appear under the head of the West India Training-School Fund. Any contributions of our Brethren or friends to this important fund, will be thankfully accepted. The account of the Country Schools in Jamaica, will form a separate Fund, as in the above statement.
That our fellow-servants in the West Indian field will continue to do all in their power, both to limit their own expenses, and to increase the contributions of their flocks, there is no room to doubt; yet it is evident, that, notwithstanding all their efforts, a considerable balance will have to be defrayed by the Church at home, which, in this and the ensuing year, will be seriously augmented by the cost of rebuilding the churches at Friedensthal and Friedcnsfeld in St. Croix, and at St. John's in Antigua. And to enable us to do this, we must solicit the continued assistanoe of the esteemed Christian friends, who have hitherto so generously supplied, what it was beyond our ability to raise.