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the character of the pastor is examined.” The possible indolence and carelessness of human nature is here provided against in this annual episcopal inquiry. It has in view the urging, all along the line, so apt to be needed. At each session of an Annual Conference the bishop is to “ appoint one of its members with an alternate to preach a mission. ary sermon at its next succeeding session." " At each Annual Conference those who are received on trial or admitted into full membership shall be asked whether they are willing to do so, shall be taken and reported to the corresponding secretaries of the Missionary Society." What an opportunity this for the bishop to form and inspire bands of recruits !
2. The Presiding Elder.—It is the duty of this official to see that the provisions of the Discipline “are faithfully executed in his district.” The phraseology aims at making the presiding elder a diligent friend and helper of missions. He perhaps can, as no other man can, put on effective pressure in aid of the work. He and the district secretary are to cooperate "in planning and holding district missionary meetings and disseminating missionary literature.” In the District Conference he is “to inquire whether all the collections for the benevolent institutions of the Church as recognized in the Discipline are properly attended to in all the pastoral charges.” Suitable measures are to be adopted for promoting their success. He is to see that an apportionment of missionary money to be raised be laid on each charge in the district, and in due time he is to call for a report of the amount raised. In the Quarterly Conference he is to see that this matter again pass in review, and that the charge receive its apportionment, and in due time he is to call for a report of the collection in the Quarterly Conference.
3. The Pastor.-If the unit of effectual work for missions is the individual church, here we touch it. Perhaps no denomination has better methods. The pastor is chairman of the Quarterly Conference Committee on Missions, the object of which is “carrying into effect the Disciplinary measures for the support of our missions." He is to (a) cooperate with this committee in “the diffusion of missionary intelligence among the members of the church and congregation.” () He is to “institute a monthly missionary prayer meeting in each society or church and congregation wherever practical," for prayer for missions, the diffusion of missionary intelligence, and for voluntary offering for the work. (C) He is “to appoint missionary collectors and furnish them with suitable books and instructions.” (d) He is to report at the Annual Conference "a plain transcript” of the work of the collectors, giving the list of the names, real or assumed, of all contributors.
(e) He is to present once a year the subject of missions in each congregation and take a collection for the same. No “omnibus" meets this case. (f) He is to see that “each Sunday school in our churches and congregations is organized into a missionary society." The Discipline aims at making the pastor an earnest, loyal supporter of missions. By some the core of the business is thought to be right here.
4. The Collectors.—What are these but the so-called “gleaners” in other societies? And very important they are. They are (a) to call on each member of the church or congregation, and (6) make monthly returns showing all contributors and amount collected. Here is the “last man plan.”
5. The Individual Member.-As indicated above here we reach the “last man
as contemplated in our Disciplinary plan. The individual membership has not been overlooked. It has sometimes been stated that at this point there is a weakness in our system, but the weakness, if any, is in not working the system. The departure needed is to work the Discipline thoroughly. It provides for reaching every member of the church and congregation with (a) Instruction. It is “the duty of the pastor, aided by the Committee on Missions, to provide for the diffusion of missionary intelligence among the members of the church and congregation.” The church and people are to be instructed through the cooperation, too, of the district secretary and presiding elder “in planning district missionary meetings, and disseminating missionary literature.” The Sunday school also is a training center with its “brief missionary exercises,” its “suitable literature to be distributed in the Sunday school," and the “occasional missionary concert.” To crown all this, it is "the duty of the pastor, with the aid of the Missionary Committee, to present once in the year to each congregation the cause of missions.” “The pastor shall preach or cause to be preached on the occasion one or more sermons." “One Sabbath day" may be given to the cause.
Here is ample provision for instruction. () Our system provides ample opportunity for giving to missions. The collectors, “with suitable books," are to “call on each member of the society or church and congregation " " for his or her annual, semiannual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly contribution." The entry of names of contributors and amounts is to be made. Then we have the gleanings of the Sunday school “at least once a month.” Each Sunday school scholar, however small, may be reached with the “mite boxes,” “collection cards,” and “occasional sales” mentioned in the Constitution of the Sunday School Missionary Society, which makes "all the members of the school members of the Society.” Then there is a final grand field day, the “once in the year” in which “the pastor, with the aid of the Committee on Missions,” rallies the congregation into line for the conquest of the world. This is the big collection day. We thus have a system gauged to reach the entire Church and congregation, old and young, regularly and systematically, ordinarily, and extraordinarily.
We have now inspected the missionary machinery of Methodism from top to bottom, looking at the organization from center to circumference and in relation to everybody in the Church, clerical and lay, old and young. Here is a magnificent, not piece, but piecemeal, of legislation, for it is the gradual outcome of much reviewing and legislating, with large experience, through many years. Here is a development of legis
lation of wonderful breadth and minutia. The first impression of a rapid review, such as we have made, may be that we have too much machinery. But viewed in detail, and as related parts, nothing seems superfluous or cumbersome. Is there anywhere a better brief for pushing the missionary cause than this little book of Discipline, which may be carried in one's vest pocket? May we not well “ ask for the old paths,” and walk more circumspectly in them? This system carried out diligently would transfuse and transform the Church with enthusiasm for missions. Here are well-adjusted great wheels and small wheels, wheels upon wheels, wheels within wheels. From the great episcopal administrator to the prattler in the Sunday school infant class there is something for all to do. Such is the coordination and subordination of the parts of the organization that the word of counsel and urgent exhortation touching this cause from the bishop in Annual Conference, may echo through District and Quarterly Conference, through mission committee and Sunday school society, through presiding elder, preacher in charge, subscription collector, and Sunday school class, till it reaches the infant ticking a penny into the “mite box” ordered for the Sunday school. The connection is perfect ; pressure from the highest governing body and from the greatest functionary of the Church can reach the entire membership of the connection and the children of the home. The great need is a missionary revival that will, so to speak, permeate and oil this machinery through and through and set it in vigorous motion. This is the true departure, into a discussion of which we cannot enter here. How can the Church be fired for this great work? It is not so much the legislative that is needed now as the executive. Let us learn, where we may, from others, but do not let us underrate what the legislative wisdom and godly judgment of our Church, under divine guidance, we may trust, have put in our hands. The system for pushing the missionary cause now in existence in our Church should put two million dollars into the treasury annually. This paper
bas not mentioned our noble Woman's Foreign Missionary Society which is doing so much for the work. Our thought was the Discipline and the parent Society's missionary work. Nor have we entered into the question of a division of the Society into home and foreign, although perfectly convinced that the combined plan is a clumsy and unsuccessful attempt to work two separate interests in one overweighted organization. Let us us have two societies; failing this, two collections specially and separately taken for the home and foreign fields, and administered by the same board for the object to which contributed. Till all this comes let us appreciate thoroughly and work powerfully what we have. Bareilly, India,
T. J. Scott.
“THE NEW DEPARTURE." It is encouraging to the overworked missionary on the field to note how heartily the Church is taking up with Dr. Leonard's proposed "New Departure" in the policy of the Missionary Society, as elaborated in the Review for May, 1898. The essential features of that proposition are, (1) To send out all who give satisfactory evidence of being divinely called; and, (2) to support them only as the gifts of the Church provide for their maintenance.
In thinking the matter over it occurs to one foreign missionary, at least, that it is surprising it should have been assumed all along that the salaries of the missionaries are a first lien upon the appropriations to each field, and that these must be paid in full, whether any other work was provided for or not. It is true that in not a few fields the missionaries have generously relinquished their claim, or else have given out of their salaries proportionately large sums to keep up the other work. But this action has failed to make any marked impression upon the Church at home, as it was done in some of the remote corners of the world, and only in isolated cases.
The reason why missionaries should be satisfied to accept what the Church gives them is that that is what all other Methodist itinerants do. The pastor in America has $1,000 one year, and perhaps $800 the next. He takes his chances. Besides this change of places, which may involve a change of salary, a large per cent of charges do not pay the full claim of the pastor. But the Methodist preacher does not enter into a lawsuit against the stewards for the balance due him. He looks for his reward hereafter. The presiding elder must share these losses pro rata with the pastors. In fact, the only Methodist preachers who, as a class, do not have to run the risk of getting less than their full claim are our bishops, General Conference officers, and missionaries. Dr. Leonard's proposition, if it should be adopted, would place the missionary bishops, the missionary secretaries, and the missionaries of the Church in the same ranks with the other ten thousand odd Methodist itinerants who are at work in the home field. When that takes place perhaps the remaining members of the episcopal board and the handful of General Conference officers will feel so lonesome that they will join the army of their own accord.
However, in order that the foreign missionary may not be put at an unfair disadvantage in his new relation it will be necessary to put each missionary into vital connection with some church or groups of churches in the home land, which will feel responsible for his support, as the pastors and presiding elders are. The present method of responsibility is too generally distributed to be deeply felt anywhere. But if the method, so happily styled "living links" by Bishop Thoburn, is incorporated in Dr. Leonard's plan, the missionaries would not be put at any serious disadvantage over their brethren in the home field. This plan is remarkably successful in the Church Missionary Society, is advocated in the Review of July, 1898, by W. W. Cadle, and was recently adopted, in part at least, by the Baptist Missionary Union. Hinghua, China.
WILLIAM N. BREWSTER.
THE ITINERANTS' CLUB.
THE MINISTER'S NEW YEAR. It seems as if the observance of the new year as a special epoch in life is becoming obsolete. Hitherto it has had two forms. One was the social practice under which New Year's Day became a time for friendly visits or calls, and not infrequently excesses. Every house seemed to be open to everybody else, whether the persons were acquainted with each other or not. This use of the new year had its favorable and its unfavorable side, but the practice has vanished, and the custom is gone of calling on friends after the fashion of the days gone by. The other aspect which was emphasized was the religious feature of the day. It was the time of watch night, when people gathered together and two or three sermons were preached, when prayer meetings were held in succession, and all waited on their knees for the hour of twelve to strike and vowed to live better lives the coming year than they had done before. This observance, too, seems to be passing away.
But there are certain things in connection with the new year which the minister should not let pass. He should not become so accustomed to the onward march of time that he does not pause to review the past and to make pledges for the future. The new year affords a fitting time for him to ask himself questions and to elicit from himself candid answers. He should ask himself what work for God and man he has accomplished in the year past. Not merely how many sermons he has preached, nor how many prayer meetings he has attended, nor how many pastoral visits he has made; but he should inquire what has been actually accomplished, how many have been brought into the kingdom of God through his instrumentality, how many persons have been rescued from downward courses, how many young lives have been inspired by his example or by his instructions. He should ask how much the world would have missed had he not been at work for the past year. The new year is a good time to strike such a balance, to make up the account, and see whether as to the matter of usefulness his life has been worth living. From the standpoint of his failures thus elicited-for, however good his past may have been, he cannot on investigation find it entirely successful-he should resolve that the points in which he has erred will not be those in which he will err the coming year.
He will also do well to inquire at this stage what personal advancement he has made during the past year, intellectual or spiritual. If he has not grown in these respects he certainly has gone backward. How many books has he read that were absolutely worth reading and remembering ? Has he sought out during the year the books that have had to do with live questions and those of deep and significant interest,