Page images

of that hour. “If it be possible, let this cup along paths that have in them no thorns, or pass from Me!" But it was while pouring his to be brought to the end of a life that has heart in prayer to the Father that He was able known no struggles or battles. But we do to say, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as want to make real to ourselves the abiding thou wilt.” Have we personal fears, weak- presence of God. Then, like Moses, we can nesses and temptations, let us lay them before endure, as seeing Him who is invisible; and, God in our closets. Are there hindrances, like Paul, we can glory in our infirmities, difficulties in our work that seem to us insur- that the power of God may rest upon us. mountable, the place to overcome is in our closets. It is here we learn that "it is not by

Letter to the President. might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith

The following letter in regard to educathe Lord.” Are we called to carry burdens

tion in our Island possessions is self-explanthat weigh down our spirits, let us in our story closets cast these burdens, as we are bidden, To His EXCELLENCY. on the Lord, and He will sustain us.

The President of the United States: Notice next: It is as we hold communion

The great additions to the responsibilities with God in prayer that Hecondescends to give necondescends to give of our Government, in connection with Porto

of us revelations of Himself, of His glory, and of

Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippine Islands, His truth. It was as Jesus was praying at the

have brought to our door the duty of decidtime of His baptism that heaven was opened,

ing upon some system of public education by and the Spirit descended in a bodily shape

which the peoples of those islands may be live a dove upon Him, and a voice came from

fitted for such civil responsibilities as are heaven which said, “This is my beloved Son in

required of them by the genius of our form of whom I am well pleased.” The transfigura

government. In doing this it is already aption took place when He went up into a moun

parent that the spirit and the effects of tain to pray. It is stated, that as He prayed,

as he prayed, former relations to a government entirely the fashion of His countenance was altered,

different from ours will project themselves and His raiment was white and glisteniny. It

into the relations with our Government with was as Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises

great force and persistence. in the quiet and solitude of the midnight hour

It is not to be expected that either the that God's power and glory were manifested

ecclesiastical leaders or the untrained peoin the old prison at Philippi. It was as John

ples will be able at once to see the wisdom was in the spirit on the Lord's Day, that he

of our American idea of separating civil heard behind him a great voice, as of a trum

from ecclesiastical affairs. It was naturally pet, and that he saw the exalted Christ walk

to be expected that they would desire a coning the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

tinuation of the old relations, and make a The conditions of these heavenly visions are

strong effort to hinder the acceptance of any the same to-day as in other times. It was

other, said of the Comforter, that when He should

In view of these facts we, the Executive come He would take of the things of Christ,

Board of the American Baptist Home Misand show them to us. Spiritual truths are to

sion Society, desire on behalf of our four milbe spiritually discerned. The natural eye

lion Baptists, to enter our most earnest excannot see them; the natural ear cannot hear

hortation to you to have faith in the idea them. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,

which in this country has enabled the State neither have entered into the heart of man the

to have the benefit of an educational system, things which God hath prepared for them that

and at the same time has made it possible love Him. But God hath revealed them

for the different churches to profit by it unto us by His spirit, for the Spirit searcheth

equally without friction or contention. all things, yea the deep things of God."

We remind you of those chapters of our The Abiding Presence.

history where the State has persistently and Brethren, let it become an abiding convic- triumphantly maintained its idea of the intion with us that nearness to God and fellow- dependence of the churches; those which ship with Him are necessary conditions of record the growth of the same idea from purity in our lives, of power in our preaching, Roger Williams' first experiment in the Charof clear visions of divine truth, and of victory ter of Rhode Island on to its expression in in our work. Engaged as we are in Christian the Constitution of the United States, and work, we cannot ask to be free from all care, those in which the States themselves have to be relieved from all burdens, to be led confirmed the wisdom of it by their action. A great multitude of intelligent citizens nee Reservations. When my work began, of our country hold very sacredly the prin- Oklahoma was comprehended in five counties ciple that any union of Church and State embracing about 2,500 square miles. At that is wrong, and always harmful in results, time I could drive over the entire field in a few however flattering the immediate effects may weeks, which I did many times, staying with seem to be. We therefore most solemnly the people in their dug-outs and sod houses, assure you that no amount of difficulty sharing with them in their coarse fare, often avoided, and no time saved in completing sleeping on the open prairie under my buggy, the system by some other plan, will be a com- and having all the peculiar experiences of a pensation for any sacrifice of the American pioneer missionary. From this small beginprinciple of entire separation of Church and ning Oklahoma has now come to assume much State.

larger proportions. We now have a Territory Our ancestors fought for that principle. of twenty-five organized counties, besides the Our people have been well satisfied with its Kiowa and Comanche, Wichita and Osage operation. Any variation from it will be a Reservations, measuring more than 32,000 denial of great blessing to the new country, square miles, and embracing a population of and an insidious danger to our home insti- 400,000. When I began, we had in Oklahoma tutions.

one Baptist meeting-house, 20 x 30 feet, built We urge upon you to be constant and loyal of cotton-wood boards. Now we have nearly in the defense and propagation of that prin- one hundred comfortable houses, costing from ciple. That you may have the grace to do $500 to $5,000. so will be our prayer.

“At that time there were possibly fifty Very respectfully,

church organizations embracing white and W. C. P. RHOADES,

colored. Now we have more than three hunChairman,

dred. Then we had two men giving their ALEX. TURNBULL,

time to the ministry, a few other farmer

Secretary. preachers made up our preaching force. Since Attest:

that time, principally through the aid of the T. J. MORGAN,

Home Mission Society, we have had the serCorresponding Secretary.

vices of a large number of excellent men,

many of them college and seminary men, Rev. L. J. Dyke's Ten Years' Work

through whose agency we have built up strong in Oklahoma.

churches, so that to-day we are in the lead of

all the denominations. Rev. L. J. Dyke was appointed General

“Of my own personal work: I have planned Missionary to Oklahoma in June, 1890, within

and aided in building fifty-five meeting houses; a year after the opening of the Territory, and

have organized something more than fifty in that capacity continued until the fall of

churches; have had supervision of the Negro 1900, when the new plans of co-operation

work; also superintended the organizing and went into effect. He experienced many of

building of most of our Indian missions. the hardships and difficulties incident to pio

“To give the details of all this work, in al} neer missionary work, but heroically and joy

these vears, would require a large volume.” ously gave himself unstintedly to the task of

It may be added that the erection of nearly establishing Baptist churches, building meet

every one of the fifty-five meeting houses ing houses, and doing everything incidental

named was made possible by the timely aid thereto, so successfully that he leaves many

of the Home Mission Society, and that many living monuments of his indefatigable labors.

of our strongest churches in Oklahoma are In response to our special request for a sum

what they are because of such aid. mary of his work during this formative period in the history of the Territory he has placed at or disposal a brief statement from

Plea for Home Missions." which we make the following extracts:

The report which your Committee on Home “For four years of the ten and one-half that Missions now begins to submit is liable to pass I have been here, my appointment covered beyond the coolness of mere statement into Indian Territory, as well as Oklahoma. In the warmth of a plea. For sixty-eight years this time I have seen the several additions to the Baptist Home Mission Society has wrought, Oklahoma of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe

* Report of Committee on Home Missions, precountry, the Cherokee strip, the Pattawatomie

sented at Yarmouth, Me., September 27, by Rev. H. the Sac and the Fox, the Iowa and the Shaw. W. Tilden. D.D.

with ever-increasing power and usefulness until it has come to be a colossal Christianizing agency which has aroused the admiration and gratitude of all Baptists, not to say all Christians, of our land.

It was born in the hearts of mighty men of God, whose outreaching missionary spirit determined that there should be “no limits to their exertions except the boundaries of the great and extensive country”-i. e., North America-in which it was their “happiness to live.” And even these wide limits have, of late, been extended until the field seems almost without, bounds. The missionary spirit is always moving outward from the Jerusalem of its beginning toward the remoter portions of the race. It seeks all men as the eagle seeks the sun. The open door in Cuba and in the Philippines has called us peremptorily to enter and take possession for Christ, and, more speedily than we think, we may be led into South America, where the fields are fast whitening to the harvest. But it is to be hoped that the interest in the new fields may not lessen, but rather intensify, the effort upon the old central fields of North America, where the main battle for God is to be fought.

Au Expanding Society. The Home Mission Society, wonderful to tell, has, from the very start, been the close and constant companion of the interior expansion of our nation. It was brought into exist. ence for this purpose. From the first there has been an exciting race between the pressing religious needs of an ever-extendirig fron. tier and the attempts of the Society to supply them. During its history scarcely a territory has been settled, or a State born into the Union, apart from the influence of its missionaries. As bold emigrants, one by one, or company by company, have left their Eastern homes and pushed their way to the untenanted soil of the West, there to grapple with untamed nature and encounter name. less privations, our devoted home missionaries have pressed on hard after them, intent on giving them the means of grace which could keep their hearts fixed upon the God of their earlier days and deliver their lives from the debasement of their rustic struggle. And as the rude prairies, here and there, have been smoothed into shape by cultivation, or the forests have bowed before the gleaming ax, in the wood huts and log cabins along the track of such work, by the influence of these

men of God, the voice of prayer and praise has been lifted and the humble chapel of worship has been erected. Thousands of virgin settlements thus made redolent of Christian sentiment dot our Western States, like grains of black pepper upon white paper. The extent of the work done by this honored Society is simply amazing. No human gauge can measure, no statistics can tell, the amount of uplifting influence which this Society has exerted upon the newer portions of our beloved country. You can no more compute the amount of saving health which it has infused into these Western populations than you can unbraid the sunbeams from this year's harvests. Its motherly hands have reached out on the lines of deepest need and healingly touched the most diseased spots of society and of the land. By the mighty force thus wielded, devouring evils have been held off, and sobriety and godliness have been made to abound.

Somo Weighty Figures. Two millions of sermons have been preached by its 25,000 commissioned preachers and teachers. More than 5,000,000 of visits have been made to families and individuals, and 163,000 persons have been baptized. It is evangelizing, teaching, and housing the lost, the ignorant, the destitute of mankind. It has a share in supporting and guiding more than thirty schools among Negroes and Indians and Mexicans. It preaches the gospel to twenty different nationalities, and it is lifting the roof of shelter over many companies of unhoused believers in every part of the land, and in the islands of the sea. These faithful messengers of the Cross have gone to the wigwams of the savage, to the cabins of the black man, and to the adobes of the Mexican, and, as a result, we have Baptists in red, Baptists in black, and Baptists in yellow, as well as Baptists in white; and Negro scholars and statesmen and authors are rising to public view, and once red handed Indian chiefs have stood in our pulpits and be. fore Christian assemblages and meekly told how they had found “the Jesus road," and begged for more missionaries to be sent 10 their yet unconverted tribes.

A Heroic Band. It is with profound gratitude that we remember the noble men that have served and are now serving the Lord under the direction of this Society. It is doubtful it as large a number of Christian workers, anywhere under earthly skies, for the same length of time, have endured more hardships for Christ's sake, con quered more formidable difficulties, or achieved more good than the tens of thousands who have labored under the direction of the Amer ican Baptist Home Mission Society for the sixty-eight years of its history. The list of their names is a roll of modern heroes. They “had an understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.” They have directly besieged the town of Mansoul. They have invented no philosophies, made no achivements in criticism, but they have brought home to multitudes of hearts the transforming power of the gospel. They have striven to set right the central essence of the person. The pungent realities of grace have occupied their whole attention. The fight with evil has been too sharp and constant to permit digressions. The work of the Society now is as thorough and evangelical as it has been in the past, and the missionaries of the present are not less self-forgetful and devoted than their predecessors.

New Work to Be Done. And the work yet to be done is even more important than any that has been done. New towns are starting up all over the great West even as green tips spring to sight one after another on the lately sown grain-field. These vast tracts of fertile land are destined in due time to swarm with human abodes. Already there is great lack of gospel influences. A few years ago there were in Iowa 350 communities without Baptist churches, and half of these without churches of any kind. In Nebraska there were 800 places left to Baptist care, lacking the gospel. One hundred of these places had churches without pastors. In Kansas there were sixteen whole counties, 11,000 square miles, without a single Baptist church. In Colorado there were scores of towns recog. nized on the map which are totally destitute of all religious privileges.

The result of letting all these thousands of communities grow up without the gospel is well known. The Louisiana purchase must be repurchased with a price that is priceless. Beyond the Mississippi lies the Armageddon of the final strife. The intellectual climate is tropical. The play of conflicting opinions is rapid and gleaming. The West is no longer "wild and woolly,” but wise and wicked. It is sturdy work to mold it to the Saviour's law. It will require men of parts as well as of piety.

The West was never more plastic to a touch that is both sound and strong. The powers of wickedness have astutely located themselves here because victories gained here are worth more than anywhere else in the world. The Mississippi valley is the thigh of the nation. Let this be dislocated and we tumble to ruin, But let Jesus Christ conquer here and the victory will spread to the extremities of our dear land. Some of the best people in the world live west of the Mississippi River and some of the worst; but the good ones alone cannot take care of the bad. “Men of Israel, help!"

These reflections bring home again the question of duty. We must see that fresh floods of light need to be sent upon the dark proba lems of the Southland. Patient, winning love is due to the warring tribes of red men. Firm resistance must be made to Romish encroachments upon our liberties. And with what a whirlwind of Christian love should we break in upon those foreign communities scattered through our great country, where no American accent is uttered, no American idea cherished, with the Bible in our hands, the English language upon our tongues, and the starry flag above our heads.

The West. Western Baptists are grateful for what has been done for them by Eastern friends, through the Home Mission Society. The West is the daughter of the East. It is your children that are peopling the vast tracts of our cou occident. The daughter is getting to be larger than the mother. She is very queenly; you will be proud of her some day; but she still needs you niore than ever, as growing daughters always need their mothers. Baptists of Maine and of New England, if you could only know what your Christian benefaction has done for the West, you would forget the sacrifices already made, and thank God for the opportunity of sending your money with your sons and daughters to this most important and hopeful region. No Christian can look upon the whitening fields before the Home Mission Society without being intoxicated with the desire for their immediate occupation by the servants of Christ.--Zion's Advocate.

Northern Minnesota. Your district missionary is becoming more and more in love with this northern part of the State, where it is his privilege to labor. There is always something fascinating about

a new country. And this country is new. If longing to know the truth that night after any one doubts it, a few weeks living in log night they walk to the meetings over six shacks, not as good as an Eastern hen roost, miles. We now have a Sunday school and will convince him. Other things, too, will day school, and hope to continue preaching convince him ere he has slept many nights on here every few weeks until a pastor can be a hard bunk, with sundry small companions, secured and the work settled on a solid founand with the atmosphere outside thirty de- dation. Any church or Sunday school able grees below zero, and chinks between the logs to contribute singing books, Sunday school like cracks in an Indian tepee. Yes, it is a books, or papers they have used, will find the new, but it is a great country, and is being undersigned welcoming any such help if sent Tapidly settled. At present there are good to him at Detroit, Minn., or to Warroad, claims to be had all along the Canada North- Minn. Trusting these items may interest ern, from Warroad to Rainy River, and down some one, I remain, in the Big Fork Country; but at the rate set

LYMAN H. STEINHOFF. tlers are coming from Canada, Iowa and other States, there will be no land to homestead in

Italian Immigration and Missions. a year or two. The soil near Warroad, and on

BY ARIEL BELLONDI. down to Rainy, is a rich, black, sandy loam, with clay subsoil. The Government is just

Immigration from Italy has been heavy now opening this part of the State to settlers. during the last four or five years, and now the

Warroad is on the Canadian Northern numbers are greater on account of hard times Railroad, a new line just being put through in Southern Europe, and the existing reports from Winnipeg to Port Arthur. It is seven of great prosperity in America. The record miles from the Canada line, and at the south- at the Barge Office in New York for this last west corner of the Lake of the Woods where year shows the passing of 341,712 immigrants, the War River flows in. The river and bay of whom 90,019 were Italians, 82,329 coming afford a good anchorage, and the Government from South Italy and 16,690 from the North: has granted money to open the harbor and 40,224 are illiterate. Such immigration build a lighthouse. Then with only twenty- brought to this country $1,094,171, each five miles of canal and locks on Rainy River, person from the North bringing here an averthe lake vessels can sail right to this place. age of $22.40, and from the South. $9.03. When this is brought about Warroad will Sixty-five per cent. of the Italians stop in the become a large city, with great elevators and large cities. much shipping, for it is the farthest point The population of New Jersey was inwest on the Lakes for traffic from the wheat creased in a year by 10,000 Italians. Take fields of all this northwest. A new line of a far-away city—for instance, Denver, Colo.railway is projected to Grand Forks, and the in three years the Italian population reached present line runs away west of Winnipeg. In the number of 12,000. Before the Presiability to prove up and platt the town has dential election I was often asked if the Italian been a hindrance to growth, but this will be is a source of political danger. It must be Temoved inside another month, I am told. remembered that the Italians have loved At present, the population is floating to a liberty longer than the Anglo-Saxons. They large extent; but it is not unlikely that inside are of the blood of Mazzini and Garibaldi. one year there will be over 1,000 inhabitants. While England was ruled by despotism.

Well, your missionary was the first to visit Venice and Florence were republics. Italians this place, and the outlook is promising for a are generally Republicans. They are assimiBaptist church and good house of worship lated quickly into the political American in a few months. The settlers are nearly ways. I have visited many public schools all American or English speaking, and there near the Italian colonies, and they were is a very friendly feeling manifested toward crowded with Italian children. Once I asked the Baptists. Land, and material to build a class of about fifty children, of whom most a church on it, are offered, and we trust to were Italian, how many of them were Italians. crystalize things in a few weeks so as to or- Two arose. And when I asked, How many ganize a church.

Americans? all arose. The need and the hunger for the gospel I have been much pleased in my last visit makes one's heart ache. Think of people to several of our Italian missions to note the who have not heard a gospel sermon for six marked progress in the Sabbath schools, years, whose children have had no school and especially those of Buffalo, N. Y., Newark and no teaching from the Word, who have such Orange, N. J. This year, more than ever,

« PreviousContinue »