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THE GROWTH OF CHRISTIAN purely imaginary. The churches must have
some vitality if they can go on adding 2400 In view of the frequent intimations by
ministers every year to the great army already
in commission, and furnish means for their infidel or pseudo-scientific writers that Chris
support. tianity is losing its hold upon the world, the
It will be noticed that increase is the rule following statistics of the progress of our and decrease the exception. There are only two American churches, collated by the Inde- cases of decrease in the column of churches, pendent, are well worth preserving for refer- three in that of ministers, and only one in that
of communicants. The Universalists, the
Swedenborgians and the Moravians have lost Four years ago we presented statistics show
slightly-the Moravians, 1 church and 6 min. ing that our churches, not including several
isters; the Swedenborgians, 4 ministers; and denominational fragments, independent con
the Universalists, 24 churches, 40 ministers gregations, the Jews or the Mormons, had 115,
and 688 members. Is not this general fact one 610 churches, 81,717 ministers and 17,267,178
of great significance? members. The totals for the same bodies are
The table of net gains shows that the Methnow 132,435 churches, 91,911 ministers and
odist family is at the head of the list, with the 19,018,977 members. No deduction has been
Baptists second, the Lutherans third, the Pres. made for members in mission fields abroad;
byterians fourth, the Episcopalians fifth, and but, on the other hand, the Methodist statistics
the Congregationalists sixth. The order is a of members do not include the ministers, and
little different if the various families be arthe Congregational statistics do not include the
ranged according to present strength in nummissionary membership of the American Board.
bers. The Methodists are first, the Roman If the exact figures could be known, it is
Catholics second, the Baptists third, the Presquite as likely that they would be larger as
byterians fourth, the Lutherans fifth, the Con. that they would be smaller than those we have
gregationalists sixth, and the Episcopalians given.
seventh. The gains of the four years are magnificent.
More than 132,000 churches, almost 92,000 The net increase of members is 1,631,799. That is, the churches have in this period not only population of less than sixty millions. What
ministers, and over 19,000,000 members in a received enough new members to make good their losses by death, discipline and otherwise,
a mighty force in the education, civilization
and elevation of our country! but to increase the number of professing members by over sixteen hundred thousand. This allows, as will be noticed, only a comparatively
A TOUCHING EXAMPLE.
Wilson. If it were possible for the fund
to be completed by those who have had exmore than ten every day. And every new so
perience of the personal kindness and unciety means a new building, a new building failing sympathy of our late honored assomeans an investment of money, and such in- ciate, the good work would not be long vestments mean faith in the present and future delayed; but their desire far outruns their of Christianity. The increase of ministers is ability. 9694, which is about 12 per cent., and is at the
NEBRASKA rate of 61 a day, or 2423 a year. This, too, is DEAR BROTHER WHITE:-Inclosed please an indication that the alleged decay of faith is find five dollars from Rev. and wife for
The Wilson Memorial Fund. We would re
FROM THE FIELD. joice if it were five hundred dollars instead of
LITCHFIELD, NEB., August 16, 1887. as many cents, but it is all we can give. Mr.
DEAR BROTHER:-Your letter of August 3 is is not able to labor, and we have to hus
at hand, check and insurance receipt received in band our resources to keep off the Board of Relief. But we have known dear Dr. Wilson
good order, for which we
are very thankful. since 1836 intimately, and knew personally of
Nothing preventing, we shall dedicate our church his devotion to and labors for church erection,
August 28 free of debt. It will cost us about fifnobly giving the Board favor in all the teen hundred dollars. It is a nice building, and churches. May God abundantly bless all your we all send thanks to the Board of Church Erecefforts to fill his place.
tion, for without its help we could not have built. Respectfully yours in Christ,
So God bless all of you, and God bless those who
gave that the Board might give.
S. P. DILLON. "MOTHER OF MANY CHURCHES.”
MEDFORD, OR., August 15, 1887. The historic church of Setauket, Long Rev. E. N. WHITE. Island, although nearly two hundred and DEAR BROTHER — Yesterday, just before preachfifty years old, is, as the following excerpt ing in Medford, I received your draft for $500 from indicates, still full of youthful vigor. The
the Board of Erection Fund, to help us pay for our Board of Church Erection in this case has
new church edifice in Medford. Mrs. W. and I no pecuniary interest in the good work, but were on our way to the church and Sabbath-school, none the less extends to the Rev. Mr. Littell
and our hearts fairly danced with joy when we and his people its affectionate congratula
read your letter. Thank God and your noble tions.
Board! As we met one member of our church
after another I shook your letter at them and said, Rev. William H. Littell, a commissioner to
$500 to pay for our church! and so the news the last General Assembly, is happy over the
spread like wildfire and there was general rejoicdedication of a chapel at Stony Brook, Long Island, within the borders of his parish. He
ing. This puts the church squarely on her feet, is the ninth pastor of the Presbyterian church
with no debt. We will now prepare to dedicate at Setauket, Long Island, whose corporate
soon as we can make further arrangements, such dame, “The First Presbyterian Church of as a couple of chairs for the pulpit, a table for the Brookhaven," indicates that it is the first Bible, carpet for the pulpit and the aisles, lamps, church organized in that town, thirteen miles etc. The ladies wish at least to try and get the square, extending across the island. The or- pulpit in some sort of shipshape. ganization is lost in obscurity, but dates back
Well! Again receive our thanks for giving prior to 1665. She is the mother of many
" that sponge" so good a squeeze. More anon. churches, but still has under her care the
Most truly yours, with delight, services at Stony Brook, four miles distant, that have been held alternate Sabbaths for
M. A. WILLIAMS. many years. These have resulted in efforts to secure a place of meeting, and these efforts
COLLEGE OF EMPORIA, have been crowned with success. A beautiful
EMPORIA, KAN., August 15, 1887. chapel opens its doors week by week to grate- DEAR BROTHER :— Enclosed please find receipt ful worshippers. The cheerful interior of yel- from the trustees of the Cottonwood Falls church. low pine is lighted by windows of rolled cathe
All is prosperous with them and the outlook could dral glass, and the opinion of Rev. John Irwin,
not well be more favorable. On their behalf, I of the Board of Church Erection, who preached tender to you and the Board of Church Erection the dedication sermon, is that more satisfactory
our heartfelt thanks. This gift will be fruitful in results for the money expended cannot be found anywhere. The dedication occurred July 31
strengthening the Redeemer's cause in this promat 3.30 P.M. The pastor was assisted in the ising field. services by Mr. Irwin and neighboring minis
Fraternally yours, ters.
JOHN F. HENDY.
would show the privilege, as well as the A letter received at the office by yester- sacred duty, of the church to care for these day's mail announces the death of one of blessed men, who, “having served their the venerable servants of the church, who generation by the will of God," are laid was in his eighty-ninth year, and who for aside, in their old age and often in extreme several years received aid from the Board want, from the work they love so well. of Relief.
The beloved and honored father who has As may naturally be supposed, from the just been called to his reward, at the age extreme old age of so many upon our roll nearly ninety, was one of these men. The and the broken health of others, such an- paper
which announces his departure says nouncements are not infrequent. Our re- that during the many years of his life, spent port to the last Assembly shows that during in the community where he ended his days, the year ending with its meeting the names
He drew to himself the close friendship of of 28 persons (heads of families) were with- all those with whom he came in contact. drawn from our roll by death.
Every one who knew him was his friend; and Among the many touching and affecting when the news came to our people that his life letters that reach the office are those making had reached its end, they all united in the exthese announcements. It is not only the pression that a noble, exemplary life was children that wri with filial tributes to
closed—a life devoted to labor for the good of the beloved parent and with grateful men
others: self-sacrificing endeavors to contribute
to the happiness, temporal and eternal, of tion of the loving and thoughtful care of
those around him. The earthly career of this the church which cheered his old
veteran of the cross was finished full of years, quently we are told that the remittances
not only counting by the passage of time, but from the Board, bringing as they did many by that sure accounting of the work done, the comforts that would have been sadly missed good deeds accomplished and the brightness in these humble homes, were even
cast upon the lives of others. prized by the aged veteran and his children The aged saint had requested that the as showing God's people were not unmind- funeral services should be quiet and unosful of his services to the generation which tentatious, but a great throng of those to had passed away, and that the church of whom he had long been known showed their Christ would not permit its faithful minis- love and respect by attending the last rites, ters to fall out of its sight and care when, which, the editor says, “were impressively beneath the burden of years, they fall out solemn and beautiful, well befitting the pure of the ranks of the on-moving host. But and noble life just closed." A paper, in addition to these appreciative and grate- memoriam, was read by the pastor of the ful letters, there are those from old friends church, containing a brief review of this and parishioners to whom the death of the long and useful life, largely passed in mispatriarch brings back the memories of long- sionary work, and upon this “laying the gone years, when the faithful minister foundations for future church prosperity wrought with them in his sacred work. It the pastor of the Methodist church, who often happens, too, that others of a more followed with an address, dwelt with special recent generation send tributes to one whom emphasis. Let me quote a few paragraphs they have known only in his old age, but from this paper: whom they have learned to love and revere.
- There was a large family of brothers and Our records are full of such tributes, and sisters, and each one was expected to do his and could they be laid before God's people, her part in providing for the care and increasing
wants of the family. Work on the farm and in understand with what pinching economy the saw-mill, and rafting lumber down the this devoted man and his “true and faithful Susquehanna river, making the return trip on
counsellor and assistant" must have lived foot, filled the time until his majority. About
and brought up their children on those misthis time he made a profession of religion,
sion fields where they were “laying the uniting with the Presbyterian church, and he felt that he was called to prepare himself for
foundations of future church prosperity.” the ministry.
There was little, if any, chance of laying His advantages for schooling had been lim- by anything for their support in old age; ited; but with his Bible, two or three school- yet it was not until the missionary was in books and his scanty wardrobe, all wrapped in his seventy-ninth year that
aid was sent a bundle that he carried in his hand, he started
from the Board to this aged couple. Then, on foot to the nearest available school, a dis
as our records show, this devoted and selftance of fifty miles from home, to prepare for
denying servant of the church, nearly blind his chosen profession. By teaching school in winters at first, and afterwards preaching dur
and after more than a half century of mising vacations and other available times, he
sion work, was “recommended” by his presworked his way through college and the the- bytery for an annual appropriation of $300, ological seminary, and the same earnest, in- and this sum was accordingly sent to him. domitable spirit has characterized his labors as Last year, in the letter to which I refer, he & minister.
wrote me that his son, who had reduced this He was the associate and co-laborer of the
appropriation to $200, was now in a condiRev. Dr. Charles Finney, of Ohio, in his won
tion to claim the privilege of taking the derful revival work, and with him and in his own special work he conducted over one hun
entire care of his aged parents; and with dred revivals of religion.
many expressions of gratitude for what the He never labored for popular applause, nor
Board had done for him and with pardonsought for easy places of work. Possessed of able parental pride in this act of filial devowonderful vitality and a constitution seldom
says, “My son will now take your equalled, he was to a certain extent reckless of
place, and the Board need not make me any bis strength and health in carrying out what further appropriation." he thought to be his duty, until as years ad
Thrice happy indeed is the minister's son, vanced he found that he had overtaxed his nervous vitality, and for a number of years he
or any son, who is thus privileged to assume
the whole care of his aged parents. It may has been unable to attend to the active duties of his profession. But he never ceased his
involve great self-denial and close economy study of its inexhaustible fields of thought;
in his own personal and family expenses, and those of his ministerial brethren and but is there not a blessing in it? Christian friends who have enjoyed conversa- But when the aged father (to whom the tion with him on the chosen themes of bis semi-annual appropriation of $100 had alstudy, even within the last few months, have ready been sent) wrote to me, “I do not remarked upon the depth of thought and wonderful clearness of comprehension of those
feel at liberty to receive it because my son themes that seemed to fill his soul.
now makes me that,” I could not help thinkAugust 24, 1831, he married Miss who
ing that the church, no less than the son, was a true and faithful counsellor and assistant has its high privilege and sacred duty in such to him in his work, and in the later years of a case, and that for the church, too, there is their declining life a true and loving compan- a blessing in the discharge of this filial duty. ion until her death, January, 1887—just seven Why should not this aged missionary, then months of separation !
in his eighty-eighth year, continue to receive But the letter that lies
before me, from the church he has so long and so faithwritten by a loving son who signs himself, fully served this modest sum of $200 during " with a sad heart, Yours, etc.,” recalls one the few remaining years of his life? written to me last year by his venerable In the letter from which I have quoted he father.
says (referring to this $100 sent to him from The readers of THE CHURCH can well the Board), “I can use every penny of it in defraying necessary expenses, as I have questions and making no explanations, to been under the doctor's care all the season get what they can from any source and hold up to this month, and my wife has been on to what they can get. Can you really during the most of this month, and will be blame them? They would not do a conI know not how long.” A grateful church, scious wrong, but the instinct of self-preserout of its abundant wealth, ought to be glad vation may lead the best of people, after to send its aged servant this modest help, long and weary years of sickness and povnot merely because it was really needed “in erty, to do what they themselves, in more defraying necessary expenses,” but because favored circumstances, would have regarded it was fairly earned—“every penny of it”. as wanting at least in delicacy. But our during the long years the missionary had records show many instances, like the above, served the church upon a stipend barely of sensitive and delicate honor. The Febsufficient for his annual support. The an- ruary number of THE CHURCH (page 153) nuity should go to such men not as charity gives one of these. An aged minister, who or as alms given to the worthy and deserv- has an invalid wife and daughter depending ing poor, but as the payment (in part of upon him and no possessions except a little what the church owes them. Just debts home mortgaged to its full value, returns to should be paid whether the creditor be poor the Board $100 of the $150 sent as his semior not.
annual appropriation. During these six It was under the profound conviction that months he had found temporary employment, some such "annuities” should be provided and this seemed to him to render unnecessary for the Veterans worn out in the pastorate the full appropriation recommended by the of our church or in its missionary work, that presbytery and voted by the Board! Many I wrote the ministerial relief pages of this
such instances might be given. magazine for May and June. I will not The following letter, which tells its own repeat what I have there said; but will you story, was received since this article was not turn to your file of THE CHURCH, and commenced. The one who “is in doubt" read pages 437–440 and 533–536 in this is a minister's widow in her eighty-third connection ? or, if you have sent your copies year, who, by the recommendation of presaway, will you not allow me to send you bytery, has been receiving from the Board others ?
an annual appropriation of $150 ! And will you not thoughtfully and seri
Mrs. is in doubt whether she ought to ously consider your own responsibility in
keep the check or not, as she has rented ber this matter—especially in this centennial house, the tenants to take possession the 1st year?
of September, and if she should have no sick
ness or extra expenses, and if the tenants pay APPROPRIATIONS DECLINED. the rent as agreed, she thinks she could manage
to live upon the rent. She was eighty-two The delicacy which led this aged mission
years old yesterday. She says if there are ary to decline receiving the hundred dollars
others suffering for aid and needing it more even after it was placed in his hands by the than she, she will willingly return it; so she recommendation of his presbytery is not un- will not sign the receipt until she hears from usual among those upon our roll. It may you. be, in some cases, that long wrestling with Are there not many persons in the cirhard and bitter poverty has somewhat cumstances of this aged widow who would blunted the delicate sensibilities which, as a so emphasize the ifs in the above letter as to rule, exist among cultured, educated Chris- have no “doubt” whether this money, which tian people. Such persons, through years is legally hers and is already in her hands, of painful want, may come at last, asking no should be retained ?