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M. Lelievre, the Wesleyan editor of L'Evangeliste, reported on the evangelistic movement now in progress in France. He groups the Protestants into six classes, as follows: The Reformed Church, with its membership of 560,000; Church of the Augsburg Confession, (Lutheran,) with its 80,000 members; the English Free Church, with 43 church edifices and 5,000 members; the Wesleyan Methodist Church, with its 28 pastors, 18 evangelists, its' theological seminary, at Lausanne, and 175 preaching places; the Baptist Church; and the English Society of France. His account of the evangelistic work of Mr. and Mrs. M’All reads like a romance. A few days after the disasters of the Commune in Paris, in 1871, these two English people went about Paris, and witnessed the wretchedness of the common people, and especially the religious destitution of the ouvriers, or working people. They held a little meeting, and during its progress a voice spoke out in broken English: “Sir, I have something to say to you. Every-where in this quarter there are thousands and thousands of workmen. We wish no more Romanists. We cannot accept a commanded religion. But if any one will come to us and tell us of another religion, a religion of liberty and equality, many among us are ready to hear.” This Macedonian cry struck deeply. Mr. and Mrs. M'All returned to England, expecting to remain, but could not do so. God called them back again to Paris. They began to organize meetings among the ouvriers. At the first meeting there were 45 people; at the second 100, and at every additional meeting the number increased. During the year 1878 not less than 85,000 people attended the services. At the Sunday-schools there are 13,000 teachers and 42,000 scholars. Already the work has spread beyond Paris, into the remote parts of the country. The movement is under the protection of the government, inasmuch as there is no disposition to found a Church, but only to promote morality among the laboring classes, “moraliser les ouvriers," as it is mildly called by the government and the police.*
The religious state of Great Britain was described by Rev. E. V. Bligh. Ritualism, according to him, is only skindeep. In all parts of the country there are hopeful indications. Even in Ireland there are signs of returning spiritual life. All over England efforts are made for the evangelization of the masses. Street-preaching is frequent in all the larger towns. The labors of Moody and Sankey produced permanent effects. In Glasgow alone there are to-day 7,000 members of Churches as fruits of their meetings. The home mission in London is of great scope and success. The Sunday-schools are constantly increasing in numbers and spiritual influence. The Sabbath is observed as a sacred day, and there is no disposition to compromise it. In Holland, according to Dr. Van Oosterzee, Rome is making rapid progress, and is lavishing her gold in every part of the Netherlands. Even the architecture is taking on the Roman Catholic type every-where. The priesthood are making their threats that Dutch Protestantism is at last dying out. Close beside Romanism, as a bitter foe of Protestant faith, stands the cold spirit of Rationalism. Its advocates call themselves the Moderns. Many of them have a moral seriousness, but reject the supernatural basis of Christianity, and are terribly afflicted with the fear of doctrines. Large groups of them are discussing the question whether Jesus or Buddha is deserving of the higher veneration. The Middle Party consists of the modified continuation of the Gröningen theology. They stand on supernatural soil, but are distrusted by the evangelical theologians because of their warm sympathy with the Moderns. The Orthodox School is too extreme, and goes over into narrow literalism. It stands upon the decrees of Dort, adheres to Calvinistic predestination, and “Christ for the elect.” A mechanical and literal inspection is its shibboleth. Dutch theology, as a whole, is not encouraging. The Church is on the defensive, and so great is the scarcity of clerical candidates that one half of the pulpits are without pastors. Christian life here presents some hopeful indication.
* For a minute account of M'All's great religious work in Paris and elsewhere in France, see Bonar, “White Fields of France." New York: 1879.
The Rev. Dr. Schaff, of New York, presented an account of Christianity in the United States. His remarks needed to be compressed into a half hour, but in published form they make a rich pamphlet of sixty-seven octavo pages.
* America is a continuation of the better Europe. The nationalities of the Old World have commingled in the New, and thrown off many
“Christianity in the United States.” Document XIV of “The Evangelical Alliance." New York, n. d.
of the worse features of European life. The American Republic has solved the problem of a free Church in a free State. It has had a Christian coloring from the beginning. Marriage is a civil contract. Sunday is regarded as both a civil and religious institution. The public schools are a part of our civilization, and will never be given up. The denominationalism of the United States is a normal type of ecclesiastical life, best suited to our civil polity, and only possible to American conditions. The Protestant evangelical denominations rank as follows, in the order of numerical strength : Methodist Episcopal family, Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Protestant Episcopal and Reformed Episcopal, Lutheran, Friends, Irvingites. Then comes the Roman Catholic Church, and, after it, the Heterodox communions-Unitarians, Universalists, Christians, Swedenborgians, and Mormons. Our theological schools are constantly gaining in strength, and especially in the power of original production. No important theological movement abroad fails to receive just attention here. The American Sunday-school has undergone a marvelous development. The American Churches of America spend more men and money for the conversion of the heathen than those of any other country except England. Our religious press is of great power, and is worthy of the influence it wields. The temperance reform belongs to the more remarkable phenomena of our late Church life, and is destined to continue its successful operation. The work of caring for the Freedmen, the Indians, and Chinese is carried on with sacrifice and energy. The Church of the United States has great burdens resting upon it, but shows no lack of spirit to bear them well.
The account of the religious state of Scandinavia was given by Dr. Von Scheele, of the University of Upsala. The chief Church government consists of sixty members, half lay and half clerical. Its sessions are irregular. It has convened but three times since 1865. Professor O. F. Myrberg, of the University of Upsala, represents the skeptical movement now going on in Sweden. He rejects the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, and selects what he pleases from the Bible as worthy of credit. He goes on in his work as professor, and neither Church nor State interferes with him. For a time Walderström was a warm evangelical leader, but he has recently veered round, and
now denies the atonement. The missionary spirit is on the increase, especially in behalf of the Lapps. A new Swedish translation of the Bible is at present in progress, under the direction of Professor C. A. Toren. The attendance at the universities is increasing. In Upsala, for example, there are 1,400 students, of whom 400 study theology. In Norway there is some progress in Christian life, though the skeptical preachers are doing all in their power to sow the seeds of doubt. There are the same general classes of unbelief as in Sweden. Singularly enough, there has been a resolution adopted for the employment of lay preaching throughout the country. This is a great innovation upon the old conservatism of the country. In Denmark there is considerable religious activity, and no little stir in the theological world. Martensen, Nielsen, Madsen, are the leading theologians.
Why do these representatives from Scandinavia—and we might say the same of those of Germany—not make a clean breast of the religious life in their countries? Why do they not also say that their decrepit State Churches are in a desperate condition, and that the chief signs of real religious life are from the “hated sects” that have come in from abroad ? Take away the Baptists and the Methodists from Sweden, and there is but little left from Hammerfest all the way down to Malmö that inspires hope for the future. Even the wiser minds are beginning to see this. Polenz, the author of that remarkable work on French Protestantism “ Der Calvinismus in Frankreich,” wrote a pamphlet, which we have in our possession, in which he attempts to show that the only ground for expecting a more earnest religious life in the Fatherland, is that the sects which have come from America and Great Britain may be able to infuse their own fervor into the lame and halting Churches that are devoid of congregations and all popular confidence, and which would be without pastors if the State treasury did not furnish them with a salary. This silence at Basle, by the continental participants, as to the sublime part now taken in Germany by representatives of the Wesleyans in Great Britain, and the Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches of the United States, is highly significant. It means that the State Church theologians are not yet ready to acknowledge the service of these voluntary and successful workers for the Master. By and by they will see that they are not Greeks, making a present of a fatal horse, but messengers of the word of life to their brethren in the bonds of religions indifference and skeptical darkness. The present generation is too near to take in the full measure of such far-sighted work as the American effort to aid Germany in reaching up to the light once more. · But the time will come when justice will be done. There is an equipoise of justice, a calmer judgment on the great historic forces, which only the marching years can give. •No man can measure the vastness of St. Peter's by sauntering over the great aisles, or standing on the piazza in front; but let him go to the Pincian Hill, or, still better, ten miles off, to the Rubra Saxa, where Constantine saw his vision of the cross, and then he will see the majesty and vastness of Michel Angelo's won derful creation in mid-air.
The state of Italy was described by Professor Comba. Protestants from many lands have concentrated there, and especially in Rome. Since 1820 there has been a forward movement, Italy striving to revive herself. The States of the Church have passed from the map of the world for the first time and the last in a thousand years, and the Bible is printed and circulated in Rome itself. Seven Protestant denominations are represented in the city of Seven Hills, and their motto is, “Here we are, and here we shall stay,”—Siamo a Roma, e ci resteremo. The Waldenses, who stand to-day in the front line of heroes, with the scars of thirty persecutions on them, number in all Italy 56 churches, 32 mission stations, 15,000 communicants, a theological school, 55 pastors, 50 teachers, and 4,400 scholars in the Sunday-schools. The Free Church, founded in the volcanic year 1848, has 8 congregations and 30 stations. The Free Italian Church, beginning in 1865, has 10 pastors, 1 theological school, 606 scholars in Sunday-schools, and 1,649 communicants. The Wesleyan Methodist Church, formed in 1861, has 22 pastors, 6 helpers, 6 evangelists, 1,276 communicants, and 704 Sunday scholars. The Baptist Church, established in 1855, has 9 pastors, 155 members, and 5 Sunday-schools. The Methodist Episcopal Church began in 1873, and now numbers 6 pastors, 9 evangelists, 1 colporteur, 5 Bible readers, and 437 communicants. In Rome itself there are 53 Protestant schools of the various denominations. In the stormy theological part of the