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The Methodist Episcopal Church of America seems not at all reluctant to take a leaf ont of the book of British Methodism. 6. The whole matter of observing the year 1884, as the Centennial of the organisation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was referred to the Bishops, to devise a plan for the same, and report it to the Church as early as convenient."
Elaborate statistics of the literature of the Church are given. In connection therewith is the following statement: “From its regular and legitimate business alone, under the careful management of officers selected by the General Conference of the Church, it shows for the last forty-four years a clear profit of nearly three and a quarter million of dollars (£650,000); an average annual profit of seventy-three thousand eight hundred and sixty dollars ! (£14,772). The achievement is without a parallel in the history of religious, benevolent, and ecclesiastical publishing establishments, reflecting great credit upon the fidelity, skill, and business tact of the Book Agents, and upon the general connexional publishing system adopted by the Church.”
We are informed that “the first Methodist book ever issued in America was Wesley's Sermons, printed and circulated by Robert Williams, previous to the opening of a connexional publishing house." At present “the publications are English, German, French, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Italian, American, Indian, Anglo-Saxon, and Ancient Greek. The different pictorial engravings owned by the Methodist Book Concern, and used thus far in illustrating the numerous publications, fill a list of about 14,000, and the specimen engravings cover the pages of several immense folio volumes."
“The total number of periodicals in the Methodist Episcopal Church is 64; aggregate in various branches of Methodism, 159."
Among the institutions of the Methodist Episcopal Church is a Women's Foreign Missionary Society," Organised in Boston, March 22nd, 1869; nationalised in 1870, under a constitution providing for ten co-ordinate branches; and received official recognition and formal approval of the General Conference in 1872.” This Society, according to its report of 1880, has “ built, purchased, and sustained three orphanages, three hospitals, ten dispensaries, thirteen boarding schools, and eight homes for missionaries : fifty-two single ladies had gone out as missionaries, nearly two hundred native teachers and Bible women bad been employed in disseminating Christian truth, and numerous day and Sunday-schools, superintended by the wives of missionaries, had been established and supported in all fields. For the maintenance of these enterprises 590,966 dollars (£118,193) had passed throngh the treasury. India, China, Japan, Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico, and Africa, were embraced in the Society's foreign work.”
Another institution sustained by the Church, is the “ Freedmen's Aid Society.” “Up to May 1, 1880, the Society had aided in the establishment and support of (many) schools, six of which have full collegiate powers.” The receipts for the preceding four years amounted to 266,243 dollars (£53,248).
The Church has a Sunday-school Union, comprising 20,340 schools ; 226,367 officers and teachers, and 1,538,311 scholars. During the last four years 352,908 professed conversions were reported. The Inter
. national Sunday-school lessons are said to be in use “by more than 6,000,000 pupils in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, the Sandwich Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, India, and China."
In the United States there are ninety-five annual Conferences, 11,798 itinerant preachers, and 12,620 local preachers, belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church. The number of the latter seems to us small in comparison of the former; the excess being only 822. But the relations of the two orders there are different from what they are with us.. There is a constant interchange of position going on there. They do not class their Local Preachers as laymen, but as ministers entitled to the style of Reverend. In 1879 there were 1,359 Local Preachers stationed as pastors. In the same year 1,111 Local Preachers entered the itinerant ministry, and 155 itinerants returned to the local ranks. All the itinerants, “except those received from other religious and evangelical Churches, have been received from the Local Preachers' ranks.” Classleaders, nunbering 85,270, are placed with the enumeration of Lay Officers. The number of presiding elders is 456, and the total of lay members in full connexion, 1,544,118, besides 179,029 on trial.
The annual collections are nine in number, and the sum total raised for all porposes, as near as could be ascertained for the year 1880, was about £2,893,000.
A“ Course of Study for Local Preachers ” is prescribed, for a period of four years. It comprises Christian Theology, Bible History, Catechism, Life of Wesley, Church History, Methodist and National History, Ecclesiastical History, Logic, &c., but it does not include the study of languages.
The “ National Association of Local Preachers” has its place in the “ Year Book ;” and so has the “ American Bible Society." Under the heading of “ John Street Church, New York,” we find the following intimation : “As the centennial of the organisation of the Methodist Episcopal Church will occur in 1884, we suggest, without entering into details, that it may be feasible to interest the entire Methodism of our own country, as well as that of the mother country and the Canadas, in perpetuating this old historic Church, planted more than a hundred years ago, to evidence on this continent the truth of John Wesley's maxim— maxim we, his children, hold as our own—The world is our parish.' We also recommend the editors of our papers to render such aid as may be necessary to carry out the suggestions of this report."
Some information is given as to what has been done and what is intended to be done in reference to the projected “ Ecumenical Methodist Conference," or Congress; but we have not space for extracts.
The publishing houses throughout the States, Great Britain, and other countries, are giren, to the number of sixteen; besides which there are four Book Concerns in different parts of the States ; making twenty great reservoirs of Methodist literature pouring out perpetual streams of bealing waters over our plague-smitten planet, to neutralise the influences of paganism, popery, atheism, materialism, and the multiplied forms of wickedness everywhere.
In the “General Summary of Methodists,” giving a host of statistics, we find the number of Wesleyan Local Preachers in Great Britain stated at 18,711; and throughout the world, 85,460. The total number of itinerant ministers is stated as 31,731.
In reference to Sunday-schools, we read : “ Probably the largest aggregate attendance in any Sunday-school in the world is at Stockport, England. The school there was founded in 1784. It has four branches. The parent school includes about 3,600 scholars, and the four branches about 1,200; about 4,800 in all. There are more than four hundred teachers. Probably the largest single school in the United States is the Bethel Mission, at Cincinnati, with a membership of about 3,000.”
There is a vast amount of other miscellaneous information in the book, not omitting the “ Salvation Army,” and the postal rates and arrangements. We have noticed what we thought likely most to interest our own readers, and all the rest we leave. We
e can only congratulate our American brethren on the vast results of that great work which was begun,. ander God's grace, by an Irish immigrant, and he a zealous Local Preacher. May the Lord make them a hundred times so many as they are, and make us as prosperous as they !
THE WESLEYAN METHODIST LOCAL PREACHERS'
BRO. Thos. CUTHBERTSON, London, President.
A considerable number of the country members of General Committee being in town to attend the Bazaar, there was a large gathering at the meeting, held on Saturday evening, June 8tb. Large bills bad been issued, announcing a long list of services on the Sunday, including lovefeasts.
Monday, June 10th, the business meeting began at half-past ten. Report stated the number of members to be 1,965 benefit and 476 honorary, being a decrease of 26 benefit and 14 honorary ; total decrease, 40. Subscriptions of benefit members, £1,017 03. 1d., being a decrease of £37 78. 10d. Joint-stock bad decreased to £3,049 9s. 4d. Total decrease on the year, £194 28. 11d.
Bro. Thomas Cuthbertson was unanimously elected President, Bro. Wild re-elected Treasurer, and Bro. Wade re-elected Hon. Secretary.
This being the triennial year, when alterations could be made in the rules, it was proposed to open the Association to other sections of the Methodist family. This proposition was discussed with considerable spirit, but was negatived by 38 to 20. No other important alteration was made, so that the Association kept on its old lines.
The Maguzine.— The Association having had to pay £72 10s. 7d., for 1859, above the receipts, this deficit was by no means a pleasant thing; and the brother who introduced the subject said: "He had thought about it, and it would be a great burden off his mind, and a great relief to the Committee, to have done with the Magazine; but then, what were they to do? How could the work be done?” He concluded his remarks by proposing that it be continued. A long discussion followed, when it was incidentally determined to give a copy of the Magazine monthly to each honorary member.
Let us just look at this word, incidentally. This little incident has been attended by the greatest benefit to the Association. The Magazine coming into the hands of the hon, members month by month, has kept the Association constantly before them. Many of them would have been lost had it not been for this modest monthly visitor, that has silently reminded them of the pressing claims of the old, worn-out Local Preachers.
The business meeting was succeeded by a public meeting, as usual. But it will not do to dismiss this year so summarily; for while the brethren are, or have been, attending to their business, there are sisters attending to theirs. This is the year of the GREAT Bazaar. For this they had been preparing for twelve months; and now here are the products laid out in the elegant Hanover Square Rooms, on tastily ornamented stalls. These stalls bave the names of the places from wbence they have obtained their wares, such as Hinckley, Birmingham, Wakefield, Framlingham, Aylesbury, Derby, North End (this was the Lady Treasurer's stall). Then there was the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th London, Sydenham, Sheffield, York, Newport, Northampton, Towcester, Burton, Andover, Mitcham, Fakenham, and even Edinburgh was represented. But what is to be said of the untiring workers, with their twelve months' preparation, and the attendance of these ladies from all parts of London day after day? For the Bazaar was open for a week. It must be remembered that not only did the places enumerated above furnish
stalls, but sent their lady attendants, at great cost and labour. The result, however, was very cheering. About $1,000 was realised, after all
, . expenses were paid.
Thomas CUTHBERTSON was born January 16th, 1814, and was translated September 26tb, 1875. Period on earth sixty-one years eight months twelve days.
It will be no reflection on the other brethren noticed, to say that Bro. Cuthbertson lived longer and did more for the Association than either of those who preceded him; and, perhaps, it would not be saying too much, if we say that few who have succeeded him have reached his standard. For he was to all intents and purposes “ in labours more abundant.”
Our acquaintance with him begun in 1849; and from that time it did us good to meet him. His sunny, cheerful countenance, dissipated at once any gloom we might have hanging over us. There was a buoyancy about him which bore us up when we were sinking. His hopefulness chased away
all our fears when we came into association with him. He was a whole man. Having made his choice, there was no hesitating or going back. It was forward; and he had the rare talent of taking others with him. As one of the founders of our Association, in our opinion, his. efforts and success were equalled by few, and excelled by none. There is the less necessity for us to enlarge here, as a sketch of his life and a capital portrait may be seen in the January number, 1876.
CHAPTER XV.-ANNUAL MEETING AT BATA. 1861.
Bro. John Wade, Mitcham, President. The Annual Meeting was held this year in the city of Bath. The Com- .. mittee met on Saturday evening, June 8th. Sermons were preached by the brethren, and collections made in about twenty chapels in Bath and Bristol.
The Annual Meeting commenced its sittings on Monday morning, Jone. 10th. About filty brethren were present. A long discussion took place on the report. Certain amendments were proposed, but they fell to the ground, and the motion for the reception of the report was carried.
Bro. John Wade was elected President, Bro. Wild re-elected Treasurer, and Bro. Chamberlain Hon. Secretary.
The Report showed 2,015 benefit and 470 hon. members, total 2,485; being an increase of fifty benefit, and a decrease of six hon. members in the year. The benefit members' subscriptions amounted to £1,001 28. 61., being £15 175. 50. less than the preceding year. In consequence of the