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Bulgarians; and though the work of evangelization made very little visible progress, precious seed was being sowed among that people which has since yielded fruit. In 1865 Bishop Thomson was in the mission, and, with Mr. Long, visited the chief points in Bulgaria, and it seems that he was deeply impressed with the apparent possibilities of the work; and on his return he recommended re-enforcements, which, to some extent, were sent forward. A real revival occurred at Tultcha, and also at Sistof. A long series of conflicts, persecutions, siiccesses, and discouragements make up the record of the · decade, 1870–80. Mr. Long accepted a chair in Robert Col. lege, most of the missionaries left the country, and for a time the work was abandoned by the home authorities, to be renewed again the next year, 1873.
In 1874 Bishop Harris visited the mission, called all the workers together-American and natives—and reorganized the work, which seemed to him to be full of promise. But with the next year came the Russo-Turkish war, of which Bulgaria was the battle-field, and the whole land was swept with a hurricane of destruction and massacre, ending in the erection of the independent Principality of Bulgaria. During these fearful years the mission was entirely broken up and scattered, and a large part of the converts were actually massacred by the Mussulmans, and all the missionaries were called home. But at the earnest prayer of the native preachers in the country, and with the hope that in the new order of things, in free Bulgaria, something better could be done, in 1878 Mr. Flocken was directed to return, which he did, and was not long after followed by Messrs. Challis and Lounsberry, and Messrs. Economoff and Thomoff, native preachers, who had been for some years in this country, students in Drew Theological Seminary. The work, thus renewed, has advanced only moderately, but perhaps not the less hopefully, and in the judgment of the home administration it still affords promises of ultimate success. Probably both the possibilities and the difficulties of the work have been underestimated; the working force has never been equal to the demands made upon it, nor have the means at its disposal been adequate, and the men themselves, faithful and godly missionaries, have not been for the most part endowed with the requisite force and tact, breadth of views and executive talent
that the work in a pre-eminent degree requires. In respect to silent moral educating influences no doubt Dr. Long has rendered an inestimably valuable service, both political and religious, to Bulgaria ; but to redeem that land it must be taken hold of with a strong hand. The Church must move upon it in force if it is to go up to possess the land.
In Roman Catholic countries and among peoples of the Latin race two missions have been undertaken comparatively recently: in Italy and in Mexico. A mission to Rome was the life-long dream of that veteran hater of Romanism, Dr. Charles Elliott, who for forty years ceased not to press the subject upon
the Church, but who died without seeing even the beginning of his Church scheme, though possibly the influences that he left behind him at length became effective, for a member of his family (Dr. L. M. Vernon) was at length the founder of that mission. After the decease of Dr. Elliott, Rev. Gilbert Haven (Bishop) became its champion, and he succeeded in 1870) in procuring a grant from the Board of Managers in its favor, and in 1871 the work was actually begun, Dr. Vernon being sent ont to explore the land, and, if found practicable, to begin the work. The Wesleyan Church of Great Britain were already in the country, having missions established at many of the chief centers, and at their first meeting “Rev. Mr. Piggott, the Wesleyan Superintendent, proposed the union of their forces and ours in one missionary movement, to constitute one Italian Methodism, believing that such united action would be approved and sustained by the Wesleyan Missionary Society. Dr. Vernon at the time concurred in this proposal and reported it favorably to the Mission Rooms. The Board steadily advised a Methodist Episcopal Mission,” (Dr. Reid.) As the Wesleyans were first in the field, the complaint against us for “intrusion” is not without some semblance of justice, if indeed there can be such a thing as "preemption rights” among Churches, or as between distinct but fraternal Methodist bodies. As simply a question of policy, having the best interests of Christ's Kingdom and the advancement of “ Ecumenical” Methodism for its object, the refusal to accept the proposition for united action, and for the localization of Methodism in Italy, self-governing and largely self-supporting, it is at least open to some questioning. As the result of that determination there are now in Italy two Methodisins, of which ours is the second in age and in numerical extent, operating in the same general localities and sometimes in the same towns, a policy which would seem to be not altogether favorable to either economy or “fraternity.” In 1872 Rev. F. A. Spencer became connected with the mission, but continued only one year. Bologna was first selected as the seat of the mission, which has since been transferred to Rome, and its working force augmented by the accession of a number of able and valuable native laborers, both Protestants and converted Romanists. The conversion of Count Campello, and his
quasi and temporary connection with our work, was an event rather notorious than really profitable. The progress of the mission under the wise and energetic administration of Dr. Vernon, who is its only American minister, has been steady and as rapid as could be expected. The work has been organized as an Annual Conference, having (in 1881) thirteen native preachers, with about a thousand Church members, two church buildings with parsonages, of an aggregate valuation of thirty-three thousand dollars; two hundred and forty-two Sunday-school scholars (!), and two hundred and sixteen dollars (twenty-one cents per member) contributed for self support (!!). Probably future reports will set some of these things in a better light, for it may be hoped that even Italian Methodists will be taught that “the collections” are inseparable parts of their religion. If not too late, it might be wise to reopen the subject of the consolidation and naturalization of the now separate Methodist bodies in the kingdom of Italy.
The second mission among peoples of the ecclesiastical and ethnic type referred to above is that in Mexico, undertaken about ten years since. In November, 1871, the sum of ten thousand dollars was placed in the hands of the Board of Managers to be used in the interests of a mission in that country, if found to be practicable. A year later, Dr. William Butler, the pioneer of the mission in India, was sent out to explore the field, and, if the way should seem to be open, to commence the work; and before the end of 1873 he was fairly settled down to his work, and was joined the same year by Rev. T. Carter, of New York, (who returned the next year,) and a little later by Rev. J. W. Butler (his son) and Rev. C. W. Drees, (now in charge.) Dr. Butler entered upon his work with characteristic vigor and boldness, managing his somewhat delicate relations with the government with admirable address, and, despite all obstacles, the mission has been a success from the beginning. It has required a rather liberal use of men and money, administered in some cases without very exact conformity to the instructions from the missionary office, but so as to bring things to pass, which, though, perhaps, not always a safe method of proceeding, is to some extent justified by the outcome, especially as compared with the conservative feebleness exercised in some other cases. Its statistics for 1881 show nine foreign and eight native missionaries, about seven hundred members, and nearly the same number of Sunday-school scholars; it has nine church buildings, valued, with other real estate, at nearly a hundred and twenty thousand dollars; and best of all in what they promise, the contributions of the churches for their own running expenses make a decidedly respectable showing. If the Mexican mission has been a rather expensive one, (costing about two hundred thousand dollars to date, it has something to show for this outlay. Here, too, our work is proceeding side by side with that of another Methodism, (the Church South,) suggesting thoughts of a desirable consolidation,
JAPAN. Nearly simultaneously with the opening of the two lastnamed missions was the beginning of the strictly heathen mission in Japan. The first steps toward its establishment were taken in the autumn of 1872, and the next year Rev. R. S. Maclay, of the Foochow (China) Mission, who was then in this country, was appointed its superintendent. He was soon followed by Revs. J. C. Davison, Julius Soper, and M. C. Harris, and their wives, and, not much later, by Rev. I. H. Correll, (from China.) Bishop Ilarris also visited Japan, almost at the same time, and aided by his counsel in the beginning of the work. The work so begun was a marked success from its incipiency, presenting a marked contrast with that at
Foochow, for in a little over two years the first converts, a gentleman and his wife, were baptized. The progress of this mission has been from the beginning simply marvelous as to its early success, its steady and relatively large increase, and especially its decided and wholesome religious character. To this no doubt the peculiar state of mind of the Japanese at the time largely contributed; the deference of all classes for our western, and especially American, civilization and ideas, and their loss of faith in their ancestral religion, without relapsing into general unbelief and indifference. But the missionaries themselves went there expecting early and abundant results, and for these they lived and labored and believed, and it was done for them according to their faith. There are now in that field, occupying the chief cities, twelve foreign missionaries, distributed, with their native preachers (seven ordained and eight unordained) in three districts, and more than six hundred Church members, and every department of the work shows signs of a wholesome vitality. In that country, also, there are already two or three other kinds of Methodist missionaries, suggesting the inquiry whether both fraternity and efficiency might not be promoted by a closer, organic union.
German Methodism, of the specific type represented by the Methodist Episcopal Church, both in America and Europe, is inseparably associated with the name of Rev. William Nast, who, in early life a student at Tubingen, a classmate of David Frederic Strauss, came to America in 1828, utterly without faith, but very ill-at-case, and having come into certain Methodist associations, he was converted at a Methodist revival, at Danville, Ohio. He soon after began to preach, but found himself unable to use the English language, and therefore his efforts were turned toward his own countrymen-emigrants. Out of these labors grew up the now widely-extended German element in the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose history, however, does not fall within our present design. The German Methodists in this country not only reported to their kindred at home the news of their newly-found salvation, but also soon began to cast longing looks toward the fatherland, and to plead that some one of their ministers might be sent a