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highest council of our Church. It came to meet a want long and deeply felt; but when it came, that want had grown to such magnitude that its young and inexperienced shoulders could not bear it, and it sank for a time beneath the burdens that were thrust upon it. But when these were lifted it rose into new life and strength, and now already has attained a goodly manhood. It has learned by experience, that dearest though best of schools. It adjusts itself wisely to its task, and, carefully measuring its strength, works up to the full measure of its power. Its growth is one of the marvels of our history. From the period of its organization to November 15, 1866, its receipts and disbursements were $59,277 17, and about 60 Churches were aided. From November 15, 1866, to November 15, 1867, they were $30,961 42, and 65 Churches were aided. From November 15, 1867, to December 31, 1868, they were $51,975 27, and 86 Churches were aided. For the year 1869 they were $77,714 53, and 79 Churches were aided.
The smaller number of Churches aided this year is explained by the fact that during the year money previously borrowed was returned to the amount of $21,400. For the year 1870 the receipts and disbursements were $103,433 44, and 210 Churches were aided. And for the year 1871 they were $165,941 81, and 233 Churches received aid.
This statement does not include amounts borrowed at any time, nor return of loans previously granted by the Society.' It therefore shows the increasing receipts of the Society from year
The aggregate receipts on the various branches of the Loan Fund, exclusive of amounts borrowed on bonds, up to January 1,1872, are $119,742 30, of which $55,551 36 were donated to the Society without restriction, and $64,190 94 subject to life annuity.
The total indebtedness of the Society is represented in bonds, and January 1, 1872, was $31,800, while the Society holds for loans granted, notes, bonds, and mortgages to the amount of $133,972 25.
The interest receivable by the Society is more than equal to the interest and life annuities payable, and the plan insures a still larger difference in favor of the Society, without increasing the rate of interest receivable on loans.
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XXIV.-19
None of our Church societies has ever encountered suchi serious difficulties as did this in its early history, yet no other has ever enjoyed such rapid growth. It required thirty-two years for our Missionary Society to reach an annual income equal to that of our sixth year in this, and it already leads all our other Church benevolences. It has rapidly moved to the front of every similar agency in Protestant Christendom, and yet its legitimate place is only beginning to be recognized. The value of its work in the past is but the earnest of what it will, with increasing strength, do in the future. It challenges the attention of all, but awakens jealousy in none. A few may for a time question whether it will not not reduce the income of the Missionary Society; but a knowledge of the facts and a little reflection will soon dissipate the apprehension.
The actual facts and figures are against it. By aiding to build churches scores of missions are being made self-sustaining; and every one we help to build opens a new or an enlarged source of income for the future work of the whole Church. Recently one of the Baptist missionaries in Burmah, without solicitation, sent a thousand dollars to the Church Edifice Fund, and in so doing wrote:
I fully believe that one thousand dollars so expended in America at the present time will be four times as useful as it would be if expended on heathen ground. The little Churches among the heathen will hereafter reap the benefit as well as the heathen also.
One of our own missionaries who went to India within the last year, before going gave nearly all he had ($1,000) to our Annuity Loan Fund. These cases indicate the true relation of these two great causes to each other, and the proper feeling to be cultivated toward them. The work of Church Extension cannot be carried forward in the home field without that of the Missionary Society, and the work of the Missionary Society is aided and strengthened by it; and by the united work of the two the Church is greatly strengthened for its work in foreign fields.
The Church is one, and its work is one—the conquest of the world for Christ. Let each and every branch of the Church, with every organized agency of power, move forward in the unity of the spirit, in the bonds of peace,” until the earth shall be full of the glory of the Lord.
ART. VII.-WORK FOR THE COMING GENERAL
To perpetuate the revival of which Wesley, Asbury, and
If, therefore, providential designation with any degree of propriety can be pleaded for these features of Methodist church economy, the great men of Methodism ought to be a little wary as to how they lay hands upon them with the view of either their modification or expulsion from the system.
The same principle, namely, divine designation, should be recognized in the adoption of any new measure vitally affecting
the economy of Methodism. No measure of importance should be incorporated into the economy of the Church unless it has become clear that it is both fit and necessary, and will promote the great end of carrying the Church forward in her mission of salvation.
In the light of this principle, and of the facts by which it has been illustrated, the question, Has the hand of God been in the recent measures by which biblical institutes and lay representation have been interpolated into the economy of the Church? becomes a study of no little interest. The general culture of the masses of the people, requiring a more thoroughly cultivated evangelism on the part of the ministry, and the piety, fidelity, intelligence, wealth, and beneficence of large numbers of laymen, and their love for and thorongh loyalty to the Church which has been the agent of their salvation, with their manifested desire for her advancement, would indicate the affirmative of this. Minor matters, proper and useful in all church organizations, may not be of such high import, and consequently may not require such care and scrutiny in connection with their adoption, and, being adopted, may more speedily pass away.
In the light of these preliminaries we inquire, Has the General Conference a work thrust upon it in the order of Providence, and by divine designation, upon which it should enter with all the care and prayer becoming its high position as the chief council of the Church and its only legislative body? We enter upon this subject simply in the light of suggestive inquiry, and consider, 1. Measures pertaining to women; 2. Measures pertaining to literature; 3. Measures pertaining to the itinerancy ; 4. Measures pertaining to property.
I. MEASURES PERTAINING TO WOMEN. During the past dozen years the attention and action of the Church has been employed chiefly upon a single measure, and this embracing, perhaps, but a third of its membership and a quarter of its piety. This action has been nearly completed in the admission of laymen into the General Conference to take part in the deliberations and legislation of that body, and prospectively, as all such measures have their logical results, into the annual conferences, to take part in transacting the business of those bodies. This was a measure well and proper to be done,
and will add to the strength and conservatism of the Church, and thereby perpetuate for a longer time its great leading features. During this period it has scarcely occurred to any who have been bnsying themselves about what they have supposed to be a most vital measure-interesting to such a large and important element of the membership, and also greatly promoting the welfare of the Church itself-that two thirds of its members and three fourths of its piety had no place whatever in either the organic structure of the Church itself or in any of its incidental features or functions, excepting the fact of membership, or the right, as sinners saved, of membership in the Church of God. The Methodist Church, though in the history of its workings it has greatly enlarged the sphere of the religious activity of women, makes no legal provision for their labor as stewards, as class-leaders, as pastors or evangelists, nor as laborers in connection with the sick in hospitals and infirmaries; but rather, in its legal provisions, discriminates against them. In some departments of church work women are employed by the authorities of the Church, but this is merely incidentally, from custom and convenience, and not from legal provision. In the matter of making no legal provision for the work of women, and thus incorporating them into the economy of the Church, the Methodist body is in the same condition with other of the great Churches of our Protestant Christianity, which itself is substantially barren of all provisions for the recognition and labor of women. The abuses of the Catholic Church, arising out of the celibacy of the priesthood and the secluded and isolated condition of its orders of females, were so great, that our ancestors, in breaking loose from that Church, refused to incorporate any of these orders into their Churches. In this they may have committed a blunder which subsequent times, by other methods, may undertake to repair. In part, at least, to repair this blunder of our ancestors, it may be wise in our General Conference to consider whether the Methodist Church has an economy which can safely and successfully employ a portion of the great and vital female force found in every locality in legitimate work for the advancement of the Master's kingdom; whether its firmly organized economy of work and administrative authority will not safely and effectively allow women to be appointed stew