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such as "Have you seen God?" "I am neither thief nor murderer," "Neither God nor Master," "When one is dead one is dead," "All religions are alike," &c., which are long passed into proverbial axioms. Notwithstanding blustering rain and blustering people, the house filled, and evening by evening the audience was captivated; several pastors spoke as well as the Director, and well-sung hymns with solos were of powerful aid. The infidels at first claimed a right to reply to the shrewd brushes and homely thrusts of the speakers. But at the close of the series, when the field was opened wide for contradictors of the 200 men sitting in the pit, and the mottled audience above, some looked at each other and made signs, but no one stirred. The field was won; it was a real victory. "Clear, simple, sound, and powerful," is the verdict of a professor of a Marseilles College; "I had come with a degree of sceptical indifference," he writes, " but absolutely could not remain unmoved under the sincere and vibrating language of the speakers, and then a vague feeling of deep reverence akin to admiration for the courage of the lecturers. Such courage is rarely met with in these cruel present times. I lovingly admire the courage that sounds in the people's ears the well-nigh obsolete words of immortality, righteousness, order, authority. The harvest might be abundant; what is needed are men to gather it in." The Methodist Evangelista suggests sensibly that similar efforts be made wherever possible. The Inner Mission is willing to quicken its speed, and also longs to see others rise up and fight the adversary on its own aggressive lines, for truly a spasmodic action now and then, and here and there, is not enough.
Evangelistic missions are undertaken from time to time. A young pastor has lately been remarkably successful in reviving the Free Church in Nimes and obtaining several conversions. But the most remarkable event of the month is the opening of Havre to the Salvation Army. From the côte to the shore, the whole city has been moved by the "Conferences" of Maréchale Booth-Clibborn. The largest concert-room in the place, evening after evening, has been crammed with its 800 eager hearers, each admitted by card; besides women's meeting of 600, and meetings in the newly-opened Salvationist premises. The first evening, a posse of foolish fellows, stirred up by silly newspaper articles, attempted disturbance, but French authorities and French law soon effected perfect quiet. The subjects treated by the Maréchale and her staff (among whom are a son and daughter of the late Napoleon Roussel) have been "The Religion of God," "A Fatal Choice," "What would Christ say if He came to Havre?" "The Hope of France." Night after night anxious souls come forward, and cases of hopeful conversion to God occur. Incessant visits from interesting people take place during the daytime. The Havre population was never so stirred; Protestants, Jews, Roman Catholics, press into the meetings. Cordiality and kind hospitality are shown by Christian friends, and leaders of other missions give practical help and hearty sympathy.
(From our own Correspondent.)
BERLIN, June 16, 1894. I NEED not dwell at length on the Jubilee Conference of the Young Men's Christian Association, as reports will come to your columns from other sides; but I will mention that the numerous German delegation (352 members, being more than any other country, except Great Britain and Ireland, sent to the Conference) was deeply grateful for the kind and warm-hearted reception which we met in London. We trust that the impulses given by this large Conference, where fellow-workers met from all parts of the globe, will not be lost upon the work in our own country. In the Berlin Association, 34 Wilhelm Strasse, the Jubilee day, June 6, was also kept, according to proposition of the Geneva Committee, and the attendance was unusually large. Last night several of the delegates reported here at a meeting at the same place.
The Gnadan Conference, which unites every two years the Christian friends who take part in evangelistic work and who wish to be deepened in spiritual life, was held again on May 15 to 17. The small Moravian village, which always hospitably opens its houses for the guests on these occasions, had hardly room for the visitors, who this time reached the number of 200. Perhaps this will make it necessary to remove to a larger place in future, as the Barnet Conference removed to
Mildmay, and a German Mildmay or Keswick this Gnadan Conference truly is. 200 visitors were, without exception, working Christians-from all parts of Germany. A distinct feature of this Conference is that the laymen form the majority, but it is also refreshing to see that a number of young ministers gladly join the gathering and stand up for full evangelical liberty. The death of Baron Oertzen, who had three times presided at this Conference-in 1888, 1890, and 1892,—and of Mr. Sichel was deeply felt. Also some yet living brethren were missing-for instance, Mr. Schrenk. That this, our ablest evangelist and representative of evangelistic work in Germany was prevented from attending, was certainly a loss for the Conference. Yet the Lord, whose presence was so forcibly felt at Gnadan, overruled even this for good. We are to be independent of man, and especially outsiders, who generally called Mr. Schrenk the ruling spirit of the Gnadan Conference, saw that it went on in the same way without him. Count Pückler, of Berlin, presided this time. The subjects treated were: "The Indwelling of the Holy Ghost," Pastor Rischmann; "The Obedience of Faith," Pastor Corper; "The Gathering of Believers," Count Pückler and Mr. Dietrich; and a Bible Class, on John iii., held by Pastor Witt. The practical result of the Conference was that the Committee were instructed to take the whole question of evangelisation in Germany into its hands. The reports from all parts of Germany were very refreshing, and show the growth of truly spiritual Christianity. A great spirit of prayer prevailed in the assembly.
At the same time the Evangelical Social Congress met at Frankfort-on-the-Maine. For the first time another city (Berlin) had been chosen, and in outward respect the Congress was a great success. The attendance was very large, and many spirited addresses delivered. Useful impulses will have been given: but the difficulties of the Congress were visible more clearly. There is, in the Congress, one party which goes very far to meet the wishes of Social Democracy. The more prudent elder members had difficulty to keep the "young ones " down. The alliance between Stöcker and Harnack makes a curious impression. As a simple country pastor rose up to say that Professor Harnack ought first to repent for the great offence he had given by the attacks on the Apostles' Creed, he was, of course, hushed down!
The Berlin City Synod held its annual sitting on the 11th and 12th of this month. Unfortunately, the representation of the Church was not as energetic as the German Parliament. The Church Government, wishing to retain the apprentices' classes on Sunday, proposes to meet the wishes of the City of Berlin by arranging special short services for the young people at the beginning of the classes. This weak measure was assented to.
The much-spoken-of law on the change of the Church Constitution has now received the Royal sanction and been promulgated. The opponents hoped, up to the last moment, that the Emperor might give way.
The Pastors' Conference, held in Berlin every year, in the week after Trinity Sunday, was very well attended this year. The subjects were interesting. Professor Kúhler, of Helb, spoke on the difficulties which prevent so many people from believing, and Professor Schlatter on the sin against the Holy Ghost.
In Bremen a branch of the Alliance is also being formed, a new testimony of
the fact that Alliance principles are gaining ground.
In the Rhine province a large association has been formed, to stand up for the old faith, as it is proclaimed in the creeds of our Church, against the attacks of modern criticism.
The delegates to the London Conference were much struck by the account of the Y.M.C.A. work at the colleges in America; more ought to be done here in this respect. For the past few years an annual students' conference has taken place in Germany; it began at Niesky, a small Moravian colony, and is now held at Frankfort-on-theMaine. The tone of these conferences is deeply spiritual, the distinct aim conversion to the Lord. This makes these conferences very interesting and blessed, but, of course, the attendance is not very large. Now some of our believing professors, finding this conference too narrow, have started another one on a somewhat broader basis. We hope these two conferences will do their work, each in its way, without jealousy of each other. The field is very large, there is ample room for both, and both can work in blessing-the one by reaching larger numbers, the other by going deeper.
MISSION WORK IN BERLIN.
Information about this work is sent by Miss von Blücher, who works there, as follows: "All those who are interested in our work here and love the Alliance will be glad to hear that we have had to take a larger place at 15 Hobenstauffenstrasse. We tried for four months to get a larger place but failed, so gave it up; and then, without any seeking on our part, someone offered to build a place which we should rent. And it was to be built just as we could have wished in every way, almost as if they had known how we wanted it done. So, of course, we thankfully accepted the offer and are now in our new home. Upstairs there is a room holding 300 people and downstairs the smaller rooms used for various meetings. On April 14 we had our opening at which Dr. Baedeker was present and took the lead. All Christians of various denominations were present, with one voice praising God for His goodness and mercy. One thing more ought to be mentioned, and that is, how young and old came the day before the opening bringing gifts. Not only flowers, but various things useful for the furnishing of the rooms, and most touching was their thoughtful kindness. We commend our work here to the prayers and help of all our Christian brethren everywhere."
(From our own Correspondent.)
BERNE, June 16, 1894. THE annual meeting of the Badener Conferenz was held on the 8th and 9th of May, at Baden, near Zurich, when the attendance was larger than ever. Professor Oettli, from Berne, spoke on the activity of the Holy Spirit in the apostolic times and in our own days. Mr. Oettli said, in concluding his speech: How poor we are! Neither in the Established Church nor in the Free Churches do we see pastors of which the Apostle Paul would say, as he said of those of the Church at Ephesusover the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers." How the Apostle Paul began to preach a new reformation in a most stirring manner. Are the members of the Church of Christ prepared to combat the fearfully increasing danger of the Socialist movement? How seldom do we find men who are able to go, filled with the Spirit of God, in front of a Socialistic meeting! How weak do we find ourselves against the ever-widening spread of this madness! How many dissensions have we to deplore!
We owe many thanks to our Lord that He has begun to open our eyes and show us that we are poor indeed. It is to be hoped that we shall have more prayer meetings, more praying in the chamber, more meekness, more concord. It is evident we need to help each other to make progress.
The Rev. Zamperini is still persecuted by the Roman Catholic priests at Castione. They are going from one house to the other collecting subscriptions to have the evangelical meetings stopped. Nevertheless, on May 20, twenty-three persons were present at the meeting; these all will probably have to stand persecution from the Catholics.
Again a member of the Salvation Army has been condemned to prison for two months in the Canton Bâle Campagne. This man continued to sing and pray for a quarter of an hour after nine o'clock in a private room. Had he been drinking, singing, or playing cards in a public-house till midnight nobody would have thought of taking him into custody.
At Bätterkinden in the Canton of Berne, a meeting of Methodists has been disturbed by the captain of the firemen. The captain went into the meeting-room, took the pastor by his arm and pushed him out of the door.
Sunday, June 3, there was a general vote taken, whether the Government shall be obliged to give sufficient and well-paid work to every Swiss citizen. About 74,000 voted in favour of this impossible thing, but 303,000 declined it. There is no other help than in our Lord Christ Jesus.-A. F.
AN interesting and instructive article recently appeared in the Piccolo Messagere, regarding the influences of the present time on the early life of the young men in Italy, more especially in connexion with their university career. The writer says: "For many who enter these institutions their aim and end is either to make a boast of their incredulity, whether it be real or affected, or else to evince a total apathy and indifference to anything approaching to religion, be it in principle or practice. It is only necessary to come in contact for a moment with the student of the day to be convinced that he is well pleased if he feels he can launch the shafts of irony and sarcasm at those who persist in holding to any religious belief. Such men as these, alas! go on to the inevitable goal of sheer atheism, the idea of a God! Well, it was all very well to talk of the Deity in the dark ages, or it may even now be accepted by the credulous and ignorant; but to-day, and among the cultured and instructed-oh, no! If any of these neophytes in wisdom, moved by curiosity, enter one of the places of worship belonging to the Evangelicals, they do so with a kind of complaisant and covert smile, or else show signs that the preacher, during his discourse, annoys or shocks their feelings with regard to the fitness of things. Meanwhile these embryo philosophers, whilst expatiating enthusiastically on science, scarcely being able to find words to express its all-satisfying properties, or terms sufficiently noble and lofty to do it justice, spend the greater part of their time in reading romances, too often of a kind which ought neither to have been written or published. They would not for all the world omit going to the theatre or café-chantant in the evening, or hesitate to wear themselves out by keeping late hours at balls, or by doing homage to some enchantress. Before going further I must, in justice to the truth, observe that there are young men to be found continually who resist the current of the moment, and who courageously and boldly glory in being Christians. These elect souls are strong in their convictions and immovable in their faith."
We ask: "From whence comes this scepticism?" No doubt, chiefly from a false religious teaching, and from the practice of absurd and perverted ceremonies. What is taught to a child in a family which is devoted to the Church? It is trained to kiss the images of the saints, to repeat prayers which are lifeless and inane. What wonder is there, that destitute of any true religious principle, he seeks to free himself of the fetters which are simply a burden and nothing more. Inexperienced, but little trained to discern between good and evil, living in a corrupt atmosphere, he only too willingly very often confounds superstition with truth and the Word of God with the inventions of man. Let us take for example a youth who comes in contact with a teacher or professor of the present day, who, abusing the term science, insists that it is incompatible with faith. Now what chance has our student with such a man when all he knows about God and religion is made up of the dreary routine and inanities of Roman Catholicism? He has never tasted or made proof of the power of true religion and true faith. He must inevitably drink in blindly the poison of infidelity, which others so mischievously put to his lips.
The following is condensed from Il Bollettino
The District Conference (Waldersian Church) of Piemonte, Liguria, Francia, held its twenty-first session at Piétramarazzi on May 15th and 16th. Fourteen churches (stations included), were represented by various pastors and evangelists. The reports received from the different churches and stations were most encouraging. The work of evangelisation is going forward with energy and perseverance. The obstacles met with arising from ignorance or prejudice only lead to increased effort and unceasing prayer on the part of those engaged in the work.
The cause at Turin, under the care of Signor Ribetti, is a centre of zeal and life. The evening services attract very large audiences, who listen with rapt attention to the addresses in defence of the Gospel. The Sabbath school is well attended, and the day-school has an attendance of from ninety to ninety-five. Contributions are on the increase, and eleven members have been added to the Church, out of thirty inquirers.
There are some very interesting details regarding small stations, where the
work of God is making way among difficulties. In one place, illness and death have tried the faithful few, but even here the trial has not been without good fruit. The testimony of the sufferers, and the dying, have not passed unheeded, and on the occasion of the funeral of one of the Church members, at least 2,000 persons listened to the message of salvation, and to the words of consolation and hope. In another place there is cause for thankfulness that the authorities are more favourable.
The work in Genoa is progressing satisfactorily-the Sabbath services are attended more numerously than last year, and a good many Romanists come in and listen with respect and attention. There is an average attendance of 180 on the Sunday, the Sabbath school numbers 100, and from the early training of these children in Scripture knowledge and Bible Truth, much good may be looked for in the future. Peace and harmony prevail among the various denominations in the city.
The Church in Nice is prospering, and the congregation has sometimes numbered over 500. Twenty-nine inquirers, or catechumens, presented themselves for Church membership, out of which thirteen were admitted to the Lord's Table. The contributions of the Church amounted to about 14,000 lire.
During the three days of the sittings of the Conference at Piétramarazzi, services were held in the evening by the various pastors present, and which were attended by very numerous audiences, gathered from the town and neighbourhood.
On the 9th of May the foundation stone of the New Methodist Episcopal Church in Rome was laid. It is situated in the Via Venti Settembre. The Ambassador and Consul of the United States were present, and also Bishop Newman, together with representatives of all the Evangelical churches in Rome. Some Roman Catholics also testified to their liberal principles by their presence. The American flag floated in company with the Italian tricolour on the scaffolding put up for the occasion. The windows of the houses, as well as those in the Government buildings of the War Minister, were crowded with eager spectators. Dr. Burt presided, and Signors Ravi, Powell, and Clark took part in the service. Signor Pigott followed, delivering a most eloquent and patriotic discourse. He was followed by Bishop Newman. The Bishop afterwards held a reception at the Grand Hotel.
The bust of Alessandro Gavazzi has been placed on the spot designed for it. The ceremony for its public unveiling is awaited with something like impatience by his admirers. That event is not far distant.
The Testimonio says that, through the initiative taken by the Committee of the Roman Branch of the Evangelical Alliance, the brethren have met (on the second Monday in each month) for prayer and fraternal converse on some subject relating to the Christian life, or on that of the preaching of the Gospel. The ministers, in turn, have spoken on an appointed subject. These gatherings although they have not been attended with the regularity which might have been desired, have been both useful and interesting. They have now been suspended on account of the summer season. It is to be hoped that they will be resumed in the coming autumn with increased advantage to all.
Signor Varnier writes: "Notwithstanding all the efforts of [the Papacy to keep up its prestige and its domineering power over the minds of the people, it is a fact that priestly influence is losing ground year by year in this land. A free Press, popular education, the interchange of ideas with other countries, but above all, the circulation of the Bible and the diffusion of Gospel truths, have shaken to very foundation the confidence of the Italians, in the religion of the Papacy. The Jesuits, indeed, have been very active in planning processions, pilgrimages, medieval pageants, apparitions of the Madonna, and so forth, which, though laughed at by the intelligent classes, have still great weight with the ignorant and superstitious. The lamentable events that have taken place in Sicily lately have been the result of the agents of the Papacy teaching the illiterate masses from the pulpit, the altar, and the confessional, that the cause of all their misfortunes is due to God's curse resting on the excommunicated Italian Government for persecuting the Church and protecting Protestants."