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early Christian Church. Judging from the number of pages devoted to the several topics, the most important by far—that referring to the Old Testament and archæology-is intrusted to Professor Driver, who, though not a professed archæologist and not as well versed in Assyriology and Egyptology as many others, has nevertheless, owing to his intimate knowledge of Old Testament criticism, shown great familiarity with the subjects considered. His presentation of the case is very full, and, from his standpoint, very fair. Knowing his strong leaning to the methods and teachings of the new school of biblical criticism, we have no right to expect him to be as enthusiastic as the more conservative wing regarding the value of archæological testimony. Indeed, we go farther, for we think that Professor Driver underestimates the services of archæology, and is thus too often inclined to reduce its testimony to a minimum.
A work entirely different in character is the recent volume from the pen of the Rev. C. J. Ball, very appropriately called, Light from the East. This is probably the best introduction to biblical archæology yet published in our language. The author is well known as a scholar of eminent qualifications for such a work. Having devoted many years to the study of archæology in its various branches, and being a Semitic scholar of no mean repute, he is prepared to give almost everything in the book at first hand. He does not write as an apologist, nor does he directly aim “to confirm the Scriptures." Indeed, he frankly avows that the Bible is in no need of either apology or confirmation. And yet no student of the Holy Bible can read very far in the book without realizing that the monuments discovered during the present century throw a world of light upon a large portion of the Hebrew Scriptures, and that many an argument of the destructive critics has been scattered to the four winds by recent research in Bible lands. As Mr. Ball observes, the documents, gathered together by him and illustrated in this book, "afford ample proof of the general trustworthiness of Israelitish history, so far as it is the work of writers who lived in or near to the times which they describe. And even when that is not the case Hebrew tradition gains a relative justification, sufficient to satisfy all reasonable minds, by the demonstration that it is not due to the idle imaginings of ignorant and prejudiced priests and storytellers; a demonstration which is effected by tracing it to its origin in more ancient Semitic legend, or by comparing it with the parallel accounts of the older and more or less kindred races."
These parallels between the religious ideas of the ancient Semites in Babylonia and Assyria, to say nothing of Phænicia and its colonies—as illustrated upon the monuments and in the documents here reproducedand those of the Hebrews as presented in the Old Testament, are many and striking. It is astonishing how numerous the coincidences are, even in language, to say nothing of the thought, between some of the oldest Semitic documents and the Hebrew Scriptures.
AT THE CLOSE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
The growth of the Christian community in the world has been so frequently set forth in what may be considered approximate estimates that it scarcely seems worth while to refer to them, and yet one has to reinember that these statements often make but slight impression and that it becomes necessary to repeat the utterance till the truth makes its permanent impression. We are accustomed to think of the marvelous extension of the Christian community during the first three centuries of our era as one of the strongest collateral evidences of the divinity of our religion. And yet the aggregate Christian population was probably more than 5,000,000 at the opening of the fourth century. But the number doubled before the fourth century closed; in the next six centuries it became fivefold what it was at the end of the fourth, or 50,000,000. At the end of the fifteenth century it had doubled again, and at the end of the eighteenth century there were in the world 200,000,000 nominal Christians. By 1888 the number had more than doubled again, and in the past two decades it has advanced twenty-five per cent, till at the turning of the century it is a moderate estimate to write down that the Christian population of the globe is 500,000,000.
It is not so much the fact that this number constitutes one third of the aggregate population of the world which attracts attention as it is that the increase in the nineteenth century has been so rapid. Within the century the world's population by the quite exact census-taking of Christian governments has been proven to be five hundred and more millions in advance of what it was a century since. And within this same period the Christians, who number one third of the population of the world, have come into the government of two thirds of that population. This is exclusive of the so-called “partition of Africa.” The great bulk of the world's area, sea and land, has changed hands within the past century, and the change has been from non-Christian to Christian rulership. We do not assume to be stating news. Nor do we affect the role of informant when we mention the subdivision between the two or three sections of Christendom—the Roman Catholic, the Greek Catholic, and the Protestant—and write down, though it be for the hundredth time, that the shift of political balance has been in favor of Protestantism. When there were 100,000,000 of the world's population governed by Roman Catholic potentates at the end of the fifteenth century Protestantism, as it has since been named, was not born, and, historically speaking, was not a quantity. One hundred years and more ago Protestantism ruled 157,000,000, and Romanism 154,000,000. At the close of the nineteenth century Protestantism, as represented by its political integers, governs 520,000,000 people as against the Roman Catholic rule of over 243,000,000. This is not written as a ground for Christian elation, much less for Protestant rejoicing. It is rather to call attention to the responsibilities under which Protestants enter the new century.
PROFESSOR MAX MÜLLER'S ADVICE TO THE BRAHMO-SOMAJES.
The professor has been talking in a sensible way to the BrahmoSomajes of India through P. C. Mozoomdar. It is not to be expected that all Christians will agree in the exposition he gives of the Christian Church and the Christian missionary, nor in his advice to the Somajes to organize themselves as another branch of Christendom. What will interest many Christians is the assumption of Professor Müller that outside of the missions in India one great result of the presence of Christianity is the domination of the Gospel over the mind and heart of a vast number of the highly educated people of India and of the more intelligent classes in general. He assumes that they constitute a Christian community, accepting the gospels, according to the light they have, as their highest guide, and Jesus Christ as the highest revelation of the deity. Extremes should meet. Bishop Thoburn and others reach down to the low-caste fifty millions of India, take them into the Christian fold on the slenderest acquaintance with Christian dogma, because they abandon idolatry and accept Christ, and put them under conditions where they acquire greater knowledge as to what the Gospel is and what it demands of them. Max Müller would have the Brahmo-Somajes, at the other extreme, organize themselves as a Christian communion, “not as though " they “had already attained,” but as having no other religion but that of the gospels. In referring to the objection that these semiChristian, educated Hindus do not know how to decide between the conflicting claims of the several religious sects of Christendom, Professor Müller says, through Mr. Mozoomdar, to them:
"I fully agree with you, and every true Christian must feel it as a disgrace that the messengers sent to you to explain the truth of the Christian religion should contradict, nay, should anathematize each other before your very eyes. To my mind the points on which these missionaries differ are as nothing compared to the points on which they agree. But we cannot expect you to see that, and I can well understand why you hesitate to join a house that is divided against itself. But what I say to ourselves and to our missionaries and the societies that send them out, 'Agree among yourselves before you expect others to agree with you,' I say to you also: Settle your differences among yourselves. Your differences are really far less important than those that separate us. Think what you have already achieved. You have surrendered polytheism, idolatry, and your belief in the divine inspiration of the Veda. What are your remaining differences compared with what you have already given up ?' Besides, if you are once united among yourselves you need no longer trouble about this or that missionary, whether he come from London, Rome, Geneva, or Moscow. They all profess to bring you the Gospel of Christ. Take, then, the New Testament and read it for yourselves and judge for yourselves whether the words of Christ, as contained in it, satisfy you or not. I know that you yourself, as well as Ram Mohun Roy and Keshub Chunder Sen, have done that. I know one countryman of yours who wrote a searching criticism on the Old and New Testaments, and then joined the Christian Church as established in England because there was something in the teaching and life of Christ which he could not withstand. I know this is not an argument, yet it is something to reflect on.”
THE GENERAL MISSIONARY COMMITTEE.
The General Missionary Committee is, on the whole, the most important body in Methodism subject to the General Conference. It is interesting to note the modifications in its methods of doing business that have developed within the past quarter of a century. Originally it met as a “committee,” the members sitting around a council board as a body of bank directors might, the public not being in attendance, though not excluded. Oratory was not then common, other than that incident to close and calm argument. Yet, occasionally, there would be a great appeal to the members, like the noted plea of Bishop Janes for Africa, or the address of Bishop Simpson on some question of administration, or the argument of Bishop Gilbert Haven for the establishment of a mission in Italy. There was in those days no audience, and no "talking to the galleries” for effect, nor did the press give out these proceedings to the public. Since the reporting of these meetings in the Church papers and in the daily secular press, and since the larger audiences assemble, this has been modified. The result, on the whole, has been advantageous. There has been a far greater circulation of information, though there has been some disadvantage in the publication of policies, successes, failures, and defects—this publication, it is said, having sometimes been taken advantage of by the opponents of mission work on the foreign field among Moslems and Roman and Greek Catholics. It is, however, distinctly a Protestant way, as contrasted with the esoteric methods of Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, and Mohammedans, and, in the long run, finds in the public intelligent approval. There are a few things, however, which might be eliminated, such as the discussion of the personal character of missionaries for whom appropriations are asked.
The Constitution of the Missionary Society originally appointed New York city as the place for holding the yearly sessions of the Committee. This rule was changed to admit of its convening in different places, that the influence of its sessions might be more widely disseminated. The change has had a varying result. When the Committee met in Kansas City the preachers there arranged for the entertainment of some two hundred pastors who were in attendance on the meetings. In some other localities the meetings have made but meager impression, and nowhere has their influence been less felt than in New York city, where the sessions are well-nigh unnoticed in the midst of many matters competing for public attention.
Several important changes are now observable in the methods of doing business. There is no longer room for jealousy between the home and foreign departments of the work as to the amount of time given to their consideration. For many years the foreign fields were uniformly considered first, consumed most of the time, and with the lack of checks then existing were thought to get more than their share of the money. Since the great and exhaustive debate at Kansas City the custom has been to determine in advance a ratio of the bulk appropriations for the two departments and to alternate in precedence of consideration. Much time was consumed for some years in contention over the cash account of the treasurer, which then included “annuities.” Such dissimilar views were held about this item that it was taken out of the treasurer's annual statement to the Committee and was printed separately. Another great change brought about by direction of the General Conference is that the total appropriation must not exceed the aggregate receipts of the preceding year. This has eliminated the great debates on the amount to be appropriated. But, in the severely mechanical work to which the Committee has as a consequence seemed limited, they have found the way to make some large specific appropriations "contingent on the money being contributed for this purpose.” Expansion has thus been possible ; the treasurer has received such contributions “in trust,” and they have been sacredly held for the uses named. The fluctuation of the income from bequests has ever been embarrassing to missionary societies. The American Board, for instance, with an increase in its other donations, had this year such a falling off in legacies that it reported a debt larger than it had at the beginning of the year. This variable quantity from bequests has endangered the regularity of the receipts. But the taking of an average in the receipts from estates for five or ten years preceding has been found to give a reliable quantity to be appropriated.
There is possibly room for still further improvement. When as a preface to the consideration of each class of work some general presentation of the whole work of that class is had, the Committee is put in a better state to judge of the items as they come up in order. This order has been partially observed in regard to the work in each foreign country. In 1898 the addresses of Bishop Foss, Bishop Joyce, Dr. Goucher, and others are memorable. In November, 1899, the address of Bishop Warren on South America, that of Bishop McCabe on Mexico, and that of Dr. Carroll on Porto Rico will long be remembered by the members of the Committee and the audience which listened. It might be better for the Committee not to hear all of these addresses in advance, but to announce the time of their delivery to the public.