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and Roberts to supervise the work. The Bengal Conference embraces as much territory as there is east of the Mississippi. The South India Conference takes in as much territory as is covered by the fifteen Conferences lying farthest to the Atlantic seaboard. One can travel from New York to Jerusalem in less time than Bishop Thoburn can go from one extreme of his field to the other, and he will travel all the way by steam at that. We have there a region “larger than all that part of the world which was open to the preaching of the Gospel at the beginning of the century. More than one fifth of the inhabitants of the globe wait to hear the Gospel from our lips.” And over this vast stretch of country we are expecting one man to exercise vigilant and thorough supervision.
2. The multiplied interests to be cared for. Here, again, we can learn from the experience of early American Methodism. Episcopal supervision in those early days was that of aggressive evangelism and nothing more. Its sole problem was to keep the preacher abreast of the advancing tide of “the settlements.” John Wesley provided our infant Church with two fully qualified superintendents or bishops in 1784, when there were only 83 preachers and 14,988 members. The results amply justified his action. The battle was one long victory, and this because for one reason: there were enough commanding officers on the field to force the fighing along the whole line. But in India our problems are many and intricate. Every form of Church work known in American Methodism is going forward, plus leper asylums and medical work. Our educational system is in full play, from primary schools in villages, where half-naked boys write with their fingers in the sand, up through high schools to the Christian college with courses leading to the bachelor's and master's degrees, and with a fully equipped theological school added. The interests of this work are many-sided, and call for wise leadership. We have also deaconess work in all its phases, and the multiplied interests of “the regular work" over such a vast
3. Peculiar difficulties confronting our work in that field. (a) The language difficulty. “Our preachers are witnessing for Christ in twentyfour different languages, not to speak of local or tribal dialects. It seems unaccountably hard to convince American audiences and readers that there are over forty languages in India as distinct in alphabet, grammar, literature, and history as are the languages of Europe. Each of these language areas presents a problem which in some of its features is differ. ent from that presented elsewhere. Local knowledge is a sine qua non of wise administration, but what chance has one man to acquire that local knowledge ? () The presence of a large and fruitful work among the European and Anglo-Indians. God led William Taylor, one of the mightiest evangelists Methodism ever raised up, to come to India, and through him awakened thousands of English and Eurasian residents to their need of Christ and to their providential mission in that heathen land. His converts were organized into Methodist Episcopal churches, and God has wonderfully blessed this work. It is self-supporting, but the Church must see that it is supplied with pastors and teachers, and that all its complex interests are safeguarded. This is a problem that meets us in no other mission field to the same extent, and one which in many ways not possible to set forth within the limits of this article complicates the task of administration. (©) The characteristics of our native ministry and membership. Executive ability is not the strong point in average oriental character. Any form of work, from grading & Toad to evangelizing a province, requires closer supervision than it would require here. The power of initiative is not yet developed as it will be after one or two generations of Christian and political liberty have done their work for a people whose lot has been that of a conquered race for eight centuries. Industry they have, devotion they have. But that instinct for admininistration which seems latent in our Anglo-Saxon blood is not in evidence. Hence supervision must be closer than with the same number of workers in England and America. (d) The District Conference and subcircuit system. In our work in southern Asia exhorters and local preachers do nine tenths of the preaching. These men hold their membership in the District Conference, which was devised for the peculiar difficulties met with in that mission field and came into vogue in America in some of its Indian features only. There all of these workers and all teachers in primary schools receive annual appointments at the hands of the presiding elder and a cabinet composed of the preachers in charge on the district. These men are appointed to circuits, and these are broken up into subcircuits, each having its pastor and list of appointments. For instance, the Bareilly District of the North India Conference, presided over by Dr. E. W. Parker, has twentyone circuits. The smallest of these circuits is subdivided into seven subcircuits, and the largest into twenty-one. Each of these subcircuits has from five to twenty preaching places, the preachers being kept constantly on the move, preaching on the average once every day in the week and visiting incessantly from village to village. On the entire district there are two hundred and twenty-six workers under the control of the parent board alone. When we reflect that within this one district there is as much territory as is covered by several of our larger Conferences in the home field, we will begin to understand what episcopal supervision must mean in that field. The Moradabad circuit of the same district, having the same name, has subcircuits with preaching places in one hundred and sixteen cities and villages, and this is reported in the Minutes as but one circuit. How can a bishop wisely administer the interests of those Conferences without intimate knowledge of conditions in the smaller places, as well as in the strategic centers ? How can he understand where these centers are without intitimate knowledge of each district and circuit ? 4. The marvelous success since 1888. The growth since Bishop Thoburn's election has been phenomenal. No such growth has ever been seen in any mission field of the Church. This is said soberly, after eight years of peculiar opportunities for observation, and is supported by Bishop Foss, who, after an official inspection of the work within the peninsula of Hindustan, declares that the most astonishing report of rapid missionary progress known to him is in the Minutes of Central India Conference. He says: “Let us take the statistics of the year 1887, the year of the last official visitation from this country before my tour, made by Bishop Ninde, and compare them with those of the year I was there, 1898. In 1887 we had 3,305 probationers; eleven years later, 46,097. In 1887 we had 4,018 full members; now we have 31,866. The total number of our communicants then was 7,323; now we have 77,963. That is an increase of tenfold in eleven years. Then we had 96 churches; now we have 233. In 1887 we had 313 Sunday schools; now we have 2,485. Then we had 14, 102 Sunday school schol. ars ; now we have 83, 225. And all this in eleven years! I soberly ask you if you can think of any figures beginning with thousands where there has been such a percentage of increase in any mission of which we have any knowledge, or in any part of any country where Methodism has ever been planted.” But with this growth every candid mind will admit that the rate of progress cannot be maintained without increasing the number of executive officers on the field.
5. A regard for the health and life of Bishop Thoburn. It is but right that the Church should recognize his worth while he is yet with us. He is unquestionably one of the greatest living leaders in Protestant missionary work. But flesh and blood have limitations; and those most closely in touch with this modern apostle to the Gentiles know that he is carrying burdens which no man should be asked to bear. While the Church demands it he will stagger on, but must either see the work suffer untold harm or prematurely end his career. This is both unnecessary and impolitic. We need the counsels of such an experienced missionary warrior to help us plan and carry out the large campaigns with which we shall enter the new century. To deprive ourselves prematurely of his leadership will be poor economy.
The financial objection to more bishops was met by the suggestion of the Central Conference of India at its session in 1898: “In view of the fact that the increase of the missionary episcopacy involves additional burdens on the Missionary Society, and that there is no real necessity why the salaries of missionary bishops should be so disproportionate to the maximum salary of a foreign missionary, we express our conviction that the salaries of all missionary bishops to be elected in the future should be fixed at a substantially lower amount than is now appropriated.” It should be added, in conclusion, that Bishop Thoburn has not had the most remote idea that this article has even been contemplated by the writer.
HOMER C. STUNTZ. Mt. Vernon, Ia.
THE ITINERANTS' OLUB.
A WORKING MINISTRY FOR 1900.
ONE capacity belongs to all periods and all social and intellectual conditions, and that is the capacity for hard work. It is the spirit of work that should characterize the Church at this time. We have had a long season of discussion. Indeed, talk has become chronic. There have been plans enough outlined within the past decade to occupy the next century were they all to be carried into practice. There have been enough organizations put in motion to convert the world, apparently, within a few years. Indeed, the leaders in some of these organizations predict the result in a brief period through their special activities, though to human view the time of the “restoration " seems very far off. The new century will, we think, be known as the practical age. Men are weary of theorizing. They have searched long for the truth, and now call for efforts that will mean success. The watchword of the year 1900 should therefore be “a working ministry.” Such a ministry is not necessarily a talking ministry. It will not be given to long sermons or frequent exhortations. The working minister will preach to the point, and not exhort in a perfunctory manner or on inappropriate occasions. He will study the proper proportion between preaching services and pastoral work, and will govern his life accordingly. He will, of course, prepare himself to preach as if all depended upon it; he will plead with sinners with all the intensity of his soul. He will, however, always recognize the fact that sermons are but means to an end, and that the ablest sermon needs to be accompanied by persistent effort.
The ministry needed will not be known as “hustlers.” This is a modern word, and forcible, if not elegant. We are told that they only can succeed who are all the time in the bustle of an aggressive activity. Such men are ever rushing; they keep things moving, and are never quiet, calm, or restful. Their methods provoke a kind of fervor, and many think a great deal is being done, when in reality the work is merely on the surface and the seed sown has no root. Perhaps one of the greatest foes to the progress of God's kingdom is the violence by which it is proposed to bring it to completion.
A working minister will be much at home among his own people. Such men are ever ready to heed the call of the sick or to pay & visit to the needy. In order to work at one's best the pastor needs to be fresh in mind and body. Even in the work of his parish he becomes weak and exhausted; but, so far as possible, the working minister husbands his mental and physical resources that he may employ them in the field he is appointed to cultivate. Freshness of health promotes a heartiness in one's manner that is very acceptable to the people.
In immediate connection with this is to be noted the fact that a working ministry is presumably to devote itself to the special work committed to it. Some persons are so talented and broad in their sympathies that they can do many things and do them well. Yet all are not thus gifted. “Be a whole man to one thing at a time” is a safe rule in every department of life, and in no sphere more than the ministry. The fields are many and white to the harvest, and if each Christian minister for the year 1900 should cultivate his own field to its utmost capacity the closing year of the century would witness, with the blessing of the Holy Spirit, such results as are now scarcely conceivable.
MINISTERS IN THE GENERAL CONFERENCE.
The functions of a minister of the Gospel are twofold: the one is to preach and to care for the individual church committed to him, and the other is to conserve the interests of the entire Church with which he is connected. While the first is fundamental and absolutely necessary, the second is important and must not be ignored. The functions of a Methodist Episcopal minister in relation to the general Church are mainly exercised in the Annual Conference and in the General Conference.
The work of the minister in the General Conference is performed in the committees and also in the general body, where the subjects which have passed through the committees are to be finally discussed and decided. It sometimes happens that those at home, looking over the records of the General Conference and observing that their representatives do not appear to have made many addresses, think they may have been negligent in their duties. This, however, is far from being a correct inference. Some of the most useful members of the General Conference, though they rarely speak in the body, are those who devote themselves to the work of the committees and formulate the legislation which the general body makes effective. As a rule, all the great changes of doctrine, polity, and administration are first considered in committees; and some of the best arguments given during the General Conference are heard in the committees, while many of the best addresses delivered on the floor are first, in outline at least, given in the committees.
The floor of the General Conference is, however, the arena where the practical debater is at a great advantage, and where previous experience in the body is of great service. The work moves forward with such rapidity, the changes in the subjects under consideration are so frequent, and the desire of many to speak is so constant that the trained debater is at a great advantage. He has become familiar with the parliamentary usages
of the body. Its rules are not merely matters of memory, but are so familiar that he knows almost intuitively the precise motion to make and the exact time to introduce his resolution. He is also able to foresee the progress' of events and to prepare in advance for emergencies which may arise. The qualities, then, that enter into a first-class