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New Zealand may be said of almost every other Missionary field-It seems as if the whole population would soon become nominally Christian, either as Protestants or Papists.
The number of Ordained Missionaries now upon the field amounts to 134, being a larger number than in any previous year. Fourteen native Clergymen are inIcluded in the number.
In the last Report the Committee had the privilege of congratulating the members upon a most favorable financial position. This year our position has been reversed; partly by a falling off in the income; partly by an unforeseen increase in the expenditure; and partly by the depreciation of public securities.
As the income of the Society is barely sufficient to keep up its present establishments, it will be impossible, until there be a prospect of a permanent increase of income, to send out any fresh Missionaries, except to supply actual and pressing vacancies. The Committee are prepared faithfully, economically, and diligently to distribute the funds placed at their disposal. But here their commission before God and man ceases. Beyond this limit they cannot knowingly advance. They cannot incur liabilities, or contract debts, which they have no means of meeting.
Such is the position of the Society at a time when its success is rapidly augmenting; when the Divine blessing is poured out more largely than ever upon its operations; and when there is on every side the most urgent and affecting demand for an enlargement of those operations.
The most striking evidence of a Divine blessing upon our Missions is found in the increasing number of the Communicants, who are only admitted to the Holy Communion after strict examination, and under the exercise of Christian discipline. During the last five years the returns of Communicants from the several permanent Stations of the Society-omitting the West Indies-have been steadily advancing. Thus:
The following details concerning some of the missionary fields will be read with interest.
WEST AFRICA MISSION. A missionary at the Colony of Sierra Leone writes, that within the last five years the number of candidates for Baptism in Waterloo has been more than doubled, and the number of Communicants nearly trebled; that to see so large a Church well filled, to witness the eager attention of the people to the Word of Life, and the decent approach of 120 African Christians to the Lord's Table, is indeed an interesting spectacle.
Another Missionary writes: I always enjoy our beautiful Liturgy at this Church, where the voices of the people, as far as earth can imitate Heaven, are like "the voice of many waters." Could many of the cold hearted worshipers of our own favored land hear and see this congregation, I am sure they would be ashamed of themselves.
Another missionary thus gives his first impressions: I was indeed very much surprised to see that Christianity has already made such great progress in this Colony. The necessity of building new Churches and Chapels, and of enlarging educational Institutions, is certainly a good sign. The crowded Churches on the Lord's Day; the fair attendance on Divine Service on week days; the hearty and unanimous responses to the prayers; and the attention to the preaching of the Gospel; are worthy of imitation by many a congregation of the Mother Church.
CALCUTTA AND NORTH INDIA MISSION. In this mission there are more than 1000 Communicants, more than 3000 attendants on Public Worship, and more than 4000 scholars in the schools. In the educational department the encouragement is of a marked character. One missionary mentions the return to the Communion of the Church of 59 perverts to Romanism; and another reports that 70 persons perverted to Popery had been received back again.
MADRAS, AND SOUTH INDIA MISSION. At this vigorous Mission, four natives had been recently ordained to the sacred Ministry. At the Tinnevelly station more than 11,000 persons have been baptized in all, and the number of Communicants amounts to 2,621. A missionary writes: "When I commenced my labors there were about 8,000 souls under Christian instruction in connexion with the Church Missionary Society. Now there are nearly if not quite 30,000 souls in connexion with us. Great pains have been taken to prepare Catechumens for baptism, and a large number have been admitted into the Christian Church. At this Mission there are 3,521 Communicants and between 8000 and 9000 Seminarists and scholars."
NEW ZEALAND MISSION. This Mission, under Bishop Selwyn, has been somewhat affected by the collisions between the natives and the British Colonists, especially respecting land purchases. There are more than 30 European Missionaries and teachers, and between 300 and 400 native teachers of all classes. At Matamata, Archdeacon Brown writes: "I held a full service this morning with the natives, at which there were assembled 1000 in their noble Chapel. What a contrast, in numbers and manner with the first congregation to which I preached on this spot, composed of a few boisterous savages drawn together by the one feeling of curiosity! After morning service nearly 900 natives stood up in classes, and a large proportion repeated the Church Catechism, read a chapter in the New Testament, and were examined on the principal doctrines of Christianity.
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
The last Annual Report of this Society gives the following information:
The Society continues to follow up, to the best of its power, the great and holy objects for the attainment of which it was originally established; and it is an interesting, and may be an important task to trace, in its present line of operations, the features by which it was distinguished one hundred and fifty years since. Its zeal for the religious instruction of the youthful poor is still manifested in the large grants of books and tracts made from month to month in behalf of schools in destitute districts, both at home and abroad. Its regard for the spiritual welfare of particular classes of persons continues to be shown towards soldiers, sailors, bodies of the police, railroad laborers, and emigrants; as well as towards prisoners confined in this country, and convicts whose crimes have led to their removal to distant and penal stations.
Ready assistance is constantly furnished by the Board in supplying the means, where needed, for the establishment of Lending Libraries; while the praiseworthy efforts of pious individuals, in the erection of churches in different parts of the country, meet with the encouragement of the Society, in the grant of suitable books for the performance of Divine Service in these new buildings.
One of the chief and most costly works in which the Society is engaged, is its endeavor to advance the Redeemer's kingdom, and strengthen the cause of His Church, in the colonies and dependencies of the British empire. In this excellent and needful duty it has never ceased its labors since the early period of its history, when, under its auspices, one hundred and fifty years since, successful efforts were made for the spiritual welfare of some of the Colonies and Dependencies of the empire. Placing funds for the promotion of its general objects in the hands of Bishops in the colonies; and giving an impulse to the erection of colleges in the Colonial Dioceses for the education of candidates for Holy Orders, the Society has indeed incurred considerable outlay. But it enjoys the satisfaction of doing good, and of acting in a manner in which, it cannot be doubted, its founders would have done, had such opportunities of Christian usefulness been opened to them.
In addition to the aid which it has rendered in the fulfillment of this important design, and in the erection of churches for the scattered flocks in British America, and the new converts of Southern India, the Society has, in accordance with the spirit of its former transactions, provided from its catalogues books and tracts for the use of clergymen and catechists leaving this country for scenes of missionary labor abroad. These grants, which are made after due inquiry into the several cases, generally prove very acceptable and useful; and it is hoped that, by means of some
additions recently made to the Permanent Catalogue, the Society's help, in this respect, may become yet more available for the purpose intended.
The total number of Books and Tracts circulated since the publication of the last Annual Report, has amounted to four millions, one hundred and fifty-four thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight; namely: Bibles, 129,242; New Testaments, 90,880; Prayer-Books, 287,372; other bound Books and Tracts, 3,646,934; being an increase on the year of two hundred and ninety-one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-four.
The sale of books and tracts in the Society's retail departments, during the year, has amounted to the sum of £16,062 10s. 9d.
The Society has published, during the last twelve months, under the direction of the Foreign Translation Committee, an edition of Luther's German translation of the Bible; the New Testament, according to the original Greek, in the Spanish and Maltese language; new translations of the Book of Common Prayer, into the modern Armenian, and the Maori or New Zealand languages; and new and revised editions of the Italian and German versions of the Liturgy. An account of other translations, at present in progress, will be found in the Report of the Foreign Translation Committee, which is given in the Appendix.
CANADA WEST. The Bishop of Toronto, in a recent letter to the Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, gives an account of a visitation to the Indian Missions in the island of Manitoulin, and at the Straits of St. Marie. 2,300 Indians were assembled; 20 were confirmed, and 57 received the Holy Communion. His voyage on Lake Huron occupied five days, and was in an Indian canoe; he encamped at night on the shore under a tent. He thus states the prospects of his Diocese.
"By a census of the province, which has just been taken, it is said that the population of this Diocese, or Canada West, is about 700,000. Lower Canada, which had double our population a very few years ago, now exceeds us by 70,000 only. We increase so much more rapidly than Canada East, that in five or six years we shall leave them far behind.
"I believe a full third of the population belongs to or may be attached to our Church. The whole Diocese is filling up with astonishing quickness. This is the great field for the Church in British North America; for in thirty years she may, with the Divine blessing on her exertions, count a million of adherents."
CHURCH IN THE WEST INDIES. The English Church in the West India Colonies is reported to be in a sad condition. Ten years ago an Act of Parliament proclaimed Liberty throughout the Colonial Empire. Notwithstanding the temporary depression of business following that Act, and the difficulty of competing with slave labor as existing in foreign colonies, business was beginning to revive, when in 1846, the spirit of free trade opened British markets to slave labor produce; and Cuba, Porto Rico, and Brazil, are now supplying them with their own productions at ruinous rates to British industry. The consequence is, a general prostration of industry; idleness is prevailing; poverty ensues; and the missionary and religious interests of the Islands partake of the general depression. A want of funds to maintain Church institutions threatens a complete suspension of her ministrations in large and important districts. No portion of the English Church seems to be so depressed, none so unpromising, as in these Islands. Urgent calls are made upon that Church at home for funds to meet the emergency brought about by British legislation.
CANTERBURY COLONY. A project for a Church Colony, to be established in New Zealand, has been before the English people for several months. Practical difficulties. however, in regard to the purchase of suitable lands, and anticipated interference on the part of the New Zealand Company, bid fair to defeat the project for the present, and perhaps entirely. The plan contemplated the planting of a Colony, upon a system never yet adopted; all the colonists being members of the Church of England; with arrangements to carry out the system in all its details. It is to be regretted that so beautiful a theory, could not have the trial of a fair experiment. It might have formed a new era in colonial enterprise.
DIOCESE OF NOVA SCOTIA. This Diocese includes the Province of Nova Scotia, and the Islands of Breton and Prince Edward. Besides the Bishop, Rt. Rev. John Inglis, D. D., there are 47 Clergymen. During the year 1847, the Bishop consecrated six Churches and Chapels; held 22 Confirmations, at which 513 persons were confirmed; traveled about 1,500 miles; admitted five persons to the Order of Deacons, and one Deacon to the Order of Priests. In this Diocese there are now 111 Churches and Chapels; of which three only were in existence when the first Bishop landed on these shores sixty years ago. The Eleventh Annual General Meeting of the Diocesan Church Society was held at Halifax on the 28th of February last. The Lieutenant Governor took the chair, supported by the Lord Bishop, and the Ven. Archdeacon Willis. Among the subjects of important interest brought before the meeting, were the prospects of King's College at Windsor. The Provincial Legislature were then attempting to withdraw the annual appropriation to the College of £444 currency sacredly pledged to the College since 1789. The Lieutenant Governor, and several other speakers, denounced this radical movement with becoming severity; and maintained the necessity of Christianity as the basis of education, in language which we should like to quote at length. The College has, within three years, suffered the loss of the annual grant of £500 from the Society for Propagation of the Gospel; and recently of £1000 annually from the Imperial Parliament. Thus crippled at every step of its progress, Churchmen are rallying around the College and around the Church. As one of the speakers truly said, alluding to the Irish Church, "so long as that Church remained comparatively inactive, she was permitted to enjoy tranquillity and repose; but the moment she began to gird herself to the work she had to do, the moment she went forth with the Gospel into the dark places of the land; that moment the tide of clamor and opposition set in against her; and her resources must be crippled; her Bishops must be removed; and her endowments must be taken away." It was determined at this Annual Meeting to employ six additional Missionaries in the Diocese ; and at an adjourned meeting of the General Committee of the Diocesan Church Society, on the next day, March 1st, it was resolved to inquire into the best mode of forming Endowments for the respective Parishes. The discussions at this Annual Meeting at Halifax were very able; and the spirit manifested in a high degree earnest and promising. It appears from later intelligence that the King's College Spoliation Bill was lost in the Legislature by a vote of 12 to 9. The Annual Meeting was closed with the singing of the Doxology, and the Apostolic benediction.
It is gratifying thus to witness in every part of the Church of England the development of new life and energy. The enmity of her foes was never so bitter; but "no weapon that is formed against her shall prosper."
A MISSIONARY DIOCESE.
The following document is interesting and valuable for several reasons. minds us of the missionary labors of the early Church.
DIOCESAN SYNOD OF NEW ZEALAND.
The first Diocesan Synod was assembled in the Church at the Waimate, on the 26th of September, 1844, at which were present:
PROCEEDINGS OF THE SYNOD.
The Prayers of the Church were offered up for Divine blessing upon the deliberations of the Synod.
The Bishop then explained the objects of the meeting, and recited in order the subjects to which he wished to call the attention of the Clergy, and to hear their opinions. The questions proposed were carefully considered; and the decisions of the Synod embodied in the following Canons:
CANON I. On the Baptism of Infants in places where proper Sponsors cannot be obtained.
That in places where duly qualified sponsors cannot be obtained, infants be received to baptism on the application of their parents, and on their giving a written pledge to submit their children to the education of the Church. In these cases, that the Bishop, the officiating Clergyman, and his wife, be considered as the sponsors of the children so baptized; and that a separate registry be kept of all children so brought under the sponsorship of the Church.
CANON II. On the Baptism of the Infant Children of unbaptized Parents, &c. Children of unbaptized parents, or of one baptized and one unbaptized parent, or the issue of persons living in concubinage, or of persons married according to other rites than those of the Church of England, may be admitted to baptism upon the earnest desire of their parents, according to the regulation specified in the foregoing canon; or upon other good and sufficient sponsors being found willing to answer for the children.
CANON III. On the Baptism of Adults.
That the Archdeacon, at his annual visitation, receive and enrol the names of all persons considered worthy to be admitted into the class of Catechumens, who shall then enter upon a stated course of probation, and continue at the least due year under the immediate instruction of the Missionary of the district.
That the times of the admission of Catechumens to Holy Baptism, the standard of qualification, and the length of probation, be determined by the Archdeacon, who "Is appointed by the Bishop for that purpose," according to the Rubric prefixed to the Ministration of Baptism to such as are of riper years; but that the Archdeacon be at liberty to delegate this authority to any clergyman whom he shall consider sufficiently acquainted with the Native language and character: "that so due care may be taken for their examination, whether they be sufficiently instructed in the principles of the Christian religion."-[Rubric Baptism, riper years.]
Catechumens in extreme sickness may be baptized by clergymen not authorized by the Archdeacon, upon their own urgent entreaty, and after such examination as "the time and present exigence will suffer." Catechumens, who die without baptism, may receive Christian burial, if their baptism has not been delayed through their own fault or neglect.
CANON IV. On the qualification for Baptism.
That a knowledge of reading be required as a qualification for Baptism, except in the case of aged persons, or others in whose favor the Archdeacon may see reason to make a special exception. That in all cases, a knowledge of the Church Catechism, illustrated and enforced by Scripture references, be required.
That a book be kept at all the Mission Stations, in which the attendance, progress, and other particulars relating to Catechumens, may be regularly entered; and that it be laid before the Archdeacon at his Visitation.
CANON V. On Bigamy.
That no man, married to, or cohabiting with two or more women, be admitted to the class of Catechumens; but that a woman, being one of two or more wives of a heathen man, not having power over her own body, but subject to her husband, may be received as a Catechumen and admitted to baptism, without separation from her husband.