Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

JAMAICA.

From the Annual Report of the Jamaica Baptist Union, presented at the meeting in Montego Bay, in February last, the Committee rejoice to learn that there has been no loss by death among the ministers of the Union, and that the returns from the churches show that large blessing has accompanied the preaching of the Word. A few worthy men among the deacons, whose memories are held in affectionate respect by their brethren, have passed to their reward ; and here and there the families of the pastors have been called to endure the pain of separation. Special mention is made of the decease of the life-long partner of our venerable friend, the Rev. J. M. Phillippo. For fifty years she was his beloved helper in the work of the Lord in Jamaica. Some of the congregations have suffered from the invasion of the small-pox, and others from the fearful storm which desolated many parts of the island at the latter end of the year; but the returns show that 1,350 individuals have put on Christ by baptism, and that a clear increase of 691 has been made to the churches. In the 107 churches embraced in the Union, there are estimated to be 24,846 members, and the total number of inquirers is 3,557. A few churches are not included in the Union, whose returns, if added, would carry the number of members in the Baptist churches of Jamaica to upwards of 26,000 persons—the fruit of the labours of the missionaries sent out by the Society in years gone by. Peace and harmody appear generally to prevail, and from all parts of the island there are indications of growth in grace and in an intelligent reception of the truths of the Gospel of Christ. There still remain much ignorance, superstition, and fanaticism ; but each year the power of the churches for good is augmented, opportunities for usefulness multiply on every hand, and the prospects are as encouraging and hopeful as they erer were in the past. In the blessings indicated, the churches under the care of the Rev. P. Williams and the Rev. T. L. Rees have fully shared ; and the Committee quite expect that these brethren will be able, at the end of the term of their engagement, to find the means of support among the people they have been graciously permitted to bring into the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour.

The Committee must not omit to mention that after several years of anxious effort, they have been able to obtain from the Legislative Council of Jamaica an Act, known as Act XIII. of 1874, by which a considerable number of mission chapels, and other properties of the mission, are secured on the trusts of the Model Deed. By this Act many anomalies in the trusts, the fruit of the slave period of the island's history, are removed, the rights of the churches are more clearly defined, and the future holding of property for mission purposes simplified and rendered more secure. The Committee are much indebted to the late, and also to the present Governors of the island, to the Attorney-General, and to the Clerk of the Council, for the facilities afforded them in the obtaining of the Act.

Early in the year difficulties arose between the Managing Committee and the tutors of Calabar College, which have much affected the working of the Institution. These difficulties still exist. Means are however being taken, as the result of which it is hoped that greater harmony and efficiency will be secured to this valuable Institution. Meanwhile, the Committee commend the Institution to the prayers of the Churches, and to the hearty support of all who are interested in the spiritual and moral elevation of the people of Jamaica.

MISSIONS IN EUROPE. From Brittany the Committee have received the most gratifying information of a remarkable movement which has began to manifest itself among the hitherto superstitious population. In many places around Morlaix and Tremel crowds have gathered to hear the message of salvation from the lips of the missionaries, and in many places there appears to be a striking relaxation of the ties which have for so many ages bound its people to the Church of Rome. From Mr. Lecoat we learn that even in localities where there has never been any preaching, from two to seven hundred people gathered, and amid intense silence listened to the message of salvation. Responding to one of the numerous invitations that reach him, he found a large concourse of people assembled, and was about to begin the service, when two gendarmes and the mayor questioned him on whose authority he held the meeting. He replied courteously, inviting their attention, and preached for an hour to more than 700 persons. When he had done, the officials shook him by the hand, expressed their approval of what they had heard, and their opinion that such meetings could do no harm. It is more than probable that the hostility of the enemies of the Cross will be provoked, and there has been reason to fear that in more than one instance the missionary's life was in peril. The movement is only in its infancy, but the Committee hope that the time is come for a manifestation of Divine grace among the interesting people of Brittany. They ask for their missionary brethren, Bouhon, Jenkins, and Lecoat, the fervent prayers of the Churches. During the year the Committee purchased a small property at Pont Menou, about foar miles from Tremel; in the course of a few months it will be ready for the work of evangelisation.

Notwithstanding the prejudices which prevail in Norway, and the bitter opposition often encountered from the priests of the Established Church, the assiduous and patient labours of the missionaries have not been without reward. Forty persons have put on Christ and been joined to the churches; while the church at Tromsoë, under the pastoral care of Mr. O. Hanssen, now numbering more than 100 members, is able to support its pastor, and to meet all the expenses of its worship. The annual association of the churches was held in Skien last June, Mr. Hübert being elected to preside. The meeting was delightful and profitable. Later the churches were visited by the Rev. C. Bailhache, the Association Secretary, and his report confirmed the Committee in their opinion, that a good work has been done in Norway, and that this Mission deserves the sympathy of all who are interested in the spread of the Gospel.

The close of the year's labours of the Rev. James Wall, in Rome, has been rendered memorable by the acquisition of suitable premises for the carrying on of his evangelistic work. Through the kindness of G. T. Kemp, Esq., and his family, the Coinmittee have rented a residence for the missionary, and a piece of land on which to erect a hall for Divine Worship. The opening of this building on the 21st March attracted public attention, not in Rome only, but also in this country, doubtless owing, in large measure, to the presence of a party of English friends, induced to undertake the journey by the liberal arrangements of Messrs. Cook and Son. The Committee were represented by the Secretary of the Society. It was by general consent a season of much spiritual enjoyment. The hall was filled with a deeply interested congregation at all the services by which it was dedicated to the service of Christ. Although during the later months of the year Mr. Wall's general missionary work has been hindered by the labour connected with the transference of the mission to its new abode, some fifteen persons have been gathered out of the world into the fellowship of the Gospel. The Church numbers ninety-one individuals, and Mr. Wall is aided in his work by three evangelists, of whom the most notable is Signor Grassi. Signor Grassi has now for three years sustained his character as a true servant of the Gospel. He is supported by the General Baptist Missionary Society, and conducts frequent services in his own house, in the vicinity of the basilica of S. Maria Maggiore, of which he was formerly a canon and parish minister. Connected with the services in the Piazza San Lorenzo, the locality of the new mission premises Mr. Wall has a day and Sunday school, and shortly will be opened a depot for the sale and distribution of the Scriptures and religious books. He is indebted to a friend in Manchester for the provision of this depot, and for an edition of 50,000 copies of the New Testament, which will soon be put in circulation within the range of Mr. Wall's Christian labours. In every way, his hands are sustained by the devoted zeal of Mrs. Wall, who, in addition to her frequent tract distribution and house-visiting, has weekly at her home some two hundred of Rome's poorest people, men and women, to whom she gives, not only a portion of the bread that perisheth, but of that manna which came down from hearen. Let it be a matter for devout thanksgiving that, by the lips of our missionary, and by the exertions of many other faithful men, the Gospel of Christ, freed from all human additions, is now fully and successfully preached in the Eternal City, in the very seat of that great system of evil which for so many ages has led astray the nations of the world.

FINANCES.

In closing the accounts of the year, the Committee are happy to report that the results are of a most cheering character. Last year's income was the largest the Treasurer had ever received. This year the income has reached the same amount within £134 7s. 8d., and that notwithstanding the presence in the balance-sheet of 1874, of the unusual item of £3,126 18s. 8d. for the aid of the famine-stricken people of Bengal. The total received last year was £40,255 17s. 9d.; this year it is £40,121 10s. 1d.

In examining this receipt a little more in detail, it will be found that there has been an increase of £1,554 13s. 8d, in the contributions from the churches. Last year the increase was £1,962 6s. 9d. The smaller rate of increase this year is chiefly owing to the distress occasioned by the strike in South Wales, which has probably deprived the Society of more than £400. Judging, however, by the receipts, and the reports of the deputations, the Committee cannot but express their gratitude to God and their thankful acknowledgments to the pastors of churches, for the growing interest displayed in the Mission throughout all parts of the country. It is here we have a test of the prevalence of the missionary spirit in our midst, and the evidence of it is most gratifying, Nor has the increase of income been obtained by any addition to the Society's expenses. In a slight degree the working expenses are less this year than last ; so that there has been a clear increase of income wholly devoted to the maintenance and extension of the Society's various operations.

The year further shows an increase of £1,737 Ils. 10d. on the legacy account; and of £101 8s. 2d, in the contributions of the churches to the Widows' and Orphans' Fund. The Native Preachers Fund exhibits an increase of £93 3s. 8d. in the sums given for the support of evangelists, while friends in Birmingham, Leeds, and other places, have forwarded $575 5s. 6d. towards the outfit and passage of the new missionaries. Thus in every important item of receipt, the Committee have the pleasant duty of recording a healthy and steady growth.

The Expenditure of the year necessarily exhibits an increase. Omitting the Special Funds, payments on account of which are made, not from the General Funds, but from those reserved for the purpose, the expenditure of the year has been £37,351 12s. 11d., an advance of £2,711 11s. 11d. on last year. This increase is spread in fair proportions over the various Missions which, during the last two years, have been strengthened or enlarged. Thus, there is an increase of £1,024 Os. 10d. in Northern India ; and Southern India appears in the cash account this year, for the first time, for £927 Os. 11d. Ceylon, Africa, and Trinidad have all received accessions of labourers, and there is, consequently, an increase of outlay. The expenditure has, therefore, been large, and has exceeded the income by £1,143 15s. The totals stand thus:-Receipts on General Account, £36,207 17s. 11d.; Expenditure, £37,351 12s. 11d.

The Committee would remind their friends that, when two years ago the urgent wants of the Mission constrained them to resolve on an enlargement of the staff of the Society, the income was some £2,000 a year short of the usual expenditure. The present balance ought not, therefore, to be a source of disquietude; rather it should excite our liberality and gratitude that such a considerable extension of the Society's operations has taken place, and yet the deficiency is smaller than when the enlargement commenced.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »