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what “built up” in the land of the Reformation ; and yet ours is only one of several varieties, one of which, the British Wesleyan, preceded us in time, and has also become well grounded and somewhat numerous in a number of the chief cities. There are also one or two other American varieties operating in that country. On this subject a late annual report of the mission remarks: “It would be a means of progress if the several branches of the Methodist Church in Germany were united. We should need fewer preachers and chapels, and the impression we should make on other denominations would be a good one,” all of which is too evident to be for a moment questioned; and since every body confesses that it ought to be, how is it that nothing effectual is undertaken looking to such a consummation? Is it not about time that the Methodism of Germany, now forty thousand strong, with its nearly two hundred traveling preachers, should be emancipated from its foreign and colonial condition by consolidating itself into an or. ganic unity, a German Church, not an American or an English exotic, standing in its own individuality, self-governing, and, much more largely than now, self-supporting?
Spiritually, German Methodism possesses some marked char. acteristics. It shows very clearly the mingling of American and German peculiarities, while Dr. Nast's marked type of religious experience has affected it quite largely, and for its good. It is somewhat pietistic, and yet not wholly without rationalistic tendencies, nor is it subject to any strong puritanical tendencies. It is somewhat sturdy in the assertion of its own thoughts, perhaps a little restive under authority; but. having been accustomed from the beginning to look abroad for help, there has not been the best possible development of the spirit of manly independence and self-reliance. American Methodism attained its majority and became an independent body at eighteen years old, having cost the Mother Church one hundred and fifty dollars. German Methodism has reached nearly twice that age, has received from the parent body not less than a million dollars, and is still a minor and a beneficiary.
SWEDEN, NORWAY, AND DENMARK. The Methodism of the Scandinavian Kingdoms originated in New York City in 1845, when Rev. 0. G. Hedstrom, a
member of the New York Conference, a native of Sweden, was appointed a missionary to the Swedes in the lower part of the city, of whom it was said there was not less than three hundred, with no provision for their religious culture. An old vessel, that had before been prepared and used as a place of worship, was obtained, and the work commenced. Pastor Hedstroin—by which title he was called by his countrymenwas evidently peculiarly adapted to the work to which he was thus called. He was in the prime of life, not specifically an educated man, of fair natural abilities, with the kind of magnetic enthusiasm that characterizes the people of the northern kingdoms, to which mental qualities the peculiar stamp and impulse of American Methodism was now added. He seemed never to have had a rationalistic doubt, and his faith in the power of the Gospel to save all men was unlimited. His preparation for and his call to this work reminds one of Dr. Nast's in respect to the Germans, both by their coincidences and their contrasts. The entire conditions and arrangements of the work were eminently opportune. The "Bethel Ship” soon became all that its name implied, and its fame was spread over all the seas, and every port into which Swedish or Norwegian sailors came. By a happy coincidence, which may without superstition be termed providential, soon after the beginning of this work the streams of Scandinavian immigrants, which have since swelled to so great a volume, began to flow into this country; and these were met at their coming by Pastor Hedstrom and his helpers, and so the “ Bethel Ship" became known as a kind of imınigration office, where many a forlorn stranger heard his native tongue in the land of his exile, and received sympathy and direction, mingled with warm and affectionate religious instruction. These, in passing away into the remote North-west, carried with them and naturalized in their new homes the form of Christian life which they had learned at the “Ship," and from these have grown up the now extensive and vigorous Swedish missions and churches in all the North-western States and Territories. And as many of the converts made at the “ Bethel Ship” were sea-faring men, these, on returning to their own country, told among their kindred and acquaintances the story of their conversion, and soon the fire was kindled among them also. Numerous
letters were likewise sent home by the converts, telling the same wonderful story, and through their influence many a susceptible heart was impressed, awakened, and saved; and so in both Sweden and Norway the story of early German Methodism was repeated, with certain natural variations, and with even more remarkable spiritual features.
A Swedish sailor, Mr. John P. Larsson, was converted at the “Bethel Ship,” and soon after returned home, where he began to publish abroad the great things that had been done for him; and, though he bore with him no Church authority, he soon found himself forced into the work of preaching Christ and of caring for the newly converted. And as the work detained him at home, and grew on his hands beyond his powers of administration, he sent the Macedonian cry across the ocean, to l'astor Hedstrom, for assistance and instruction. The Missionary Board recommended that Mr. Larsson should continue in the work, and also voted two hundred dollars for his innmediate use; and so Methodism became a fact in Sweden, with the converted sailor for its evangelist. In 1855, while Mr. Larsson was engaged in an extensive and powerful revival at Calmar, he was joined by Mr. S. M. Swensen, a layman from New York, a class-leader at the “Ship,” who entered heartily into the work, and continued his labors there for several months; and thus the Methodism of these parts assumed from the first the characteristics of a deep and earnest spiritual revival, to which the Scandinavian character appears to be specially adapted. At the same time, and in much the same way, the work proceeded in Norway, first under the labors of Mr. Peterson, who was joined in 1856 by Rev. Christian Willerup, a native of Denmark, who had been from his youth in America, where he had entered the itinerant ministry. A few years later Mr. Willerup was sent to his native land, to plant a mission in that kingdom also. The progress of the work in the three Scandinavian kingdoms for the last twenty years has been a steady growth in numbers and strength, until it has become firmly established in all the chief centers, and widely diffused among the smaller towns and the rural parishes. The petty annoyances by the local officials, encountered at the beginning, have nearly ceased, the more certainly and effectually because it is known that King Oscar himself bears no unfriendly
feeling toward the movement. At present the work in each of the three kingdoms has its own organization, those in Norway and Sweden being constituted Annual Conferences. Sweden has 67 traveling preachers, 9,232 members, 57 church edifices, and a still larger number of halls and other buildings used for public worship. Norway, 46 ministers, 3,375 members, and 22 churches, while in Denmark there are 9 ministers, 798 members, 7 churches, and 50 other places of worship. The whole amount of appropriations to these missions from the beginning is rather more than three quarters of a million. Their church property announts to nearly three hundred thousand; their annual contribution for church building and for the support of their ministers to about four thousand. It may be hoped that in the near future their contributions will much more nearly approximate their expenditures, for large and long continued feeding is always unprofitable.
At this point, want of room compels an abrupt closing with the “improvement” of the fact presented that we intended to make. What we have shown is, however, the best possible argument for both the demand for the work described, and the fidelity and efficiency with which it has been prosecuted. The Methodist Foreign Missionary work stands before the Church and the world, deprecating no amount of honest and fair criticism, and seeking to be justified as to the past and trusted for the future, and only so far as its own record shall challenge such treatment. In another article we may attempt to bring into view some of the lessons learned by this half-century's experiences.
ART. VII. — THE PROBLEM OF OUR CHURCH BENEV.
[SECOND ARTICLE The parting cominand of the Son of God to his disciples was, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The majesty of these words is absolutely unparalleled. Jesus often spake as never man spake, but in uttering these words he spake as he never spake on any other occasion to mortal hearers. No other words ever spoken to any class of
human beings ever imposed or defined such an obligation. Perhaps he never uttered any other command to men with such a concentration of motive. The gathered intensity of his life-long purposes and love was in his words. They were spoken with the power that could pledge the guidance and energy of the Holy Ghost about to fall upon the wondering hearers. They were intensified with the purpose of resuming the scepter of omnipotence, now for the first time taking it with the hand of glorified humanity. And he spoke them with his mind filled with plans and purposes of preparation among the many mansions of his Father's house, to receive the mighty tide of redeemed humanity to be turned heavenward by those obeying this command.
These words were to rouse and rally and inspire men to a life-work of the loftiest and most sustained heroism, and to test the fidelity and capacity of every one called to be a disciple; and on the manner of the reception of this Gospel he then and here predicated the salvation or damnation of every hearer.
O, miserably do they err who deem their Christian duty done when the Church at home is well sustained! The Church of Christ is organized as an invading army, and the home Church is its base of operations. But what shall we say of an invasion whose utmost success is that of standing still? Is not that resisting enemy already triumphant that can confine the attention and resources of his invader to works of self-preservation? Instead of conquering, the Church is ever in danger of being overcome by the spirit of the world; and such is the temper of the foe, that the most vigorous offensive is the best, the safest, and the cheapest defensive measure.
The Church as a local institution exists for a twofold purpose: First, for the conversion of sinners in its vicinity and the edification of its members, enforcing on them the duty of a life of holiness and self-denying consecration to the service of God. Second, to organize and execute measures for giving the Gospel to the regions beyond.
But can that be a true conversion at all that does not carry with it some important knowledge of the life and work of a believer? And can that be a sound edification that allows one of the foremost of duties to fall into desuetude and forgetfulness? There is no escape from the conclusion, that just in