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expenses of their education. Houses of worship are necessary, and a helping hand must be given in erecting them. If permanent educational institutions have been found indispensable to the highest and truest religious progress in New England, and especially as training-places for the ministry, they should for the same reason be established elsewhere. So far as ministers and Christian laymen can make more available their efforts to do good, by the circulation of the word of God, or by the distribution of tracts and other printed matter, or by furnishing libraries to Sabbath Schools, they should certainly avail themselves of these auxiliary means. But it is of no little importance that these associations which are engaged in thus providing religious reading should be regarded as merely supplementing the work of the ministry. The special wants of our seamen should not be overlooked, though the duty of making provision for their spiritual improvement seems to devolve chiefly upon the members of our churches on the seaboard. So, too, a class in our own country that cannot be reached directly by our domestic missionaries may require special provision for a time; and through the same channel efforts may be made for bringing the gospel to those who dwell in papal countries. The people from whom the shackles of slavery have just fallen have a claim upon us for the gospel and the institutions of religion and civilization, which we have neither the right nor the desire to shake off. As yet but a small portion of that work can be done by our Home Missionary Society; but another organization is already doing most efficient service, whose antecedents give it the highest confidence of that people.
So far, then, as it belongs to this committee to classify organizations to be recommended to the churches, we place first and foremost the two great missionary societies — the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and the American Home Missionary Society. If the important work of Church-building could be performed by the latter of these two societies, the churches doubling contributions, it would simplify to that extent our benevolent work. Whatever other causes are overlooked by any Church, these two should always be remembered.
The cause of education for the ministry has a relation to the missionary work more intimate than that sustained by any other, and its importance should give it place in all our churches. In some of the States an educational committee attends to the work of collecting funds, and in others the American Education Society has the matter in charge. Surplus funds might well be used, as in some other denominations, in establishing permanent scholarships.
As also directly connected with the missionary work, the Society for promoting Collegiate and Theological Education at the West should be named. Its work in the past has been most salutary, and through no other channel can liberal men do so much to advance in the West the interests of thorough intellectual culture under the auspices of religion.
The American Missionary Association is understood to devote its chief - perhaps its entire — attention to the Freedmen, and the committee take pleasure in referring to it as the fittest organization for that work.
The American Bible Society is too well known to need any special mention.
In regard to contributions for furnishing libraries to destitute Sabbath Schools, the committee venture a single suggestion. It is, that a portion, at least, of the contributions made by the children of our Sabbath Schools should take this direction, or that our churches, when raising funds for replenishing their own libraries, should at the same time contribute for feeble schools. Suitable books can be procured in many places, though none more suitable nor on better terms than from the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society.
Allusion has already been made to the American and Foreign Christian Union, and to the American Seamen's Friend Society.
Most of the organizations called into existence by the exigencies of the war will cease with the occasion which called them forth. The work for the Freedmen, however, must continue; and, as already suggested, the American Missionary Association seems to be the most desirable channel through which our churches should contribute.
There are many points to which the attention of the Council might be called, for the discussion of which the committee have not time. The importance of conducting the benevolent operations of the individual churches in a systematic and business manner, to which allusion has already been made, cannot be urged too strongly. The nature of our polity makes this indispensable. While our churches abound with business-men, it is to be feared that in cases not a few the contributions are managed with very little reference to business principles. Let it not be forgotten that benevolent contributions are a means of grace. The individual Christian who gives is benefited no less than he who receives. All proper means should then be employed to develop the benevolence of our churches. Among these means none is more important than the adoption of a well-digested plan, such as is already in operation in many churches. Suppose each Church should at the beginning of the year determine to what causes they will contribute, specifying the months. The Church, we say, not the pastor, or the pastor and deacons, for the members must be interested that they may act intelligently. The number of occasional contributions should be limited, for it is those which are responsible for most of the confusion. Let as little as possible be left to discretion, and nothing to accident. At the end of the year let a full report of the contributions be made to the Church, and entered upon the Church records. Let the appropriate committees, or the deacons, present the receipts of the treasurers of the societies as the proper evidence that the contributions have reached their destination. All other associations make their annual reports; why should not our churches? The members need to know what their Church has done. In some churches this knowledge is in possession, but not in all. It is probable that our members know less of the operations of their individual churches, and less of what is done by the churches of their order throughout the land, than those of any sister denomination. To whatever cause this may be attributed, it is to be remedied only by systematic effort in the individual Church.
The committee think that those churches which contribute to a regular cause each month will have no difficulty in completing the cycle each year. But no occasional cause should be allowed to crowd out one of those decided upon by the Church. Where collections are taken less frequently, two plans may be adopted. One is to make contributions singly for the more important objects, and to group the others, that the list shall be completed each year. The other contemplates annual collections for the great causes, and biennial for the others. Each has its advantages. Where two or more causes are presented at once, and the collection divided, the impression must be less distinct and definite. The members should give intelligently, and clear statements should be made by agents or pastors of the nature and object and workings of every association for which funds are solicited. The pastors assume too much knowledge of our societies and their operations on the part of their congregations. They forget that young people are all the while coming forward, and that men are brought into the Church from the world, with whom the American Board even is not a household word. It is our conviction that a clear, business-like statement of the condition and operations of a society, occupying ten or fifteen minutes, would be more potent with the men who give the money than an impassioned appeal of an hour.
In conclusion, the evils of which so much complaint has been made can be remedied by the pastor and the churches, and by them alone. The adoption of rigid system as to contributions is indispensable to the prosperity of every Church. Irresponsible agents must be excluded, and churches must decide for themselves to what they will contribute. Their plans and the manner in which they are executed should be put on record. The history of the benevolence of a Church is worthy of preservation. Because money is given for benevolent purposes, it does not follow that it should be given at random. Perhaps, by virtue of their office, the deacons should look after these matters; but if they do not, the minister must. Let him not fear a little contact with business details. Other things being equal, the more practical talent he possesses, the greater will be his success.
The field of benevolence is large and open. A great work is before us. God has given wealth to our churches, and, to some extent, they acknowledge their stewardship. What is specially needed is system, both in the individual churches, and in the benevolent organizations considered as parts of one whole, and as doing a common work: it is needed in the former, that the treasury of the Lord may be kept always full; in the latter, that from every expenditure the best results may flow.
ISRAEL W. ANDREWS,
HENRY E. PARKER,
MONDAY, 3, P. M.
Second Assistant Moderator, Rev. J. P. Thompson, D. D., in the chair.
The following Report of the Committee appointed by the Council to consider the Relation of Congregationalism to Foreign Missions was read by Rev. W. I. Budington, D. D., chairman :
EVANGELIZATION IN FOREIGN LANDS.
The Committee appointed by the Council upon the work of Evangelization in Foreign Lands submit the following report:
As Congregationalists we are not only committed to the prosecution of Foreign Missions, but our place is that of pioneers in the enterprise. We have taken the lead of all the denominations in our land in the origination of agencies, and the contribution of men and means. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions is the child of the Congregationalists of NewEngland ; and although instituted in the comprehensive spirit of catholic Christianity, and common to us with the Presbyterians, and formerly with the Reformed Dutch Church, it has all along been the favorite of our people ; and there is no distinction which we cherish more fondly than this of having originated and been foremost in sustaining American missions to the heathen. New England was at the outset a mission. Our fathers came here on this distinct errand, as professedly and as really to preach the gospel to the Indians, and to extend the Redeemer's kingdom, as to make new homes for themselves, train up their children for God, and lay the foundations of a Christian State. Congregationalists, therefore, come legitimately by their zeal for foreign missions. We should be unworthy of our ancestry, and recreant to the trust we have received from them, if we should make the commandment of Christ to preach the gospel to every creature secondary to any other duty or interest. Especially incumbent is this declaration upon this First National Congregational Council; and not the less because we are assembled at a solemn juncture of our country's history to enter afresh upon the work of Home Missions, and adjust ourselves to the new openings the war has made for the establishment of free churches and a free gospel in the South. We are planning and praying for the enfranchisement and regeneration of our country: but we do not stop with this; we wish to give our country to Christ, that through it the world may be the more speedily redeemed. A patriotism that ends in coldness or antagonism towards the rest of mankind is selfishness and crime. Our country, its reconstruction and evangelization, is just now our first solicitude; but so far from separating the home field from the foreign, we believe them to be one and indissoluble, and it is only as we are loyal to Christ that we can hope that he will be propitious to us.
Your committee therefore recommend that the Council, as representatives of the churches, do testify their deep sense of the importance of Foreign Missions, and their unabated devotion to the prosecution of the enterprise. We need it for ourselves. The work will die at home, if it languish abroad. It is the sign of our fellowship with Christ. It is the condition of his blessing. We need it in every sense, and for every reason. Our piety needs it. It is the purest form of benevolence on earth; and it sustains and intones every other form of benevolence in Church or State. If we withhold from the heathen, God will withhold from us. If we keep back our sons and daughters from the remotest people for whom Christ died, the spirit will be wanting in them for the service of God in this our dearest country. For every true missionary of the cross who has died on the foreign field, God has poured the spirit of consecration into the hearts of our youth at home; and we have been the richer in spirit and material for every such loss. We cannot afford to shut off this source of supply, now that we are entering a wider and more destitute field of missionary effort than was ever open to a Christian people before, and we need resources of men and money which nothing short of the Spirit of Christ in the best ages of missionary zeal can impart. For ourselves, then, and the work of home evangelization, we must cultivate the missionary spirit, and bound our sympathies only where Christ bounded his.
Besides this, God has so greatly blessed us, given us such success in regions so wide and inviting, so many populations are looking to us for the gospel, and by the tacit consent of Protestant Christians are left to us, and made dependent upon us, that we are beholden of God to prosecute the work. No branch of the Church has missions relatively more important to the evangelization of the world than ours. Some of the most interesting peoples, and when converted the most influential, are ours to labor for, and by the blessing of God redeem. No missionaries from any land, in any part of the world, have won a more enviable name than the Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries connected with the American Board; nor has
reater success been vouchsafed to any laborers than to them. The Turkish Empire is open to us as to no other nation, and the decayed Oriental churches are receiving almost entirely the gospel at our hands. And it is a pure gospel. The churches gathered among the Armenians are as worthy of confidence as those gathered by the Apostles, and by the blessing of God may be made as efficient in spreading the truth. In India we have a wide and most important field among the Mahratta and Tamil races. In Northern China the openings are more numerous than we can enter. In South Africa we have a limited but interesting field; and Western Africa affords to us one well fitted to call forth the energies and educate the Christian zeal of the Freedmen of our country, and it seems to have been held in reserve for us by God to meet the wants of our colored people, and assist in their development. Africa and America, whose destinies have been so strangely blended in the past, are to react upon each other in blessings that shall efface the memory of the wrongs and cruelties of the age of slavery. As to the islands in the ocean world, it is enough for us to point to the Hawaiian peoples whom our missions have given to the community of nations; and though they are in a transition state from dependence upon missionaries to a condition of self-support, we must defend them from invasion and injury by others till they shall be able to preserve, by their own intelligence, the free institutions we have given them. And there is also the Micronesian mission, a most hopeful enterprise, an off-shoot of Hawaiian zeal, and doubly precious to us, as a seal of the true Christianity of those recently regenerated islands. How intimately, therefore, are we related by past labors and present commitments to the whole world of mankind, and how much is the speed and thoroughness of the world's evangelization dependent upon the continued activities of Congregational Christians ! We cannot, if we would, disengage ourselves from the work; we would not, if we could.
WM. IVES BUDINGTON,
This report was accepted and adopted.
It was ordered, That the Committee on the Roll be instructed to report the names of those members only who furnish a list of the churches that actually participated in the vote by which they were chosen.
The following resolution was presented; viz., Resolred, That the committee to whom the report on Home Evangelization was referred consider the expediency of organizing some system of benevolent effort, by which, in those regions of the country where the education of the whole population is not provided for by law, teachers may be sent forth in company with the missionaries, and schools be established wherever churches are gathered.
It was voted, That this be accepted and referred, as desired.
The following resolution was accepted, and referred to the Committee on Home Evangelization ; viz.,
Whereas, All true principles of civil and religious freedom have originated from the Bible, and can be established and maintained only by the general circulation of the Word of God through all the channels of popular education, whether in the school or in the sanctuary : therefore
Resolved, That we honor the wisdom as well as piety of our Puritan Fathers in ordering the daily use of the Bible in the schools established for the education of the people.
That we regret any departure from this time-hallowed usage, as destroying the life-giving power of popular education, which has no true basis but in those great principles of human brotherhood and equality taught alone in the Holy Scriptures.
That in our efforts to promote the education of the people, and to train up our intelligent, patriotic, and Christian community, understanding their rights and duties, and