Page images
PDF
EPUB

and the agents of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, operating apart and yet in unison, are carrying the blessings of the Gospel to many of the females of the upper classes, who are entirely beyond the reach of the ordinary methods. This mission is evidently regarded with great favor by all who have looked into its affairs, and they seem to expect still greater things from it.

The missionary work in Japan is the wonder of the age, for in but little more than ten years that whole empire, so long almost hermetically closed against the outside world, has become thoroughly permeated with the teachings of Christianity, and seems to be rapidly hastening to take its place among the older nations of Christendom; and among the agents of this wonderful work, the missior aries of the Methodist Episcopal Church seem to hold a not inconsiderable place. These three—the Chinese, the Indian, and the Japanese—are the only properly heathen missions of the Church, and they are those to which it may point with the highest satisfaction in respect to both actual achievements and assurances for the future. All of them appear to be advancing steadily, and with reason. able rapidity, toward the conditions of self-supporting and self-governing Christian bodies.

The missions in Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico, and South America are those in non-Protestant Christian countries. Of the last some account has been given, and of the first it may be said that it has been the hardest and least productive field that has been undertaken; but after being almost entirely wiped out during the Russo-Turkish war, some ten years ago, it has since been rehabilitated with improved prospects. The mission in Italy was begun in 1871, and has advanced somewhat successfully, in respect to converts and churches and a native ministry, but the reports indicate that in matters of self-relying independence these converts from Romanism have not proved very apt scholars; and till those things shall be learned the mission will be comparatively feeble and ineffective for good.

The work in Mexico is comparatively new. It was begun early in 1873, and has advanced fairly well, but it is yet too soon to speak of it as either a success or a failure, though enough has appeared to encourage the belief that it will succeed. Here, however, as in all Roman Catholic countries, the missionaries find their greatest difficulties in the false and often demoralizing conceptions of religion and morals into which the people have been educated in their ancestral Church.

The Church has its missions, also, in each of the Protestant countries of north-western Europe --Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Their presence there may seem to require an apology, wliich is found in the fact that in all these countries Methodism of the American type had been introduced and partially naturalized before the home Church was officially aware of the process. Emigrants from those lands to this country had been converted, and, going back again, they had told their kinsfolk and former acquaintances of what they had experienced, and so they kindled the Methodist fires and constituted its worship and discipline in their several fatherlands. And soon, as was natural, the Macedonian cry for help came over the ocean, and, equally naturally, it was practically responded to. The mission in Germany dates from 1850, in which year a very small beginning was made at Bremerhaven; and the work has so prospered that it now extends over most of the empire, and also into the German cantons of Switzerland, with a membership of more than ten thousand and nearly a hundred ministers — all natives of the country. The success of the work, which it is claimed has exerted a most wholesome influence on the State Church, has seemed to justify all that has been done and expended, in both labor and money, though some are asking whether the same outlay among the heathen would not have been more profitable and more seemly. German Methodism has, indeed, become well grown; but it seems to be rather reluctant to stand and walk alone. The work among the Scandinavian nations had a like origin, and its success has been even more marked, and its outlook, as seen by its friends, is altogether radiant. But the work in all these countries, and in some of the other missions also, is becoming embarrassing by reason of the magnitude to which it has attained. The child has fairly outgrown its childhood; and what now must be done for it ?

The history of this work is suggestive. It is a record of consecrated devotion on the part of the workers in the field of a good degree of liberality, and of directing wisdom on that of the Church at home, of sucess in giving the Gospel to those who were without its blessings, and in planting churches and other Christian institutions among the heathen. In respect to all these points the Church in its missionary administration has richly earned the confidence of its constituency, which ought to be responded to by largely increased pecuniary support. But the enlarged proportions of the work are beginning to call for broader views and more comprehensive methods than have hitherto been used. The Christianizing of a people must be effected not by strangers but by its own people, and the church institutions of each people must be its own, and not a portion or branch of a foreign and alien body. The time for their separation has evidently come to a considerable number of these missions, as a means to their own best development, and, as well, to leave the home Church free to enter some of the many open doors through which millions of heathens are calling for the word of life. The late General Conference seemed to feel the presence and the force of these things, but after a few tentative efforts, in which it failed to meet their demands, it left things much as they were. It may be hoped that when another shall assemble the subject will have been so prepared to its hands that the needed adjustments may be consummated.

THE MAGAZINES.

IN America the Magazine has reached a development not attained in any other land. Here it combines the literary review, the art journal, the political and social essay, the biographical and geographical record, the scientific chronicle and the lecture platform, the serial novel, and the school of decorative art. It is impossible to compare the foreign and domestic magazines without seeing that our own surpass, in popular merit and attractiveness, those of any other country. Magazine work abroad is far more specialized than here. The student is better served in Europe; the people are vastly better served in the United States.

At the head stands “Harper's,” with the “Century" not far behind. The rivalry between these leaders has produced a richness and variety of illustration which remains a monthly wonder. The ablest writers in the country seek opportunities to reach the public through the Magazine. Publications of the “Review” type have had to stir themselves, to submit to modifications of plan and frequency of publication in order to keep their place. Meanwhile, the people are able to secure, for a very small sum, artistic illustration and interesting and valuable matter in such quantity that the Magazine has become one of the chief educatioual forces of the country.

The October “Harper's” is an unusually fine number. Its range is something wonderful: Scandinavia, England, Mexico, Holland, California, New York, Kentucky, were ransacked for illustration and matter. Treadwell Walden's paper on the “Great Hall of William Rufus " is a fine example of the charm which may be given to a familiar subject by a sympa thetic and skilled writer. Windsor Castle could not supply from its strange history more romantic incident or charming pictures. There is the delight of novelty in the reproduction of the old and little-known portraits of England's kings, nobles, and commoners. And how pleasant to compare the Westminster of 1647 with the Westminster of 1884 by the help of Hollar's quaint plan and map. Hans Christian Andersen is less known to the children of to-day than to those of thirty years ago. But many a heart now worn with burden-bearing will be cheered by the portrait of that rare genius who made the days bright with the fun and pathos of the “Ugly Duck.” Not even De Amicis has surpassed our countryman, George H. Boughton, in describing Holland. Boughton shows as much skill with his pen as with his pencil. He has caught with marvelous ability all that is characteristic in the landscape, the occupations, and the people of the Low Countries. Many of his figures are exquisite in the charm of unsophisticated peasant life. The verbatim report of “My Life as a Slave,” by Charles Stewart, an old Kentucky negro, is one of the best things in a rich and varied number. The portrait of Darwin is superb as a work of art, and reveals the great naturalist without the disguise of a beard. The paper on “Municipal Finance” deserves careful reading

The November “Harper's ” exhibits great editorial tact in its adaptation to the season. Its spirit is of the autumn rather than of the long summer days. That noble fall flower, the chrysanthemum, is splendidly engraved. Many will learn for the first time from Mr. Thorpe's article that the chrysanthemum is the national emblematic flower of the Chinese and Japanese, receiving the most reverential care and attention. Columbia College, whose history as King's College was traced in a preceding number, is very fully described by an anonymous writer, presumably Dr. Barnard. This college, on account of its situation in the city of New York, and from its great wealth through endowments in land, dating from colonial times, is likely to have an increasing future. The portraits accompanying this article are noteworthy. Joseph Hatton, an unsurpassed magazine writer, contributes a delightful sketch of Sir Joseph Hooker and the Botanical Gardens at Kew. “Norman Fisher Folk” have filled of late years a large place in art, and Mary Gay Humphreys makes them interesting by the careful study of their ways and spirit. Reinhart's pencil revels in the quaint costumes and pathetic expression of these toilers of

Mr. Walden returns in this number to the “Great Hall of William Rufus,” and reaches one of the most thrilling periods of its history. The frontispiece presents Vandyke's portraits of Charles I. and Henrietta Maria, his queen. This engraving is Mr. Closson's masterpiece. Soft, yet clear, preserving every characteristic of Vandyke's work except the color, it deserves a frame as the highest achievement of the American graver. In a totally different style is the full-page illustration on page 908 of Mr. Roe's “Serial Story." Mr. Bernstrom is only a degree behind Mr. Closson in the delicate strength of his work. The paper on Sydney Smith by Andrew Lang is excellent, and is sympathetic toward the strengths and weaknesses of that mad parson. The portrait, though the features are strong, shows in the lines of the mouth the undying fun which sometimes scandalized his calling.

the sea.

The October “Century” does not equal its successor. The portrait of Austin Dobson exhibits the face of one of England's younger men of genius. It is an essentially musical face. The late war is not likely to lack historians. George F. Williams, in “Lights and Shadows of Army Life,” achieves a distinct success in a well-worn field. The “Century" excels in the reproduction of etchings. Those of Edwin D. Forbes, illustrating this article, are of great power. Mr. Smalley, in the “Caur d'Alene Stampede,” shows how the spirit of ’49 survives in this recent rush to new mining fields. It would seem that Edward Eggleston has laid aside the pen of the novelist for the quill of the historian. His article on

" Social Conditions in the Colonies" is only a little less picturesque than the old houses and interiors engraved in illustration. Mr. Stillman, in his Homeric Studies, reaches the “Odyssey and its Epoch.” The engravings are of the less known parts of Greece. Religious thinkers will find much to stir and profit in Washington Gladden's study of “Christianity and Wealth.” The matter and illustration of Mr. Langley's explanation of the

[ocr errors]

“ New Astronomy are of the highest order. Nowhere can our readers
find so full and fresh information as to the most recent facts and conclu-
sions of astronomical science. A very valuable feature of the “ Century
is the open letters, always discussing topics of the highest interest.

The November number is the best issued in a long time. Elihu Vedder
is a man of genius, but not all the products of genius are pleasing. The
frontispiece is by Mr. Vedder, and is of the same type as the figures on
the cover. They are certainly vigorous, and as certainly coarse. They
attract attention very much as any writhing forms are fascinating. But
his pictures are not beautiful. Austin Dobson's poem on “ The Sedan
Chair" is a graceful bit, and the illustrations, while sketchy, are telling.
The genius of Howells is manifest in the initial chapter of his new story,
“The Rise of Silas Lapham.” The most interesting paper, from the nov-
elty of its subject, is that on the “Chinese Theater.” The full-page illus-
tration on page 36 is a marvel of good work. Mr. M'Dowell says of the
social esteem in which Chinese actors are held, or rather not held, “that
they occupy in China the lowest social caste. They are incapacitated from
holding any place under the government, and the rule applies to all the
sons and grandsons as well.” The heathen Chinamen would appear to
have evolved a prejudice against the actor's calling not unlike that known
in Christian lands. Mary Hallock Foote supplies Mr. Janvier's story of
“The Lost Mine” with a magnificent illustration. The paper on the
“Sculptors of the Early Italian Renaissance” is of only moderate interest
and merit. The reproductions of the old drawings will, however, carry
it. Annie Fields's account of her acquaintance with Charles Reade has some
biographical interest. But the article which of itself would give this num-
ber a wide sale is that by Gen. Beauregard on “The Battle of Bull Run."
It is written in excellent temper, and betrays the disposition to criticise
Jefferson Davis which was manifest in the general's recent military biog-
raphy. The portraits are remarkable, and many of the illustrations are
from photographs only recently accessible. This series is to be a marked
feature of the “Century" for some months to come. George Ticknor
Curtis, always a thoughtful writer, betrays his tendency to live in the past
by advocating the restoration of the power of free choice to the members
of the electoral college. The drift is rather to the choice of the President
by direct vote.

The November “ Atlantic” is by no means remarkable. Most of the articles are of class interest, a fault into which the recent management of the “ Atlantic” has not often fallen. Yet Brooks Adams has a good study of the ancient guild as the foundation of the commonwealth idea, and Maurice Thompson makes a very readable paper on the haunts of the mocking-bird. We find nothing of value in the posthumous paper by Henry James, Sr. It is a thinly-veiled biographical sketch of very little merit. The lengthier reviews in the “ Atlantic” are always well done. There are also some good suggestions in Mr. Shaler's presentation of the Negro problem.

« EelmineJätka »