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CONCERT OF PRAYER.

THE SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF OUR COUNTRY.

Having considered in monthly concerts during the past months of the year the various parts of the country-the "great West," "the older states," "the South and the various and "exceptional peoples," "the Indians," " the Mormons," "the Roman Catholics," "the Mexicans," " the immigrant population," "woman's work," "the treasury," "the missionaries and missionary teachers," it seems fit that we should consider, this closing month of the year, what we may call the aggregate result, namely, the "spiritual condition of our country."

In a general way we can say it is good. The country is at peace. We mean by this that it is at peace with all other nations. We mean more than that. We are at peace among ourselves. No great political questions are distracting the people. Nothing is arraying one section against another or one class against another.

The country is prosperous. A few portions of it, of a limited extent, have suffered from drought; but as a general thing agricultural products have been abundant, and all forms of industry have been blessed. In a general way the churches are prosperous.

Much attention has been given to religious matters. The Methodist Episcopal and Protestant Episcopal churches have held their great conventions in the city of New York. The Congregationalists have had their foreign mission convention, the meeting of the American Board, their home missionary convention, the Congregational council, the American Missionary Association. The Presbyterians, besides their General Assemblies, have had in the late months the annual meetings of many synods and many more presbyteries; and all other denominations have met, prayed over and considered, without let or hindrance, all matters pertaining to the evangelization of this country and all the world.

The Congregationalists reported at their late council an increase of 399 churches, 365 ministers and 57,000 communicants within the last three years. The Methodist Episcopal Church reports an addition to its membership of more than 266,000 during the last three years. The accessions to our own churches during the last three years aggregate 262,000.

This growth is not confined to any one denomination or any particular section of the country. It may be said to be from centre to border. In Iowa and Nebraska—which may be called central western states—in the former 14 churches have been organized, and 4566 members have been added to the Church. It is said the work has grown in all directions. A number of churches that were almost ready to die have been wonderfully revived. In one case, where the church had been well-nigh abandoned, it has risen and called and installed a pastor and is on the road to early self-support.

As to the Synod of Nebraska, the first meeting of the Synod of Nebraska was held in Nebraska City, fifteen years ago. At that time there were 3 presbyteries, 37 ministers, 64 churches and 1799 communicants. Step by step the work has been moving forward, until under the divine blessing we now number 5 presbyteries, 145 ministers, 234 churches and 10,695 communicants. Twenty-nine workers have been added to our ranks, including three licentiates. Others are expected soon. Eight undergraduates from our theological seminaries have rendered faithful service. Their work has been helpful in strengthening the feeble churches. We have had the help of eleven students employed as Sabbath-school missionaries. Through their active efforts not less than seventy-five Sabbath-schools have been planted. planted. Our permanent Sabbath-school missionaries have also done excellent work.

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Twenty-two new churches have been organized since the last annual meeting of synod, with an aggregate membership of 418. These organizations are the natural outgrowth of aggressive church work, and not the result of special efforts in that direction.

As to the "border," the growth seems to have been more remarkable. From the first settlement of this country till 1889 the reduction of the wild wilderness to statehood on our northern border from the Atlantic to the Pacific had not advanced half way across the continent; but during the present year the remaining half and more, from the Red River of the North to the Pacific ocean, with the exception of a little

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gore in Idaho Territory, has become four great states, into which a vast population is rapidly flowing, and churches and Sabbathschools are called for on every hand. It is highly significant of the spiritual condition of the country that in the year just closing, in our Church there has been a call for the organization of one synod and ten presbyteries.

With such a survey of our country there is every inducement to pray for it. "The harvest is ripe." The wicked are many, and great evils exist; but the Lord is prevailing, and he only seems to be waiting for his people to seek him with all the heart to 'pour us out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."

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With this thankful and hopeful view of the spiritual condition of our own country, we look abroad over less-favored lands.

The following succinct statement of our own and other missionary agencies in Syria

will bring the field distinctly before us; and then we shall read with prayerful attention the four contributed articles which immediately follow, from the pens of four missionaries in Syria.

MISSION IN SYRIA.

SYRIA.

BEIRUT: Rev. Messrs. C. V. A. Van Dyck, D.D., M.D., and H. H. Jessup, D.D., Wm. W. Eddy, D.D., James S. Dennis, D.D., Samuel Jessup, and their wives; Mrs. Gerald F. Dale, Miss Emilia Thomson, Miss Alice S. Barber and Miss E. D. Everett.

ABEIH: Rev. Messrs. Wm. Bird, Theo. S. Pond and O. J. Hardin, and their wives; Miss Emily G. Bird.

SIDON Rev. Wm. K. Eddy and wife, Rev. Geo. A. Ford, Miss Rebecca M. and Miss Charlotte H. Brown.

TRIPOLI: Rev. Messrs. F. W. March and William S. Nelson and Ira Harris, M.D., and their wives; Miss Harriet La Grange, Miss M. C. Holmes and Miss Mary T. Maxwell Ford.

ZAHLEH: Rev. Messrs. Frank E. Hoskins and W. S. Watson, and their wives.

In this country: Rev. Wm. M. Thomson, D.D., Rev. Messrs. Samuel Jessup and T. S. Pond, and their wives, and Mrs. Mary P. Ford and Mrs. O. J. Hardin.

Faculty and Instructors of the Syrian Protestant College: Rev. Daniel Bliss, D.D., president; Rev. George E. Post, M.D., D.D.S., Rev. Harvey Porter,

B.A., S. P. Glover, M.D., Harris Graham, M.D., Franklin C. Wells, M.D., Robert II. West, M.A., Geo. L. Robinson, B.A., Frederick S. Hyde, B.A., Rev. Dean A. Walker, B.A., and Alfred E. Day, B.A., and four native instructors.

OTHER MISSIONARY AGENCIES.

There are more than sixteen Protestant evangelical agencies at work in Syria and Palestine besides our Board. Only a very brief mention can be made of them.

1. In Beirut the Established Church of Scotland has a mission to the Jews under the care of Rev. G. M. Mackie, who also is pastor of the Anglo-American congregation, to whom he preaches in English. He has large schools for boys and girls, some of which are especially for Jews. He holds services among the Jews, and visits them on Saturdays and during the week.

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Other Missionary Agencies in Syria.

2. The British Syrian schools and Bible mission were established in 1860 by Mrs. Bowen Thompson, and since her death have been under the care of her sister, Mrs. Mott. They have about thirty schools, mostly for girls, and about three thousand pupils, that cost about £5500. The schools are in Beirut, Damascus, Zahleh, Lebanon, Baalbec, Hasbeiyeh and Tyre. The spiritual oversight of these schools is exercised principally by the missionaries of our Board, and there is hearty sympathy and close connection between the directress and teachers of these schools and our own missionaries.

3. The same may be said of Miss Taylor's (Scotch) school in Beirut for Druze and Moslem girls. Many have come from these schools into the church.

4. The Kaiserwerth Prusian Deaconesses have an orphanage at Beirut and at Jerusalem where large numbers of orphan girls are yearly entered and trained for lives of usefulness in Syrian homes.

5. At Shimlan, Nazareth and Bethlehem there are training-schools for girls supported by a society of English ladies.

6. At Brummana, in Lebanon, ten miles from Beirut, is an industrial school belonging to the Quakers, under the care of Mr. Waldemeir. They have another at Ram Alla, near Bethel, in Palestine.

7. The Lebanon Schools Committee have a mission in Lebanon whose centre is north of Damascus Road at Shweir. Rev. W. Carslaw, M.D., a Scotchman, is in charge. He was ordained by our mission and works in harmony and sympathy with it. He has charge of a training-school for boys, and his associate, Miss Dobbie, has one for girls. They have several village schools besides, and are doing good work for the Master.

8. At Damascus and in the surrounding region is a vigorous Irish Presbyterian mission. They have excellent schools for boys and girls in and out of the city, and have several flourishing churches established. Two of their missionaries are Americans, Rev. Dr. John Crawford and his son.

9. The Reformed Presbyterian Board Board have missionaries at Latakia, Antioch and

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Mersine, and are working more especially for the conversion of the Nusaireeyeh race. They have been greatly hindered by direct government interference with their schools, and yet the Lord has given them a large measure of success.

10. At Tiberias there is a Scotch mission to the Jews, which is making a decided impression on that " peculiar people."

11. The Church Missionary Society (London) has a large and successful mission in Palestine, with stations at Jaffa, Gaza, Ramleh, Jerusalem, Nablous, Es Salt, Nazareth and Haifa. Their churches are growing, and they have many successful schools. Their work in Hauran (across the Jordan) has been prohibited by the government, and their colporteurs in Moslem towns in Palestine arrested and imprisoned. There is the utmost harmony and good will between this large mission in Palestine and ours in more northern Syria. Their churches not being consecrated they invite ministers of other denominations to preach in their pulpits, so that there is a constant interchange and intermingling of the missionaries of the different societies.

12. The London Jews' Society has its missions in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Damascus, Aleppo and other places.

13. The American Bible Society and the (14) British Foreign Bible Society have their agencies in Syria. The printing is principally done at our Press in Beirut. The American Society supplies the American agencies, and the British those of their nationality.

Added to these great agencies are the (15) London Religious Tract Society and the (16) American Tract Society, which make large contributions yearly to the work in their departments through our Mission Press.

Other smaller societies and agencies are also at work, but on a comparatively small scale.

All these societies and workers find their supply of Scriptures and books and tracts at our Mission Press at Beirut, which sends out annually its thirty millions of pages of light and truth to the Arabic readers of Asia and Africa.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES.

MISSIONS IN THE LEVANT-A GENERAL SURVEY.

Protestant missions in the Turkish empire—for I intend to include the entire Levant, and not Syria only, in what I have to say-may be considered under two aspects and as having two peculiarities. The two aspects have reference to the relation which the word assumes to Islam and Oriental Christianity respectively.

The Moslem, for the first time in his history, is beginning to see Christianity to advantage and to recognize it in its pure and spiritual as distinguished from its apostate form. Mohammedans have been familiar with Christianity, as represented by the Oriental churches, for centuries; but they have known nothing of the Christianity of the western Reformation, and are entirely unconscious of the spiritual forces of the gospel. They have fervently and very properly repudiated the human assumptions and travesties which have corrupted the Christianity of the lapsed Orient. It remains to be seen if the purer and more biblical form of Christianity will not commend itself to their consideration. Let us as Christians blessed with liberty and light and endowed with the sacred privilege and trust of intercessory prayer remind ourselves of the power we have with God and the magnificent opportunity we have to do the eastern world a service which can be surpassed only by the incomparable benefit which the eastern world has rendered us by the gift of the Lord Christ. To teach Christ to the Orient and carry his religion back to its early home and establish it once more in its familiar eastern surroundings is fast coming to be recognized as one of the most sacred and exalted duties of western Christendom.

The other aspect of the word had special reference to what was being done for the reformation of existing Christianity in the East. About one third of the population of the Turkish empire is Christian in name

and faith, and in this respect is to be sharply distinguished from the Mohammedan portion. Eastern Christianity, however, is in most respects even more in need of reformation than was that of Europe in the sixteenth century. This degenerate and effete Christianity of the Orient is the only form of our religion with which Islam has ever come in contact, and it is as powerless as heathenism pure and simple to influence the Moslem, or reach his conscience, or carry conviction to his mind and heart. It has been for the last fifty years the great and laborious work of Protestant missions in Turkey to reform Christianity, or rather to establish and propagate a pure and biblical type of Christianity, not simply for its own sake-which is itself a grand and sufficient aim-but as a basis for the larger work of finally bringing the entire Orient to embrace the Christian faith and returning the lands of the Bible to the spiritual sovereignty of Christ, who, although the owner of the whole earth and the Lord of all consciences, seems to have a special historic right to reign in those lands where he once lived and from which he has been so ruthlessly banished. In this reformation work evangelical Christianity has achieved. a marvellous triumph, and the star of hope once more ascends the eastern sky. I shall speak of this more in detail later on.

The two peculiarities to which I referred as distinguishing Protestant mission work in the Turkish empire are-first, it is almost exclusively in the hands of American missionaries; second, it is a field where we come to close quarters with the most formidable combination against evangelical truth which the world furnishes at the present time: I mean the union of Islam, with its political and military supremacy, and Oriental Christianity, with its vigilant and powerful hierarchy, in common antagonism to evangel

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ical missions, which have entered the Orient as the champion of biblical truth and the advocate of liberal education. Syria, and I may say the entire Turkish empire, is the hottest fighting-ground in the whole battlefield of the Church militant. If Japan is remarkable for its rapid development and astonishing readiness to receive the gospel, and China for its teeming millions and the immense magnitude of the task to be done, and India for its intellectual activity and the complications of its caste system, Turkey is noted as the field where the forces opposed to evangelical Christianity are marshalled with the most skillful generalship and massed in their heaviest battalions. In harmony with the military traditions of the Turkish empire for centuries, the foes of the Church seem to be organized there as an elect host of spiritual Janizaries commissioned to do in that special field the same efficient and almost resistless service in the spiritual war fare which was rendered by that famous corps in the secular military history of Turkey.

Into this historic field, which calls for a heroic measure of faith, patience, fortitude and sacrifice, God has called American Christianity to enter. The Congregational and Presbyterian churches, and to a very limited extent the Methodist, are already there; and free from all suspicion of complicity in the political ambitions and jealousies of Europe, and untrammelled by diplomatic or military complications, the American missionaries have been patiently at work for over half a century. English, Scotch and German missionaries are at work there also, chiefly in Palestine, Lebanon and Damascus, and always in happy accord and cordial fellowship with their American brethren. The American Board was the pioneer and still leads in the work; the Presbyterian Church has its mission in Syria, and the United and Reformed branches of the Presbyterian body are respectively in Egypt and northern Syria.

The missionary front which the American churches present throughout the Turkish empire is one which now commands the attention of the East, and should attract

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the careful study and the prayerful interest of American Christians. A great work has been done in pushing forward Christian education, establishing evangelical churches and lifting the people to a higher plane of thought and action. The grand results which have been achieved already are but prophetic of greater and more comprehensive changes in the Levant in the interest of biblical Christianity and true civilization.

The

There are seventy thousand Protestants in the Turkish empire, including Egypt. Of this number fifteen thousand two hundred are upon the roll as church members. At the present time the average additions to the mission churches amount to about fifteen hundred every year, and we have good reason to expect that this will soon run up into the thousands. Our United Presbyterian brethren in Egypt recently admitted to the church three hundred and sixty-five converts in a single year-one for every day of the year. Think of a soul new born to the light and hope of the blessed gospel out of that Egyptian darkness, for every sunrise which touched these hoary pyramids with its golden gleams! other day I was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park, New York, and I saw there a beautiful picture by Gérome entitled "Sunrise upon the Pyramids." As I gazed at the golden beauty of that radiant coloring of light flooding those sombre mountains of stone, I thought to myself, For every flush of the morning light as it flames out of the eastern sky and illumines those massive and gloomy relics of the dark centuries of the past, there is now a nobler sunrise of the "Sun of righteousness" in some dark Egyptian heart which throbs in the living present. Then as I stepped out of the museum, right before me was that massive obelisk which has been brought from Egypt at such an immense outlay and placed in Central Park as a memorial of the ancient glories of that historic land. Once more my thoughts flashed over the seas, and I recalled those living, breathing monuments of heavenly grace which were now being reared on the banks of the Nile by the patient toil of American mis

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