CHAPTER X. CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN GREAT BRITAIN.
Come, let us pray; the burning brow,
The heart oppressed with care,
And all the woes that throng us now,
May be relieved by prayer;
Jesus can smile our griefs away;
Oh, glorious thought! come, let us pray.
Come, let us pray; the mercy-seat
Invites the fervent prayer,
And Jesus ready stands to greet
The contrite spirit there;
Oh, loiter not, nor longer stay
From him who loves us; let us pray.
They do not publish as many papers as we do, but have one weekly journal, the Bible Advocate, edited by Bro. L. Oliver, of Birmingham, which has a general circulation, reaching almost four thousand copies. One feature of the paper last summer was the publication of the Life of Elder John Smith as a serial. The colored covers of the Bible Advocate contain a long list of the hours and places of worship of congregations in different parts of the country, and even outside of the British Isles in some cases. In some instances the local congregation publishes a paper of its own, affording a good medium through which to advertise the meetings and to keep distant brethren informed of the work that is being done, as well as to teach the truth of God.
A book room is maintained in Birmingham, where the British and American publications may be purchased. They were using a hymn-book (words only) of their own and a tune-book published by others, but a new hymnbook was under consideration when I was among them last year. A list of isolated members is kept, and persons elected by the annual meeting conduct a correspondence with these brethren. The following are extracts from some of the letters received in reply to those that had been sent out: "I am hoping that the day will come when I can leave this district and get to one where I can have the fellowship of my brethren; but meanwhile I am glad and thankful to be held in remembrance of my brethren and to be on your list, and I pray God to help your work, for I have still hope in Him, and know He has not given me up." Another brother says: "Though I can not say that I have anything important or cheering to write, yet I can say that I am rejoicing in the salvation of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. My isolation from regular church fellowship has been so long that I have almost given up the hope of enjoying it again in Arbroath; but still my prayer is that the Lord would raise up some here or send some here who know the truth, and who love the Lord with their whole heart, and would be able and willing to declare unto the people the whole counsel of God concerning the way of salvation." A Sisters' Conference was held in connection with the annual meeting, and a Temperance Conference and Meeting was held on Monday before the annual meeting opened.
Missionary work is being carried on in Burmah, Siam, and South Africa. In Burmah some attention has been given to translating and publishing a part of the Psalms in one of the languages of that country. "Much time has been spent in the villages by systematic visitation, by the distribution of literature, and by seizing upon any and every opportunity of speaking to the people. Street meetings have been constantly held, visitors received on the boat, the gospel preached from the Mission-boat to the people sitting on the banks of the river, and also proclaimed to the people in their homes, in the villages, and in the fields, and on the fishing stations. Although there were but two baptisms during the year the congregation numbers fifty-one." The brethren in Siam were working where the rivers, numerous canals, and creeks form the chief roadways. The Year Book contains the following concerning the medical missionary in this field: "His chief work during the year has been rendering such help as his short medical training has fitted him to give. For a time twelve to twenty patients a day came to him for treatment. After a while the numbers fell off, he thought because all the sick in the neighborhood had been cured." "The little church in Nakon Choom * * * now consists of two Karens, one Burman, one Mon, two Chinamen, and two Englishmen. As several of these do not understand the others' language, the gift of tongues would seem not undesirable." In South Africa there are congregations at Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bulawayo, Cape Town, and Carolina. The church in Bulawayo numbers about fifty members, nearly all of whom are natives "who are eager learners."