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MINNESOTA AND NORTH AND SOUTH DAKOTA._This extensive field is still under the supervision of Rev. Joshua T. Evans, of Minneapolis, Minn., who reports as follows:
The time has come for presenting my fifth annual report from the large and important district of Minnesota and North and South Dakota. This field has more square miles than the British Isles, New England, and New York combined ; and, with a population of less than two millions, is in its important period of development and formation of character. With its pineries, mining and mineral resources, rich soil for agricultural purposes, and a healthful climate, there are before it great possibilities and a promising future. These may be attained at their best only by liaving the families and individuals under the controlling influence of the teaching of the Scriptures.
The Bibles in the various languages circulated in this field by the American Bible Society liave, doubtless, made a silent but constant and lasting impression upon individuals and society; and such will be the conditions of the field for many years to come that, for any general and thorough supply, it must look to the American Bible Society. The most needy places are the least able to supply themselves. If all the churches and auxiliaries would do what reasonably could be expected of them, no place would be kept from being supplied for want of funds.
Interest in the work has been made more general during the year by visiting some churches outside of the auxiliary centres, and an extensive circulation of the leaflets showing the missionary and benevolent work of the American Bible Society has been helpful. An encouraging advance has been made by several of the auxiliaries in securing funds for the work, and most of them are in a condition to make some donation. Strong resolutions in favor of supporting the work were adopted by the ecclesiastical bodies that I have visited.
The Sunday school supply work has been moving in the right direction. More Bibles are used in the Sunday schools. I have personally supplied some 800 children in fifty-one different Sunday schools, which is double the amount of the previous year.
Bible societies visited
83 Anniversaries attended
31 New societies formed
1 Ecclesiastical bodies visited
9 Sermons and addresses delivered :
117 Official letters sent
1,961 Documents distributed
14,552 Miles travelled
16,746 Receipts from personal sales of books .
$317 03 To seven of the railway companies my thanks are due for special fivois of passes, and from all others favors have been received.
Books sent to Minnesota, 11,796; of these, 959 were grants. Books sent to North Dakota, 997; of these, 55 were grants. Books sent to South Dakota, 1,713; of these, 79 were grants.
MISSOURI.-Rev. H. P. Bond, of St. Louis, was appointed to succeed Rev. J. W. Lewis, D.D., who retired from service at the close of the last fiscal year. He entered upon the work last July. The following is his report for three-fourths of the year:
My nine months of service for the American Bible Society have been exceedingly pleasant, and I trust, profitable to the cause. It takes time to get a firm grasp of the work and its varied details.
Some auxiliaries did not report to me the time and place of holding their annual meetings, and I could not attend them, while others reported too late for me to make arrangements to be present. In some instances correspondence would not secure these meetings, and personal visitation and effort had to be employed.
The churches, for the most part, seem to be willing and ready to co-operate with the auxiliaries when asked to do so; and when it is recommended to them as the better plan, they make their collections before and report them at the annual meeting. In some instances, where the auxiliaries are inefficient, churches have taken their collections and made their pastors life members.
The ecclesiastical bodies, as a rule, have granted your Superintendent a brief time in which to present the claims of the Society. The resolutions of their committees on the Bible cause are usually adopted with unanimity; but the press of other claims and frequent collections too often crowd out the Bible cause and relegate it to the last, and then they make it the least of all their offerings. About one-half of the ten or eleven co-operating denominations in my district place the Bible cause on the list of their regular collections. Unless it is so placed I find that an annual collection for this purpose is not taken in every congregation.
The Sunday school supply moves slowly compared with its importance and the urgency of its demands. I have found time to hold children's meetings on the afternoons of the days of the auxiliary anniversaries, and these meetings are usually attended with good results in enlisting the children, and through them the parents, Sunday school superintendents, and teachers. I have discovered, by actual count, through the assistance of public school and Sunday school teachers and by personal investigation, that there are hundreds of children in this State who have no Bibles of their own. I have supplied about 600 children during the year.
The Parent Society has employed a colporteur, Rev. S. C. Mills, in Stoddard and Dunklin Counties. The work in that region is greatly needed. Dade and Barton Counties propose, with some hope of success, to undertake the canvass of their territory. Several local voluntary agents are working in other auxiliaries, and under the direction of Bible committees. We take courage and go forward.
Books sent to Missouri, 14,696 ; of these, 1,553 were grants or consignments for colportage.
NEBRASKA, COLORADO, AND WYOMING.–Rev. George W. Wainwright, D.D., of Blair, Neb., has continued his labors in this extensive field, as follows:
In sending my report of another year of labor and anxiety, I desire first of all to give expression to my sense of gratitude to God for all his mercies, and for deliverances from dangers seen and unseen. It has been a year of toil and exposure, but through it all a kind Providence has brought me, and I enter upon a new year in better physical condition and with brighter prospects than for some years past. I have now completed eleven years of continuous service as Superintendent of the district covering the States of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming
As in this line of Christian work we must sow in faith, with the consciousness that God will bless all faithful work done for him, I have endeavored to sow the good seed of the kingdom, both early and late. I have often been encouraged as the fruit of the labor of previous years has come
my notice. Many of the immigrants to whom Bibles were given, on landing at Castle Garden, have expressed their great gratitude for the gifts, and in some cases entire families have by these gifts been brought to a saving knowledge of God; while again a single Bible has been blessed of God in leading a heathen to practical Christianity and loyal acknowledgment of Christ as the Saviour.
Scattered families on these broad prairies and in mountain camps have been brought to a knowledge of God through the Bibles given by the faithful colporteur. Never, during the eleven years of
my service in this department of Christian work, have I had more courage to go forward than at the present time.
A brief summary of my personal labors is as follows:
10 Anpiversaries of auxiliaries attended
7,915 Miles travelled on official duty
21,948 I would not close this report without expressing my gratitude to all who have given me aid in the work of the year. To officers of railways, to proprietors of hotels, to pastors and churches, I am greatly indebted for kindnesses that will not soon be forgotten. To God be all the praise !
Books sent to Nebraska, 6,078; of these, 1,142 were grants. Books sent to Colorado, 4,418; of these, 1,430 were grants or consignments for colportage. Books sent to Wyoming, 3.
NEW HAMPSHIRE.—The eighty-first annual report of the New Hampshire Bible Society presents a full account of the operations of that auxiliary, from which the following paragraphs are taken :
For the first time in the experience of each of us, we gather at our annual meeting to miss the presence of Deacon Brown. With the sense of loss there comes also that of a new responsibility. We have depended upon him to provide that everything necessary in regard to information or plan should be presented.
Deacon William G. Brown, born in Hollis in 1816, died in Concord, April 5th, 1892. In January, 1849, Deacon Brown entered upon what proved to be his life-work-the service of the New Hampshire Bible Society. For more than forty-three years he went up and down our State, visiting every town in it, selling and giving away Bibles, and collecting funds for the society. He has literally traversed every road in New Hampshire, and undoubtedly visited more families in the State than any other man who ever lived in it. He was not a mere seller or donor of Bibles: he was an evangelist, a messenger, and with the book gave wise counsel avd many a prayer. With rare tact, he approached all classes, faithfully improving every advantage given to impress the truth. He loved the children, and did not mean that a child should live in, or go out from, the State without a Testament. He loved the aged, pitied the unfortunate and the sick, and left the memory of a sweet prayer in thousands of their homes. He has distributed more than 120,000 copies of the word. His whole soul was in the work, which had become a passion with him, and he found no drudgery in carrying that heavy bag from door to door; but every house was a new opportunity, every person a new privilege.
In 1878 he was appointed superintendent, and has had the entire charge of distribution in the State. He has planned the work and attended to its details. The fifteen county Bible meetings have been arranged and carried on largely by his personal effort. He will be missed not only in the homes and in these meetings, but in the places of prayer and the religions gatherings of the different denominations.
At our meeting three years ago, he declared his purpose to canvass the whole State in two years. The work was done. Last year he reported, as the result: 239 towns canvassed, 80,183 families visited, 541 Protestant families found without the Bible and each of these supplied, and 17,485 copies put in circulation. His last report also gives the statistics, in detail, of each town in the State. So he seems to have finished and rounded out his work. He said, in giving that report, that the work was now so thoroughly done that for years to come we should not need to push as vigorously the work of supply, by which we had aimed fully to canvass the State once in each three years.
In the midst of our loss we cannot but be grateful to God, who gave us a workman who, by industry, tact, and experience, grew into a place which no other can ever fill in this State. 6. His works do follow him," and the seed sown will be rising to harvest in the years to come. Men die, the workman balts, but the work goes on. 66 The word of the Lord abideth forever."
The care of the county Bible societies, which has so largely been borne by the superintendent, will now fall upon the clergymen and friends of the society in different parts of the State. They are important factors in the work, and will need to be arranged for and carried on by the personal efforts of those in the neighborhood of each one.
Number of copies of the Scriptures sent into New Ilampshire, 2,245.
NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, AND STATEN ISLAND.-This field is under the care of the Rev. William W. Moffett, who resides in Camden, N. J. He presents the following report of his work for the year:
Entering upon my work in the year just closed, I had in mind two objects in particular for which I have labored earnestly. The first was to impress the people more fully with the importance and magnitude of the mission of the American Bible Society. The second was to