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atheists and frankly anti-Christian. It is perhaps explained by the fact that to them Roman Catholicism and Christianity have been synonymous terms; they have never been taught to take any account of Protestantism as a system of Christian truth. To these the FreeThought Associations are a sort of church, and are set up in opposition to both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. It frequently happens, therefore, that opposition comes to us from this source, because by them we are considered as being a sort of modified Roman Catholicism, and therefore in the camp of the enemy. We frankly oppose the work of the free-thinkers, knowing as we do that it is one of disintegration and destruction and criticism rather than positive construction.
The ravages of materialistic atheism among the workingmen of France, especially in the cities, have only to be seen to be deplored by all who have the welfare of the nation at heart. This is why we have strenuously opposed the work of the atheist agitators in Savoy. The Savoyard, living as he does in the midst of the wonderful scenery of his native mountains and valleys, has a nature instinctively religious. He lives near to Nature's heart and he must be brought into touch with Nature's God.
In the villages where we are at work the atheistic propaganda does not flourish. Some of the societies have disbanded because of the conversion of most of their members, who have come over to us. In other places their establishment has been indefinitely postponed since we have begun work.
During the fall ex-Abbé Claraz came to Albertville and gave an address in the theater upon the subject, “The Failure of Religion," in which he sought to establish the non-existence of God. We planned for a demonstration in the same theater in response to this address. Mr. Chatelain, with another pastor, spoke upon the “Triumph of Religion” before a large crowd. Gospel literature was sold and tracts distributed at the close of the meeting, and from reports that have come to us much good was accomplished.
Saloon-keepers.—In some instances our work has begun in a village in the local café, with the friendship and active co-operation of the proprietor. But the alliance does not last long. It is not a natural
As soon as possible we find an independent meeting-room, and the men, coming to our services, do not frequent the café as assiduously as formerly. Receipts diminish and with them the enthusiasm of the café proprietor, and by and by another alliance is formed. The priest and the saloon-keeper join hands to hinder the spread of the gospel. In every place where we are at work the same complaint arises, the same opposition on the part of the cafés has broken out. The people drink less, the café loses money, the opposition arises.
Fruits of the Gospel Dissipation of Ignorance. The results produced by the preaching of
the gospel manifest themselves in a variety of ways. The good tree is known by its fruit. In the first place the ignorance concerning religious things, which is so general and so dense in the average Roman Catholic village, tends to disappear. Sometimes it is difficult not to feel that the ignorance is maintained with the direct purpose of holding the people in subjection. That is why between the public school and the Roman Church the issue has been clearly drawn, and the two parties have become aggressively antagonistic.
The doctrine of purgatory, to cite one instance, is used by the priests throughout the Savoy as a means to extort money from the boreaved ones. We meet this constantly in our visits, and it is our experience that where the people begin to read the New Testament these errors are forsaken sooner or later. For
many the word “ Christian " has a meaning limited altogether to the matter of relationship to the Roman Catholic Church. The distinction is made constantly between “ Christian” and “Protestant." A school-teacher, in discussing a certain period in French history connected with the persecution of the Protestants, made the statement that the Protestants of course were Christians, since they believed in Christ, the same as the Catholics. She was astonished to find that certain members of the class refused to accept her definition, saying that none but those who were baptized in the Roman Church had any claim to the title of Christian “ The Protestants," maintained the children, "are pagans, for they bave never been baptized. We learned that in our catechism."
We have come across this same idea at different times. For many of these peasants, “ Protestant, Freemason,” and “ Anti-Christian," are three terms practically synonymous.
Not long ago one of our converts told me that just before the death of his father the priest came with promissory note for 200 francs, which he requested the father to sign before the last rites could be administered. The family, being very poor, were in despair, especially when the priest threatened the father with, “If you do not sign this note Monseigneur the Bishop will send you to hell. If you want to avoid this sign the note and sell one of your cows a little later to pay it." The note was not signed, and the extremo unction was not granted, nor did the priest bury the corpse. The funeral service was a civil one and the family from that time were hostile to the Church.
The Church at Gresy.-Perhaps the most tangible result of our colportage work this year was the tent campaign at Gresy, with the subsequent establishment of our work there. It was through the visit of our colporteurs that the people of Gresy first became acquainted with the gospel, and invited us to come and set up the tent. The result of this six months' campaign is our church, with fifty families included in the list of members and adherents. An evangelist is permanently stationed in this place, and throughout the surrounding district from
village to village the gospel is being proclaimed. The change in the lives of the villagers is spoken of far and wide, and because of this work the people in other places are opening their homes and inviting us to come to preach to them the gospel also.
In this way our colporteurs are veritable pioneers who go before and prepare the way for the coming of the Lord into hearts and homes. The moral reformation produced in the individual heart effects the whole life, and convinces us more and more of the truth of the saying of the Apostle Paul that“ Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
For the good results of the work of our colporteurs we wish to thank most heartily the American Bible Society, for through its aid these results have been made possible.
ITALY The Society has received a report from Rev. Dr. Walling Clark, of the Methodist Episcopal Mission in Italy, that the circulation for the year has been 26 Bibles, 144 Testaments, and 1,934 Scripture portions, or a total of 2, 104 volumes. Five persons have been employed in this Bible distribution, and they have visited 58 towns and villages.
The Waldensian Aid Society, with the assistance given to it by our Society, circulated last year something over one thousand copies of the Scripture. The Rev. Albert Clot, in his report, refers particularly to the island of Sardinia as being “the most backward spot in the way of progress and civilization on the continent of Europe.” He continues:
There the customs and superstitions of two hundred years ago are still the current coin. Brigands and outlaws terrorize the country inland; the priests are all-powerful. There are a few Waldensians scattered throughout the island, and a small Baptist congregation in the city of Cagliari-altogether not more than one hundred Protestants in an island that has a population of two millions. We have sent a colporteur, who has settled at Tempio Pansania, and bas visited from there more than twenty smaller towns. In a few months he has sold ten Bibles, twenty New Testaments, and some five hundred portions of Scripture. A splendid instance of the power of the Word of God to dispel darkness even without regular preaching, and to feed hungry souls even without a ministry, we have in the Waldensian Church at Ginosa, province of Bari. A poor peasant from that place got a New Testament in Naples. He read it with delight and told his brother-inlaw about it. The light came into their hearts. Every Sunday they used to read and pray. They had never heard about an Evangelical
Church. One day they met a colporteur. He sold the same book that they cherished. The outcome of the conversation that they had was the establishment of a regular mission which is now quite prosperous. Some of its members have gone over to America and have settled in Brooklyn.
LEVANT The Levant Agency was established in 1836. The territory which
constitutes its field is the Turkish Empire in Europe and Asia, and Egypt and the Soudan. It has colporteurs who co-operate with missionaries in Bulgaria and the whole of what was European Turkey, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Egypt. The sales by these colporteurs during the year amounted to 73,295 volumes. The whole circulation for the year 1913 in the field was 156,926 volumes. Eighty-three persons were employed in this distribution. The total issues by the Levant Agency for fifty-six years ending December 31, 1913, aggregate 3,489,308 volumes. The Agent is the Rev. Marcellus Bowen, D.D., Bible House, Constantinople, Turkey.
UR Levant report is encouraging. The Balkan War with Turkey, it is true, was followed by another Balkan War between the victors, and who knows when the next outbreak will occur. The need for the Scrip
tures continues, and increases, but the economic conditions have made it more difficult for the sums appropriated for this work to minister as widely and extensively. The high cost of living is characteristic of the Levant as of the United States. Dr. Bowen's report will, however, be found full of hope.
The Agency's work has been seriously conditioned by the political situation. In Egypt our work has felt the depressing effects of the nationalist movement, and to some extent also of the Balkan situation. The general demoralization of this latter has been more deeply experienced in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece. These states were moving onward with greater or less rapidity along the lines of political, material, and social development. Suddenly grim war called a halt. Not one of them, but all, felt the blow, and will require years to recover from the staggering effects. Commercially and industrially it has left them all bankrupt. Territorially the net results are these, so far as concerns the Levant Agency: Our Macedonia district, formerly included in European Turkey, now largely belongs to Greece; of our Adrianople district, the northern and western portions are now a part of Bulgaria ; the city of Adrianople and eastern Thrace are still an integral part of Turkey.
As concerns the Bible work: The wars undoubtedly brought large opportunities for distribution among soldiers, prisoners, and refugees of the different races. And thus, probably, the total result in the the ater of war has been much larger than would have been normally ex