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The statistics of the foregoing table are taken from the Minutes of the New-Hampshire General Association for the year ending May 31, 1870, and from the Reports of the Treasurers of the N. H. Missionary Society, and of the N. H. Cent Institution, for the year closing August 15th of the same year. It should be here stated that $665.49 were contributed by our churches in 1869-70 to the American Home Missionary Society, which did not pass through our treasury, and are not included in the sum of $5,486.30 received by the Treasurers of the two Societies above named; the two amounts, $5,486.30 and $665.49=$6,152.29. This, averaged to the 19,449 members of our churches, would give to each member $0.31 and a fraction, an average of seven cents more to each than appears in the table; that indicates that of the 191 Congregational and Presbyterian churches in the State, 93 contributed; 98 did not contribute to our treasury in the year reported. In 106 of our churches, Female Cent Societies exist; in 85 churches no such Societies reported donations in 1869–70.
In three of the Conferences—Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Rockingham—the excess of receipts above appropriations to feeble churches within their bounds, were $1,863.82. In five Conferences, namely, Coös, Cheshire, Grafton, Strafford, and Sullivan, the appropriations were $1,789.21 in excess of the receipts from the same Counties.
Number of churches aided from the organization of the NewHampshire Missionary Society in 1801, 123, of which, 52 are self-sustaining; though several of this number are very weak. 45 still need assistance in sustaining preaching; 26 are extinct, or virtually so. PROGRESS OF WEAKNESS IN OUR FEEBLE
CHURCHES MUST CONTINUE. Increasing weakness in many of our mission churches, as also in not a few of our stronger ones, has been clearly developing itself for the last two decades. Some of our aided churches, to be sure, have grown stronger, and within that time become selfsustaining, owing to their location in growing business communities. But most of our beneficiary churches, located on the highlands and in the poorer agricultural sections of the State,
have been losing strength during all these twenty years, in consequence of deaths and emigration from those sections to our cities and larger towns, and to the Western States and Territories. A small portion only of the young men born and reared in these towns, remain in them. Indeed, scarcely a young man of energy and enterprise settles down for life on his native hills. The fathers and mothers, generally, continue on the homestead; but, in time, death steps in and removes them from their earthly homes, and their lands go into the hands of foreigners, who care nothing for the church or the cause of Christ; or are turned into pastures, or revert to forests again. Now it is as certain as the connection between cause and effect, that the result of this ordering of Providence, will be the weakening and gradual decay of churches situated in these districts of continually decreasing population. Death diminishes existing membership of churches thus situated, and as emigration lessens the number of children and youth, there are fewer to be converted, to unite with the churches, and to sustain the Institutions of the gospel. This arrangement of divine Providence we must recognize in our missionary movements for our State, and not be surprised or disturbed at the steadily weakening process
of our churches. DUTY OF CHURCHES IN OUR CITIES AND LARGE
TOWNS TO OUR MISSION CHURCHES. The large and constant emigration from our smaller and poorer agricultural districts is by no means wholly to the great Western world; very considerable portions of it are to our cities and large manufacturing towns. Indeed, those towns and cities are little else than the rural population concentrated in them. The merchants, the manufacturers, the mechanics, the railroad managers, and operatives, with their families, as also the members of the so-called “learned professions,” are mainly from the country, directly, or through their parents. The rural sections of our State are thus drained of no small part of their best, most efficient, and most enterprising people. This, true in the general, is emphatically so in relation to the most efficient, influential members of our feeble country churches. Such give life, strength, wealth, power-moral and
pecuniary-to our city churches, and to those in our large manufacturing towns. Let examination be made, and it will invariably be found that the majority of the most valuable members of such churches were reared, if not converted in the country. Very many of the best members, male and female, of these churches, were brought into the kingdom of Christ by the blessing of God on the labors and lives of our missionaries, and of our feeble churches on our highlands and in our valleys, to which they have ministered, and still do minister. These small. weak churches were, and continue to be, the springs whence life came, and strength and energy still flow to our city churches, which are the glory, the moral bulwarks, the conservators, of all that is “lovely and of good report” in our cities and manufacturing towns
Now, who can estimate the importance of keeping these fountains “ whence these healing streams do flow," pure and healthy ? On whom rests a heavy responsibility to see that this is done? Is it not, in large measure, on the churches in our cities, made strong, to a great extent, by accessions from our feeble country churches; perhaps at the expense, in some instances, of their very existence ?
It is worthy of note, that members of our weak mission churches, emigrating to our cities, and county, and large towns, and uniting with the churches in such places, for a while, contribute to the support of the ministry in the churches they have left; yet, in process of time, they discontinue their contributions, specifically for this purpose, and thus the churches in which they were born and nurtured to Christian manhood, gradually lose the benefactions of their children, and come to severe want, perhaps to entire extinction. Painful as is the fact, it should be published and proclaimed aloud, that not a few of our strong city churches give but a pittance, some absolutely nothing, for years together, in aid of our struggling mission churches in support of the public ministrations of the gospel; and this, too, when they can not be ignorant of the great need of these churches of such support. It is respectfully, but very earnestly submitted, whether the time has not arrived when all our ministers and churches should seriously ponder this matter and determine, that in no future report of this Socie
ty it shall be stated that not half the churches which it represents have given any thing in a whole year to its funds, and that among the delinquents, are not a few of our churches strongest in numbers and in means.
HOPE OF MORE INTEREST AMONG OUR PASTORS AND CHURCHES IN SUSTAINING OUR FEEBLE, AND IN SUPPLYING OUR DESTITUTE ONES.
It is understood that the Cheshire County Conference, at its meeting in June last, at Keene, in view of the numerous feeble, and several destitute churches of our order in that County, raised a committee, consisting of clergymen, laymen, and ladies, to provide the means of employing a missionary, whose duty it should be to visit all the destitute, weak churches within it, to show them sympathy, preach to them, and encourage them to effort to regain the blessings of a stated ministry. It is, indeed, cheering, that any of our County Conferences are awaking to the necessities of churches unfurnished with such ministry, seriously inquiring what can be done for their permanent enjoyment of the public means of grace, and addressing themselves to the work of raising the funds necessary for this purpose. Were all our County Conferences to do this, great good would result. There are indications in other quarters of like interest and effort. Let us pray God to bless it.
AMERICAN HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The field embraced by the operations of this National Society, extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific; from the Northern Lakes to Southern Missouri and Kansas. In its employ the last year were 940 missionaries, who labored in 29 different States and Territories, supplying 1957 congregations and missionary districts, performing, in the aggregate, 716 years of missionary labor. Among the results were nearly 71,500 Sabbath school children; 2,921 hopeful conversions reported by 407 missionaries; additions to the churches, more than half of whom were by profession of faith, 5,883; the organization of 93 churches; the raising to self-support of 43; the completion of 52 houses of worship; the repairing of 103; the building of 41
others commenced; 75 young men, in connection with the missionary churches, preparing for the ministry. Receipts of the Society during the year, $246,567.26, added to the balance in the treasury at the close of the preceding year, $21,008.20, making the resources of the Society, for the year, $267,575.46. Total receipts for the forty-five years of the Society's existence, $5,984,883.77. Total years of labor performed, 27,810. Whole number of additions to the churches, 217,502.
VALUE OF MISSION CHURCHES. Mission churches are a standing monument to the praise and glory of the Redeemer. In many towns in our State, they have been established and maintained during periods of forty, fifty, and sixty years; in which, but for these churches, there would have been but little public recognition of God in any form. Without them, temples would not have been erected to his name, or if once raised, would have soon fallen into decay and ruin, and there would have been no standing, visible reminder to the community, even of his very being. But the existence of a Christian church in any place, however feeble, generally secures the building of a church edifice, and of its being kept in repair. Its doors are opened on the Sabbath; the tones of its bell, heard through the neighborhood, call the people to come up to the house of the Lord. Listening to its sound, clothing themselves in suitable apparel, they leave their private dwellings for a season, proceed from different points and through various highways, to the temple of the Most High; silently proclaiming to all beholders, there is a God, the Creator, moral Governor, and final Judge of the world, to whom men are accountable; that there awaits them an endless existence after death, of joy or woe; as they glorify him or not in this brief life. The attendants on the sanctuary enter its gates, reverentially engage in the worship of God; unite in singing his praise, in public prayer, in listening to the reading and exposition of the sacred Scriptures; to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These public religious services closed, the worshipers, with minds and hearts filled and impressed with the truths of God, in silent order return to their homes, proclaiming, in unuttered voice, as they pass the abodes of the neglectors of the