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Centennial of Canadian Methodism
Methodist Literature and Methodist Sunday-schools

By the Rev. W. H. Withrow, D.D.

IT has sometimes been asserted that Methodism is unliterary in its character. That depends on what is meant by literary. If one means devotion to the technical niceties of scholarship, to the preparation of books on Greek verbs in mi, or on the middle voice, or on the dative case, we may, in part, admit the charge. Methodism has not had at her command the sinecure fellowships, the rich endowments and the opportunities for learned leisure that encourage devotion to such minutiae of scholarship. Her writers, for the most part, have been hard-working preachers, whose first and all-important work was the ministry of the Word, the edifying of the saints, the upbuilding of the Church of God.

But notwithstanding this consecration to a higher work than the writing of books, she has no reason to be ashamed of her achievements in the latter regard. She has not been unmindful of her birth in the first university in Europe, nor of the fact that her early teachers and preachers were among the most scholarly and learned men of their age. John Wesley’s many scores of volumes are a proof of his literary industry, and the fact that many of them were condensations of costly tomes into cheap hand-books for the people, gives the key-note to the character of Methodist literary enterprise. It wrote not for the favoured few, who could command wealth and leisure, but chiefly for the toiling millions, who could command neither one nor the other. It was to bring home to the poor man’s business and bosom the words of life—the words that could make him wise unto salvation—that the countless tracts and books from the Methodist press were scattered like leaves in autumn; leaves which, like those of the tree of life, shall be for the healing of the nations.

In his saddle bags, with his .Bible and hymn-book, the early itinerant took to remotest and poorest hamlets, where other literature was almost unknown, the books which fed the new convert’s hunger of the soul. Not that all the early literature of Methodism was devotional. There was need of strong, keen, trenchant, logical, controversial writings, to defend the doctrines of grace from the fierce attacks made upon them ; and of Scripture commentaries, institutes of systematic theology, books of classical learning, and studies for the training of the new Christian militia for aggressive Christian war.

In two respects early Methodist literature was unique. The first was its outburst of devotional poetry, especially that of Charles Wesley, the like of which the world had never seen before. On the wings of sacred song the glad truths of salvation found their way throughout the land and to the ends of the earth. No hymnary of any Protestant Church to-day can be found which does not contain some of the incomparable lyrics of Charles Wesley, and they are found in some Roman Catholic hymnaries as well. .

The second striking feature is the copious use made of the periodical press. In 1778 appeared the first number of the Arminian Magazine, which, under the various names of the Methodist Magazine and Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, has been published continuously ever since, making it, we believe, the oldest of all the countless number of monthly periodicals. In the New World especially has the periodical press been employed for the dissemination of religious truth and the diffusion of religious and missionary intelligence. The Methodist Episcopal Church alone issues twenty-three official periodicals, the circulation of nineteen of which amounts to over 3,000,000 copies. Besides these, are thirty unofficial papers published in the interest of that Church, and many more official and unofficial published by the other Methodist Churches of that country. Methodism throughout the world publishes no less than 164 weekly, monthly or quarterly periodicals, the circulation of which, though we have not the data to accurately estimate it, is enormous, and the moral and religious influence of which is simply incalculable. The Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States alone, during the Quadrennium ending 1888, issued from its own presses 2,263,160 volumes, and the value of the sales from its official Book Concern during that Quadrennium amounted to $7,344,390.

A leading New York journal comments as follows upon the success of the publishing interests of the Methodist Episcopal Church:—

“Few publishing houses anywhere can show a record of financial prosperity equal to that of the Book Concern, which began operations one hundred years ago with a borrowed capital of $600, and which to-day has an unincumbered capital of more than $1,500,000, after having contributed from its profits during the century nearly $2,500,000 to meet various expenses of the Church. Tens of millions of Methodist books have been sold, because millions of Methodist people have been trained to hunger and thirst for the spiritual meat and drink which those books were intended to supply. It is one among many glories of the laborious clergy who, as ‘ circuit riders/ carried the Gospel into innumerable lonely settlements and neglected moral wastes on this continent, that they awakened a love of reading in multitudes of homes that else would have remained intellectually sterile. Let not the fastidious critic sneer. If it be admitted that much of the literature conveyed in ‘ saddle-bags5 by itinerant preachers was crude, unpolished, often feeble and narrow in range of ideas, yet no one can truthfully deny that its moral tone was unobjectionable, and that to set illiterate masses to reading about matters of high concern was an inestimable advantage to the country as well as to the Church.”

Another remarkable manifestation of intellectual activity is seen in the educational enterprises of the above-named Church. In 1886 it had no less than 143 colleges, universities and higher institutions of learning, with buildings and grounds to the value of $7,584,640; debts, $592,474 ; professors and teachers, 1,405 ; students, 28,591.

But we are concerned in this paper chiefly with the literary activity of Canadian Methodism. A native literature is a plant of a slow growth. Like the aloe tree, it requires a century to bring it into bloom. It is not much more than a hundred years since the British conquest of Canada, and much less than a hundred years since the settlement of a great part of it. The early years were a continual struggle for existence. The Methodist people were hewing out for themselves homes in the wilderness, and the pioneer preachers were following the blazed paths through the forest to minister to them the Bread of Life. They have both been engaged in building churches and school-houses, and gathering into congregations and societies the scattered settlers, and in reclaiming from paganism to Christianity the native tribes. This must be their excuse, if they have not achieved as great results in literature as older, wealthier, and more amply leisured Churches. With the best products of British and American literature poured upon our shores, it has been a somewhat handicapped rivalry that our native authors have had to undergo. Nevertheless, we are not without the beginnings of a native Methodist literature, and some native productions have even won recognition in the great republic of letters which embraces the world.

Here, as elsewhere, periodical literature first took root, flourished most successfully, and bore most abundant fruit. The oldest religious paper in the Dominion, one of the oldest on the continent, or in the world, is the veteran Christian Guardian, now in its fifty-eighth year; and never stronger for the defence of all the interests of Methodism, and for the diffusion of religious and general intelligence than to-day. It was a very bold enterprise for the comparatively few and scattered Methodists in Canada in the year 1833 to establish a connexional press, and shortly after a connexional book room. In that distinguished Canadian, who subsequently did so much to lay broad and deep and stable the foundations of the commonweal by the unrivalled public school system of Upper Canada, of which he was the author, was found the worthy pioneer editor of Canadian Methodism. Valiantly by tongue and pen he fought the battles of civil and religious liberty, and won for the Methodists of those early days their civil and religious rights. It is, we think, unparalleled that an editor should be permitted to write in the semi-centennial issue of the paper which he founded, a leading editorial. Yet this distinction had Dr. Ryerson, and he had the further honour of seeing all the great principles for which he so valiantly contended granted to the people, and recognized in the constitution of the country.

He was followed by able successors. The Revs. Franklin Metcalf, James Richardson, Ephraim Evans, Jonathan Scott, George F. Play ter, George R. Sanderson, James Spencer and Wellington Jeffers constitute a line of gifted and faithful men who did good service to the Church. At different periods during recent years, the Revs. W. H. Withrow, David Savage, Geo. C. Workman, Thomas W. Campbell, S. G. Stone and Mr. John W. Russell have been associated in the editorial work of the paper.

None of the former editors filled the editorial chair for so long a period as its present occupant, the Rev. Dr. Dewart, nor with more uniform ability and success. No periodical in Canada stands so high as an exponent of Christian thought and culture, and as a fearless defender of every interest of Methodism. Its influence in moulding in large degree through all these years the intellectual life of the people, in assisting all the great enterprises of the Church, in being a bond of sympathy between its centre and its remotest parts, in creatiug a feeling of unity and solidarity in Canadian Methodism, can never be adequately estimated.

Similar service has been rendered in the Provinces of Eastern British America by the Wesleyan, now in its fifty-second volume. In the narrower limits, and with the smaller constituency to which it could appeal for support, it was a still bolder enterprise to launch this periodical upon the stormy sea of journalism, which has been strewn with the wrecks of so many editoral ventures. Its first pilot was Rev. Dr. A. McLeod (now Editor of the Baltimore Methodist), 1839-40. After two years, the paper was suspended in favour of a monthly magazine edited by Rev. Wm. Temple. The Wesleyan, second series, began again in 1849, and continued in charge of Dr. McLeod until 1854. From 1854 to 1860 Mr. Matthew H. Richey, then practising law, had charge of the paper. He was followed bv Rev. Charles Churchill, until 1862. Rev. J. McMurray, D.D., filled the editorial chair, until 1869, and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Pickard, until 1872. Then came Rev. A. W. Nicolson, until 1878. Rev. D. D. Currie was Editor for one year, to 1879. Rev. T. Watson Smith held the office until 1886. At the General Conference of that year the present Editor, the Rev. Dr. Lathern, was elected, and was re-elected to the same office in 1890.

The Canada Christian Advocate, the organ of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was first started by Revs. Thomas Webster and Joseph H. Leonard, in Cobourg, in 1845. Two years afterward, 1847, it was purchased by the Church, and the same year was removed to the city of Hamilton. The Rev. T. Webster was continued its Editor until 1850, when Rev. Gideon Shepperd was appointed. He was succeeded, in 1860, by Rev. Samuel Morrison. In 1863 the Rev. George Abbs was elected and continued until 1871, when Rev. James Gardiner was appointed. He was followed, in 1875, by Rev. S. G. Stone. In 1881, Rev. William Pirritte was appointed Editor, Dr. Stone continuing Book Steward, and continued in the editorial chair until the paper was merged into the Guardian in 1884, when Dr. Stone became Associate Editor of that paper till 1887. Under its successive editors the Advocate was a very influential religious journal.

The Evangelical Witness, organ of the New Connexion •Church, was begun as a monthly in the year 1855, by the Rev. J. H. Robinson, at that time and for many years subsequent, the English representative of the Methodist New Connexion and its Missionary Superintendent. It soon became a semi-monthly, then a weekly. On Mr. Robinson’s appointment to the editorship of the English Methodist New Connexion periodicals, Dr. Wm. Cocker, his successor as Superintendent of Missions, became also his successor as Editor of the Evangelical Witness, holding the position till his return to England in 1872. Dr. Cocker afterwards became Principal of Ranmoor College, Sheffield, and is still living. His successor in the editorship of the Evangelical Witness was Rev. David Savage, who held the office until by the Union of 1874 the Evangelical Witness was merged in the CJiristiari Guardian, and for a time continued Associate Editor of the consolidated periodical.

The Christian Journal, the organ of the Primitive Methodist Church, was established in 1857, in Toronto, by the Rev. J. Davidson, who had previously published at his private risk the Evangelist. He continued Editor and Book Steward till 1866, when he was succeeded by the Rev. T. Crompton, who continued Editor till 1870. The Rev. William Rowe became Book Steward in 1867, and Editor from 1870 to 1873. The Rev. William Bee became Book Steward and Missionary Secretary in 1872, and continued to discharge the duties of the office, with a brief exception, to the time of the Union in 1884. The Rev. Thomas Gut-tery acted as Editor in 1873 and 1874 ; Rev. William Bee, 1874 to 1876 ; Rev. T. Guttery again, 1876 to 1878 ; then the Rev. Dr. Anti iff from 1878 to 1884, the date of the Union. Ur\der its successive editors the Journal was a periodical of much religious influence, and under the able editorship of Dr. Antliff, contributed largely to the carrying out of Methodist union.

The Observer, the organ of the Bible Christian Church, was established in 1866 by the Rev. Cephas Barker, a man of great ability and marked individuality of character. It was published for two years in .Cobourg, then removed to Bowmanville, Mr. Barker continuing Editor till 1880. He was succeeded by the Rev. H. J. Knott, an amiable and scholarly man, who managed the paper with marked ability till his lamented death in 1883. He was succeeded by the Rev. George Webber, who continued in charge till the paper was merged in the Guardian in 1884.

It is in its Sunday-school periodical literature that the most remarkable development in production and in numerical circulation has taken place, especially since the successive recent unions of Canadian Methodism. To the venerable Dr. Sanderson, a veteran Editor and Book Steward of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, is due the honour of organizing its Sunday-school periodical literature. Under the administration, as Book Steward, of the Rev. Dr. Rose, was established that very successful Sunday-school teachers’ magazine, the Sunday-school Banner, and the Sunday-school Advocate, under the editorship of the Rev. Dr. Sutherland.

The development of these periodicals, especially since the last Methodist Union, has been very remarkable. They trebled in number, several of them more than doubled in size, increased many fold in circulation, and greatly improved in mechanical make-up and illustration. There is scarcely a hamlet or neighbourhood in the English-speaking parts of the country where they do not circulate. They go to the remotest parts of the Dominion, to the fishing villages of Labrador and Newfoundland, to Bermuda and Japan. ’ From their cheapness and by their distribution through the Sunday-schools, they reach many who possess no other religious reading, and in many cases no reading of any sort. They do not attempt very high literary art. They are adapted to the comprehension of the humblest, but they bring the Word of Life to many by whom the voice of the living preacher is seldom- heard. They are of great assistance to scores of thousands of faithful Sunday-school teachers, in the instruction of the youthful immortals committed to their care. These papers focus upon the selected lessons all the light that can be concentrated from various sources, so as to be a continuous commentary by some of the best Biblical scholars living, brought within the reach of the most remote, the poorest and the humblest of those self-denying teachers of the scholars under their care. They furnish a noble vantage ground for moulding in large degree the future of the Church and nation, in influencing toward piety and godliness in the most susceptible and formative period of the minds of the young people of Methodism.

The circulation of the Sunday-school periodicals has increased from a total of 103,729 on March 31st, 1882, to 194,076 on March 31st, 1886, to 252,566 on March 31st, 1890, and to 324,350 on September 1st, 1890.

On the completion of the Methodist Union of 1874 was established the Canadian Methodist Magazine, a monthly periodical devoted to religious literature and social progress. It has furnished facilities for the production of a distinctively Canadian literature, and by its means over half a million of numbers of 100 pages each, including “insets,” or over 50,000,000 pages of high-class literature, have been distributed throughout the Dominion. I has found readers also in almost every State of the neighbouring Republic, and in Great Britain and Ireland, and even in Ceylon, India, China and Japan. It is something to the credit of Canadian Methodism, that when so many attempts to establish a Methodist monthly in the large and wealthy Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States have failed, that of the much smaller and poorer Methodist Church in Canada has been so successful. Nor is this credit lessened by the fact that many attempts have been made in Canada to establish a monthly magazine on secular lines, all of which after a few years ceased to exist, while the Methodist Magazine, which is frankly denominational and avowedly religious in its purpose and character, was never so strong nor exhibited such vitality as to-day. It has in a remarkable degree assisted to develop the literary ability and character of the writers of Canadian Methodism, many of whom first preened their pinions in its pages, and afterwards on stronger wing took farther flight to other lands. Its artistic development is still more remarkable than its literary success. No other Canadian magazine ever attempted such copious and high-class illustrations or such mechanical excellence in letter-press; and we know not any other country with an English-speaking population so sparse as our own that has ever attempted such an enterprise.

The General Conference of 1890 ordered the publication of a new paper, especially adapted to the Epworth Leagues, which were everywhere springing into existence for young people in our schools and Bible-classes. In obedience to that injunction, a new paper, an eight-page weekly, Unward, was established, which has already, in the second month of its publication, reached a circulation of nearly 20,000, and gives promise of great development and improvement. Since 1875, the Sunday-school periodicals and Methodist Magazine have been under the direction of the writer of ’ this article.

If Canadian Methodism had done nothing more than create this large amount of wholesome religious literature, it would have done a great deal, for a Church which has covered the country with a complete network of religious agencies, and in the largest, most populous Province of Ontario has erected more churches than all the other Churches, Protestant and Roman Catholic, together. (See census of 1881.) But it has done a good deal more. It has one of the largest book publishing houses, if not the very largest in the Dominion, from which is issuing a constant stream of books, many of them written by Methodist pens; and most, if not all of these, written amid the pressing duties of circuit life or official duty. .

One of the earliest, most industrious and strongest writers of early Methodism was the late Rev. Dr. Ryerson—clarum et venerabile nomen—a statesman and a philosopher, who to his editorial and official work added historical contributions of great and permanent value to the literature of his country. “The Loyalists of America and their Times,5’ in two large octavo volumes, is the most ample and adequate treatment the pilgrim founders and fathers of British Canada ever received—a worthy tribute to a band of heroic men and women, by one who was himself a descendant of that good old stock, and who illustrated in his own person and character their sturdy virtues. His “ Epochs and Characteristics of Canadian Methodism,’5 originally contributed to the Methodist Magazine, is a valuable account of the important ecclesiastical movements in which he himself bore so prominent a part. His voluminous official Educational Reports were important State papers. His posthumous work, “ The Story of My Life,” edited by Drs. Hodgins, Nelles and Potts, is a modest record of a noble life, which should be for all time an incentive to Canadian youth and manhood to moral achievement and attainment. Dr. Ryerson’s industrious pen left also in manuscript an elaborate work on the later history of England, the result of much original investigation in the British Museum and elsewhere. Morgan, in his “ Bibliotheca Canadensis,” enumerates fifty-eight distinct publications from his busy pen. His best work was his noble Christian life. His effigy in bronze stands in our midst, that successive generations may know the form and semblance of the man. But his grandest monument is the public school system of his native Province, and the Methodist Church *in this land, which he did so much to found and build.

Another of the most racy and readable writers of Canadian Methodism was the late Rev. Dr. Caroll, a man revered, honoured and beloved by all who knew him. His chief work, and one that must remain forever indispensable to those who would know the beginnings of Methodism in this land, is his “ Biographical History of Case and His Cotemporaries,” a work in five goodly volumes, full of the graphic characterization, the quiet humour, the quaint quips and quirks of one of the most genial as well as one of the most saintly of men—an Israelite, indeed, in whom there was no guile. In the delineation of “ Father Corson,” pioneer missionary, his pen found another subject congenial to his genius. His “ Story of My Boy Life,” a graphic volume of early days in Toronto; and his “ School of the Prophets,” are brimful of blended humour and pathos. His continuous stream of contributions to the Guardian on every aspect of Church life and Church work, for many years, would themselves fill several volumes.

Many other writers have contributed to the Methodist literature of Canada, to whom we can but briefly refer. Dr. Dewart, the accomplished Editor of the Christian Guardian, is the author of an able volume, entitled, “ Living Epistles; or, Christ’s Witnesses in the World,” a work which has had a large sale, and one which has won high encomiums from the press. His “Songs of Life,” a volume of original poetry, exhibits a high degree of poetic feeling and poetic fire. His “ Development of Doctrine ” is an able treatise on an important subject. Numerous trenchant pamphlets from his vigorous pen have been called forth by exigent circumstances of the times.

The Rev. Dr. Burwash, the learned Chancellor of Victoria \ University, has given not merely to Methodism, but to the Church universal one of the best commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans. This is not the judgment of partial friends, but of independent and high-class reviewers. His edition of Wesley’s Doctrinal Standards, with introduction, analysis and notes, is another important contribution to our theological literature.

The most conspicuous contribution to distinctively critical literature by a Canadian pen, challenging the attention of the ablest scholars and exegetes of the Old World and the New, is that by a young professor in Victoria University, George Coulson Workman, Ph.D. His learned work on the text of Jeremiah, a critical investigation of the Greek and Hebrew, with the variations in the LXX. retranslated into the original, has won the highest encomiums from the distinguished scholars best competent to judge of its merits. Professor Delitzsch gives it strong commendation, and the ancient University of Leipsic showed its appreciation of Prof. Workman’s distinguished scholarship by conferring upon him the degree of Ph.D.

The Rev. Dr. Poole, besides several books on practical religion, has issued a large octavo volume entitled, “ Anglo-Israel,” in which he sets forth and supports with great vigour and learning the theory that the Anglo-Saxon race is identical with the lost tribes of Israel. Whether one accept this theory or not, he cannot but admit the ingenuity and force with which its able advocate urges his contention.

The leaders in thought and action of Canadian Methodism have been men too exclusively engrossed in the active j duties of life to be able to give time to literary work. The late lamented Dr. Nelles, for over thirty years President of Victoria University, a man who possessed an exquisite literary taste and a chaste and polished style, has left little behind him except his noble convocation addresses, and a few published sermons and some admirable contributions to the Methodist Magazine. His best work was engraven on the hearts and minds of successive generations of students who translated his teachings into high thinking and noble lives—‘‘ living epistles known and read of all men.” So, too, the venerable Dr. Douglas, a man of imperial intellect, of marvellous eloquence, prevented by the constraints of physical infirmity from the use of his pen, lives in the heart and mind of Canadian Methodism chiefly in the memory of his thrilling conference sermons and addresses. But some of these will never be forgotten while the hearer lives ; they were epoch-marking and historic. The Rev Dr. Carman, with the cares of all the churches coming upon him daily, has found time for a copious correspondence with the public and denominational journals, for important contributions to the Methodist Magazine, and for writing a wise and thoughtful and thought-compelling volume on “ The Guiding Eye.” The Rev. Dr. Stafford, amid the engagements of a busy pastorate, has a similar volume on the kindred subject of “The Guiding Hand,” and has also contributed to such high-class reviews as Christian Thought, articles in which his independence of investigation and expression are strikingly exhibited. A book of kindred character has also been written by the Rev. Nelson Burns, M.A. The late 'Dr. Williams wrote for the connexional monthly many valuable articles, besides a series of fine studies in Methodist Hymnody.

That accomplished and genial writer, the Rev. Hugh Johnston, has published one of the most charming and instructive books of travel extant, “ Towards the Sun-Rise,” being a graphic account of extensive journeying in Central and Southern Europe and in Egypt and Palestine. He has also written with admirable good taste memorial pamphlets on the Rev. Dr. Punshon, and on several others of the sainted dead of Methodism. The late Rev. J. S. Evans, a cultured and scholarly man, has written a volume of practical theology, which has been received with high praise, entitled, “ The One Mediator : Selections and Thoughts on the Propitiatory Sacrifice and Intercession Presented by the Lord Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest.” The Rev. S. G. Phillips, M.A., has issued a volume of sermons, well spoken of, on “The Need of the World;” also “From Death to Life ; or, the Lost Found.” Dr. Alexander Sutherland, amid the busy occupations of his official life, has found time to contribute important articles to some of the leading reviews, and to publish a volume entitled, “ A Summer in Prairie Land,” being notes of a tour through the NorthWest Territory. The Rev. D. G. Sutherland, LL.B., D.D. has written a charming series of papers on travel in Palestine, Turkey and Greece, marked by much grace and scholarship. In the difficult and ill-requited department of statistics, the Rev. George Cornish, LL.D., has compiled a large and useful octavo volume, giving the record of each minister, and of each circuit and station of the Methodist Church in Canada, up to the last Union—a cyclopedia of Canadian Methodism which is a monument of his accuracy and fidelity—a vade mecum of all future historians of the Church.

The Rev. David Savage, for several years Editor of the Evangelical Witness, the organ of the New Connexion Church, a writer of singular grace and elegance, has published an admirable life of the Rev. William McClure, one of the most highly venerated ministers of that body, and a number of interesting magazine articles. The Rev. J. C. Seymour, another minister of the New Connexion Church, inherits a remarkable gift for writing, which he has sedulously cultivated by continual practice. He won, in extensive competition, a valuable prize by his essay on “Systematic Giving.” He has written also, “Voices from the Throne; or, God’s Call to Faith and Obedience,” “The River of Life,” “The Temperance Battle-field,” and a number of graphic studies in biography.

The Rev. George Webber, of the former Bible Christian Church, is the author of two volumes of lectures and essays upon prominent actors in the drama of history. They exhibit extensive reading and a deep insight into character, and are marked in a high degree by the eloquence which graces spoken discourse. The Rev. John Harris wrote a popular life of Francis Metherell, founder of the Bible Christian Church in Prince Edward Island ; and the Rev. John Kenner wrote the life of the Rev. Mr. Beswetherick, a young Cornish minister of remarkable eloquence.

Turning to the Provinces of Eastern British America, we find the Rev. Dr. Lathern, Editor of the Wesleyan, an accomplished litterateur. His “Macedonian Cry: a Voice from the Land of Brahma and Buddha, Africa and the Isles of the Sea, and a Plea for Missions,” is a comprehensive survey of the wide mission field, and an eloquent appeal to the Church on its behalf. His biography of the late Judge Wilmot is a model of condensed and graphic portraiture. His “ Baptisma : Exegetical and Controversial,” is an admirable presentation of the arguments for pedo-baptism.

The Rev. T. Wesley Smith, the predecessor in office of Dr. Lathern, has laid universal Methodism under tribute by his admirable history of Methodism in the Maritime Provinces and in the Islands of Newfoundland and Bermuda, in two fascinating volumes. Few tales of sublimer consecration or more heroic endeavour have ever been penned. It were well if the present generation would become more familiar with the soul-stirring story of the pioneer fathers and founders of Methodism in the New World.

The Rev. S. B. Dunn, of* the Nova Scotia Conference, is one of the most thorough and accurate students living of Wesleyan hymnody, and of the text of Shakespeare. His serial contributions on these subjects to the Methodist Magazine are among the very best we have seen, and we hope will soon appear in book form. The Rev. Edwin Evans, of the New Brunswick Conference, has written a small volume on “ Historic Christianity,” which has attracted attention and won high praise in Great Britain. Dr. Richey has written a “ Life of William Black,” and a volume of sermons of stately rhetoric and high order of thought. Rev. A. W. Nicolson has published an attractive life of James B. Morrow; Rev. George O. Huestis, a “Manual of Methodism,” succinct and useful; Rev. Dr. Currip, a “ Catechism on Baptism.” Rev. Matthew R. Knight has published a volume of poems, which entitles him to a prominent place among Canadian bards. Rev. John Solden also published a volume of poetry.

Dr. Stewart, of Sackville University, like all our College Presidents, has been compelled to do most of his writing on the hearts and minds of his theological students, but his vigorous contributions to the press would form a large aggregate if collected.

In the Newfoundland Conference the Rev. George Bond, M.A., has published in England, in a handsomely illustrated volume, a graphic and touching story of out-port Methodism, with which many of our readers are familiar. His “ Vagabond Vignettes,” or sketches of travel in Egypt and Palestine, are possessed of singular grace and elegance. The Rev. Henry Lewis has also written some graphic sketches of Newfoundland life, and the Rev. W. Percival has written one of the best accounts extant of the history of Britain’s oldest colony.

In the far North-West the Rev. J. McLean, Ph.D., has produced a volume on Indian life and character which possesses much popular interest. He has also won an international reputation as an authority on the Indian languages and the literature connected therewith, and has become a contributor to the transactions of learned societies both in the United States and Canada. The Rev. E. R. Young, for several years a missionary to the Indian tribes, has published, both in Great Britain and Canada, a book of absorbing interest, entitled, “ By Canoe and Dog-Train among the Cree and Saulteaux Indians.” He is also contributing to the New York Ledger, one of the most widely circulated papers of the United States, and to an English journal of similar character, a series of graphic illustrated articles on life and adventure in the North-West. Another North-West missionary, the Rev. J. H. Ruttan, has, with infinite industry and scholarly zeal, prepared a new harmony of the Gospels, which renders more vivid to the reader the life of our Lord.

The Rev. Wm. Harrison, of the New Brunswick Conference, has surpassed almost every Canadian writer for the number and excellence of his contributions to the reviews and higher religious periodicals of both Canada, Great Britain and the United States, the merit of which has procured for him election to the Victoria Institute, one of. the leading philosophical societies of the world. There lies before us a little volume, “ Tabor Melodies,” a series of 250 sonnets on religious subjects, by Mr. Robert Evans, of Hamilton, recently deceased, which are a marvel for accurate construction, elevation of thought and noble diction. Such a tour de force of sustained excellence, when we remember that many of them were written on railway trains and amid the distractions of travel, we do not know in literature. The numerous poetical contributions to the press of the Rev. Thomas Cleworth also claim mention. In Mr. Percy Pun shon the poetic and literary instincts and gifts of his honoured sire are conspicuous in the son. The Rev. T. L. Wilkenson has published a large volume on the subject of “ Christian Baptism,” which is regarded as one of the best works extant on this important topic.

A little volume of sketches from the note-book of an itinerant, “Smiles and Tears,” of blended humour and pathos; a couple of missionary compilations, and innumerable contributions to the religious press of Canada, Great Britain and the United States, attest the industry and ability of the Rev. Dr. Barrass, of the Toronto Conference.

The Rev. Principal Austin, of Alma Ladies’ College, has just issued a goodly quarto volume on “ Woman, her Character, Culture and Calling,” to which he largely contributes, assisted by other Canadian writers. His able pamphlet on the Jesuit question has had, for Canada, an enormous circulation. He has also published “ The Gospel to the Poor vs. Pew Rents,” a vigorous pamphlet, and has edited a volume of sermons by Methodist Episcopal ministers. The Rev. Austin Potter has written a story—a tremendous indictment of the liquor traffic—“From Wealth to Poverty; or, The Tricks of the Traffic,” a story of the drink curse.

The annual volumes of the Theological Unions of the Methodist Church and the Canadian Methodist Quarterly Review y have developed a large amount of high-class thought and writing on theological, philosophical and religious topics.

Of the contributors to this important department of native literature the following is only a partial list: Revs. A. M. Phillips, B.D., Editor; S. Bond, Dr. Ryckman, A. C. Courtice, B.D., James Graham, J. W. Bell, B.D., W. W. Andrews, B.A., Prof. Badgley, Job Shenton, H. F. Bland,; Prof. Shaw, LL.D., J. E. Ford, B.D., J. S. Ross, M.A., J. W. Sparling, LL.D., J. Awde, B.A., Prof. Workman, Prof. Wallace, W. Galbraith, LL.B., and others. The Revs. W. S. Blackstock, a practised newspaper litterateur; R. Cade, George Cochran, who did very valuable work in translating the Scriptures into Japanese; Dr. Eby, whose volume of essays on “ Higher Christian Thought” was very highly, commended by Joseph Cook; J. F. German, Dr. Harper, John Hunt, Drs. W. J. and S. J. Hunter, Dr. Pirritte, Methodist Episcopal Church; J. Manley, J. Philp, M. A., J, E. Sanderson, M.A., Le Roy Hooker, who has written the best U. E Loyalist poem produced in Canada : W. McDonagh, J. R. Gundy, Dr. Pascoe, Dr. Antliff, Sydney Kendal, whose “New Chivalry” is a stirring } Canadian temperance tale ; S. Rose, D. L. Brethour, Ph.D., -^Alex. Burns, LL.D., George McDougall, who has written an excellent biography of his sainted sire; J. S. Ross, M.A., James Allen, M.A., Dr. A. H. Reynar, Dr. W. Williams, B. Sherlock, A. Andrews, G. 0. Huestis, C. Jost, M.A., Dr. J. Macmurray, and possibly others whose names we cannot recall, have also made valuable contributions to Canadian Methodist literature.

Among our earlier writers, the Rev. John Ryerson’s “ Visit to the Hudson Bay Territory ” was almost, if not quite, the pioneer in that line, as was the Rev. James Playter’s “ History of Methodism,” in another direction. We have not seen the Rev. J. Webster’s “ History of Canadian Methodism,” but we understand that it is a work of much vigour and ability. The Rev. Henry Harris, of the late Primitive Methodist Church, has written a number of works, “Walks in Paradise,” “Stray Beams from the Cross,” “Words of Life,” etc. The Rev. Joseph H. Hilts has also written a graphic work on “ Backwoods Itinerant Life.” The Rev. T. Davidson wrote a life of the Rev. Mr. Clowes, one of the fathers of Primitive Methodism ; and the Rev. T. Crompton, a thoughtful work on the “ Agency of the Church.” “William and Mary, a Tale of the Siege of Louisburg,” by Rev. David Hickey, has considerable merit.

The laymen of Canadian Methodism have been, for the most part, so engrossed in business or professional life that they have had little time for purely literary work. But a few names are conspicuous in this respect. Noteworthy among these was the late Senator Macdonald, whose volume on “Business Success,” and his numerous and graphic letters of travel in Newfoundland, in the West Indies and South America, and on the North-West coast and Alaska, and his numerous contributions in prose and verse to the Methodist Magazine, attest his literary instincts and activity. One of the most prominent names in current literature in reviews, magazines and literary periodicals of Canada, Great Britain and the United States, is that of J. Macdonald Oxley, a gentleman of the civil service at Ottawa, and member of the Dominion Church. He has also issued in the United States one or two or three volumes of i stories. Professor Haanel, late of Victoria University,, has contributed to the transactions of the Royal Society some very important papers, describing some of his origi-f nal discoveries in science. For rare and accurate classical scholarship, the renderings into Greek and Latin verse of many of the most noted hymns of Christendom, in the Methodist Magazine, by W. H. C. Kerr, M.A,, have never been surpassed. Mrs. M. E. Lauder’s “ Legends and Tales of the Harz Mountains,” and her volume of travels, have the honour of reaching a second edition. Miss May Tweedie, Miss M. A. Daniels, Mrs. T. Moore, and other Canadian Methodist ladies, have written much for the press. Miss I. Templeton-Armstrong’s volume, entitled “Old Vice and New Chivalry,” is a strongly written temperance work.

The above enumeration, from which we may have omitted some noteworthy volumes, will indicate that there is a considerable amount of intellectual literary activity in Canadian Methodism; and we may anticipate that as opportunities

for the publication and sale of their work increases, there may be anticipated a corresponding increase in the literary “ output.” It would be unbecoming for the present writer to refer here to his own humble efforts in literature further than to append a list of his several books.


Methodism has ever availed itself of every means which could promote its great object—the spread of Christian holiness throughout the land. Hence its early adoption of lay preaching, out-of-door services, the class-meeting, and notably of the Sunday-school.

As early as 1737, John Wesley gathered the children in Savannah, Georgia, for religious instruction. In 1769, Hannah Ball, a young Methodist, established a Sundayschool in Wycombe. In 1781, another Methodist, afterwards wife of Samuel Bradburn, in reply to the query of Robert Raikes, “ What can we do for the untaught children1?” suggested gathering them into Sunday-schools. It was done, and in 1784, John Wesley wrote of them in his Journal, “Perhaps God may have a deeper end therein than men are aware of.” In the Arminian Magazine for January, 1789, he exhorted the Methodist people to adopt the new institution. The same year John Fletcher had 300 children under instruction; next year there were 550 in a school in Bolton, and the following year it had grown to 800, taught by eighty teachers.

In 1787, there were 200,000 children gathered into Sunday-schools. The same year John Wesley wrote, “ It seems that there will be one great means of reviving religion throughout the nation.”

In 1786, the first Sunday-school in the New World was established by Francis Asbury, and as one of its results, a converted scholar became one of the pioneer Methodist preachers.

It is difficult to determine when Methodist Sunday-schools were first introduced into Canada. The Metropolitan Church in this city traces its pedigree directly to a school established in the old wooden, first Methodist church on the corner of King and Jordan Streets, on the site where now stands the new Bank of Commerce.

Out of this school have grown many others in Toronto and the surrounding country, whose influence on the growth of Methodism and the advancement of the cause of God is simply incalculable. In Montreal, Kingston, Belleville, Hamilton, London, and other centres of population and influence, Methodist Sunday-schools were early established, 20 .which have multiplied and spread till the land is covered with a complete network of them. Scarcely a village or hamlet in the English-speaking part of the country are without Methodist Sunday-schools, which outnumber in Ontario those of all the other Protestant denom’nations taken together. The successive unions which have taken place among the different branches of Methodism, while they have in many places consolidated two or three schools into one, have led to a great aggregate increase, both in the number and strength of the schools and in general prosperity of our Sunday-school interests. We cannot give detailed record of progress, but the following summary must suffice.

One of the most important helps in the development of our Sunday-schools has been the Sunday-school Aid and Extension Fund, which began on a very small scale in the year 1875. This fund is maintained by one collection taken up in each school during the year. From it grants of books and papers are given in small amounts for the establishment of new schools, and the support of needy ones in remote and destitute parts of the country, especially among the fishing villages of Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces ; among the new settlements of the Upper Ottawa, in Muskoka, Algoma, British Columbia, Manitoba and the North-West. Many grateful testimonies show the invaluable help which has been given by these grants. By means of this fund 498 new schools have been established in the last Quadrennium, and very many more, which in all probability could not have maintained an existence without the aid of the fund, have been liberally assisted. Schools applying for aid are required, if possible, to contribute something toward the grant given. In this way the schools assisted have, during the Quadrennium, contributed in part payment for grants the sum of $5,175, as against $1,822 during the previous Quadrennium, an increase of $3,353.

Statement of growth of the income of the Sunday-school Aid and Extension Fund since its establishment in 1875: 1875—$297.08; 1876—$504.77; 1877—$610.97; 1878— $742.86; 1879—$699.02; 1880—$786.88; 1881—$916.53; 1882—$928.61; 1883—$1,365.30; 1884—$1,548.46; 1885 —$2,177.92 ; 1886—$2,626.30; 1887—$3,215.79 ; 1888— $3,664.41; 1889 —$3,476.73 ; 1890 — $3,517.80. Total, $27,079.43.

Statement of growth of income from part payments:

1883—$193.55 ; 1884—$287.33 ; 1885—$511.81 ; 1886— $829.39 ; 1887 —$1,179.82; 1888 — $1,403.17; 1889 — $1,245.11; 1890—$1,347.54. Total, $6,997.72.

“The Catacombs of Rome, and their Testimony Relative to Primitive _ Christianity,” 12mo, cloth, pp. 560, with 136 illustrations, six editions.

“Popular History of Canada,” 8vo, pp. 678, illustrated, four editions. “School History of Canada,” 12mo, pp. 320.

“Chautauqua History of Canada,” 12mo, pp. 232.

“Our Own Country,” 8vo, pp. 608, 360 engravings.

“A Canadian in Europe,” being sketches of travel in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Holland and Belgium, Great Britain and Ireland, copiously illustrated, 12mo, pp. 374.

“Valeria; the Martyr of the Catacombs,” a tale of early Christian life in Rome, illustrated.

“Neville Trueman, the Pioneer Preacher,” a tale of the War of 1812. “The King’s Messenger; or, Lawrence Temple’s Probation,” a story of Canadian life.

"The Romance of Missions. ”

“Worthies of Early Methodism.”

“Great Preachers, Ancient and Modern.”

"Life in a Parsonage,” a tale of Canadian life.

“Men Worth Knowing; or, Heroes of Christian Chivalry.”

“Modern Missionary Heroes.”

“The Physiological Effects of Alcohol.”

“The Bible and the Temperance Question.”

“Is Alcohol Food?”

“The Liquor Traffic.”

“Prohibition the Duty of the Hour.”

“Intemperance; its Evils and their Remedies,” a prize essay, etc.

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