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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

And in other passages of the apostolic writings


32 American societies contribute $3,011,027 28 British " " 5,217,385 27 Continental " " 1,083,170 -- ---------- 87 societies contribute $9,311,582

With this large sum American societies are employing 986 men, and 1,081 women; British societies, 1,811 men, and 745 women; Continental societies, 777 men, and 447 women. Total, 3,574 men, 2,273 women.

Visible results of faithfulness in work:

Members in American societies 242,733 " British " 340,242 " Continental " 117,532 ------- Total membership in foreign lands 700,507 Children in the Sunday-schools 626,741

The subject of home missions is to-day attracting greater attention than ever before. "Die Innere Mission" of Germany, the various forms the work assumes in England, the many societies in the United States occupied by the questions of city evangelization, work among the Mormons, the treatment of the Indians, care for the colored race, and other phases of home work show that Christians are fully understanding that it is wise to build over against our own house.

Certainly the reproach cannot justly be made that the Church of Christ is neglectful

of the precept, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men."

This is genuine service of man to man, and the motive of the service is love to God. Every revelation of God is of ministering love and compassion, and the efforts of his disciples to imitate the divine love have indelibly stamped upon modern civilization the Christian impress.

The service of ministering compassion is so clearly one of the duties of Christ's Church that of necessity there must be ordinances touching the exercise of this duty. So in Acts vi, 3, we read of the appointment of the deacons, "men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and of wisdom," to see that the service of the tables was not neglected.

But Christian women have ever had special gifts in caring for the poor and sick and helpless, and the women of apostolic times must necessarily have had their part in these services of love. In addition to the diaconate appointed by the apostles recorded in the sixth chapter of Acts, we must look for a female diaconate as an office in the Church. This we do not fail to find. In Rom. xvi, 1, we read: "I commend unto you Phebe, a deacon of the church which is at Cenchrea." Such at least would have been the form of the verse if our translators had rendered the Greek word here translated servant as they rendered the like word in the sixth chapter of Acts, the third of the First Epistle to Timothy, and in other passages of the apostolic writings.

"That ye receive her in the Lord as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succorer of many, and of myself also." These words of St. Paul are especially valuable as an apostolic witness for the existence of the office of deaconess at the time when he wrote. They are even more than that. They are an apostolic commendation of the office addressed to the Christian Church of all times to accept the deaconess in the Lord, and to assist her "in whatsoever business she hath need of you."


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