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Mexico and the League in Aid of the Mexican Branch of the Church.

New York: Thomas Whittaker, no date.

Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2009

AFTER the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Spain watchfully guarded that land for three centuries as her choicest colony, and as a source of untold wealth.

Reports of its great mineral and agricultural resources, delightful climates, rich tropical foliage, flowers, and fruits, great fertility and wide extent of territory, frequently reached Spain during those three centuries, and multitudes of Spanish families were induced to cross the Atlantic and make their homes in the bright, sunny, and beautiful Mexican portions of this continent.

The ancient Church of Spain--perverted by the Roman Church--extended its work far and wide throughout Mexico during the three hundred years that that land remained a colony of old Spain.

Learned bishops and multitudes of presbyters left Spain for Mexico, and engaged in brave and earnest work in that splendid Spanish colony.

Immense stone churches were erected in the different cities of Mexico, and spacious convents and beautiful convent churches were built for the different orders of friars and nuns throughout that land.

[4] Philip the Second recommended that a magnificent cathedral should be commenced in its capital, and that cathedral in the City of Mexico is still the grandest church building in America.

Many of the native Indian population of Mexico--a people whose former strange civilization had much in common with that of the ancient Egyptians--soon joined the branch of the Church thus established in their native land.

The Spanish government generously aided, and the Inquisition and the Jesuits fiercely guarded, the branch of the Romanized Spanish Church in Mexico.

Enriched by the vast wealth of that land, that branch of the Church was at one time called the "Richest of churches."

But with all her great wealth, and power, and grand opportunities, the Spanish Church in Mexico, misled by the Roman, failed to place the Bible in the hands and homes of its people, and there, as in other lands where the Bible has been kept from the masses of the people, the wide-spread ignorance of its truths has caused fearful evils.

Millions have died in Mexico without ever having seen a Bible in their lives, erring because they knew not the Scriptures.

Without the Bible in the hands of her people to guide them in the ways of peace and righteousness, the efforts which have been made since Mexico became independent of Spain, in the year 1821, by many of [4/5] her ablest sons, to organize in their native country a prosperous republic, and to establish peace within its borders, have been so thwarted, that, politically, Mexico has become a byword among the nations.

When the friends of republican institutions in Europe want to defend the cause of liberty, they are in the habit of describing, with enthusiasm, the prosperity and greatness of the United States of America.

When the opponents of those institutions want to throw contempt on the thought of a republic, they are wont to repeat with scorn and derision the name of Mexico.

The gifted, brilliant, eloquent former preacher of the Cathedral of Paris, Hyacinthe, when addressing his fellow-countrymen in New York, boldly declared that he was convinced that the secret of the greatness and prosperity of the United States was to be found in the fact that in this country, the Bible was in the hands and homes of the people.

In the want of the Bible in the great majority of homes throughout Mexico, the intelligent Christian finds an explanation of much that has happened in that nation.

An American Christian lady, who has resided for some time in the City of Mexico, writing from that capital, says that "had the Roman Catholic missionaries who came here soon after Cortes, brought an open Bible, and had the monks and nuns who have [5/6] lived here spent their lives in teaching the people to read it, and regulate their lives by it, Hidalgo's efforts to obtain civil liberty would not have been followed by sixty-six years of nearly incessant warfare."

General Silas Casey, after much personal and careful observation in the republic of Mexico, says: "What Mexico needs is that religion which is solely drawn from the Word of God; let it have that, and material prosperity will come in like a flood, and Mexico will become one of the delightful countries of the earth."

Since the years when General Casey was in Mexico with the American army, a brighter era has dawned upon that land. Many of the obstacles which once greatly hindered the general circulation of the Holy Scriptures in Mexico have been removed and the open Bible is now being circulated among some of its people.

The example of the United States has exerted a very important influence in the republic of Mexico.

Taught and encouraged by that example, many thoughtful, earnest men in that nation have learned to cherish ardent aspirations after liberty, progress, and education.

A liberal party has been gradually formed from their numbers, which has bravely struggled in behalf of freedom.

That party having obtained control of their Government [6/7] in the year 1857 promulgated a wise and liberal constitution for their native land.

The promulgation of that constitution was the beginning of a new era in the republic of Mexico.

During this new era, liberty of worship has been decreed, Church and State have become independent of each other, the old orders of friars and nuns have been disbanded, the Society of the Jesuits and of the Sisters of Charity have been strictly prohibited, the political power of the Roman Pontiff has been greatly broken, freedom of the press has been granted, and an earnest effort has been made to establish an effective system of public education in Mexico.

The orders of friars and nuns and the Society of the Jesuits having been abolished throughout that land, hundreds of magnificent stone churches which were once held by those orders, reverted to its people, were taken possession of by their Government, and were then offered for sale.

Immense, but very beautiful church buildings, which once cost vast sums of money, and took many years to build, can now be purchased for a few thousand dollars, in the leading cities of Mexico, and the Bible can be read and the pure Gospel can be preached in them, when purchased for that purpose, with the full protection of the general Government of that republic.

Soon after the Mexican Government had passed [7/8] laws in favor of liberty of worship, a very important Christian work was commenced in Mexico by some influential presbyters and a few laymen, which looked toward the permanent establishment, far and wide throughout that republic, of a branch of the Christian Church, that should maintain the faith in its primitive purity, the ministry in its integrity, and which should faithfully labor to circulate the Holy Scriptures.

Those who have taken part in that Christian work have had so many accessions to their ranks that they now number over six thousand. Among them there are some Christian men of marked ability. A branch of the visible Church is being ably organized from their numbers, which is being carefully modelled after the pattern and example of the early Church, as established by CHRIST and His Apostles. Besides its organization there is also much in that Mexican Branch of the Church to remind the student of history of the early Christian Church. The faith, ardent love, zeal, and courage with which that Church in Mexico--though often sadly persecuted--has rapidly extended its Christian labors, has won for it the sincere respect and earnest affection of many impartial eye-witnesses of its work, as among others, the Bishop of Delaware, the Rev. H. Dyer, D.D., and the Rev. Albert Zabriskie Gray, of the diocese of New York, and the Hon. Thomas H. Nelson, while United States Minister to Mexico.

The following statistics of Christian work already [8/9] done in connection with that branch of the Church in Mexico, give some idea of the faithfulness with which its members are laboring for CHRIST in that land.

Seventy-one congregations have been gathered, three in the capital, and the rest in other parts of the republic of Mexico; a faithful, able, and eloquent band of native missionaries has been raised up in their midst; church schools have been established, where a very large number of children have been carefully taught the Bible, and have received a good secular education; a theological seminary has been preparing young men for the ministry; divine services have been statedly celebrated; and the precious Gospel preached in two beautiful church buildings in the City of Mexico; an orphanage has been started in a former convent building in that city; a periodical called The Truth has been .regularly published, from a fine printing press obtained for the use of the Church in Mexico, and other publications have been prepared that have influenced multitudes; many thousands of copies of the Spanish translation of the Holy Scriptures have been circulated with most blessed results; and much other Christian work has been faithfully done.

During the deadly persecution that has assailed that branch of the Church in Mexico, more than twelve who once faithfully labored in connection with it have died the martyr's death. Cruel efforts have also been made to destroy the means of livelihood of [9/10] those who have taken an active part in its Christian work. The persecution which that Church has suffered has frightened away from its services the rich, whose wealth might otherwise have greatly aided its work.

Christians from the humbler walks of life, with a few educated men and women in their midst who have been willing to suffer persecution, danger, obloquy, and the loss of earthly friendships for CHRIST, are the ones who are aiding to build up this branch of the Church in Mexico. To assist them to meet the necessary expenses of their Christian work, and to enable them to do that work effectively, the gifts of the faithful in other branches of the Church are pressingly needed.

Such gifts are distributed in Mexico by the Treasurer of the Mexican Branch of the Church, Albert E. Mackintosh, Esq., a faithful Churchman of mature experience, business habits, sterling integrity, and education. Letters for Mr. Mackintosh can be addressed to his name, care of J. P. Heath, Esq., No. 46 Bible House, New York., U. S.

Funds are needed:
I. To purchase and distribute Spanish Bibles.
II. To pay their small monthly salaries to five ordained clergymen and to twenty-two lay readers, teachers, and other workers of the Church in Mexico.
III. To aid in meeting the expenses of its schools and orphanage.
[11] IV. To publish Spanish Prayer-Books and Hymn-Books, a weekly Spanish Church paper, and other Christian publications.
V. To meet the necessary expenses of Church buildings.

Once California and the south-western portion of the great republic belonged to Mexico. The yield of gold and silver for the whole Pacific coast of the United States, since the year 1848, has been $1,700,000,000. The vast wealth obtained from the portions of North America that a few years ago belonged to Mexico, but which now form part of the United States, and also from the commerce of Cuba and South America, has enriched multitudes of families in the Church.

By now aiding, from their abundance, the work of the Mexican branch of the Church, they can assist in giving to Mexico, and to other portions of Spanish America, greater treasures than those obtained from the mines of California, the plantations of Cuba, or the commerce of South America--they can assist in giving to multitudes in those lands "the glad tidings of the unsearchable riches of Christ."

The earnest appeal is made to the members of the Church to do what our Saviour would have them do in behalf of the Christian work of that faithful branch of His Church in the republic of Mexico.

[12] If you can only give little, gladly give of that little, remembering that with Christ's blessing, your little gifts may do great good.

If you can give much, wilt you do what you can in behalf of the cause of Christ in Mexico?

Our Saviour is giving us the opportunity of aiding to rapidly extend the work of His Church among the millions living without the Bible, on the southern portions of North America, beside the great republic.

The facts connected with that Church-work in Mexico, are eloquent with a message from Christ to us. Come to the help of the Lord.

That earnest and faithful branch of the Church in Mexico has, through its Synod, entered into a solemn covenant with the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church. A "Mexican Commission" of seven Bishops has been appointed, in behalf of that branch of the Church in Mexico.

Extracts from a communication from the Bishop
connected with the Mexican Commission.

The undersigned, placed by the House of Bishops upon the Commission in charge of the relations of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, with the "Mexican Branch of the Catholic Church of our Lord Jesus Christ militant upon earth," have, [12/13] in the discharge of duties thus devolved on them, become deeply impressed with the extreme importance of the spiritual movement now going on in the development and organization of the work of their Mexican brethren; and also with the pressing need of the continued liberal assistance of the work by our branch of the Church. . . .

The "nursing care" of our Church is pledged to her infant sister, in the covenant now ratified, under the authorization of the House of Bishops, for the impartation to her, in due season, of the gift of the Episcopate. Much diligent caution has been used in all the arrangements thus far made to that effect. It is our confident trust that our brethren of the Clergy, and of the Laity, will not be wanting on their part, in redeeming the pledge so made, by extending a generous helping hand to promote the financial support absolutely indispensable for carrying the growing work of evangelization to its full establishment in a Church system provided, as with Bishops, so with Pastors, Missionaries, candidates for Holy Orders, Schools, and places for assemblage in public worship. . . .

It rarely falls to the lot of Christians to have so favorable an opportunity of helping forward the Blessed Master's work by contributing freely of their worldly goods.

As firmly maintaining the faith once delivered to the saints, even to the very death; and as faithfully [13/14] working, against the most bitter opposition, and under the deepest discouragements, in the Lord's great harvest, with very manifest tokens of His blessing; we most earnestly commend our sister Church in Mexico to the love and zealous aid of all, of both sexes, and of every station in our own branch of the Church of Christ.

Members of the Commission.

With the cordial approval of the Mexican, Commission of Bishops, a "League in Aid of the Mexican Branch of the Church" has been organized to assist in raising the funds needed to continue and extend the Christian work of that branch of the Church.

Contributions--whether large or small--in aid of that work are earnestly solicited, and can be mailed directly to the address of the treasurer of "The, League," Miss M. A. Stewart Brown, care of Messrs. Brown Brothers & Co., 59 Wall St., New York, U.S.

[15] With your contributions, please to enclose the words, "For Mexico."

Persons willing to aid that work by forming branches of "The League," are invited to write to its Corresponding Secretary.

The officers of the "League" are:

Mrs. FORDYCE BARKER, 85 Madison Ave., N. Y.

Miss A. E. TWEDDLE, 107 E. Thirty-sixth St., N. Y.

Corresponding Secretary:
Miss C. A. HAMILTON, 17 West Twentieth St., New York, U. S.

Recording Secretary:
Mrs. HEMAN DYER, 32 St. Mark's Place, N. Y.

Miss M. A. STEWART BROWN, 21 West Thirty-fourth Street, N. Y.
Care of BROWN BROTHERS & CO., 59 Wall Street, New York, U. S.

NOTE.--Persons who may be willing to aid the work of the Church in Mexico by circulating this pamphlet, are earnestly asked to send for whatever number of copies of the same they may want for that purpose to my address,

H. CHAUNCEY RILEY, No. 7 West 16th Street,

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