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AMONGST THE REUNION ISTS IN…

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AMONGST THE REUNION ISTS IN SWITZERLAD. II.—CONFERENCE CHARACTKRS. Perhaps before troubling your readers with any further geographical and personal details, I ought now to say a word or two as to the Reunion Con- j, ferences and some of the persons who took part in them. Like the place in which they were held, they were quite in contrast with those of last, year. Grindelwald is a mountain village. Lucerne a centre of city life and brilliancy. The disous- sions of 1892 were conducted in a plain little Zwinglian Church, the ouly one of which the vil- lage boasted, with the exception of the English church built through tfe exertions of the late Canon Butler, and doonwl to perish in the disas- trous conflagration of last autumn. The confer- ences of 1893 were held in the Church of the Old Catholics and the American Episcopalians. Last year the Reunionist-s formed a modest party of 950, all more or less interested in the religious ob- jects of the gathering, and regarding attendance upon the debates as a serious duty. This year they numbered 1,700, and the extension resulted naturally in greater variety and in a dispersion to some extent of the solid interest in the reunion problem which had marked the Grindelwald gathering. The change of lacale was perhaps principally responsible for the latter result, for one eould hardly imagine any body of tourists, however Puritanic in life, remaining wholly un- affected by the counter-attractions, of which Lucerne possesses so many. It has been gener- ally recognised that Grindelwald is a better centre for the purposer of the conferences, and back to Grindelwald, all being well, Dr. Lunn will go next year. The increasing success of the gather- ing, its wide recognition by religious leaders, and the advantages which accrue from a continental holiday spent in the fashion of the Reunionists, have induced their author to make the conferences an annual event. Apart from their influence upon religious thought, they will do much to familiarise a class of society who would not other- wise undertake visits abroad, with continental habits and life, and to provide exceptional oppor- tunities to persons of restricted means who long for the advantages of foreigu travel. After the lapse of a twelvemonth it was but natural to ex- pect some change in the personnel of the confer- ence characters. One missed, for instance, such well-known men as the Bishop of Worcester, the J Bev. W. Hay Aitken, Prof. Stokes, Dr. Stephen- son, the Rev. C. F. Aked, and a few others. But the majority of the old faces were present again, and there were several new ones, which lent both charm and influence to the picture. During the earlier stages of the season many persons of influ- ence in religious and literary circles took part in the meeting?,, and questions of great variety and interest were discussed, but the reunion week proper commenced on Sunday. September 3rd, and it is principally of those who participated in the'e discussions that I bball now speak. It is proper that in referring to these interesting figures Dr. Lunn himself should first receive some notice. He is, through all his ecclesiastical conflicts, the same restless, active spirit, with an insatiable thirst for work and signal powers of organisation. Such qualities often make men irritable and morose, but there is nothing of this about the doctor. He enjoys his holiday abroad —if holiday it can be termed in his case-as much as the youngest member of his party, is ever ready to appreciate a joke, and meets you with a free and easy welcome which puts everyone at his ease. No longer a Merhodist minister, he has now been admitted to the Methodist Episcopal Church of America by Bishop Vincent, the founder of the well-known Summer Schools of Chautauqua. The bishop, desiring to extend to the European continent the operations of the Chautauqua Institution, felt that the adhesion of Dr. Lunn would materially assist him in the work, and that the Reunion Conferences might serve as a basis on which to proceed. His offer was ac- cepted, and Dr. Lunn was ordained in Italy. Of the Chautauqua movement I will say something later on. In the Review of the Churches for Sep- tember there appears a group of the conference speakers. The first figure on the left is that of Phe Hyacinthe Loyson, the famous French pulpit orator, formerly of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, in Paris, and undoubtedly the most remarkable personage in the group. In a recent number of the Contemporary Review he gave what he called "My Testament," from which the following para- graph is taken.- At eighteen I tore myself away from all my dreams, from all I cared for in this world, and became a priest. At thirty I left my chosen priestly home, in the grave aud sweet society of St. Sulpice, and became a monk. Twelve years later, restored from many fatal though sincere illusions, I closed, in the very meridian of its splendour, my career as a preacher, and deliberately descended from the pulpit of Notre Dame Le enter on a hand-to-hand conflict with the wprse of Caesarisms, that of the Papacy, and the worst of If illusions, that of monastic perfection. I was excommunicated but I remained a Catholic. The Pope might cut me off from the visible Church over which he presides, but not from the Church nvieible, whose Head is Christ. Stop by step, I 'lit the whole way in the vindication of Christian jrty and three years atter my excommunication I ried, while wtill remaining a priest. It was the logic il, the most courageous, and, I am almost red to say, the most Christian act of my life. things succeeded one another in a broken, and often paradoxical sequence; but in their evolution was firm and progressive as lopsnent of conscience and the purposes of lerB it all to begin again-the same outward ances, the same inward experiences—I would 1 exactly as I did act. ere is now the recognised leader of the holies, and at the age of 66 retains all the -ous fire and eloquence which made his ig in the French capital so great an on. He opened the conference week with sermon of 75 minutes' duration, which was d to with perfect attention by the large ce made up of Reunionists and inhabitants erne. Beside him sits Hugh Price Hughes, J. James's Hall, a Welshman who boasts a ,rkable combination of opposite qualities- i as a tyrant and yet gentle as a woman; a of high scholastic attainments, and yet ngelical to a degree strong individualist on j side and strong collectionist on the other a ,yal constitutionalist and at the same time an .ncompromi&ing Radical. In speech he goes straight to the point, and rarely takes up any project which does not go." The centre figure is Bishop Vincent, of America, an exceedingly attractive speaker, who knows exactly how to put his case. H13 name has long been associated with the Chautauqaa summer school movement. The aim of the promoters is to provide recreation by change of occupation, to enable families to spead their holiday together, to encourage home rfe and home study, and so to give the members of each family a common interest in literary and intellec- tual pursuits. I s hope is not only to elevate domestic liie, but through the family to save the State from ecclesiastical domination and the in- trigues of the poli iCell trickster. Bishop Vincent while on his way from Bulgaria to Italy consented to break his journey at Lucerne and to explain the chief features of this gigantic educational scheme, by the hope of imitating which in Europe Dr Lunn is still animated. Dr MackennaJ, of Bowden, the statesman of Congregationalism, Dr Bruce, of Glasgow, the Scotch heretic, as he used to be called, and Mr Chas. Williams, of Accrington, of Liberationist fame, make a worthy trio. To see these three old cronies—all remark- able men in their own very different ways.— clubbing together for walks and excursions, cracking their jokes, comparing notes, and dis- coming problems, was indeed an interesting spec- tacle, and one ceases to wonder at the success of Non- conformity when it had at its helm men of so great resolution and character. The onlyChurch- man present is Professor Lias, formerly of Cam- bridge, a funny little man, of eccentric habits, with a very small body and a very large miud. It was quite curious to hear one apparently so ill-fitted for conflict and battle, describe how in the early stages of the Tractarian movement he had been persecuted and hooted at in the streets and nearly had his wooden church burnt down ou account of his religious views. Mr Percy Bunting, the Methodist batiijler, and the editor of the Contemporary, is like Professor Lias a man of great simplicity and great ability, as free from assumption as any one CoLid desire, and yet the one man who in the course of the debates could ■ftake hold of the tangled threads, reduce the trguments to something like order, and focus the mind ot the meeting upon the very kernel of the problem under discussion. The Rev C. A. Berry is now too well-known to need much description. His invitation to succeed Beecher brought him fame. He has travelled much, and his discourses are consequently conceived with a view to catching the man of the world. His visit to Newtown, and the service at the new Baptist Chapel he says he shall always remember. The Rev F. W. Bourne and the Rev Thos. Law, the corner men of the group, are not quite so well known. The former is an ex-president of the Bible Christian Con- ference, and the latter the author of the now well-known Bradford Visitation Scheme. There are two characters whose faces are not in the photographic group referred to, two journalists by the way, Mr W. T. Stead and Mrs Crawford, the Paris correspondent of the Daily News. Mr Stead's characteristics are known everywhere. He is one of the iuest remarkable men one could meet. He literally carea for nothing. At present he is gone on the borderland" business, and speaks of his ghosts" in the most confident manner. He assured us at dinner one day that he was as convinced of the existence of ghosts and doubles" as he was of his own existence they were, he felt sure, hovering around him; but could not be seen by the natural eye. He and a young lady made a solemn contract between the coursed that the first to die should at once visit the other and report the fact. This supernatural conversa- tion may seem a. little incongruous with a hearty lunch, but it was the kind of thing which went on from day to day. Mr Stead is writing a new book, the scheme of which he kindly unfolded to me one afternoon, hut is much too long to intro- duce here. He was particularly anxious to get someone to volunteer to allow himself to be half- drowned in order that Mr Stead might have a faithful account of what it was like; but the honour of appearing in tne Review Qf Reviews was outweighed by the unpleasant features of the experiment, and the challenge, so far as I know, remains unaccepted. Mr Stead's object at Lucerne was not, however, mainly to talk about ghosts but to explain his civic church scheme. j'his lie did on the last day of the reunion week. Instead of holding the meeting in a chapel he invited all the reunionists to an at home" at the chalet of Madame Merle-D'Aubigne," tue widow of the author of the History of the Reforma- tion." It was a delighful spot, on an eminence overlooking the lake, and with shady walks branching oil through a huge pine forest. At three o'clock Mr Stead commenced to unfold his scheme, which includes 93 points. He went on speaking in his free and furious fashion until six o'clock. At the end of three hours he had reached his sixth point out of the 93. The hopelessness of the task then made itself evident, and we adjourned, not reluctantly for tea. Whether Mr Stead resumed the discourse afterwards I could not say, for we were soon off into the woods and had forgotten all about the civic church in the beauty of our sur- roundings. Mrs Crawford, of Paris, is one of the most interesting of women journalists. She was not in the gayest of moods, for her daughter, going out to bathe, had been seized with era-mp and drowned. But she was exceedingly kind and genial and happy, and was in her manners and I y conversation about as different from the average so-called "intellectual" women as any sensible person could wish. She had seen life, more of it than most of those around her, and had long ago discarded nonsense. As to the conferences, there appeared throughout the discussions a desire to come to something practical. It was recognised that the time had come for conflicts of the past to bd laid to rest. and that the first step in the direc- tion of the reunion of the churches was practical co-operation in good works. Whether the Re- unionists are nearer to the goal in 1893 than they were last year it is difficult to say; but at least, as Mr Percy Bunting said, they are working for reunion, cultivating a sentiment in its favour, talking matters over, and endeavouring to ascer- tain where the real point of difficulty lies.

CONSERVATIVE MEETING AT BERRIEW.

WELSHPOOL TOWN COUNCIL-' —TUESDAY.|

. LLANFYLL1N TOWN COUNCIL,