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THE LEWISBURG CONFERENCE.
Ily Rev. D. P. McGeachy, D. D. Very few of the general readers of our Church papers realize the attrac tiveness of Lewisburg, W. Va., as a summer conference point. The Apos tle Paul had the experience of being born free, while other men attained this privilege at a great price. Lewis burg as a gathering place for Chris tian students and workers might eas ily paraphrase these words and apply them to herself. * lliiihlinus :iiul Grounds. in the buildings and grounds of the Old Stone church and tho Lewisburg Seminary the conference has a mate rial equipment for which other places have labored and prayed in vain. It has seemed to many that God used l)r. McElhenny, who founded this church, over a hundred years ago, with the possibilities of this confer ence directly in tlio Divine mind. For beauty, for convenience, and for per manence, the material situation leaves nothing to be desired. Privacy and Accessibility. Lewisburg is only four miles from the main line of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad at Ronceverte, and is reached b* a great government ce ment road and by a trolley line which brings one to the very front of the conference grounds. One who has tried to reach the outside world from other conferences will appreciate the long distance telephone connection and the telegraph facilities combined with frequent mail service. Yet out of this immediate contact with the busy world one may literally step from the back door of the conference dormitories upon a blue grass carpet which leads in unbroken succession across quiet pastures into the heart of mountains that look down in virgin beauty upon the scene. Recrea! ionul Features. This section of West Virginia is coming to be a great national play ground. Conference afternoons are spent in the Greenbrier River (only fifteen minutes away and without ex pense to conference guests) or on the various athletic grounds furnished free of charge by the seminary and the military school. Lewisburg is the center of a system of hard-surfaced roads which make driving or automo hiling a delight at e\?ry season. Moun tain climbs can be had at will. The plateau itself is 2,300 feet above the sea, and the climate is unsurpassed anywhere in America. The 1919 Program. Dr. R. M. Hall is an experienced program builder. To the Lewisburg conference he brings all the success and prestige of the Texas Kerrville Encampment. Beginning with July 30th, and running through the early half of August, the program this year is as good as the best and furnishes to every church member and Christian worker such an opportunity as the hearts of many must long after. Decatur, Ga. THE ASSEMBLY'S COMMITTEE ON SYSTEMATIC BENEFICENCE AND STEWARDSHIP. The Assembly's Committee on Sys tematic Beneficence and Stewardship met at Montreat, N. C., July 16, 1919, at the call of the convener, Rev. Dr. A. D. P. Gilmour. At this meeting Rev. Dr. S. H. Ches ter represented the Foreign Mission Committee and Rev. Gilbert Glass that of Publication and Sabbath School Ex tension, in place of Rev. John I. Arm strong and Mr. R. E. Magill, respec tively, who could not be present. Rev. Dr. Homer McMillan and Rev. Dr. Henry H. Sweets represented the Ex ecutive Committees of Home Missions and Christian Education and Ministe rial Relief, respectively. The Synods were represented by the following: Alabama, Rev. E. F. Mc Connell; Appalaehia, Rev. Dr. L. R. Walker; Arkansas, Rev. A. H. Whit marsh; Florida, Mr. T. F. West; Geor gia, Mr. W. M. Everett; Kentucky, Rov. W. H. Hopper; Louisiana, Rev. I)r. U. D. Mooncy; Mississippi, Rev. F. R. Graves; North Carolina, Rev. Dr. E. R. Leyburn, South Carolina; Dr. A. D. P. Gllmour; Tennessee, Mr. W. 11. Raymond; Texas, Rev. Dr. Wil liam Fred Galbraith; Virginia, Rev. Dr. F. T. McFaden. The history of the abolishing of the two former committees (Systematic Beneficence and that of Stewardship) and the consolidation of the two un der the name of the "Assembly's Com mittee on Systematic Benefi?ence an? Stewardship," with all the functions and powers of both former commit tees, was reviewed by the temporary chairman. One of the purposes of this meeting was the organization of the new com mittee. and the following officers were elected: Chairman, Rev. Dr. A. D. P. Gilmour, Spartanburg, S. C.; Vice Chairman, Rev. Dr. E. R. Leyburn, Durham. N. C.; Treasurer, Mr. R. E. Magill. Richmond, Va.; Clerk, Rev. Dr. William Fred Galbraith, Montreat, N. C. The following Campaign Committee was elected: Rev. Dr. Homer McMil lan, chairman; Rev. Dr. H. H. Sweets, Rev. John I. Armstrong, Mr. R. E. Magill, Rev. Dr. A. D. P. Gilmour, Rev. Dr. L. R. Walker and T. F. West. This committee is charged with "the conduct of the Presbyterian Progres sive Program, subject to the review and control of the Assembly's Sys tematic Beneficence and Stewardship Committee." Chattanooga, Tenn., was selected as the permanent headquarters for the Assembly's Committee on Systematic Beneficence and Stewardship. Captain F. L. Slaymaker, Athens, Ga., secretary of the Laymen's Mis sionary Movement, and Rev. C. H. Pratt, representing the Inter-church Movement, addressed the committee on these subjects respectively, after which both addresses were referred to the Committee on Co-operative EfTort. The following resolution was unani mously passed: "Resolved, That we express to the Laymen's Missionary Movement our appreciation of their offer of co-operation in ther Assembly's Progressive Program, and that we ac cept the offer and refer the details and control of the program and co operation to the Campaign Commit tee." A committee was appointed to in vestigate and report the result of their findings as to the Inter-church Move ment, and our relationship to same, as this matter was referred to this committee by the General Assembly. The next meeting of the committee will be held In Chattanooga, Tenn., September 10, 1919, at 10 A. M., and a conference of Synodical managers will be held at the same place begin ning at 8 P. M, and continuing in session through September 11th. Wm, Fred Galbraith, Sec. THE RUSSIAN CRISIS. By R. E. Magill, Secretary. On our steamer from Constantino ple we met a Mr. Holstein, an editor and political writer for thirty-five years on the leading dallies of Russia and who had an intimate personal ac quaintance with the Royal dukes and government forces of Russia through the reign of three czars or dynasties and who claims to have documentary evidence to sustain all his statements. All newspapers of the days of the old regime were suspended by the Bolshevists and the editors and man. agers were marked for slaughter. Mr llolstein was shot at three times by the Rolshevists and fled from Petro grad to Paris to save his lifo. He gave our group of relief workers an interesting statement as to tho va rious steps of tho Russian revolutions and his views as to the future of his country. Russia entered the war to protect .. erbia, according to agreement, and the Duma, mado up largely of aristo cratic grand dukes, was apparently loyal in supporting the war aims of the Czar. The old government was an absolute monarchy and tho Duma was merely a debating society and had no Power to review or revoke an order of the Czar. Tho Czar was a man of good intentions, but weak personality, and was absolutely under the influ ence and control of selfish grand dukes whose only interest in the gov ernment was that it might serve their selfish ends. The rights or interest of the masses had no place in their scheme of'gov. ernment, and they were merely indi viduals to be exploited and held in abject slavery by autocratic force, and keeping them ignorant and steeped in alcohol were the two methods used to maintain the rule of autocracy. The Russian masses are very ignor ant, 87 per cent, being unable to read, and having been oppressed for centu ries, they accepted their hard lot with a spirit of stolid Indifference. The chief source of revenue for the Czar's government was the tax on Vodka the national alcoholic drink, and the more the people drank the larger the State revenues and the more stupid tne masses became. The sluggish minded Russian masses are lacking in initiative and will power and have been taught by their religious leaders that the proper way to reform their bad habits is to go to a father confessor and make a Pledge to him about any reform they wish to make In their conduct and 16 priest will become responsible and relieve them of further thought or trouble about the matter. The masses realized they were suf fering oppression and that a bare ex istence was all they could expect un der the autocratic forms of taxation, but there was not enough intelligence or initiative within the empire to or ganize an effective revolution, though he rank and file of the army, made ?P as it Vas largely from the pea santry, was in sympathy with the masses in their hardships. The Czarina was a German by birth er mother and the mother of the Kaiser being sisters, and she was an intense Royalist believing in the "di vine right" of kings and rulers even more strongly than the Czar She was highly nervous and brooded over the fact that four daughters were born Into the Royal home, while no son came to fall heir to the Czar's throne. When the fifth child, a son, was born she centered all her hopes of a continued autocracy on him. but when it was discovered he was a physical weakling she became almost maniacal in her fear that the child would die and so defeat her ambitions She was fanatical in her religious life, and while she had unlimited in fluence over the weak Czar she was herself easily influenced by any one w o would make a pretense of help ng her weakling boy and heir to the throne. About the beginning of the war an ignorant but scheming priest appeared from Serbia and announced himself as a Prophet with miraculous powers of hfcaling ? Rasputan by name. He gained access to the Czarina through his touch with certain ladies of the court, and by some hypnotic Power seemed to get her absolutely under his power. He was a coarse, vulgar libertine and his disgusting habits and disre gard for the decencies of life, togethe WiUl his insulting conduct toward women of every rank, made the Royal court and the world wonder and gos sip about his hypnotic power over the Czar an<1 throush hcr over the The devotion of the Czar to the Czarina was unquestioned, and he weakly yielded to the vicious schemes of Rasputan, thus gaining the enmity of his court followers, especially the grand dukes. This powerful body of advisers de cided the only way to break Raspu tan s power over the Czar was to make fWoryh7l,h him ^ f?rCe' aqd a p,ot for his murder was made in Decem ber 1916. He was invited to a great of m! S"ther,nB by a granddaughter of the Dowager of Russia, and his canity led him to believe he was get ting another lady of the court into is power, so he accepted. He was ng r,Tn,de of Potassium in his food dfet 1 K E 8W00!1 alm08t lmme diately, but the grand dukes made sure of the Job by shooting him in ad! fh n. and h,S b0dy was thrown Into the rlver. The Czarina was frantic when she heard of Rasputan's death for she vainly hoped he would restore he weakling prince to health. The o y of the priest was recovered by order of the Czarina and given a fune ral of great pomp, and dire punish ment was threatened against his mur derers but no serious efTort was ever made 1o bring the responsible grand dukes to trial. When the frozen body was recovered one arm remained pointing stiffly toward heaven and the superstitious Czarinasai d this was the accusing hand of a martyred saint ry ng to heaven for vengeance on his ITnnn T- A 80(1 ?? bvnt?brfiR,artan*8 mem?ry WaS bui" hy the half-crazed Czarina. theThlf!,,,Ure ?f the CZar t0 P?'3* the murderers of Rasputan led the People to say, "The Czar is weak and his government is not divine and all powerful as we had thought." The Czar was imposing new hardships on the masses and the army facing the Germans was poorly equipped, under fed and unpaid, and events conspired favor the first revolution, which was planned by the Liberal party and ocialists. Such visionary leaders as Kerensky got the ear of the people by Promising them bread and relief from taxation, if the autocratic gov ernment was overthrown and the army was honeycombed with disloy alty and rebellion by shrewd but un scrupulous agitators. There is no word in the Russian language for "lib erty" and the masses do not know Its meaning. Their discontent found ut terance in tly? slogan, "Give us land* and license." Their leaders played upon their ignorance and promised them the right to plunder and loot the rich and take possession of all the land held by the aristocratic land Owners, who own nine-tenths of the tillable land In Russia. The Czar and Hie grand dukes be came frightened at the growing spirit of revolution, and on February 28 1917, promised that a Parliament with power to legislate might be elected by the people. The power of the Czarina over the Czar was again manifested, and she showed her Royalist tenden cies by ordering the Czar to rescind the promise to give the people a Par liament elected by a popular vote.