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If we were to tarry for a moment longer the individual and centralized authority, over the historic aspect of this church, we would be the most agreeable to Americans. would see that it is worthy of much praise, There can be no doubt of the historic atand that it can make a valid claim to the titude of this church toward education. loyalty of its adherents. Its influence in The Calvinists of France sustained three the Anglo-Saxon civilization has been very great schools. The Huguenots were the best great. As an historic faith, it is doubtful if educated people in the kingdom.
The peas. there is one which has been grander. Its antry of Scotland was raised far above that influence upon character can be known by of any other European country by the unthe great names which are allied with it. It usual education which the parish schools has always striven to make the moral law afforded. The school system of New Eng. the measure of all conduct. It has incul- land, founded by Calvinistic influences, cated fearlessness and taught that the con- opened a new era in the world. viction must become a deed. Its history is If it is said that their doctrine is fatal to all ablaze with the names of men who were all effort, the logic of events is sufficient devoid of fear, and who with a certain iron- answer to the charge. If it is said that like strength have battled for what seemed their doctrine of fatalism relieves of all perto them to be the cause of God on earth. sonal responsibility and tends to moral indif
It has stood unmistakably for freedom ference, the biography of their heroes is a and popular government, both in church complete refutation of such argument. If and state. The Waldenses were the free they were sometimes arrogant over the fact men of their day. In Switzerland the Re- of their election, they were always careful public and the Presbytery were born in the to make the divine decree and the human same period. The Hollanders, under the act correspond. Their deeds were of such guidance of William the Silent, performed character as to approve the wisdom of God deeds of heroism in behalf of freedom in choosing them. If they were elected, it against tyranny, which makes them sub- was not that they might become careless in lime. The French Huguenots, the Scotch thought and lax in deed. This election Covenanters, and the English Puritans, who, placed them under obligation. God expected if they had not the Presbyterian form of great things of them, and they were detergovernment, had the Presbyterian form of mined not to disappoint him. And so aldoctrine, have all been undaunted cham- ways they are found in their place meeting pions of liberty among men.
the case squarely; asking no odds, doing for that the modern impulse to republican lib- their cause, which they thought was God's erty in this country came from Geneva with cause, and, if need be, dying for it. In the its Presbyterian theology. There are those convention, on a hundred battle-fields, in who think that the Declaration of Indepen- the wilderness, in prison, in the flames, dence was partially copied from the Mecklen- they may be seen undismayed, testifying burg Declaration, which was the first public their allegiance to their doctrines ; upheld voice in favor of independence. It was made by a steady trust in the all-powerful sovermore than a year before the Philadelphia eignty of God; winning the admiration Declaration, and, of the twenty-seven dele- even of their enemies, when they could not gates who signed it, nine were ruling elders win their mercy; earning praise from histoof the Presbyterian church, and one was a rians who despise their doctrines. Presbyterian minister. The representative It is not strange that with such a history form of government, running from the county back of them there should be many now to the state, and from the state to the gen- who look upon their traditions as a sacred eral government, with a certain self-govern- heritage, which they must defend to the ing power in each, but forming a nation, very last against all encroachments of the is too similar to the session and the Presby- modern spirit, which is hostile to so many tery and the General Assembly of the Pres- things once accounted sacred. It is not byterian church to be mere accident. If strange that the creed, which to us seems so there is to be ecclesiastical government at distorted and such a travesty of the nature all, it would seem that the Presbyterian of man and of God's methods of dealing form, combining as it does the freedom of with the world, should to them seem the
sum of all excellence, -to be a transcript of heard the voice, and obeyed. The t'nited the very innermost purpose of God. What Presbyterians openly declare that they do to us is only at best a moon—a worn-out not believe certain doctrines of the creed. world, upon which no life can be found, In England a new confession has been what light it has being borrowed, a reflec- made. Even the Presbyterians of far-away tion of more refulgent worlds—is to many Japan have revised the doctrines. Now, at a sincere heart a central star, capable of last, the Spirit is speaking to the Presbytenourishing life and flinging its beams far rian church in America. into outlying space of darkness.
What we Prophecy is a form of speech which mormay see as total blackness, to them only tals ought to use sparingly. It is very easy appears as spots upon the sun.
to make mistakes, when so engaged. But Thus far, as must needs be if
the indications all seem to point in the faithful to history and event, our words direction of a theological crisis. We seem have been largely loaded with praise. But, to be on the verge of a readjustment. It, if we are faithful to the present as well as of course, cannot be brought about without the past, if we believe that God is in the much more debate. Zeal can easily become new fact as well as in the old, we must anger; and anger can pass into hatred. Almove forward in a more qualified way. On ready personalities and sarcastic replies are bis island the old mystic heard a voice say- appearing. Friends will become enemies. ing of the church : "I know thy works and Both sides in the great struggle are deeply faith and patience. Notwithstanding, I in earnest. A divided church is one of the have a few things against thee."
possibilities in the issue involved. It is A similar voice may be heard in this age. not a war between the world and the church;
“To the Presbyterian church in America it is not a war between atheism and faith. write: I know thy past, thy bravery, thy All the parties are in the church and all are freedom, tby integrity, thy zeal. Notwith- believers in God. It is a strange condition standing, I have some things against thee. of affairs, when the Confession of Faith bas Thou hast refused to flow along in the chan- to be defended against its friends. The arnels which Providence has cut through this guments which are used against it are not century. Thou art backward-looking, and being urged by Mr. Ingersoll nor by the disart hindering the coming of the divine king- ciples of the late Mr. Bradlaugh, but by dom of the future. Thou art not a friend Doctors of Divinity, who have solemnly afof science; thou despisest reason. Man is firmed that they believe it and will uphold much nobler than thou thinkest. God is it. Dr. Briggs solemnly subscribes to it, not the cruel tyrant that thou hast pictured and then denies three of its cardinal princihim. The future is not a place of hopeless ples. It teaches that the Bible is the sole misery for all except a few, as thy doctrines revealer of God: he maintains that God also teach. Behold, I give thee space to repent. has been found by reason. It teaches that If thou repentest, I will give thee new the Bible is infallible: he teaches that it power over the nations of the earth. Thou has many errors in it. It teaches that “the shalt go on from strength to strength, and souls of believers are at their death made the star of the morning shall be thy guide. perfect in holiness, and do immediately He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear pass into glory”: he teaches that sanctificawhat the Spirit saith unto the church.”
after death. The next few This voice came to the church in other months will decide whether the creed will places, and was partially heeded. It came bend to meet these views of the learned proto the churches of France and Holland and fessor, or he will be made to bend to meet Switzerland, and they left behind them all them, or else be cast wholly outside of the those doctrines which degrade man and dis- church. In the past the method has been honor God. It came to the Presbyterians in to, as far as possible, break the spirit of Scotland, and caused a change of front. the heretic and then, with the stamp of the The volume of “Scotch Sermons" is much church's disapproval upon him, cast him nearer Channing than it is Calvin. The forth into the world, making him an exiled established church changed its terms of sub- Ishmaelite for the rest of his days. It may scription to the creed. The Free church has be we are on the verge of the time when
this order will be reversed, -the doctrine and more valuable than any pearls which will be broken and cast out and the heretic the moaning sea ever cast upon its yellow retained. As re-enforcing this rational sands, and with them adorn anew the temhope, hear these words from an old Presby- ple of religion. terian clergyman :
When new Germany began to manifest "It is evident that a change has taken itself, many things combined to arrest its place in the general tone and feeling of the progress.
But there came some men to the church, which demands some readjustment front whom opposition only made strong. of the doctrinal statements that were made When the great Chancellor was told that by the Calvinists of the seventeenth cen- directly in the path which he had chosen tury, in the midst of the uncharitable and were all the sacred traditions of European bitter controversies of that less enlightened diplomacy, which could not be overcome period. The creeds, or portions of the and which could not be overpassed, it is creeds, made from unscholarly interpreta- told that his only reply was a quiet laugh. tions and doubtful expositions, should be He knew bis strength and that of those who left to the history of the past. And if, as were with him. Xay, he knew the resistless some fear, one revision should be followed strength of those elemental spiritual forces by another, let it be so, if the advancing which Providence had set loose like a temchurch shall demand it. Let the creed faith- pest in the nineteenth century, which would fully express the doctrines actually held by finally impel all things in one direction. the living church, and not the abandoned These forces are now at work here in the dogmas of buried ages."
great Presbyterian church. Many sacred traThese are words not of an atheist, but of a ditions are in the way, trying to block the Presbyterian. They are not the words of path along which they are sweeping. When destruction, but of upbuilding and strength- reminded of this, our friends in that ening the temple of God and man. This church, who are dreaming and planning a gray-haired old saint is uttering words new era for their church and the world, if which not only adorn the closing days of his they have like confidence in the strength of long and noble life, but which become the these mighty forces and see the way they expression of a million hearts who look still are trending, may indulge in quiet laughter to the church as one of the great agents in the face of all obstacles. whose mighty task is to lift the earth toward In Europe to-day are a few noble souls the sky. They are the confession that each who, while they may love the great past for age has its work to do. If it have more what it has been, love more the great present light, it has an increase of obligation. for what it is, and the mighty future for
As the men of science and art and govern- what it shall be, and amid the ruin which ment all hasten to gather up what the age is overtaking the old dynasties can see rising can bring them, so should the men of relig. slowly the foundations of better governion be as wise.
ments, in which man shall come forth in Coming to the seashore after a storm has greater freedom and greater majesty. swept the waves far up the beach, many new So our friends may see out of the past a and beautiful shells can be found sprinkling new future emerging. If they are constant the beach. The thoughtful traveller walking and true to the high purpose which seems to there will be impressed by the majesty and have found a lodgment in their hearts, do the riches which the sea contains. For not temporize, do not compromise, but hold half a century a storm has been sweeping on a high and sustained course, they will over the sea which lies all around us. prevail in the end. Their beloved church Never have the waves of thought risen so will justify its existence. Rich in its hishigh within the memory of man. Walking tory, it will be richer and more glorious in there now, we are all dull if we are not im- the coming days. Those who labor for it pressed by the majesty of the ocean and the will find that they are in league with Proviforces which it obeys; ignorant, if we do dence. Though they may receive the hatred not know what riches have been cast at our of men to-day and be called destroyers of feet; foolish, if we do not gather these treas- religion, to-morrow will hail them as the ures of science and learning and art, fairer builders and preservers of the true altars of
worship. If God will, in the great quiet PUBLIC PURITY: ITS PERILS; ITS hereafter, when all things assume their true
DEFENCE. place and proportion, they may cheer themselves with the thought that during these
There are at present in this country controublous earth-days they did what they ditions and influences that are unfavorable could to upbuild the church whose beams
to public purity, and therefore to public are the earth, whose dome is the spangled
safety. sky, whose Bible is the laws of the universe, whose liturgy is woven out of the prayers
Democracy sets free, in a new degree, the and hymns, out of the love and wonder
bad as well as the good. This is a source
of constant danger. which, like the mists from the ocean, have risen from the universal heart, -the Church
Then during the past fifty years we have of Man and of God.
had an enormous infusion of foreign ele
REED STUART. ments into our population, bringing with Detroit, Mich.
them the social ideas and personal principles
of their former home, and these seldom of THE EARTH-CHILD'S PRAYER.
so wholesome a moral quality as those we
inherit from our English ancestry. () mother earth, I lean my head
But especially the sudden congestion of our l'pon thy warm and sheltering breast;
population in these closely packed commuI feel the pulsing of the heart That beats forever, changeless, strong,
nities, the cities, is having, necessarily, a And thrills response to every fear
very profound, if partly a temporary, effect And hope and joy of all who hear
on all social questions. Their life derived a branch from thine. Oh, thou hast many children borne !
Just at present we can but note with pain, Yet hast thou food and joy for all ;
offence, and anxiety tokens of a demoraliAbout them all thine arms are thrown, zation of taste and principle, which, if it And thou hast love alike for all.
were to go on, must be deleterious to the Oh, thou art filled with light and warmth, point of destruction. That it chiefly, at Instinct with spirit and with life;
present, pervades the lower strata of our Thine every atom stored with power, Thou bringest forth unceasingly
population, the less educated classes, we This teeming swarm of living things, must hope. But there is no such barrier This surging life of bud and leaf,
between classes as shall confine it there; This flowering beauty and delight. And thou art beautiful, () earth,
and its influence is already exerted, beyond My mother, -as Juno art thou fair !
question, upon all, and especially upon our Thy form is bathed in loveliness,
youth. If it were radical, we should have to And all thy garments’ folds breathe balm.
judge that a real laxity of morals had set And thou art good! I feel thee good in among us. This is not yet the case, we And kind in all thy ordered ways.
know. But that a degree of tolerance is Yea, thou art charged with virtue and With wisdom fixed which may not err.
just now exercised toward public offences And thou dost speak to me, thy child, - against decency is an obvious fact; and it is Thy voice comes musical to me
certain that such tolerance is an insidious In soft wind's sigh, in ocean's surge, subjective influence for evil, demoralizing In all thy sounds and silences. Yea, thou dost sing to me and fold
those who indulge it, as its overt results in Me in thy gentle arms to sleep.
several most important departments of life To thee I come when vexed with care,
are most pernicious. Or tempest-tost by doubt and fear;
The chief points at which we see the Against thy true maternal heart
effects of this vicious tolerance are obvious. I find my rest, and ease my soul Of every load and care and smart.
The most serious is the character of our newspapers.
There are honorable excepI am thy child: thy life is mine, And thine is one with that which sits
tions in every city, and some in this. But Enthroned in glory at the heart
the general standard of newspaper morals is Of things above and things below.
such as to constitute a standing reproach to So resting here upon thy breast, And sheltered thus within thine arms,
our communities and a menace to our future. I feel the peace at Nature's heart,
It is not merely that our common papers I deeper drink from life's full stream.
teem with accounts of crimes, horrors, vicious F. 0. EGLESTOX.
facts of all sorts : it that these things are Hubbardston, Mass.
treated with levity, and in such a manner as any one of a great number of flourishing to excite an unhealthy, prurient interest in papers. vice and crime. No incident of life is too It is this tolerance, friends, I would point depraved or too remote from all genuine out, which is the dangerous thing for us. interest to the public at large to be glaringly The forces for good, to hold their own reflected in these “abstracts and chronicles against the bad ones, need at least be in of the time.” They search every most un- earnest, united, and indeed aggressive. In wholesome corner of society, wantonly to large measure, the respectable elements in drag to light, and expose before the commu- our society ignore, or do not care for, these nity, indiscriminately, all that is vile, un- things which make for evil, which are hallowed, and debauching. Some of them surely, somewhere, leaving their mark on are almost unblushing panders to vice. Pa- the character of the generation which is to pers are sold on our streets openly which are
follow us. corrupt in their whole intention, depraving
And what is true of our newspapers is in their whole influence. But not only these true very extensively of our general literaalmost confessed ministers of corruption, ture. but many which make a pretence to respect- We have come much under the influence ability, whose publishers and editors would of foreign schools of literature, which are bristle with offence if placed in the same themselves permeated with debasing influcategory with the others I have referred to,
It seems to be held by some, conare stuffed with material intellectually most trary to the old maxim, that, if you can give vulgar, and alike debasing to taste and in- a thing a name, you justify it. In literajurious to fine morality.
ture, what is called “realism" attempts to Especially, and most unfortunately, is that justify its existence by the mere fidelity and true of that still modern class of papers, the technical skill with which it depicts the Sunday ones.
incidents of social life. But there are many Scan the contents of the next you take of those incidents which are not justly to be up; see how vulgar, half impure, they largely depicted for the contemplation of society are; how full of the lowest concerns of generally. society; how little calculated to minister to A similar tolerance, the spirit of wbich is good taste, good morals, useful instruction, imbibed largely abroad, among people of elevation of purpose, improvement of social distinctly lower moral tone than ours bas life; how it hovers constantly about the yet become, is beginning to appear in reborder-land of vice, and is filled with an spect to the products of art. The distineatmosphere of low suggestion. I noted the tions which have to be drawn here are deliadvertisement of one of the leading ones of cate, but they are perfectly obrious and this city yesterday. I would not here repeat recognizable. It is a question almost, if not its topics. I dare say that this paper lies quite always, of treatment, of spirit, of inalready on some of your tables. I ask you tention. Of the things which God has conscientiously to scan its contents, and to made, none is essentially more lovely and confess to yourselves what sort of an in- pure than the human form. It has been the fluence such a paper is exerting, what prin- legitimate subject of art since art began. ciples it ministers to. How the men who A man commits a crime against it when he make the papers can consent to make them debases its portraiture to be the minister of such as they are, is not less a mystery and unworthy sentiments and emotions. But wonder than that others can keep grog- its representations may be made such as eleshops.
vate and refine or debase and corrupt. I am astonished at the indifference or I think they are always the latter when thoughtlessness of the heads of families they do not subserve some idealistic purwho can tolerate in their homes agencies pose, the presentation of some ideal truth. so noxious. They would not knowingly, But a school has arisen in recent years I presume, invite men of well-known vi- which absolves itself from all idealistic limcious or vulgar character; but they bring itations, and revels in what is merely physiin all the influences such men could ex- cal and sensual. ert when they lay on the home table Again, the term “realism" is brought for