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(To the Editor of the "Intellectual Repository.")
SIR,-In the article by R. R. R. in the Intellectual for September last there is a reference to "teetotallers' as a class of people not "truly wise." I desire, not so much on account of "teetotallers" as on behalf of their ism, to protest against the appearance of such a statement in the magazine of the New Church Conference. If "teetotalism" is to be discussed, let it be discussed as a separate question. The best test of the wisdom of a system is that given by the Lord Himself: 66 By their fruits ye shall know them." The fruits of teetotalism abound throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, and so do the fruits of drinking. Teetotalism has rescued many a family from the curses inherent in a drunkard's home-has restored thousands to family, friends, and society-has brought back many deserters from our churches. What are the fruits of drinking? I know, we all know the "fruits" of drunkenness! What other "fruits " are there? "Truly wise," indeed! It is very unwise to walk in slippery places. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. We of the New Church have known many who thought themselves "truly wise" prove the victims of their folly, bringing death to themselves, misery to their families, disgrace to the Church. Is it "truly wise" to sneer at a cause that has done so much for the social welfare of the country, a cause that numbers amongst its advocates most of the philanthropic workers of the day, a cause that every other religious body is taking up, a cause that has secured the practical adhesion of one-third of the ministers recognised by the New Church Conference? R. R. R. would do well to refrain from such sneering allusions in respect to those who, from principle, are making a practical effort to promote sobriety. The drunkards of England are being constantly recruited from the ranks of moderate (?) drinkers, and surely if we teetotallers try to reclaim such characters, for whom teetotalism is admittedly the only remedy, our efforts should not be met with such cold sympathy. R. R. R.'s subject was the Wisdom of the Serpent. I beg to draw his attention to Proverbs xxiii. 31, 32.
In the last number of the Intellectual Repository your correspondent S. T. refers to this question of total abstinence, and seems to imagine that he settles the question so far as New Churchmen are concerned. The question is not to be settled on such theoretical ground. The Temperance question is a practical one, and is not touched by the position taken up by S. T. The Sacramental Wine question is a very difficult one, from the standpoint taken by a great number of earnest and intelligent New Churchmen. For my own part, I should be exceedingly sorry to see the question brought prominently to the front at present, but the time will come when it will have to be dealt with. In my experience as a minister, I have known several cases where men with the appetite strong for drink within them, and who were trying to live it down by the practice of teetotalism, dure not
partake of the Sacrament lest the old appetite should be revived. Many cases are on record where men have lapsed into drunkenness from taking part in this holiest act of religious worship. There are many men that I would not invite to the Sacrament on this account. To these people there is danger, and I contend that the service may be at least as devout and as efficacious with unfermented as with fermented wine. And the time will come, I hope soon, when nonabstainers will feel it their duty to face this practical aspect of the question, even if they regard it as a yielding to the feelings of their weaker brethren. The weaker brethren are the people to be mainly considered by the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, that prays, "Lead us not into temptation.' Not that I believe abstainers are (as a rule) weaker on this point than drinkers; they are on stronger, because on safer, ground. The man who abstains for his own sake is strong enough to say "No;" the man who abstains for his neighbour's sake is strong enough to bear a hand to aid in the rescue of perishing thousands, strong enough to deny himself for his Father and his brethren's sake. The weak people are those that feel they ought to abstain and don't. The question is a very serious one in the estimation of all those who have tried to save a drunkard; the moderation remedy does not touch the disease, and therefore cannot effectually cure it. S. T. says, "Pure fermented natural wine ought alone to be used." Is this wine used? Is it obtainable? The wine of commerce is notoriously impure, and a very large portion of it is entirely destitute of the vine element.
S. T. goes on to say that the "correspondence" of the process of fermentation, etc., "ought not only to establish the propriety of using fermented wine in the Lord's Supper, but to establish in the minds of New Churchmen the entire question of alcoholic use and abuse." This latter question, I repeat, has to be settled on practical grounds, in view of the mischief wrought by what S. T. is pleased to call the "abuse." What the "use" is I don't know.
Again, S. T. speaks of fermented wine as "a gift of God to man." Many of us, judging by what we see of its "fruits," doubt this. well might we term Guiness's stout, and Bass's beer, and Allsopp's pale ale, and the various brands of gin, and rum, and brandy, and whisky, together with breechloaders and Woolwich infants, and the cat-o'-nine-tails and the hangman's rope, and poisonous plants and reptiles, the good gifts of God to men. I could as soon believe the doctrines of Election and Substitution as such a doctrine as that put forth by S. T.
Far be it from me to "judge" those who do not come up to the standard of total abstinence, but as a thoroughly impartial student of this question (ie. with my conscience, judgment, and reason unbiassed by taste), I fail to see how it is possible that indulgence in alcoholic drinks can be calculated to promote "happy usefulness."
ATHEISM AND THE CHURCH.-The demption had come; it only needed to progress of atheistic sentiment is a just be unfolded to its utmost capabilities. cause of alarm to the Church. It is The culminating point was atnot to be prevented by denunciation, tained. The human-divine of Asiatic and the clergy are not always able to speculation, and the divinely-human of expose the sophistry of its reasoning, European philosophy, met and coalesced; or to offer a satisfactory solution of the and from that wedlock emerged Christiacknowledged contradictions between anity." The effort thus made is a bold science and the teaching of the Church. attempt to bridge over the difficulty The Rev. Canon Curteis has attempted between Atheism and Christianity by this reconciliation in the January num- incorporating the theories of atheistic ber of the Contemporary Review. This philosophers in the Christian religion. attempted reconciliation, however, ac- Thus the writer continues: "Of this cepts too fully the leading thoughts of language in St. John's Gospel (‘No man the writers whose works avowedly or hath seen God at any time, the onlyundesignedly tend to atheistic opinion begotten Son, who is in the bosom of to be of practical value for the guidance the Father, He hath declared Him') it of the Church. Doctrine respecting is obvious that Hegel's doctrine-echoed God is regarded as a natural evolution afterwards by Comte and the Posiat which we have arrived by a necessary tivists-is a sort of variation set in a law of our nature. "No doubt," he lower key. In humanity, said he, the says, "religion was cradled amid gross Divine idea merges from the material superstitions; and only by great and and the bestial into the self-conscious." perilous transitions has it advanced This idea of humanity as the visible from the lower to the higher. It was a presentment of "the Divinity, the great great step from the fetish and the tera- Cosmic Unknown," which Hegel found phim to the animal and plant symbols in himself and his compeers, Canon of Egypt and Assyria. Ît was another Curteis finds in the Son of Man, but in great step to Baal, the blazing sun, and both cases the human element is all Moloch, wielder of drought and sun- that is seen and known. The WORD is stroke, and Agni, friendly comrade of ignored except as the production of the the hearth." This process of evolution finite writers of the several books, and prepares the way for "a transition from the Church is looked to to reconcile the physical and the brutal and the these diversities of thought, and to astral to the human and the moral in adapt her teachings to these requireman's search after a true (or the to him ments of modern philosophy. truest possible) representation of the Church must not part company with the infinite forces at play around him." world she is commissioned to evanThis process of evolution opens the way gelize." (The italics are the writer's.) The "for Moses to elaborate with a Divine Church of Rome cannot accomplish this sagacity a completely organized society, work. "A Catholic who should adhere saturated through every fibre with this to the testimony of history when it apone idea the unity of all the nature pears to contradict the Church would forces great and small, and their govern- be guilty not merely of treason and ment, not by haphazard, or malignity, heresy, but of apostasy." The Church or fate, but by what men call LAW. of England, whose doctrinal canons 'Thou hast given them a law which assert that even "General Councils may shall not be broken.' For this word err and have erred," is accessible to new 'law' distinctly connotes rationality... light. She may adapt her teachings to This grand transition, then, once made, the requirements of the times. And all else became easy. The human these requirements are urgent. "Never,' imagination, the poetic or plastic power says a writer cited by Canon Curteis, lodged in our brain after many failures, "in the history of man has so terrible had now at last got on the highroad a calamity befallen the race as that which led straight to the goal. Re- which all who look may now behold
advancing as a deluge, black with agonies, joys, and alternations, he states destruction, resistless in might, uproot- the Lord was pleased, in April 1745, to ing our most cherished hopes, engulf- open the eyes of his spirit, and enable ing our most precious creed, and burying him by absolute wakeful vision to comour highest life in mindless desolation. municate with the spiritual world, that The floodgates of infidelity are open, he might give to mankind sure and cerand Atheism overwhelming is upon us. "tain information of its scenes, its laws, Can this desolating torrent of falsehood and its inhabitants." be driven back by relinquishing the vantage-ground of faith in the written Word of God? We need, not to lower the standard of Christianity, but to enter more deeply into its true teaching.
THE STATE AND RELIGION IN AUSTRIA.-The Christian World of December 20th publishes a letter from a correspondent in Vienna, describing the sufferings endured by a number of Christians for conscience' sake in one of the leading provinces of the Austrian Empire. The facts of the case cannot be better stated, says the writer, than by a few quotations from a petition drawn up and forwarded to the Minister of Public Worship and Instruction at Vienna in June 1878. From these quotations we give the following extracts :
"By God's providence we came into possession a short time since of the Bible, and found in it a peace and rest of soul which the Roman Catholic Church had never been able to give us. We could not without hypocrisy remain any longer members of this Church, and accordingly determined to withdraw. We could not, however, enter the communion of any other Church recognised by the State, since we perceived that in all, in spite of greater or less purity of doctrine, the forms of Church government were unscriptural.
SWEDENBORG: THE MAN OF SCIENCE, THE PHILOSOPHER, THE THEOLOGIAN.An interesting and instructive weekly and monthly periodical, entitled Social Notes, edited by Mr. S. C. Hall, has admitted a notice of Swedenborg under the above title. The writer is Dr. Bayley, and the notice appears in the weekly numbers for January 4th and 18th. In the space at the editor's disposal a lengthened notice would have been impossible. All that could be attempted was a brief sketch of the author's life, writings, and general opinions. This is done in a frank and pleasant statement. There is no concealment, and no attempted vindication of any portion of the life and experience of Swedenborg. Dr. Bayley treats the tales respecting Swedenborg's insanity, as we think all intelligent persons ought to treat them, as "" 'totally unworthy of attention." Although no external change," he writes, was remarked in the conduct of Swedenborg in the year "In giving notice to the authorities 1743, a great internal change was taking of our withdrawal from the Roman place. He had, as we now know from Catholic Church, we were obliged to his Spiritual Diaries, great self-explo- admit that, according to existing laws, rations, deep humiliations before the we were without a Confession of Faith; Lord, impressions of sinfulness and but that we are by no means irreligious heart-searching, and afterwards com- the following facts sufficiently prove : forts full of peace and consolation. His Formerly we used to spend our trials and agitations were continued leisure, and more especially our Sunsometimes during the night, inducing days, in public-houses, in drinkingstrange dreams and vivid impressions not seldom in drunkenness-in gamof the nearness of the eternal world. bling, dancing, and godless, immoral,. We know that suchlike states of spiri- and seditious talk. Since we have tual experience have been detailed learned to know the Gospel all is changed, in the mental history of sincere Chris- and we now take delight in faithfully tians, both in ancient and in modern fulfilling our duties towards God, the times, especially in the case of eminent Government, and all men. Moreover, servants of God, as with Augustine, we delight now to spend our leisure Luther, Colonel Gardiner, Wesley, and time on Sunday and other days in the multitudes of others; but with this common study of God's Word. On addition in the case of Swedenborg, Sunday, -, 1878, while the family of that after TWO YEARS of these mental A. H., in S- were holding morning
family worship, at which none but the family and two lodgers were present, the police appeared, drove us all out of the room, and bade the household to get to work, telling them that if they wanted to pray they must go elsewhere. When the owner of the house complained to the authorities of this treatment, explaining, at the same time, that these were not 'Versammlungen' (meetings in the technical legal sense), he was told that the police were acting under the orders of the district magistrate. From this time four policemen came, usually both in the morning and afternoon of Sunday, and if they find us together, even whether we are holding family prayer or not, they drive us out of the house, telling us that they have orders to remain in the room till we have separated." These policemen, they further state, "search our houses, our rooms, our closets, every Sunday, as if we were suspicious characters, patrol our gardens the whole forenoon, and allow no one to enter the house."
No remedy could be obtained for these cruel persecutions. The sufferers describe themselves as simple unlearned people, who were obliged to ask friends to draw up in their name this petition. In answer to their appeal to the city authorities they were told "that the privilege of family worship is permitted to members of a Confession not recognised by the State on certain conditions." To secure, therefore, the privileges they desired, they declared themselves "Old Evangelicals." "On making this declaration," they say, we were informed, both by the district and city authorities, that the 'Alt Evangelisch' Confession was not recognised by the State; and yet the same authorities, only a few weeks before, informed us that the law expressly refers to members of a 'Confession not recognised by the State."" They have since suffered fine and imprisonment for their faith and their practice of family worship. The correspondent in concluding this painful narrative says: "The law in avowed accordance with which these Christians have been fined and imprisoned bears the date 1854, and was enacted solely for the Lombardo-Venetian provinces, which have now ceased to belong to Austria. It forbids all meetings and discussions in theatres, assembly-rooms, coffee-houses, railway
stations, steamers, etc., by which the pleasure of the public can be disturbed, or the Government endangered,' and fixes the maximum penalty at 200fl., or fourteen days' imprisonment. It is scarcely necessary to point out how such a measure, obviously framed to hinder political disturbances, found a sufficient raison d'être in the condition of these Italian provinces under Austrian sway. This law does not apply to the whole of the Austrian Empire, and even if it did, its elasticity of interpretation must, indeed, be unlimited, if the little private gatherings of these Christians for family worship be supposed to disturb the pleasure of the public, or endanger the security of the Government. petition from which I have quoted has not yet been answered, and, to judge from experience in similar cases, it is likely to remain unanswered for months, if not years, to come. Meanwhile our fellow-Christians are subject to constant and intolerable annoyance, and are always liable to fines and imprisonment, and this in an empire which, in Bosnia, proclaims religious liberty to all its subjects.
REV. T. MACKERETH, F. R.A.S.-The friends of this esteemed minister determined that he should not quit his scene of labour in the Salford day-schools without a testimonial of their esteem and appreciation of his labours. A meeting was therefore held in the schoolroom, Irwell Street, Salford, on the 17th of December. Tea was provided, and a meeting held afterwards, which was presided over by Rev. W. Westall, who opened the proceedings in an appropriate address. The testimonial consisted of an illuminated address, beautifully framed, and a purse of gold. In making the presentation Mr. Benson said that the Committee of the Salford day-schools had from the first the greatest confidence in the manner in which the schools were conducted by Mr. Mackereth, and for many years the management was left almost entirely in his hands, and the results had showed that their confidence was not misplaced. Mr. Mackereth said that a good deal had been said by the various speakers about the success of the school. Outsiders generally thought that this success was due to the fact that children of a superior class had for a long time