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distinctions as these? If certain worldly trappings are seen in the one case, the remark is ready,“ The ministers are geiting as bad as — other people!” In any other case they elicit po remark -- as if abstinence were merely perfunctory! The people are respected if they equal non professors in style and show; the pastor loses everybody's respect by so doing.
When did Christ authorize a laymen to give less of his inc 'me to objects of benevolence than he expects his minister to give? We have known Christian men, who by preaching earned $1,000 per annum, who bestowed more out of this pittance iu various cbarities than members of their own churches making $10,000 per annum and upwards, out of occupations far less useful to society - some of tbem positively injurious! The cause of
Christ has been kept alive in the earth --in myny places just alive-- by such generous disproportionate giving on the one part, and crippled and kept from being the success it might have been, hy such mean, avaricious with: holding of their proportion on the other. It is a fair statement, that if laymen gave as those do to whom they are indebted (under God) for their knowl. edge of the way of life and their hopes of heaven, every department of Christian work would be prosperous. We have known some clergymen who had the same ideas that laymen are supposed to hold innoce. tly — not quite bolding that “gain is godliness," but that godliness is not to be exercised gave in consistency with gain ; that their first duty must be touch. ing their worldly condition; men who regarded land and money and bank stock, etc., etc., as lay men are in the habit of regarding them, and whose first question respectiog a pastorate was, What salary will it pay?"question overriding all others and governing duty and decision. But they were precious few. We never knew such men to be highly esteemed, even by laymen of the same covetous spirit and habits. We have known hupdreds who would not, for their souls, have reserved for themselves and tbeir families, or withbeld from Christ's work, the percentage of their earnings which most laymen consider allowable. Who maketh them to differ so! Who has released the Lord's first lien” upon lay property and income, and laid it over upon ministerial resources, which are everywhere so much scantier ?
It is thought that certain misapprehensions and misadjustments of a minister's position must be removed before the number of candidates for pulpits can be increased. We have no doubt of it. Not a whit. So long as the pulpit is in any respect in a false position relatively to the pews, the number of ministers must be proportionately and inevitably diminished. And this will be the case so long as one rule is set up for the pulpit --- a higher and severer one -- and another for the pews — a lower and more lenient one. Let it be understood that church and members are just as much required by Christ and their vows to save souls as preachers -- that it is matter of common and universal obligation - and a large part of tbe difficulty would disappear. Let it be alss understood that Christ requires the same self-denial and benevolence for the good of the world of the churches, impartially, as he does of their pastors, and most of the remaining difficulties would disappear also.
WANTED, BIBLICAL SCHOLARS. — Two great forms of intellectual activity now demand the attention of Christian thinkers. One of them is seen in those scientific discussions, physical and metaphysical, which aim to remove the very foundations of Theism. The other, in those critical and historical investigations which are directed in various forms against the facts and teachings of Revealed Religion. The former is limited in its ravge, in its interest, and in its influence. It can not be overlooked as a drift, or glaciermovement, of many men who claim a high position as abstruse reasoners. But facts will always tell with the masses, let abstractions be as they may. And the second form of skeptical tendencies must be m«t in this generation by a scholarship that shall thoroughly explore the Scriptures and all the subjects adjacent. The present generation are fighting over the ancient questions of the truthfulness and the authority, as well as the meaning of the Scriptures. All the world is now looking on.
But what is the trouble with the young Christian students of this country, that they do not comprehend the situation and the opportunity? That they can discern the face of the sky,” or the crust of the earth, but not the “signs of the times"? What region is now so full of activity and of possibility? What so loudly calls for explorers? Even didactic theology is forced out of its ancient metaphysical methods, to fall back more and more on questions of critical readings and sound interpretations. The old Moabite stone admonishes us how Biblical knowledge has been lying on the very surface of the earth, and waiting twenty-seven hundred years for some one pick it up. There is probably more of the same or of other kinds of discovery to be made in the same region. The Palestine Exploration Society will not have exhausted all Palestine and the surrounding region. Rich harvests will remain to be reaped. Some careful scholar still is wanted thoroughly to compare, from personal inspection, all the supposed routes of Israel to Sinai and beyond, land to judge between them. The cuneiform inscriptions of Babylonia and the hieroglyphic records of Egypt are not exhausted. The “Egyptologists” need looking after — to say nothing of Chinese records. The region of Caucasus and of Arinenia offers points of inquiry that Col. Chesney did not touch. For example: how near to the sources of the Tigris, Euphrates and Araxes does the Halys (or Kizil Irmak) rise? There are questions that Layard, Loftus and others have not settled. Was Ur, for example, at Oorfa, Warka, or Mughier? Where was Havilah, and Cush? We want a carefully collated and corrected Septuagint, and an investigation, if possible, of the differences between it and the Hebrew and Samaritan. We want a fuller inquiry into the Samaritan manuscripts at Nablous and their claim to antiquity. What Hebrew Tischendorf will ascertain what is possible to be done for the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and begin the work? The table of nations, in the tenth chapter of Genesis will bear further inquiry. The field of comparative philology, in its relation to the unity of the race, invites explorers in certain parts almost untouched as yet – the agglutinative and especially the isolating tongues. The history and composition of several of the books of the Bible are under controversy. Seeming discrepancies are still to be reconciled, difficulties solved, and wrong interpretations to be rectified throughout the Bible. Whole books of Scripture wait for an expositor writing wisely with the present materials. No field of inquiry, indeed, is so busy, so inviting, so fruitful and so hopeful, as that of Biblical literature. None so urgent in its call for laborers. And yet, in this country, where are they? How many men in America were able to reply even to such a man as Colenso ? How many can intelligently defend the authorship of the Pentateuch, of the latter part of Isaiah, and of Zachariah, the antiquity of Daniel, etc. ? Or, to be very practical, how many of the young ministers are approaching the position of Dr. Payson in his primc, when he was said to have a settled opinion concerning every passage of the Bible? And that, too, when keen skepticism may crop out in any congregation in the land, no matter how remote. We have heard and read some piteous appeals for help from men who had thought little of what they perhaps were pleased to call “ Hebrew and Greek."
It is recorded of Rip Van Winkle that, after he had siept forty years, he awoke, rubbed open his eyes and took his bearings. The example is wholesome. But more suggestive is the intense tvil of those men, chiefly in other lands, who spend lives of learned labor simply to invalidate the authority of the Scriptures; and of those others who, indifferent as to the actual teachings of the Bible, yet apply the profoundest scholarship to its elucidation, simply on the ground of its wondertul literary and historic importance. Such men should put to shame those of us who believe that in these Scriptures are gathered up the whole message of God to man, the entire commission of the preacher, and the whole hope of human salvation.
THE DUTIES OF COUNCILS.- We remember the time when we inclined to share the regrets of the good Dr. Woods, that councils were not invested with more authority. But it was in the crudeness of youth. We have lived to see that no church judicatory carries such a moral momentum as a wisely-constituted council that understands its own functions, and settles down quietly and discreetly, but couscientiously and thoroughly to its work. Its power is all the greater, because it is simply the power of reason and righteousness. We well remember a case of difficuliy between a Presby. terian church and its pastor in an Eastern State, which was brought to trial before the Londonderry Preshytery. Oddly enough the two parties called in as their respective counsellors two neighboring Congregational pastors. After the public investigation was over, the question went round the Presbytery, What shall be done? The aged Dr. Dana opened with the oracular words, “ It looks dark;" and closed by advising a sunımary measure of authority. The rest of the Presbytery without exception, we believe, echoed the darkness and the decision. But all felt that the measure would involve permanent troubles. Before the formal vote was taken, the two Congregational pastors begged a suspension till they should confer with the respective parties. They went out, assembled the pastor and ibe leading church members, laid the case clearly and earnestly before them,
proposed a method of settlement, and in about one hour reported to the Presbytery that the “dark” case was satisfactorily adjusted. The Presbytery's occupation was gone, and that small but plucky body had only to adjourn. It was the power of Christian wisdom and influence, as against legal and technical authority.
Instead of desiring that councils may have more power, we only wish that they may effectually use their present power. A council ought never to be a sham, but, as Carlyle would say, let them“ do their thing." If to examine a minister, examine bim. If, also, to "advise" concerning his settlement, advise ; if sound and right, for it; if not, against it. If called to settle a difficulty, meet it and settle it, and not dodge it. When one or two misguided or obstinate men are plainly at the bottom of the trouble, whether layman or minister, tell them so, kindly but firmly – it may be privately. If assembled to review a case of discipline and scandal, do it effectually, and not plaster it over to break out again. If invited to give counsel concerning the organization of a church, give the counsel ; against it, if the movement is unwise. Should the separation of pastor and people be the question, and the plain interests of Christ's cause require it, let no false tenderness stand in the way. In any case where there is a vital point underlying all the surface aspects of the case, let no council content itself with nibbling round the edges of the subject, and then closing with a little "goodish” and pointless exhortation. If action is plainly called for at once, let the council act and not adjourn tr wait the issue.
Whenever governed by such principles as these, councils will be honored and sought for. We have often seen their happy fruits. We have seen the firm refusal to ordain an (upsound candidate in one instance reform the candidate, and in another, deliver the church. We have seen a council save a church from extinction, by firmly advising a change in its rules, and the resignation of a deacon. We have known a council to remove the source of trouble from a feeble church by privately advising an obstinate member to connect himself wi'h another church where he could make no trouble. We have sten cases where a wise council, if called a little sooner, might have prevented a secession. We have seen councils repeatedly extinguish the attempt made at the dismission of a minister, foolishly to rake open the coals of strife.
The deliberations of such a body should never be a farce. We do not mean that it should ever transcend its function. Its strength consists in precisely recognizing and fulfilling that function. If its errand is simply to give orderly form and sanction to an arrangement which only awaits that sanction, so be it. We do not share the feelings of those who object to being called in council when the substantial result, such as the dismission of a pastor, has been already mutually agreed upon. For while that agreement ought to be made “subject to the approval of a council,” we would in no case that occurs to us, vote in opposition to that mutual agreement. For the responsibility belongs to the parties concerned, and when they have jointly settled it, no man or body of men has a right to interfere with that
responsibility. But even then the official approval is of great importance both to the pastor, the church, and the cause.
On the other hand, let a council be chary of lending its sanction to any wrong headed measure, simply on the ground that it is now irretrievable. A little firmness here will soon teach some wholesome lessons. The churches sometimes have a way of imitating the patient who waits till mortal symptoms appear, or until perhaps he himself has taken a fatal dose, and then calls the physician. In one instance that we recall, the council that probably saved the church had to be pressed upon it by outside persons at the last moinent; and bad it been called two months earlier, apparently it would have prevented a most damaging secession. The evil of which we speak shows itself with increasing frequency in new regions. An influential part of a church finding itself involved in unpleasant rela. tions, adopts the desperate remedy of a separation, and then asks a council to ratify a measure that should not have been adopted without previous advice, and probably would not then have been adopted.
This practical independency sometimes asserts itself so extravagantly that perhaps the main strength of a church goes off into a new organization to get rid of two or three troublesome members; and thus two churches are thrust upon a field scarcely adequate for one. Nothing else, they think, was open to them; for perhaps the pastor had lent himself to unwise agencies, and steadily frustrated all attempts at settlement. We are aware that such complications may occur, especially when a pastor bas been trained in some other communion, and does not know or choose to know our system. But it is time for churches to learn, and for councils to show that Congregationalism does not consist in giving a factious few, or a headstrong pastor, the power to block the wheels of the whole church.
The remedy for these evils, and many others, is the Scriptural one: the timely calling of a council, and the firm discharge of its duties by that council. There is an increasing number of persons who recognize these evils, and who are ready to help restore the rrue use of councils. They are ready to say that, when called to serve in that capacity, they will not consent to the settlement of an essentially unsound or unfit minister, nor besitate to advise the dismission of the pastor who has outlived his usefulness; they will not sanction a wrong step because it has been taken; they will not blink the real trouble in a case of difficulty; they will not cover up a difficulty they were called to settle; they will not consent that unreason. able individuals, whether pastor or laymen, should mar the prosperity of a whole church. When councils do their duty, the churches will respect and value them, and many a scandal and folly will be prevented.
PULLING OFF A SHOE –In the presence of a “large audience, the majority being ladies," on tbe evening of January 25th, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was delivered of the following sentiment, wbich we take from a very full and seemingly careful report in the Chicago “Tribune” of the day following:
“It has been well said that no obstacle should be put in the way of