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of occupations manifestly belonging to the territory of evil. As manifestly is there a group of pleasures still belonging to the territory of good. The border-land is the debatable ground of things indifferent.' And the boundary of evil is continually extending. Pursuits and relaxations which once were good or neutral are now within the land forbidden to Christians; and seldom if ever is a worldly pleasure reclaimed to innocent use, won back to the land of 'things expedient.' As to many forms of relaxation, opinion and practice differ amongst Christian men. Relaxations we must have. We may only have those which stand the test of this first principle : Can I take them with a clear conscience ? My training may have prejudiced me against them. Like these Jewish converts, I may perhaps have been educated in a narrow school. Or, as in the case of the Gentile believers, the associations of these things may be so full of the sins of my past life as to make these relaxations seem sinful to me, or really to be snares to me if I join in them, even with the intention to avoid sin. Reason sufficient this for a young convert's abstinence, even if many Christians around him feel free to engage in them. A very good reason, for example, why one just rescued from the mäelstrom of worldliness should give up a favourite amusement. A thing doubtful to my conscience or dangerous to my soul is not a thing lawful for me.

II. But what about my conduct to the weaker brother ? First, says Paul (Rom. xiv. 1, 899.), do not harass him with your views about these questions, these doubtful disputations,' when he enters the Church. You clever pupils in the school of Christ may try to enlighten his conscience if you will, but do not force him on too fast in his learning. Be tender of his conscience, and above all seek to establish his principles, and to help him to strength of Christian character.' If you force him to build himself up in knowledge before the foundation is settled, you will 'edify’him to his ruin. Do not contemptuously tell him that this is a remnant of old prejudice. Do not give point to your words with a sneer. Perhaps he is weak; probably you are right. Nevertheless, do not urge him to trifle with his own conscience. Do him no harm by your teaching; and do him none by your practice either. * Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.' 'If meat'—the thing I eat—make my brother stumble, I will eat no flesh so long as the world standeth.' That is, if associations make these things matter of conscience to your brother, they may so become matters of conscience to you.

Thus Paul argues : Are you so connected with this weaker, younger Christian that your example will influence him? (1 Cor. viii, 8, 899.) If he see you eat meat that has come from the idol's temple, will he not be emboldened to swallow down his scruples and violate his conscience by sitting down with you ? Will he not only be thus led to sin, but be exposed to the temptations of his old heathen life?

Are you so bound up with him in daily life that when you, in your greater strength of principle or greater knowledge, do what he cannot clearly see to be right, he will harden his conscience to do it also, and possibly be led into greater sin than before? Then for his sake · for whom Christ died,' • walk charitably;' 'walk in love ;' abstain. It is no longer a thing indifferent, and no longer expedient for you.

One man can hardly determine for another how far this association is to be regarded as extending. Whether the weaker brother is to be thus consulted, and the liberty of the stronger narrowed, only when the connection is such as between an older Christian and his newly-converted friend, or between a Sabbath-school teacher and her class, or between a father and his children ; or whether, as with the total abstainer from alcoholic drinks, when the brotherhood is that of the same nationality or the same social system ; this each man must settle for himself.

The dramatic form of telling a story, or the setting horses to run one against the other, is not per se wrong. But there is such an accretion of villany and vice around the theatre and the turf that many a man, as a Christian, gives up the, to him harmless, theatre or race-course, lest his example lead the weaker Christian back into the sins of his old life. He himself can stop at any point on the inclined plane; but he will not step upon it lest another should follow him, who would slip and slide and shoot down to ruin. He can walk on the giddy height of the cliffos utmost verge ; but he avoids that path lest some weaker-headed wayfarers should follow and fall over to their destruction. He is obeying Paul's second principle.

‘But this is bondage to the tyranny of weakness.' No. If it be bondage at all, it is to the Christ-like care for souls, and respect for the sacred supremacy of conscience. Bondage ? Paul' says : 'To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak.' He circumcised Timothy to meet the case of Jews and Jewish converts. He himself took on him and discharged a Jewish row in due form. “I am made all things to all men, that by all means I might bave some.' And the Paul-like, Christ-like Christian will say : ''I will do anything ; I will abstain from anything; I will rather be in bondage to his weak conscience all my life, than go to the full length of my tether in the matter of liberty, and so ruin a soul for whom Christ died.'

III. Paul puts a case (1 Cor. x. 25, 899.), where a feast is going on, and the strong' brother is quietly eating whatever is set before him, asking no question for conscience sake', but thanking the bountiful God for His good gifts. But a weak brother, or a heathen guest, to see what he will say

and do, tells him, "That food has been offered to an idol.' In that moment it acquires a new character. If it is to cause difficulty to the conscience of the Christian guest, or if the heathen looks on it as a test of his Christianity, then, Paul

says, let him put that dish aside. To us the case Paul puts says : If in the estimation of your fellowChristians, and, above all, if in the current opinion of the world, any practice, any amusement, any place of resort, has become a rough practical test of worldliness ; then you had better abstain. It may be unjustly so regarded, but the world will not bear fine distinctions about the right and wrong of things. It will have rough-and-ready tests. If they make an otherwise permissible thing such a test, we cannot afford to dispute about it. Again, one can hardly lay down for another the limit of the

range

of influence which shall impose this restriction upon things lawful. A man will abstain altogether from cards or the ball-room, who will get distinguish between playing billiards or bagatelle, for money, in a mixed company at a public-house, and in a company of professing Christians in a private dwelling. Another will decide for complete abstinence from both, always and everywhere ; so reading Paul's principle : If a thing has become a test, and will be so interpreted by servants, children, neighbours, then it is no longer expedient or lawful.

One rule covers all these cases : 'All things are lawful'; but 'Do all to the glory of God.' If a man live by this rule in all things, he will have a tender conscience; he will have a self-sacrificing love for even the weakest ; he will be jealous lest his action should even seem to break down the hedge between the Church and the world. He will then not get far wrong as to things indifferent.

IV. `Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision.' Sach was Paul's teaching and belief. But the Jewish party in the Church said: Circumcision is necessary to salvation, even for Gentile believers. And it thus became full of meaning even to Paul, because it became the symbol of a principle, the banner of a party hostile to the Gospel. The banner of an army is only a few yards of coloured stuff, of little value in itself; but it becomes the centre of fiercest strife in battle and the proudest trophy of victory, because it represents the cause and honour of a country. Circumcision was to a Gentile believer neither good nor bad in itself ; but Paul fought stoutly against this 'indifferent thing, because it had become the symbol of the Judaizing faction in the Church. The Gospel said : Believe and be saved : believe and live. The Law said : Do and lice. On principle, therefore, Paul would not circumcise Titus; for the men who insisted on it were traitors to Christ and Paul's Gospel of faith. And to the Lord'- -as a matter of loyalty to Christ-he would not regard it.'

We have to-day to make a similar stand against ritual in religion. In the abstract, the question which way a man shall stand when at the Lord's table ; whether he shall put lighted candles on that table in the daylight; how be shall deck himself or the table; might be dealt with as things not worth disputing about. Whether his building shall be Gothic or 'heathen’; bow much and what sort of music he shall have in his worship; might be dealt with gently, as matters of taste. It might seem odd to hang what is, in fact, a Roman gallows and the instrument of cruel pain to my Saviour round my neck as an ornament, and if it were only odd one might let it alone. But all this decoration avowedly means doctrine. That table is an altar. That Minister before it is a man-mediator, thrusting himself between me and

my only authorized channel for my prayers and for God's pardon. That bread is a sacrifice, an extension or a repetition of the sacrifice once offered by the only Priest, Jesus, and now always being shown in heaven for us. And the lights and the postures and the dress mean all this. The music and the architecture

God

as the

and the ornament, down to the little cross, all are designed to predispose to the reception of the system. And we must say : 'Ritual is nothing; architecture is nothing; music is nothing; but you make them mean something subversive of the Gospel. We reject your system; we will not have your symbols. In other circumstances they might be lawful to us; but we will not be brought under the power of the system and its teaching. To the Lord we will not regard it. Let the service and the sanctuary be plain, if the faith and worship be pure. Better be behind the times, and out of fashion, in music and ritual, than have any complicity with what means disloyalty to Christ and His simple Gospel for sinners. These are not things indifferent.' They are not expedient.'

THE CONGREGATIONAL UNION LECTURE FOR 1877 :*

BY THE REV. DR. RIGG. In this volume we have, in part, the sical science and certainty. Logiripe fruit of twenty-five years' thought cally, indeed, certain metaphysical on the great theme of which it treats. postulates must lie at the foundations Twenty-five years ago Mr. Conder had of any great theological argument. If already written the substance of a large our metaphysical systems were in part of the volume, and had received accord as to the points which bear the late Henry Rogers' encouragement directly on the theological argument, to proceed with his work. It is not too it would be sufficient to set forth and much to say that this volume is take for granted these points—it worthy to rank with the lamented might even be sufficient to take them Henry Rogers' masterpieces : his for granted without any precise or Eclipse of Faith, and his Lecture on systematic statement of them and The Superhuman Origin of the Bible. thus the theological argument would Such work as we find in this volume appear to be simpler and more homocannot be struck off in a heat. The geneous; it would not be encumquarter of a century during which the bered by the necessity for premising lecturer has abided his time has not or intermingling abstruse and probeen wasted. This book must repre- longed metaphysical disquisitions. sent very much besides of precious But materialism and scepticism of thinking which will, we trust, see the late years, and verbal subtleties and light. But if this were the sole pro- perplexities in years and generations duct of the interval it would be no preceding, have so entangled truth unworthy result.

with error, have not seldom so comIt must always be impossible to pletely covered up the truth, that the conduct a fundamental and thorough task of metaphysical clearing up and argument as to the grounds of our clearing away, in the case of the Christian faith in God and His revela- thorough-working Christian apologist, tion, without taking position, at the is now extremely formidable. Not same time, on the basis of metaphy- only the agnostic metaphysics of

* The Basis of Faith. A Critical Survey of the Grounds of Christian Theism. The Congregational Union Lecture for 1877. By Eustace R. Conder, M.A. London : Hodder and Stoug?ton.

Herbert Spencer and the Positivist will be convenieat for us to take school, but the philosophy of nescience account first, is quite as valuable for as taught by Hamilton and his fol- its opposition to the nescience pkilowers, have to be dealt with.

losophy of Hamilton, and the verbal No one, accordingly, must address subtleties and perplexities of his dishimself to this volume without being ciple Mansel as to "The Absolute,' as prepared for a good deal of tough it is for its examination of the agnosreading, in the form of metaphysical ticism of Herbert Spencer, for which discussion. This discussion would agnosticism indeed the teachings of naturally, we imagine, have taken its Hamilton and Mansel did not a little place as a sort of preliminary disserta

to prepare

the
way.

Hamilton's tion, or as a first part of the entire nescience led not unnaturally to agnesargument. But such an arrangement ticism ; Desa Mansel's Absolute is would not have been convenient in not easily to be discriminated, at the case of lectures orally delivered. least in some aspects, from Mr. SpenA long and abstruse first lecture, cer's Unknowable. entirely made up of hard and fatiguing Mr. Conder altogether traverses metaphysics, of discussion so close the current doctrines in regard to and deep that the most felicitous perception and knowledge. He mainillustrations cannot make it easy to

tains that the mind, for example

, a follow, so original as to be uncon- child's mind, has no knowledge of formable to any existing system, as to phenomena apart from a knowledge proceed always by new tracks and, so of itself; and that in its earliest to speak, across country'-would knowledge of persons, it not only hardly have produced a favourable knows itself, but transcends itself in first impression on the audience, how- its knowledge of others. He mainever comparatively cultivated, which tains that one main hindrance to the gathered in the Memorial Hall to solid progress of metaphysics has hear Mr. Conder lecture. The lec- been the practice of dealing with perturer has accordingly, at some sacri- ception, as though it were the simplest fice, as we imagine, of logical order and most elementary form of knowand argumentative continuity, brought ledge. He joins issue against the in his lecture on Knowledge : Its Na- dogma that human knowledge is conture and Validity, as number four in fined to phenomena and that realities the series of nine. The other eight- are completely beyond its ken. We if only the metaphysical questions as

cull some passages which will indito the nature and validity of know- cate, at least in part, the scope of Mr. ledge had been settled beforehand- Conder's argument on this head : would have made a clear and consecutive series, complete in itself. The

' A phenomenon (or phænomenon) is an

appearance or manifestation. titles only indicate very slightly the from the sense of vision, the term has been fulness and variety of the contents of

extended by philosophers to presentments each lecture. The course of discus

of the other senses, and, finally, to all presion, however, may in some measure

sentments and representments of conscious.

A judgment, primary or logical, an be gathered from them. They run as emotion of delight, a pang of remorse, & follows (omitting number four) : Reli- bodily pain, a melody, a maxim, a scene on gion; The Knowledge of God; The

which we gaze, a picture painted in fantasy

or mirrored in memory, a conscious effort; Nature of the Evilence; The Architect everything, in short, of which we can

be of the Universe; Architectonic Unity; directly conscious — is a Phenomenon. The Voice from Heaven; Jesus; The

Phenomena, therefore, are portions of cob. Voice Within.

sciousness, and nothing but portions of The fourth lecture, of which it

consciousness. But conscionsness is fleeting, transitory. It would perish as it is

Borrowed

ness,

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