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Cbttortai Jlotc3 anb Comment
THE Congregationalist of Boston, we under stand is the representative paper of the Congregational Church of this country. In the issue of April 5th we find an article on "Leaders in the New South." In speaking of Atlanta, the writer says: "To a remark able degree it is becoming the great educa tional center of the South, and its religious in fluence in the coming days will be more and more profoundly felt as the South emerges from its extreme narrowness and conser vatism. One of the great needs of the South to-day is the practicable application of re ligion to life." One thing that impresses us as we read the article from which these sen tences are quoted is that the man who looks through a narrow crack is likely to get a nar row vision. The fact is that the South is far broader in its sympathy and work for the bet terment of mankind than some of the Northern visitors who come to this section of the coun try to write us up. The South is not narrow from a business point of view, for the com mercial authorities say that the South is ac cumulating wealth and increasing in pros perity at least as fast as any other section of the country. In civil affairs the South cannot be very narrow, as the Northern politicians are complaining that the South is gaining too much influence in national affairs. In Chris tian work it is generally admitted that the Southern Presbyterian Church, at least, is doing as much to advance the kingdom of Christ, in proportion to its numbers, as any Church in this country, whether it be in the work at home or abroad. And we have reason to believe that the other denominations will compare very favorably with the same churches elsewhere. As to its conservatism, this is its glory and its safeguard. The coun t'.v would be better off if all sections had more Sllch conservatism. In the South the Bible is r(cognized as the word of God, and its great doctrines are held without modification. The ' abbath is recognized as God's holy day. The marriage tie and the family relation are recog niz?d as sacred. Ready always to adopt the the South conserves the best. We agree at there is need for "the practical applica l0n religion to life." But we cannot help pondering whether the writer and all the rest 0 the people of his section of the world have Reived a full application. We are very sure i at there are few writers of the South who ^?"ld make a flying visit to some city of the * ' interview a few people of their own 0('tion, and then make such sweeping k'arges against all the people. We have never (i n a^e to draw a very clear line between j. r esy and fairness on one side and re i^'?n on the other. It seems to us that one th 1 ":tty 8ood evidence of the application of ar^ ?ther. "We believe the fruits of religion as abundant in the South as in other 10118 ?f the country. PROTESTANTS maintain that the Bible should be in the hands of the people. The Roman Catholic Church in this country, through some of its priests and bishops pub licly say the same thing. This Church every where claims that it is and has been always and everywhere the same in its teachings, and that the deliverances of its popes are infallible". A recent writer says: "In 'The Influence of the Bible on Civilization,' Dr. von Dobschutz tells us that ' when civilization had made a new start (about the twelfth century) a desire for reading the Bible spread among the people.' That was natural. Wouldn't you expect the Church to encourage such a desire! But the Church didn't. We are told that the clergy 'did not want the people to read the Bible for, as they said, this would introduce heresy.' In 1199 Pope Innocent III declared that all laymen should be kept from reading the Bible. In the latter part of the Middle Ages prohibi tions against Bible reading became frequent. One pope said, 'If a layman touches the Bible he is guilty of sacrilege and should be stoned or shot through.' " How the Romish Church can make such contradictory claims we cannot see. It is a well known fact that few mem bers of that Church in this country have the Bible, and that in countries where that Church is in the ascendancy, the Bible is practically unknown. + + + WHAT a blessing it would b6, if everyone would make an earnest effort, just as far as possible, to pay all of his debts before financial conditions become more stringent. The vast majority of people owe some debt to others, and, in turn, have some debt due them. Now, if every man will use whatever money he can honestly get hold of to pay all or a part of the debts he owes, he will enable others to pay the debts they owe. It may be that in a short time the very money that he has paid out, will come back to him in the payments of debts due him. A short time ago we saw a statement from the publisher of a Church paper that it was in debt. Because its subscribers were so far behind in paying their subscriptions the publishers were running heavily into debt. The statement showed that the amount due by subscribers was nearly equal to the whole amount of all the subscriptions for a year. Now it would not be a serious matter for the subscriber to raise and forward the small amount he owes. If all would do this, the publishers would soon be able to pay off all debts. Then they would be free from the burden of debt and be able to put more heart and soul and brain into the paper. We are not in as bad a condition as the paper to which we refer, but there are some of our subscribers who are behind in their payments. It will in most cases be easier for them to pay now than it will be in the future. A word to the wise is sufficient. CHURCH papers are just as essential to the success of the Church as the secular papers are to the success of the efforts of the government. Can we imagine the government of this country in this critical time being able to stir up the patriotism of the people, or to secure the enlistment of the men needed for the army and navy, if it were not for the use it can make of the papers of the country. It may be that the government itself does not use them directly, but through their columns in formation and inspiration are given to the readers, and the government receives the benefit. A striking fact is that the papers do not belong to the government, but are privately owned. This very fact makes them of more value to the government. It is under stood that what they say is said from choice and not from necessity. These papers are sup ported by the subscriptions of the citizens. Religious papers are just as necessary to the Church as the secular are to the State. Can anyone imagine a campaign of any kind being successfully carried out without the help of the Church papers. The regular work of the Church would soon lag behind; and inspira tion would reach a low state, if the Church papers did not kindle the flame and keep it supplied with fuel. Like the State, the Church does not usually own the Church paper. It is owned by private individuals, who do all the work, assume all the risk and bear all the responsibility connected with its publication. All the owners and publishers ask is that the members of the Church shall take the paper and pay their subscriptions as promptly as they can. Some people seem to think that the Church paper can just run along in some way whether it has subscribers or not. Others seem to think it is a very small matter, if they are away behind in the payment of their sub scriptions; although they pay their subscrip tions to the secular papers very promptly. Some people think that the Church paper makes unlimited amounts of money. So far as our knowledge goes there is not a Church paper in this country that begins to pay just returns on the money and labor put into it. This being the case, it can be easily seen that the loss of a subscriber is a serious matter. + + + WAR news is and will be so much in de mand that there will be great temp tation for the religious papers to give large space to it. We notice that some of these papers are doing that now. We shall, as far as we can, give the more important events as they transpire, but we believe that the first duty of a Church paper is to deal with the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And we are convinced that in the trying days of war the welfare of this kingdom and of man's immortal soul ought to be kept constantly be fore the minds and hearts of all of God's peo ple.