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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, December 10, 1919, Image 3

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1919-12-10/ed-1/seq-3/

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effort by the different evangelical denomina
tions to secure a better observance of the Sab
bath day. For ten years the chairman of this
committee, Dr. James Stacy, labored earnestly,
receiving but little encouragement from the
other denominations. In 1888 the M. E.
Church asked our Assembly to unite with other
denominations in forming a national associa
tion. During this time various State "Sab
bath Associations " had been at work. Those
appointed to represent our Church were : Drs.
Stacy, Strickler, Hoge, of Richmond, W. T.
Thompson, of Charleston, H. M. Smith, of New
Orleans, and Witherspoon, of Louisville, Ky.
The results secured by the first year's efforts
on the part of this "American Sabbath Union,"
as it was first called, led our committee to re
port to the Assembly in 1889 as follows: "We
have cause for great rejoicing and unfeigned
gratitude to God for the wonderful success
with which the movement has already met,
and for the results that have thus early been
accomplished, giving promise, as they do, that
the day is not far distant when throughout our
whole country there shall be a Sabbath of
quiet, peaceful rest, not only for Christians,
who hail it as a day of sacred rest, but also as
a day of sessation from secular labors for the
toiling millions who now enjoy no day of rest,
from one end of the year to the other. "Never
before lias a popular movement taken hold so
quickly and so extensively upon the hearts and
consciences of. all classes of our people. The
general and deep interest in this matter is
evinced by the astonishing fact that in the
brief space of one year there has gone up to the
Congress of the United States the petitions of
more than ten millions of people praying Con
gress t^| give to our toiling millions the relief
they desire from the enforced labor of seven
days in tlio week."
This history is given at some length be
cause of the encouragement it may bring to us
to renew our efforts through the "Lord's Day
Alliance" (name changed in 1910). The great
present day dangers which now beset the
Lord's day, such as picture shows, theatres,
baseball, football, golf, Sunday excursions and
newspapers, can best be dealt with through this
organized! Alliance o\f all the evangelical
churches in the United States.
^Augusta Presbytery's committee would re
port second: Within the past two years every
Presbytery has been, led to appoint a commit
tee on the Sabbath artd Family Religion. "Why
have such committees," some one will ask?
Suffice it to say that Satan and evil-minded
men will not make to the Church a present of
better habits of Sababth observance and family
religion. If obtained at all the leaders of God's
people must fight to win them from the god
of this world, and the enemies of our Lord and
the right observance of his holy day. If "eter
nal vigilance is the price of liberty," no less a
price must be paid for freedom from bondage
to evil habits and customs. Every enemy of
God is seeking today to do away with the right
use of the Lord's day, and at the same time
they would destroy family religion and wor-'
ship in homes.
Never was greater need than today for every
Presbytery in our Church to bear faithful tes
timony to God's claims to ?His holy day; to
proclaim from every pulpit in our Church the
dying testimony of that noble servant o? God,
Moses, the great law-giver and nation builder,
when he said tp God's ancient people (Deut.
32:46-47): "Set your hearts unto all the
words which I testify among you this day"
(which "words" included the law of the Sab
bath), "which ye shall command your children*
to observe to do, all the words of this law" (an
inspired picture of family religion, just what it
is). "For it is not a vain thing for you; be
cause it is your life" (i. e., your own individ
ual soul "life," family religious "life," church
religious "life," and national religious "life").
Is not all this meant? "and through this
thing" (the propeT observance of the Sabbath
and family religion) "ye shall prolong your
days in the land." (Did our God have in mind
that nation called the U. S. A. when He thus^
spake through Ilis servant Moses?)
As the Sabbath is the only day in the week
in which the great truths of our religion have
a fair chance to reach the minds and hearts of
people, this day has a vital bearing upon the
life and strength of God's kingdom in the
world. Anything that endangers the preser
vation or the right use of this day strikes at
the foundation of the Christian religion. Vio
lation of God's day means rebellion against
God, defiance of His authority, as well as dan
ger to man's highest interests.
Neglect of the Sabbath means neglect of the
soul, neglect of God, neglect of the Church.
Modern conditions present many difficulties
that militate against real home life, and the
maintenance of religious customs and habits.
However the homes of today cannot be strong
ly and positively religious and Christian unless
it tome real way the worship of God daily can
be maintained. Since the spiritual life of our
churches depends upon the spiritual life of our
homes, the vitality and efficiency of our church
es must continue to be governed^by the state
of religion in the homes.
Neglect of religious truth and duty in the
homes, during the week, indicates that Chris
tian parents lightly regard their church vows
and that they lightly esteem the spiritual bless
ings needed by themselves and their children.
This leads to neglect of the Church catechisms
and also of infant baptism. Where there is no
religious conversation, and no ? instruction
given, religious acts .cease. What constitutes
religion if not what we say, think and act?
As Moses reminds us in the long ago; these
matters are "heart" questions: "Set your
hearts on these things." Until our people, in
all our churches want, desire "these things,"
they will not be cherished. No resolutions
adopted by Church courts, nor laws passed by
civil government, and not even the preaching
of God's word on these matters will of them
selves secure for us the results so greatly de
sired. Only the .deepening of spiritual life in
God's people can bring it to pass. Real fellow
ship with a glorified Christ, and a consecration
to his serviee on earth will again awaken songs
of praise, in the home, at the hour of family
prayers, as strange a sound today in some city
blocks as in the prison when the songs of Paul
and Silas were heard at midnight.
Bear with me while this report is closed with
the encouraging words of the great prophet
Isaiah (58:13-14), "If thou turn away thy foot
from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure,
on my holy day, and call the Sabbath
a delight the holy of the Lord, hon
orable ; and shalt honor him, not doing
thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleas
ure; nor speaking thine own words: Then
shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I
will cause thee to ride upon the high places of
the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of
Jacob. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken
it."
Washington, Ga.
No matter if you are hidden in an obscure
post, ne-^r content yourself with doing your
second best. ? General Phil. Sheridan.
FIFTY YEARS IN BRAZIL.
By Rev. Edward E. Lane.
The Southern Presbyterian Church began Us
great adventure in Brazil in 1869. The leaders
of the generation that survived the Civil War
? "there were giants in those days" ? Dr. R.
L. Dabney, Dr. Moses D. Hoge and Dr. Leigh
ton Wilson, recognizdd the duty of the great
North American republic to bring the Light
that makes all things new to what was destined
to become the United States of Brazil. The
first class ^o graduate from Union Seminary,
Va., after the surrender at Appomattox, fur
nished the first Southern Presbyterian mission
aries to Brazil. These had been preceded by
two or three ministers of the Northern Presby
terian ChuiVh and one Congregationalism These
men, with some later additions, were the
founders of the Protestant Church in Brazil,
volunteers in
"The legion that never was listed.
That carries no color nor crest,
But split in a thousand detachments
* In breaking the road for the rest."
Was the venture of fifty years ago worth the
cost? The yield speaks for the sowing and
the fruit for the planting. A vigorous and
promising young church has been given the
world.
Numerically the Brazilian Church has so
multiplied that from infancy she has passed
into a vigorous youth. The General Assembly
of the Presbyterian Church in Brazil has three
Synods, numerous Presbyteries and fifteen
thousand communicants. The Independent
Presbyterian Church numbers eight thousand.
There is already a growing friendliness between
the two churches which will result in a happy
union, provided it is not hurried by church
politicians. The increase of the Presbyterians
is at the average rate of fifteen hundred profes
sions a year. The total Protestant membership
in Brazil is now fifty thousand, including Epis
copalians, Methodists, Baptists and Congrega
tionalists. Of thesc^at least one half are Pres
byterians. When the smallness of the force is
recalled the multiplying missionary graves, the
wide expanse of territory, the superstition and
ignorance of the human heart and the ever
present ".human equation," among both mis
sionaries and natives, with its toll of mistakes
and disasters, one of the most brilliant ad
vances of the Church in the spread of Chris
tianity is being made in Brazil.
The first converts in all lands are among
the poor, and its gracious influence has power
to lift all. The second generation of Christian^
stands on the shoulders of the first. One be
lieving shoemaker in Brazil has today among
his sons a physician, a minister and teacher, a
naval officer and a civil engineer. The best
? Greek scholar in Northern Brazil, now dead,
was once a lamp lighter of the streets. The
leading railway engineer of Brazil, an elder,
is the son of a native Presbyterian minister.
Several Protestants are members of the Federal
Congress. The best known and mast influential
paper is the "Journal do Comercio," printed
in Rio de Janeiro. The former editor and pres
ent proprietor, Dr. Jose Rodrigues, has pub
lished a little book entitled "Studies of the
Bible." It could only be written by a Chris
tian. For the writing of this book he collected
a large library of the best authorities. During
its preparation he held a Bible class in the
editorial offices attended by prominent men,
among them the new president of Brazil.
A great purpose in "Protestant misisons to
Roman Catholic countries is the development

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