A VISIONLESS PEOPLE.
The serious charge Jesus brought against the
religious leaders of His day was that they did
not discern the signs of the times. The Pro
verb-writer declares that where there is 110
vision the people perish. The chronicler of
David records the high position of the men of
Issacliar, who were men of understanding of
the times and knew what Israel ought to do.
Was there ever such a time as this? Are we
understanding the deep Divine meaning of the
occasion? They are times when men are being
brought close together. Some years ago it was
the writer's privilege to see and talk with the
first American woman, who ever lived in San
Antonio, Texas. She came from Greenville, S.
(<., and took seven months to make the trip in
wagons. Now one may leave Greenville in
morning of one day and the next night reach
the same city that this woman took seven
months to arrive at. In an air-plane, one could
make even a quicker trip. The news of the
Battle of Waterloo took three days to reach
London. In 1915 we used to read the news of
battles in Europe before they occurred by our
time, as electricity beats the sun in an easy
fashion. These are days when men are close
together and what concerns the most distant
nation with us.
Every nation is wide open to whatever influ
ences wish to enter, be it Bolshevism or the
gospel. These are days when men are thinking
as never before. The schoolmaster is abroad
in the world. Intelligence is not confined to
Authority does not give much voice to truth
now. The reason of things must appear if men
are to accept them. It is a day of expermental
knowledge. It is true that in days of distress
and upheaval men do their straightest think
ing. And out of the confusion will come the
clear leading of the star of truth.
Men are conscious of a great need. The
foundations of all social orders have been
shaken, and we have failed to find in man
made schemes the safety and satisfaction we
once had. Something else we crave and, men
are groping after God if haply they may find
Never was there a greater need of a clear
and persistent declaration of the old truths of*
our religion than now. If the world does not.
have our vision of God, it will perish, and the
Church will perish with it.
The word used by the Proverb-writer is a
peculiar one. It means, "to be scattered" and
then, "to resist authority," and "to become
unbridled." To run without check and so
The voice of history has only confirmed
this word. Before the French Revolution the
iron hand of the King suppressed the truth
till almost every Bible was burned in France
and her noblest sons were exiles and the excesses
of the French Revolution were the consequ
ences. Fifty years ago Germany cut the Bible
to pieces and rejected the religion of the lowly
Nazarene for Nietschian philosophy, and Ger
many has perished. It is always true.
Has the Church of God a discerning eye to
see the times? Does she hear the call of the
World? If so, would she spend so much time
on non-essentials and neglect the Missionary
and Evangelistic phase of her work so greatly,
as she seems to be doing?
There is a subjective meaning to this verse.
The Church that does not send forth the light,
will smother at home. Macaulay notes the fact
that Protestantism has made no progress since
its first century, and no growth except by
The reason is not far to seek. After her
first century Protestantism ceased to be mis
sionary and propagandist. Seeking clarity of
expression in her creeds and confessions she
neglected other matters and spent her energy
in creating factions by fine distinctions.
Only when the Missionary spirit arose in her
did she begin to grow.
God has called His Church to a great work
now. Unless she becomes a missionary army
as terrible as an army with banners, unless
she goes as her Lord commanded, she will
perish. You cannot kill a missionary church.
It has its life in itself. There is that seat
tereth abroad and yet increaseth.
"Would that some great leader, like Petor the
Hermit, might arouse the Church of God, not
to an earthly and perishing conquest of .Jeru
salem, but to a zeal that would plant the truth
in every town and village and hamlet of
heathendom, at any cost of men and money.
A. A. L.
By Rev. \V. H. T. Squires, 1). D.
VI. Cape Breton's Arms of Gold.
Cape Breton is a huge island of rocks, sand,
forests and water, salt and fresh. It is the
bridgehead to Newfoundland and Labrador
and partakes somewhat of the frigid aspects of
those forbidding outposts of civilization.
The name is probably the oldest in North
American geography. Some Basque fisher
man in the early days of the Sixteenth Cen
tury gave the name to this headland that
thrusts its nose far eastward into the fogs of
the Atlantic. The early names of French and
Spanish origins have for the most part dis
appeared, but Cape Breton has lived; and not
oidy survived, but expanded to cover the
whole, great island. For Cape Breton is one
fifth of the province of Nova Scotia.
The narrow strait of Canseau thrusts a long
blue arm from the Atlantic through the for
ested hills and joins a similar arm of the Gulf
of St. Lawrence. At the narrowest the strait
is only one-fourth of a mile in width. What
it lacks in width it makes good in depth f?r
the bottom falls away 130 feet and more below
the blue surface.
In a more hospitable land the strait would
be bridged. But here the winters are long
and hard, the tides are wild and the seas run
high. The ice pack is the most serious prob
lem for the engineers. The crossing is nego
tiated by a barge so flat, broad, and pondcrops
that it reeeives an express train with only a
slight tremor. Captain and pilot stand on a
bridge far overhead. The huge furnaces and
boilers are hidden below and are totally in
visible, unless one peers through the sooty
gratings and sees the sweating stokers piling
the fires in the immense hold. The strait here
is less than a mile in width and the crossing is
effected in fifteen minutes.
Once upon the island one is astonished to
find it hollow, as it were. The ocean that
surrounds it has eaten out its heart. A vast,
inland sea covers a great part of the surface.
A distinguished author has said that Cape
Breton reverses the definition of an island, for
it is a body of water surrounded by land. The
inland sea is called Bras d' Or, "Arms of
Gold." Just why "gold" is not apparent.
The waters are sapphire, as blue as the heavens
that bend above. When the sun lies upon the
water and the dark green shore Bras d'Or is a
lake of molten silver in a frame of emerald.
The water is limpid and crystal, as pure as
snow, as cold as ice, and as salt as the parent
sea, to whose pulsing tides and raging storms
it moves in ready sympathy. The shores of
Bras d'Or are neither rugged nor steep as iu
other parts of Nova Scotia. The ice cap of
glacial ages has evidently ground them to lower
levels. Innumerable islands and islets, penin
sulas, bars and tiny bays indent the wild and
lonely shores. They are far too numerous for
names, or inhabitants, or even for owners.
The long and heavy train creaked and jostled
as it came to an unwilling pause at Iona. A
little door was opened grudingly, and T step
ped into the thick dusk of early morning. The
ponderous locomotive dragged its burden into
the dim distance and soon the pall of solemn
silence settled again. The little box of a station
was as solitary as the traveler. But he had
not long to wait for midsummer dawn comes
early in these extreme climes. The stars went
out one by one in the infinite expanse of the
heavens, and an indescribable movement in
the twilight, that one feels rather than sees,
tells that a new day trembles at dawn. Gray
streaks of light chained earth and heaven, and
the rising sun peered through the morning
mists. The sunbeams touched the broad
bosom of Bras d'Or with opelescent light. The
warm breath of the south wind caressed the
dark forest and the cold rocks of the head
lands; and another day of opportunity with its
unknown joys and sorrows had come.
In the strong light of morning one could sec
that the shores of Bras d'Or draw closer and
closer as though the hills had determined to
throw their arms together and bar the way
of the waters. At Iona they almost meet. But
there is to be no union, no wedding, no recon
ciliation, for when the converging shores look
one another full in the face they retreat never
to meet again.
To Iona gallant little steamers come in sum
mer sailing this sunsilvered sea with passen
gers and freight to be delivered to the long
trains. From lone there is a daily steamer
"Baddeck is always full of Yankee tour
ists," said the Scotch station master, who had
now arrived to begin the day's tasks. He pro
nounced Baddeck to rhyme with Quebec.
"And in Baddeck lives onf of the great sci
entists of the world," I replied.
"Ajre, Alexander Graham Bell." It is im
possible to describe the rich accent which a
Scot gives to Scotch names. "He has bound
the world with telephone wires. The first Ca
nadian airplane made its fight here under his
patronage. And now he is maturing a new
breed of sheep that will triple the world's sup
ply of mutton and wool."
"Hard at work dospite his seventy years,"
"Aye. Seventy-three," corrected the sta
Cape Breton is the most Scotch part of New
Scotland. And these Scots are the children of
the highlands. They cling tenaciously to their
Gaelic customs, speech and religion. Many are
Presbyterians, and many are Romanists. The
two churches that have faced each other in the
Scotch highlands since the days of John Knox
face each other in Cape Breton today.
"I)o you know the Sidneys?" asked a lady
who also awaited the train at Iona.
"Well ? yes," I replied. "There was Philip
who lost a good coat to gain a red-headed
woman's smile. Though I always considered
that Sir Philip made a good investment. In
fact, I think that the handsomest coat is not
worth more than a woman's smile, even a red
headed woman's smile. And then there was
Algernon. I have always thought it a calam
ity that his naije was Algernon. It should by
all means have been John. lie lost his head
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