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The Columbian. [volume] (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1866-1910, December 01, 1898, Image 1

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VOL. 33
THANKSGIVING SERMON-
Preached by Rev. J. 0. Smith, Pastor of the
Baptist Church, of Bloomsburg. Pa., at a
Union Thanksgiving Service, in the Luth
eran Church, Nov. 24, 1898.
[Published by Request.]
r xt, Prov. 14 : 34. — 44 Righteousness ex
alteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any
people."
We have met in response to the
call of the chief executive of the na
tion, and the Goveinor of this Com
monwealth, to recognize our obliga
tions to the great Almoner of nations;
"to lift up our eyes unto the hills
from whence cometh our help ; " " to
teach our souls not to forget his ben
efits ; " and to come before the Lord
with thanksgiving and praise.
It is good for us to pause on these
National Thanksgiving Days and take
an inventory of our mercies ; to look
over the blessings that crown our in
dividual lives ; to consider the bene
fits accruing to us through our national
existence ; to note with gratitude the
numberless mercies that flow to us as
a nation and a people through the
channels ot our homes, our govern
ment and our religion. That in these
services we come to know better the
meaning of the text that " Righteous
ness exalteth a nation : but sin is a
reproach to our people."
With this text before us this mom
ing let us consider as our theme :
The influence of God's tiuth in the
development of the individual and
the nation.
By God's truth we mean that system
of doctrine which is revealed to us in
the Bible, and which is embodied in
the person and teaching of Jesus of
Nazareth.
The doctrine of the existence of
God, who cares for and loves the hu
man race. The doctrine ot sin: of
atonement for sin, of life ; of faith :
of life here and immortality hereafter.
The doctrine, that truth to be of
use to men must be embodied, must
have its expression in human life, and
its manifestation in human conduct.
Christ was the embodiment of all
truth, what He thought is God's
truth, as distinguished from the truths
of natural philosophy, or the conclu
sions of worldly schools of science, as
distinguished from the truths of math
ematics or the conclusions of metaphy
sicians.
In a word, that system of teach
ings, known as the Gospel of Christ,
is what we mean when we speak of
C*>-d's truth and its influence in de
veloping the individual and the nation.
I. The Individual.
From the first Christianity has been
a potent factor in the individual. It
taught him, first of all, that there was
a world within himself; that the hu
man heart was the domain of God ;
that it is the purpose of Deity to en
shrine himself in the human soul, and
to rule from it as a centre. If we
stop to analize this great truth, we
find that man is God's highest and
best creat'on; that God's best thoughts
are to find expression through man's
brain ; that he comes to energize hu
man minds and vitalize human
thoughts; that the weakest and most
defiled soul is a majestic thing when
the Creator's sprit choses it for a tem
ple ; that the dwelling of divine forces
in Him is the strongest assertion of
his greatness.
Hear me. No man is mean who
carries such a nature s no effort wants
dignity which would transfuse such a
nature with the life of God. Go,
work is the Master's commission.
And he vitalizes common nature 'till
they become historic and wonderful.
Peter had scarcely been known, save
about the shores of Gennesaret, 'till
Jesus commissioned him ; —after that
he filled Jerusalem and Judea with
wonder and alarm by his bold, mag
netic speech.
Paul, stung into frenzy in his op
position to Christ, sees a light and
hears a voice, and turns with his Jew
ish soul to Christ. What a change,
what a transformation. The persecu
tor becomes the minister of Christ
and makes all Asia Minor ring with
his name and become reverent before
the message which falls from his lips.
You and I have seen the degraded and
ruined transformed and lifted up.
There is no power on earth that can
enable man like the truth of God.
il. Leaving the individual let us
speak of the influence of God's
truth in the development of the na
tions.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation ;
God's ancient Israel furnishes us with
the first illustration of the truthfulness
of this text. He calls them front
among an obscure people, He places
them in an isolated country, but in the
centre of the eastern hemisphere, and
in the very heart of three continents,
that the lessons He taught His chosen
people might flow with the tide of the
tribes over all the world. Holding
the highway of the world's travel ahd
commerce. Israel had in itself the
possibilities for the perfect demonstra
tion of the truth ot our text. A better
country the horizon did not gird, the
sky did not pavilion. But the sources
of the people's prosperity was not in
the favorable position that their land
held among nations, nor in the rich
red current of ancestral blood in the
people, nor yet in the superior brain
power, nor in their personal culture.
"The Lord alone led Israel like a flock
and made him to lav down beside still
waters." Study the history of that
ancient people and you will see the
gradual unfolding of the truth of the
text, first upon its bright, and
then upon its dark side. Righteous
ness exalted the nation until all nations
bowed before it and the wisdom and
glory of her Solomon filled the whole
earth. Sm destroyed the nation, and
reduced the people to serfdom. God
taught the Hebrews, but the lessons
He taught them were for all times and
all nations.
If we turn to modern illustrations
of the relation between religion and
national prosperity, we find it in the
acceptance or rejection by the several
nations of the principles of the refor
mation of the sixteenth century. We
turn to Italy. " I am a Roman," once
meant that a man belonged to a stal
wart race whose eagles dipped their
wings in the sunrise and the sunset,
whose legions were heard around
the world, whose laws and whose le
gions controlled men from the pillars
of Hercules to Hellespont. But Italy
rejected the reformation, and to-day
the Roman is represented among us
by the man with the organ and the
monkey.
Why is Edinburgh, the Athens of
the world, while Rome feeds on mem
ories and mummeries ? Why, amid
leaden skies and fog that hides out of
sight the land you walk on, is England
mistress of the seas and London the
heart of the civilized world, while It
aly, with a blue sky and sun-lit soil,
with a history as old as the beginnings
of civilization, is swarming with laza
roni ?
What makes the difference between
the Scotch and the Irish ? Prior to
the sixteenth century Ireland was the
focus of civilization, and Scotland a
race of Barbarians. It is not race
that has made the contrast, but re
ligion. Scotland with her Knox ac
cepted the principles of the reforma
tion, Ireland rejected them. Scotland
today is the syncnym of all that is
sturdy and strong and true, noble and
good the bonny, bunny Scotch.
While Ireland knocks at the door of
every nation tor sympathy in her strug
gle to throw off the yoke of England,
and meekly bows to the rule of Rome
and submits to the bondage of mind
and soul. Oh land ot darkness, the
mother of wit and oratory, when shall
thy light appear and thy salvation from
the end of the earth 1 Shall any one
say that the difference between these
two nations is in the blood? Then
Ireland ought to be foremost. Is it
in the natural ability, the capacity for
things? Then Ireland has the advant
age. Is it in the geography of the
country, in her soil or climate ? I tell
you nay.
The reason that Scotland has her
Edinbrough, her education, enlighten
ment and religion, while Ireland is
destitute of Universities and remains a
potato patch, is because Ireland re
jected the truths of the Reformation,
and Scotland accepted them. Scot
land is justified by faith, Ireland by
works. Religion, not environment,
not capacity, has made the difference.
So with France an 1 England. They
were not unlike before the period re
ferred to. France was ofiered the
principles of the Reformation and she
answered with the Bastile and Bartho
lomew's night, and became the ath
eistic menace of the nations? It is not
blood that makes the difference.
There are other nations who would
not tolerate religious liberty, and
whose history is a fearfnl testimony to
the truthfulness of our text —"right-
eousness exalteth a nation." Spain,
rich in climate, broad in acres, strong
in her possessions, with a vast army
and mighty navy, occupied the posi
tion of dictator to the nations when
Luther's voice was heard arousing
Germany and Britain. Spain respond
ed to the evangel of the Reformation
by establishing the Inquisition. What
was the result? The nation became an
effete, driveling and dotard thing, the
very crone of the nations. The low
countries with a soil half sand and
half marsh, held Spain at bay when
she was mistress of Europe. For cen
turies she has stood as the symbol of
BLOOMSBURG, PA., THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 1898.
oppression and cruelty, until in God's
time the youngest nation on earth be
comes her master, and visits upon her
the punishment she so richly deserves.
What ever we may think of the doct
rine of expansion this much we feel
sure of. When at last the line is
drawn and the stakes driven geograph
ically it will have been God's hand
that has made the charge, and swept
the nations out of the channels of the
past. And you will remember the con
trast is still more apparent if possible
in the monetary affairs of the world
for the government securities of prot
estant countries bring a higher price
and are in greater demand, in every
market of the world than are the like
securit es of catholic nations.
If you cross the Rio-Grande river,
the line that divides geographically the
Mexican from the American, you will
come face to face with an illustration
of the text, "Sin is a reproach to any
people." Rich in everything that
should make a nation grgat, with
climate and soil unsurpassed by any
country, her gound full of precious
metals, her people the descendants ot
the brave, Montezumas with the re
mains ot walled cities and historic
palaces, Mexico ought to be great.
Yet for centuries she has been as an
ash heap among the nations, each one
has raked her in turn.
It is not the river that makes the
difference between Mexico and Amer
ica, it is religion.
But what has all this to do with this
day and this hour. Hear me. God's
theatre of operation is in this country.
From this land, bounded by great
seas, the gospel is to go forth to every
nation, land and tongue. And here is
to be the gathering place of the
" tribes." Great movements of God's
arm is to be made in the latter days,
great manifestations of His power,
and flashes of His glory are to be
seen ot men. For the manifestation
of His power and the revelation of
His glory, He needs a large land and
a right people.
Our government is the crystalliza
tion of the old world's thoughts of
liberty. Our national fibre is com
posed of the best blood of all nations.
The stern and unyielding Puritan, the
brisk and philosophical Frenchman,
the patient and metaphysical German,
the cautious and conservative En
glishman here meet and unite in one
flow of American life. Our fingers
are on the pulse of every nation, and
the blood of all peoples are in our
veins. In this fact that we are kin
dred to all nations is a promise of
peace and favor forever.
Is there not cause in all this tor
thanksgiving, and is not the right
eousness of the people the righteous
ness of God ?
Nations are composed of individ
uals, and the righteousness of the in
dividual is the "righteousness that
exalteth the nation." To judge of
our condition as a nation, tnen we
must study the individual in the three
great departments of his complex na
tional life—the social, the political,
and the religious.
In the social life of our people we
see changes that to the thoughtful
bring pain and concern for the future
of our American homes. I am not
one to look upon the dark side of
things, neither do I believe that as a
whole the race is growing worse in
stead of better, yet there are alarm
ing indications of decay in our social
life that marks the downfall of the
home if not arrested. I would speak
of them not to cast a gloom upon
yourWiearts, but to suggest their r'eni
edy.
The American home was never so
American and never so rich as it is
to-day in resources, yet its purity must
be guarded with ever increasing vigi
lance, for with our rapidly advancing
civilization, with our enlarged oppor
tunities for usefulness, and with our
less restricted commingling of all
classes and conditions of society,
there has come to be a freedom in
immorality, an exemption from that
disgrace which ought always to track
the criminal, a certain setting aside
and trifling with innocency, that if left
unchecked must bring a harvest of
woe and shame upon our homes.
The saddest commentary that can be
written upon our American life is,
that we live too much upon the street,
too much at club houses, and too lit
tle at home. The gilded club rooms
and modern French flats and board
ing syftems are doing more to break
up the family, and to break down the
purity of our home life, than, per
haps, any other thing. The increas
ing irreverence on the part of chil
dren for their parents, the open im
morality, not to say obscenity, of the
conversation of many parents before
their children, is to be deplored. Vul
garity, coarse and rude, is the rule in
stead of the exception in too many
homes. Christian men and women
engaging in unholy and impure con
versation with unchristian neighbors,
thereby bring a reproach upon the
cause of Him who has commanded us
to let our conversation be in the heav
ens. Our yea, yea, and our nay, nay.
The cry of the people is, give us
reformation, so political parties are
organized to reform politics. The
churches say send us revival.
Hear me. There will be no re
formation and no revival, either in re
ligion or politics, until we begin where
God begins—in the home. <God pity
the people when children are de
bauched by sights and sounds on the
streets as they are in our land, and
find no influence in the home to coun
teract the evils of out-door mingling
with others. Our government rests
upon the homes. Make the home
strong, and true, and Christian, and
the institutions of our government
will stand forever.
Over against the evils that threaten
our childhood stands the system of
our public schools, with their noble,
consecrated teachers. Men and
women of pure thought and pure
lives, whose aim is not only to develop
the brain, but to teach the child and
young man and maiden to know them
selves.
Go out from this place, ye parents,
to guard your homes as never before,
from the tide of corruption and pol
lution that is beating up to their very
thresholds.
Political. —l care to say but little
about our politics; I am sorry they
are not cleaner and purer, but it is a
cause for thanksgiving, that after the
heat and vancor of a political contest
our people settle down to the quiet of
our homes and affairs, without bitter
ness of spirit.
We owe Switzerland a debt of grat
itude for our political and religious
princ : ples. They sprung from the
reformation and were converted by
Calvin. He said:
rst.—There is no necessary connec
tion between church and state.
2d.—All authority belongs to the
people.
3rd. It is best delegated to the
rulers by the ballot box.
We have witnessed, during the past
months, one of the most marvellous
waves of patriotism sweeping over
this country. Armies have been
raised, battles fought, victories won,
on land and sea. New lessons given.
We are slow to learn, that righteous
ness is an essential element in patriot
ism. Wickedness is treason. No
man can be dishonest in business, or
intempeiate, or practice any vice,
however secretly he rtiay do it, and
not be a traitor to his country, for by
just so much he is injuring the moral
character in which alone his country
stands.
The man who loves his country will
not seek to corrupt his country's
conscience, by using corrupt means
in order to procure political favor.
Let us learn that righteousness in pol
itics is not a thing of the past. God
hasten the day when wickedness of
all kinds will be looked upon not only
as sin against God, but as treason to
one's country.
Religion. —Since our last Thanks
giving day there has been a quicken
ing and intensifying of the religious
life of the people. Emphasis is being
laid not on doctrine or church mem
bership, but upon life and right liv
ing as never before. Watchmen upon
the walls are seeing eye to eye. With
the wave ot patriotism has gone a
wave of religion, thank God, that has
swept many hundreds and thousands
into God's kingdom.
In all this complex life of our peo
ple I can see the hand of God bring
ing out his purposes in the nation. A
great, new destiny is before us, moulds
have been broken and new ones cre
ated, demanding a higher type of
manhood and womanhood. God
grant, that as a nation and a people,
we may measure up to the fullness of
the measure of God's mind, in the
opportunities opened before us. We
have prayed for a repetition of the
day of Pentecost; but before there
can be another outpouting there must
be another gathering, and where, in
all the lands, are the people flocking
as in this. Already every language,
every tongue, is represented here,
and all nations are on our shores.
May God grant, that with the gather
ing of the tribes, may come to the
bottom of the Holy Ghost. Truly,
righteousness has exalted our nation.
Our lines are fallen to us in pleasant
places, and our God has given to us
a goodly heritage.
COUNT YOUR MERCIES.
" The sun never shown through a
HAKE UP
YOUR HIND
j To Buy Your
Suit,
Overcoat,
Storm Coat,
Reefer,
Hats,
Underwear,
Gloves,
Sweaters,
and
Boots and
Shoes
NOW
While the assort
mentis large. This
stock must be
cleaned out entire
ly in a very short
time.
Gidding & Co.
more wonderful summer. The groun
has produced bountifully, no scourgd
has sought our fair land.''
The war undertaken for humanity,
finished before we could complete our
preparations for war, and ended so
gloriously, the great new destiny open
ing before us. No longer any North
and South, but one people, with one
flag, and one destiny.
Some of you have had sorrow and
loss, tears are wet on your cheeks, but
God is good and loving. Go to your
homes, friends, to live better, nobler,
grander lives, with faith in God. Go
show your thanksgiving by remember
ing the poor around you, and may
the God of our fathers go with you.
Amen.
The Famous Welsh Singers.
Bloomsburg is to be favored on
Monday night Dec. sth with a musi
cal entertainment of a high order
given by the famous Welsh Sing
ers, now making a tour of this
country. They have been in
America about six weeks, and have
been singing to crowded houses in
the larger cities. They were secur
ed by Dr. Welsh of the Normal
School, because they had no engage
ment for that night, and were pass
ing this way.
They were in Wilkesbarre on
Nov. 17, and the papers next day
were filled with glowing accounts of
the performacce. Lovers of music
in Bloomsburg have a rich treat in
store for them. Tickets at Bidle
nian's book store, 50c. for reserved
seats. On sale Dec. 2.
J. B. McHenry, Iraß. McHenrv,
Sutton McHenry, Purr McHenry
and B. E. Long, of Benton, and M.
D. Pennington, of Fairmount
Springs and Charles Dolf and son
of Scranton, returned on Thursday
from a three weeks hunting expedi
tion at Forest Port, New Yoik.
The gentlemen were very success
ful. The result of their efforts was
six fine deer. The Benton Argus
says that Ira was the champion
shot, he having killed two and
wounded a third. We would have
picked the Ex-Sheriff for the best
marksman. He will have to tell us
how it all happened.
NO. 48
Wilbur. E. Fisher, who has beeu
at Porto Rico for about three
months with the Volunteer Engineer
Corps, arrived in town Saturday
evening. The entire regiment is off
on a sixty day furlough. He says
civil life on the far off island would
not be so bad, but when it comes to
military life, why it is different.
He has known it to start in and rain
for two whole weeks without cessa
tion. The whole regiment is very
desirous to get out of the service,
and he rather expects to be muster
ed out at the expiration of the fur
lough.
C. Z. Schlicher, of Mt. Grove,
who is a teacher, in attendance at
the Teachers' Institute, this week
is exhibiting a late invention called
the "Milk Extractor." He is the
inventor and maker and claims that
with its use more and a better
quality of milk and butter can be
extracted from vegetables, grain,
etc- than can be had from the cow.
We will not attempt to explain the
modus operandi ; but any one wish
ing to see the machine can do so by
calling on Mr. Schlicher at the
Central Hotel. The invention is
truly a remarkable one.
In New York the other day a ro
year old girl told the Judge in one of
the courts that she had never heard
an oath except as a bad word: that
she had never heard of the Bible: that
she had never heard of God, and did
not know she had a soul. And still
they keep on sending missionaries to
people who are not half so bad.
At the request of a number of
soldiers who served with Pennsyl
vania commands in the war with
Spain, legislation will be introduced
to permit of the admission to the
soldiers' orphan home of children
of soldiers serving in that war, and
the legislation will have powerful
backing.
Dave Marion's Extravaganza
Company, which was to have ap
peared at the Opera House Monday
night, didn't reach town. Financial
reverses, 110 doubt, turned him in
another direction.

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