Religious Items

The (Swedenborgian) New-Church Messenger says: "One sometimes hears religion set forth as if it were mere pleasantness and beauty. That makes no great demand upon character. But religion as a principle, and as a determining power in one's life; the religion which, like the Lord who gives it, can apply itself to the special needs and difficulties of life, and come straight to some wrong thought, some selfish desire, some particular weakness or taint, and control it; the religion that can brave ridicule; that can walk the storm—there is nothing weakly sentimental in that. It is one thing to smile complacently upon some truth which one reads out of a book, or recognizes in some friend's conversation, and exclaim in perfect sincerity and with enthusiasm, "That is beautiful!" It surely is another thing to have the truth look one in the face and say, 'If you believe in me, follow me, and then, it may be with drawn sword, lead one straight through some terrible temptation."

"The Church and the Criminal," is the subject of a paper by Charles R. Henderson in the (Baptist) Standard. The following is an extract from it: "The worst use society can make of a man is to despair of his salvation and hang him. That is the deliberate verdict of the modern civilized Christian world, for capital punishment, even where it is legal, is rarely inflicted.

"Even the life confinement of habitual criminals with hard labor, is of limited application, for only half of all who are arrested could properly be brought under this costly method. The prison comes too late; it does not touch the sources of crime. Criminals do not reason far ahead; they are not frightened from crime, as is popularly supposed, by dread of prison. They are all gamblers and take chances of being caught. It is part of their life-sport to cutwit detectives and escape from policemen. In prison they are at home with their own kind."

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November 29, 1900

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