Religious Items

The "London Letter" in the (Episcopalian) Church Standard contains the following; "The Dean of Canterbury, says a reporter, is more and more assuming the role of Jeremiah. Speaking last week on "Twixt Two Centuries,' he asked: 'What do we hear of most in any paper about the Church of England? Is it about spiritual passion and moral nobleness, or is it about the trivialities of infinitesimal importance? The emptiness of multitudes of our churches certifies to the need of changes in our services. We, almost alone of all the Churches of Christendom, go on reciting constantly the Athanasian Creed, most unsuitable for public recitation, in its literal sense most uncharitable, and deeply repulsive to thousands of those who hear it. Our liturgy is, as many of our clergy testify, what the people do not want and cannot understand. It is too iterative, too long, too mechanical, too formal. And yet, although as long as fifty years ago the Upper House of Convocation agreed that some modification of the Church's rules is needful to minister to the spiritual necessities of the people, we go on as if smitten with apoplexy, and nothing is done.' Canon Henson, preaching his first sermon as Canon of Westminster, in the Abbey, remarked on the pessimistic utterances of the last few days by preachers in that very pulpit, and said that he not only indorsed them, but regarded the outlook with even more anxiety."

Robert Louis Stevenson says: "It is probable that nearly all who think of conduct at all think of it too much. It is certain that we all think too much of sin. A man may have a flaw, a weakness, that unfits him for the duties of life, that spoils his temper, that threatens his integrity, or that betrays him into cruelty. It has to be conquered; but it must never be suffered to engross his thoughts. The true duties all lie upon the farther side, and must be attended to with a whole mind so soon as this preliminary clearing of the decks has been effected. In order that he may be kind and honest, it may be needful that he should become a total abstainer. Let him become so, then, and the next day let him forget the circumstance. Trying to be kind and honest will require all his thoughts. A mortified appetite is never a wise companion. In so far as he has had to mortify an appetite, he will still be the worse man; and of such a one a great deal of cheerfulness will be required in judging life, and a great deal of humility in judging others."

The Cleveland Leader says: "That able and justly popular Chinese statesman, Wu Ting Fang, says that the Christian religion is too high and noble for frail humanity to live up to. The fact is not to be disputed that the gulf between the doctrines of the Bible and the fundamental laws and systems of government which lie at the bottom of the structure of civilization in so-called Christian countries is wider and deeper than that which separates the laws from the religion of Oriental lands. No Christian Power of high rank or international importance has made any attempt to found its government or frame its laws on the basis of the Sermon on the Mount. There is no likelihood that any such effort will be made for ages to come. The foundation of the legal structures reared with infinite pains in Christian countries is not the Bible, but the laws of pagan Rome."

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February 14, 1901

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