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[“ WAIRARAPA STAR. ”] Several divines in this colony have of late been deploring the growing tendency of the people to patronise profane amusements and absent themselves from church. Las evening the Rev W. E, Paige, of St Matthews, Masterton, addressed some words of exhortation to apathetic churchgoers. He remarked that religious life in these parts was worse than lukewarm —in fact, exceedingly cool. People would flock to a concert, a ball, or a party, but they preferred reading a book or paper to attending the House of God. It is to be feared that the cause of this falling off in the pews is not altogether due to the congregations. The mishap that the incumbent of St Matthew’s eloquently describes is not confined to churches; it is a very common thing with places of entertainment, such as concert-rooms and theatres. When such calamities occur the experienced stage manager knows that something is wrong. Novelty is a grand tonic, and a novelty has to be provided of some kind. If ministers of the Gospel want to fill their pews they must make their show attractive by. the introduction of something novel and striking. Instruction signifies entertainment, but dry theology is the reverse of entertaining. If clergymen expect that grown-up and educated congregations travel week after week to have scriptural texts and anecdotes about priests and prophets that they are unable to fully endorse drummed into their ears, they will find themselves mistaken. Tea by itself is nauseous, but mixed with sugar and cream it forms a palatable and refreshing beverage. Might not theology be improved by the addition of a little science ? It may seem a somewhat audacious thing to presume to lecture the pulpit, but we will venture to suggest to the gentlemen who are in the habit of deploring their thin congregations the desirability of dishing up some of the startling facts of science, with the green mould iof theological dogma. Let them take a leaf from Proctor and Denton, who have lately been drawing crowded houses in the colonies, and give a zest to divine revelations, by the addition of the revelations of the telescope and the microscope, and, we venture to say, they will not have much occasion to complain of empty pews, and listless auditors.

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Bibliographic details

SCIENCE IN THE PULPIT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 666, 19 June 1882

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SCIENCE IN THE PULPIT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 666, 19 June 1882

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