THE PULPIT AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,-—The pulpit is often blamed for negleoting the pressing problems of our own times, for the sake of expounding those abstruse doctrines about which no one cares a rap, but, after the stirring addresses of the new Bishop of Christchurch, we may expect a change, and attendants at the several places of worship, will, no doubt, be treated to learned disquisitions on Bocial problems. At the Presbyterian Church last Sunday; evening, Dr Elmslie took for'his theme " Modern Socialism," and dealt particularly with that phase of it set forth by Edward Bellamy in "Looking Backwards." Strange to say, the author's theories found no favonr in the eyes of the Key Dr; .'"ldle day dreams," An arrangement of society contravening every principle of justice arid common sense," were some of the terms applied to them. Bishop Julius appears to be of opinion that one of the functions of the Church, is to assist every scheme likely to make for the welfare of humanity. Dr Elmslie differs from him and calmly informed us that,', while he had nothing to say against temperance societies or trades unions, provided they did not coerce those Who disagreed with them, yet the Church or Christianity, could take no interest or hand in things of that kind. If this be bo; I say so much the worse for Dr Elmslie and his Church, and 'those wicked unbelievers will, no doubt, add "'tis a doctrine! for the "rich." Dr Elmslie informed us that to give every person born into the world an equal share of the comforts and luxuries of life, on the mere score of his humanity, was contrary to all the maxims of justice, for it ignored the difference; between the virtuous and the vicious, the industrious and the indolent. This may be true, and as soon as Dr Elmslie or any other person will invent a plan of distributing the comforts and luxuries strictly according to merit, Edward Bellamy will have to take a back seat, but surely the learned Doctor will not maintain that such a state of things obtains at present. Why it is notorious that the very persons who do the least towards the-production of the luxuries, etc., get the largest share of them, and that those persons who do the hardest and most disagreeable kinds of labor get the least/ It is these facts which are at the root of Socialism, for the laborers see classes above them who, generation after generation, manage to fare sumptuously everyday, and "at the same time avoid everything disagreeable in the way of toiling or spinning. Christianity, according to Dr Elmslie s rendering of it, has Buffered a singular metamorphosis ; from being the comfort of the poor and lowly, it has become a salve to soothe the consciences of those in comfortable circumstances. If at any time the condition of their less fortunate brothers troubles them these 1 comfortably housed and fed persons are to say to those loss fortunate than themselves, "be converted, 'tis the will of (iod-that I should be rich and you should" be poor, but be converted, and all will be well." It will teach you humility and "contentment, and if you do have to gohungry now and then, and your children don't get reasonably well fed and clothed, never mind, you will all be happy bye-and-bye." I fancy Dr Elmslie made a - great mistake if he supposed these views would be acceptable to many persons in Ashburton. I for one,' feel compelled to raise my voice in opposition. Perhaps lam not very charitable, but I do not believe there are many .persons in the county but would welcome such a state of things as is depicted in " Looking Backward." I even think the majority would be quite ready to lay the Bible on one side altogether if it turned out that it contained anything incompatible with/ such a state of affairs I am, etc., • Socialist.
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THE PULPIT AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2428, 13 May 1890
THE PULPIT AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2428, 13 May 1890
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