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SABBATH OBSERVANCE, Issue 15664, 1 December 1914
DUNEDIN PRESBYTERY PROTESTS. AGAINST MEETINGS AND DRILL. At the meeting of the Dunedin Presbytery- held this morning a good deal of discussion arose over a resolution moved hy Rev. I. K. MTntrro on behalf of the Sabbath Observance Committee. The resolution, which was seconded by Mr A. Ross, read as follows : *
ThePresbytc-y view wit'h some anxiety the growing frequency in Dunedin of meetings oh tho Sabbath Day other than th oso of a purely religious character. Experience in other colonial cities baa shown that one class of such meetings—namely, sacred concerts for charitable purpose# —have a tendency as time goes on to throw off tho charitable and semi-sacrod, and to become purely secular and mnne.v-making entertainments. In view of this tho Presbytery would appeal to church authorities and members generally to exorcise groat care in the matter of meetings of all kinds held on tho Sabbath Day, even when tho objects to bo furthered by such meetings are worthy of the highest commendation, lest .any movement set on foot by them should bo pleaded as an excuse* for and justification of further inroads on the sanctity of tho day of rest.
Mr P. G. Prydo said that, while agreeing with tho spirit of the motion, he considered some portions of it rather extreme. He presumed that exception was being taken to entertainments given on the Sabbath Day in aid of the suffering Belgians, and maintained that this was religion, and religion of the highest order. All those who took part in these entertainments respected religion just as much as they (tho Presbytery) did themselves. -Mr Pryde pointed out that on a recent Sunday a meeting to further tho Prohibition cause had been hold, where tho same class of music had been given and a collection taken up, and where many intemperate and uncharitable tilings bar! been said. He asked where their consistency came in when ministers of religion organised and attended on the -Sabbath, not a sacred concert, but a public meeting held for political rather than religions purposes. There was a want of consistency, a want of generosity, about tho whole, thing. Rev. W. Gray Dixon said that it was because of the growing tendency towards Sabbath Day meetings and entertainments that the resolution bad been framed. Some of the most ardent missionaries were tempted to adopt means to further their canso-that were liable to be misconstrued.
Rev._ J. Kilpatrick pointed out that Prohibition meetings were frequently being held after Sabbatli service, and asked if, iu the event of the resolution being passed, he or other ministers would bo doing wrong in attending these meetings. Rev. R. Fairmaid said that ho strongly approved of meetings in the cause of Prohibition being held after Sunday service, ilao to temperate references to the matter lining service. Ho would continue to ittend such meetings whether the resolution was passed or not. Mr W. H. Adams, in the course of some remarks on a resolution of Rev. J. AitLen’a (which was subsequently withdrawn), Said that he agreed with Mr Prydc that the Presbytery should discountenance what were neither more nor less than political meetings. Worshippers went from church to these meetings, where an enthusiastic address,- which was often merely an electioneering dodge, quite obliterated the good don© by a stirring sermon previously efcened to.
The motion was carried, and it was further resolved, on the motion of Mr Pryde, that a copy of the resolution be sent on to the Sabbath Obcrvante Committee of the Assembly.
Rev. J. Kilpatrick then brought before the notice of the Presbytery the fact that some 30 motor cars containing officers and men of the National Reserve had gone through Green Island on a recent Sunday about 10.30 a.m. He expressed himself in .sympathy with the alms of the Reserve, and with all arms of the service, but considered that the action complained of was entirely unwarranted, and constituted a violation of the sanctity of flic Sabbath. H© understood that the cars went to Brighton, where the occupants were photographed before proceeding on foot to Saddle Hill and back.
Rev. G. M‘Donald also referred to the members of the National Reserve drilling at tho Peninsula on Sundays. He did not object to their doing this if it was necessary, provided they first attended church service. He had made it plain to some of his congregation that if the practice was continued he would go to headquarters about it, and latterlv the Reserve bad not come further than tomahawk. He would move that the ..matter of the National Reserve drilling on the Sabbath Day bo referred to the Sabbath Observance Committee to take whatever steps they considered necessary.—Mr Kirkpatrick seconded the motion, which was carried.
A further resolution by Mr MTntyre, reading as follows, was also carried : That the Presbytery deeply regret that the Tramway Union should have lent themsclvea to the secularisation of the Lord’s Day by determining that their meetings for purely business purposes should be held on that day; and they regret further that the law of tho Dominion is not so framed as to make the holding of such meetings illegal. Presbytery would also protest against the union's regulation according to which a member whose conscience forbids him to attend business meetings on the Sabbath day la not only denied voice in any decisions come to, but in certain circumstances is rendered liable to a fine. This was seconded by Mr A. Ross and carried.
SABBATH OBSERVANCE, Issue 15664, 1 December 1914
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