Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Parish Papers.
manufacturing districts who require to be reclaimed from ignorance and vice cannot read at all.  Those who can do so are yet so imperfectly instructed in the art as to be utterly unable to comprehend a continuous narrative of facts, far less any exposition of doctrine or duty; while those best able are not always willing to read anything of a religious character.  The most efficient method, in our opinion, of making use of tracts in all such cases, is to read them, when possible, to others, and, if necessary, explain them, and then distribute them.  But what is a dead tract to a living person?—­what is any description of Christianity on paper, as compared to the living epistle, which all men can read?

We want Christian men and women; not their books or their money only, but themselves.  The poor and needy ones who, in this great turmoil of life, have found no helper among their fellows; the wicked and outcast, whose hand is against every man’s, because they have found, by dire experience of the world’s selfishness, how every man’s hand is against them; the prodigal and broken-hearted children of the human family, who have the bitterest thoughts of God and man, if they have any thoughts at all beyond their own busy contrivances how to live and to indulge their craving passions,—­all these, by the mesmerism of the heart, and by means of that great witness, conscience, which God, in mercy, leaves as a light from heaven in the most abject dwelling on earth, can, to some extent, read the living epistle of a renewed soul, written in the divine characters of the Holy Spirit.  They can see and feel, as they never did anything else in this world, the love which calmly shines in that eye, telling of inward light and peace possessed, and of a place of rest found and enjoyed by the weary heart!  They can understand and appreciate the unselfishness—­to them a thing hitherto hardly dreamt of—­which prompted this visit from a home of comfort or refinement, to an unknown abode of squalor or disease, and which expresses itself in those kind words and looks that accompany the visit.  They can perceive the reality of the piety, which also reads to them, in touching tones, the glory of Him who came to seek and save the lost; and their souls cannot refuse some amen, however faint, echoed by their very misery, and from their yearnings for a good they have never known, to that earnest prayer of faith uttered, in the bonds of a common brotherhood, to one who is addressed as a common Father, through a common Lord.  If ever society is to be regenerated, it is by the agency of living brothers and sisters in the Lord; and every plan, however apparently wise, for recovering mankind from their degradation, and which does not make the personal ministrations of Christian men and women an essential part of it, its very life, is doomed, we think, to perish.

It is thus that our Father has ever dealt with His lost children.  He has in every age of the world spoken to men by living men; and “God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake unto our fathers by the prophets, has in these latter days spoken to us by his Son!”

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Parish Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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