Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Parish Papers.

But are there any willing to labour?  Yes; many are labouring, and thousands in this land are prepared in spirit to join them; for every Christian has a longing to do something for God’s kingdom on earth, and to employ usefully time and talents which he feels are running to waste.  Why, then, with so much to do through a living agency, and with a great army of living agents yet unemployed, is there so little done?  We reply again, from want of congregational organisation.  Our congregations want order, method, arrangement.  There is not yet a sufficiently clear apprehension of what their calling is in the world, or of the work given them to do; nor is there found that wise and authoritative congregational or church direction and government, which could at least suggest, if not assign, fitting work for each member, and a fitting member for each work.  Hence little, comparatively, is accomplished.  The most willing church-member gazes over a great city, and asks in despair, “What am I to do here?” And what would the bravest soldiers accomplish in the day of battle, if they asked the same question in vain?  What would a thousand of our best workmen do in a large factory, if they entered it with willing hands, yet having no place or work assigned to them?  And thus it is with many really self-denying Christians; because a practicable and definite field of labour is not pointed out, the necessary result is idleness—­unwilling idleness; or self-organised and self-governed “associations,” “committees,” “societies,” spring up to accomplish what the Christian society itself was designed to, and could accomplish in a much more efficient and orderly manner; or, as it more frequently happens, those energies and ardent feelings, and love of excitement even, which could have found sufficient scope for healthy exercise in such practical labours of faith and love as we have alluded to, are soon engrossed by merely speculative questions about “the church,” or about “religion,” and the stream which, had it been directed into a right channel, and to a right point, would have been made a power for immense good, soon rushes over the land a wide-spread, muddy, devastating flood, oozes out into stagnant marshes, full of miasma and fever, or evaporates into thin air!


“Schisms” are not peculiar to the Church of the present day, nor are they “the result of Protestantism,” as some allege, unless Protestantism is understood to represent that doctrine which is termed “the right of private judgment,” but which might be described rather as the absolute necessity for each man to believe the truth for himself, and not to be satisfied that another man should see and believe it for him.  This “doctrine,” which is essential to the reception of any truth whatever, must necessarily open the way to error; just as the possession of reason, which is essential to a man’s thinking at all, must, in every case, involve the risk of his thinking wrong.

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