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--. RELIGION AND SOCIALISM.

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RELIGION AND SOCIALISM. DISTRUST OF THE CHURCH. i DRIFT OF SOCIALISM IN THIS COUNTRY. The Rev. J. M. Jones delivered the second of the series of discourses on Religion and Socialism," at Hope Chapel, Merthyr, on Sunday evening. There was a very large con- gregation, and the remarks of the preacher were followed with great interest. Mr. Jones took for his text Isaiah iv., 3-6 verses. He Said: Last Sunday evening I tried to explain to you candidly and without reserve the motive tad the object of these addresses, viz., to promote the reconciliation of Religion and Socialism. I said I believed that the democracy could be won to the Christian faith; and that he result of this conversion would be an immense gain to the Church and a tremendous Unpulse to the progress of the human race in 411 the arts of life. I also said that the promoting Of this reconciliation was the high calling of God to the Church of the twentieth century. In taking these statements I was well aware that I was exposing myself to the suspicion of a hnister motive, the desire to exploit the demo- cracy in the interests of the Church. If by the Church be meant the fellowship of true believers in the Living God, and true followers of Jesus Christ, there would be some truth in the impeachment; but if on.y some outward and visible association of Christians be meant, then J need not trouble myself to deny the charge. I have lived in this town for eleven years, and if I have an enemy here I am willing to let him be my judge in this matter. The suspicion is Only a symptom of a deep mistrust of the Church that prevails extensively among the iemocrary, and is ready to break out at any foment into an open charge of bad faith and mischievous intent. Indeed, many Socialists teem never weary of denouncing Christianity !'8 the treacherous foe of the people's cause. It ts true that many Socialists repudiate this I position, but so far as my observation goes their protests carry little weight; indeed, they effect ELO other purpose than that of easing some difficult situation or achieving an apparent Victory in debate. The unmistakeable drift of Socialism, even in England, is in the direction of an ever-increasing mistrust of the Church and Christianity. That is one reason why I prefer to deal with extreme rather than with moderate forms of Socialism. Or, to put the matter toore correctly, with Socialism itself, and with Socialists who are also Christians I have no business in these addresses. My concern is th the irreligious and anti-Christian elements the Socialistic movement, and in particular, ^ls evening, I want to address myself to this Suspicion and criticism of Christianity to which have alluded. SYMPATHY WITH HERR BEBEL. It is more convenient to me, and I cannot bhirik that it will be any disadvantage to you » m this address again, I take Herr Bebel as J*e spokesman of Socialism. I do not accuse Flerr Bebel of falsehood. I don't even complain • his exposures. Indeed, in some of his most itter sentences I feel a deep sympathy with ,rQ> although my judgment disagrees, and in jjpoie cases I am almost entirely at one with him. °r example, when he say3 that the State and yfkgion have always understood each other fcK was a <luesti0n of exploiting the people," acre *is only one word to which I object. If had said OFTEN instead of ALWAYS, I should te compelled to admit the impeachment, is trlble as it is. It is not true that Christianity the enemy of freedom and culture. It is J"* true that Religion is a power that exploits e poor in the interest of the rich. But it is rue that the Church has often been found in an holy alliance with the strong against the weak, Oflth an ungodly aristocrary against the poor jo land who are fighting an unequal battle i,r their most elementary rights; and it is true jo t in every age men have exploited religion r selfish and political and anti-social ends, that they do it still. It is this fact that 6 fcifies Her Bebel's bitter attack, and excuses its unfairness. It is this fact that is the ^ea,test obstacle in the way of a reconciliation a. Religion and Socialism. And it is this fcn«?reJ>ancy between the conduct of Christians the religion which they profess that shall 0 CuPy our attention during the remainder of t time this evening. It is a painful subject dangerous to handle. But if anything is "e done towards the reconciliation of the *b!»l0Cracy matter must not be kept in y&nce. And here I need not go far afield, it will be advantageous if I address 'I myself to tacts which we ourselves observe every day Let me repeat what I said last Sunday eve ling If we are to convert the democracy to 1 he Christian Religion we must first of all, and above all, be able to show them the reality of tl at religion in ourselves. They believe only in s<>lf-interest, we must prove to them that love is a reality by holding it up before their eyes in our own characters. They do not believe that there is a higher life than that of eating and drinking and material prosperity we must let them see that there is a higher and nobler life by living it in their presence. No other argument will avail. Sermons and books and disputations are so much waste of breath without this demonstration in fact. The most rabid unbeliever in Merthyr to-night, whether 1; Socialist or Individualist, does not expect', perfection from us but he does expect sincerity and a practical proof that what we call our Christian faith is a reality to us, and that it is the supreme and dominant reality of our lives. Until they see this they will go on being streng- thened in their unbelief in Religion. thened in their unbelief in Religion. PROFESSORS OF CHRISTIANITY. Now, what are the facts. There are many thousands of well-to-do people in our land- some of them in this town of Merthyr to-day- who profess Christianity, who would be offended if you said they are not Chirstians, who are ready enough on occasion to curse Socialists because they are not Christians. But let me ask what value do they themselves set upon I their Christianity ? They are never seen inside a church except when some social convention- ality demands their attendance. They are as ignorant of the Bible as if it had never been translated into their mother tongue. And how do they spend their Sundays ? They are horrified because the workmen hold political meetings on Sunday, but they are willing for them to work on Sundays. And they approve ofjSundav concerts, and they think it quite right to go for a walk or a drive on Sunday afternoon' and then meet for a card party or some other intellectual pastime. And what is their attitude towards Religion in daily life ? Very often a thinly-veiled contempt. Indeed this attitude is the most difficult for an honest man to bear. These people put on an air of superiority. They give one to understand that in their esteem religion is something for the common people- the ignorant masses—they with their education, such as it is, and their culture, as it may be, have no need of religion. They seem to think that the parson, on the whole is a useful institu- tion, to help to keep the lower classes in their place, and therefore they invite him to their tables and give donations to his church, if he is not obtrusively religious and has a proper sense for social distinctions. Their interest in religion is of the most detatched character, except when they need its support for political and other sinister purposes. Believe me, the hostility of numbers of the working-men of our land to-day is largely due to the example of these hypocrites who have less claim to be called Christians than many of those desperate defeated men who loudly proclaim, in Hyde Park, that they are atheists and anarchists. NEARER HOME, But 1 must come still nearer home.. How many of us that are within the church are free from the same hypocrisy ? I think we may say that what is called class feeling" has diminished considerably in all the churches within our own mcmoy. In Nonconformist churches there is seldom much scope for it, and it does not prevail to any great extent. I know Wales well—that is, Welsh Wales." I have visited hundreds of its churches and I have met with little of it. On the contrary, I could tell you good stories of its utter absence. I could paint you a picture, if I were a good word painter, of a village church meeting. Its leader was the roadman, but a man of wonderful culture. Among the rank and file were two eminent professional men, and none submitted more humbly to the rule of the rord maker than these two. And I scarcely need tell you that in many such villages the social problem does not exist—or, at least, it is reduced to a minimum. And I think we can congratulate each other that the practice of exploiting the Church for political purposes has received a great check. The doctrine that has been assiduously preached in this pulpit for eleven years is echoed to-day in circles far more in- fluential—the doctrine, to wit, that the Church is the place where men shall forget their differences in the sense of a holy brotherhood, and yield themselves to the influences that shall infuse courage and joy into their whole life. But, on the other hand, we must confess that we are far from being able to face the democracy outside the Church, with a convincing, irresis-

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--. RELIGION AND SOCIALISM.