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The effect of this upon trade is most disastrous. It is deeply depressed in all directions, and thousands of work-people are thrown out of employment. The lean years are now succeeding the years of plenty that were recently enjoyed, in some respects, also, it is to be feared, abused.
Whilst these things have been transpiring in the mercantile world, the political horizon has not been clear. A foolish and hurtful and expensive war has been provoked in India with a power whose subjugation, should the war ensue, will be a work of difficulty, and whose defeat will bring us no honour. In Eastern Europe there is much disquietude; and treaties that were to secure peace and bring in a new era seem to be productive only of dispeace and provocative of war. In the midst of the turmoil the voice of the Premier rises, as on Lord Mayor's day, in tones of wonted sublimity, and is grandly bellicose. This continues the feeling of uncertainty that prevails. The arms of trade are paralysed. Men know not what a day may bring forth, and are afraid to undertake the most legitimate ventures. But when things are at the worst they sometimes mend.' Whether we are at the worst’yet or not cannot of course be known; but that there is evil enough pressing upon us is plain, and a sense of the evil is making us restive. And in this there is hope. But the Christian may hope in any case unto the end; for he knows that the Lord reigneth,' and maketh the wrath of men to praise Him, and the remainder thereof He restrains.'
THE DRINK QUESTION. Two distinguished men, Lord Coleridge and the Bishop of Manchester, delivered very decided opinions on intemperance the other week. The former, in charging the grand jury at the Bristol Assizes, referred to the connection between drink and crime, remarking that if this country could be made sober we could shut up nine-tenths of our prisons. Nearly every crime began, or ended, or was connected with intoxicating drink. His Grace of Manchester spoke at the opening of a working men's club at Warrington. The British people, he said, were spending about one hundred and fifty millions of good hard-earned money every year. The wretchedness which drunkenness brought into the homes of the people, the unhappiness it created between husbands and wives, the terrible examples set to children, the pauperism, crime, ignorance, and degradation which resulted from it, were perfectly frightful, and could not be exaggerated.
The statements made by these distinguished men contain nothing new. They have been made and repeated times without number by social reformers for many bygone years. Their chief value and significance lie in showing that a sense of the terrible evil of drunkenness is beginning to pervade all ranks of society, and that good men of all classes are bestirring themselves in reference to it. The money part of the question is indeed an important one; and while we are mourning the misery caused by the loss of six millions sterling by the stoppage of one of our banks, that sum seems insignificant when placed side by side with the one hundred and fifty millions spent yearly on intoxicating drink. But the money loss is only the least part involved in this terrible calamity of our national intemperance.
The evil is evident and clamant, but where is the remedy? We have had during these recent weeks the great temperance orator John Gough, after an interval of twenty years, revisiting us and preaching the doctrine of personal abstinence and the extinction of the liquor traffic. Against the former part of his teaching there is no law, and its acceptance is a matter for indi
vidual and conscientious consideration. But in reference to the second how many difficulties emerge!
In recent utterances at Oxford, Lord Aberdare, who, erewhile as Home Secretary, proved himself earnest in the matter of social reform, spoke not very hopefully of legislative action in this matter. The position which he maintained, viz., that legislative action can go no farther than national opinion allows or supports, is self-evident. The practical question in this connection is, How far will it go? how much will it support? Evidently it is not prepared as yet for what Mr. Gough desiderates,—the extinction of the liquor traffic.
The work of personal reformation is one to which attention ought ever to be chiefly directed. Legislative action has its place, but that is a very subordinate one.
Of all the ills that human kind endure,
How small the part that kings can cause or cure!' And this ill' of drunkenness is one which each individual ought to consider as one with which he has personally to do. A higher state of moral feeling, a stronger sense of duty,—that is what is required. And therefore, whilst the Government is to consider its duty, and to regard the welfare of its subjects as of more account than the wealth of the revenue, it is of supreme importance to use diligently all those means which are appointed by the great Lawgiver for the elevation of the individual, and thus of the race.
VOLUNTARIES AND THE ELECTION. POLITICIANS of all shades of opinion seem to be alive to the fact that the election has come to the front, as they express it; and, that preparation for it is the main object, seems to be kept in view. Voluntaries are something higher than politicians; but politics they cannot eschew, because it is from a political evil that they seek to rid themselves, and means must be used of a nature suited to the object aimed at. Ebed-melech and the thirty men who were appointed as his coadjutors in rescuing Jeremiah from the prison into which he had been cast, when they proceeded to their work, had to take cords and old cast clouts and rotten rags as fit apparatus for drawing up the prophet from the dungeon. Even so, Voluntaries are politicians not by choice but by necessity. Church and State-connection, for which our opponents are responsible, being purely political, we must not be blamed for seeking to extricate ourselves by political appliances. To exhort us to shun politics is just to suggest that we should abandon our cause and quietly sit still in our thraldom. It is an important question, then, How ought Voluntaries to act in the crisis which is at hand ?
First of all, it must be manifest to every one that it is from Liberals alone that we have anything to expect, unless indeed Lord Beaconsfield should, under the pressure of necessity, surprise us by abolishing the Establishment, as he gave us the last Reform Bill, when he took a leap in the dark,' as the late Lord Derby said. That, however, is highly improbable; and practically the question is, How are we to bear ourselves towards Liberals? Now there are Liberals and Liberals. Some contend, not without reason, as we think, that Voluntaryism is an essential article in a sound and thorough Liberal creed. For if two citizens be equally loyal to the Crown and Constitution, and perform all their civil duties and bear all their civil burdens in a manner equally unexceptionable, how does it comport with Liberalism that these men should not stand on an equal footing before the
law of the land, owing to some difference in their religious principles ? So it is, however, that some parade their Liberalism, shouting, Come, see how zealous we are for the good cause !' yet at the same time don't disguise that the Establishment must by all means be upheld, though they are sometimes generous enough to assure us that they will most cheerfully and liberally redress all the grievances of Dissenters, and concede all our reasonable demands; our great demand, however,-indeed, our only demand, or at least our demand virtually including all the others,—being always refused either absolutely, or at all events at present, which is never a convenient season. It is difficult to have patience with such twaddlers. But in the emergency we must exercise the wisdom of the serpent.
In every contest there will be found a variety of particulars which must be all taken into consideration. And therefore it is impracticable, writing generally, to lay down categorical rules to be uniformly attended to, any further than to say that we humbly conceive Voluntaries should always be honest and frank, declaring that they regard ecclesiastical establishments as impolitic and unjust, and that, other circumstances being the same, it is a great recommendation of a candidate that he be opposed to these institutions. Wherever there is a contest, any Voluntary movement will call forth from the one side a loud and vehement cry, 'Oh, don't split the Liberal party!' and on the opposite side nothing will be so much desired as that that party should be split. Now, clearly we must take care not to play into the hands of our opponents. We are persuaded there is not one of us but would shrink from the idea of damaging the Liberal cause, by doing what could be fairly and legitimately called splitting it. But a little explanation may be allowable. In some constituencies, proposing a Voluntary candidate, or refusing to vote for any one not up to our mark, would have no effect whatever. In such cases a little heckling' may be usefully practised, but anything further would expose one to ridicule. In other cases, where a moderate Liberal could perhaps be returned, by a vigorous united effort including the Voluntaries, who are known to be but a few, we should say
the best thing they could do would be quietly to give their support, and that if they stood out and so secured the return of a rank Conservative, they really would be chargeable with splitting the Liberal party.
In still other cases, however, there is a clear working majority of Voluntaries, and there we hold it would be unfaithfulness and cowardice for them to listen to any expostulations. Why should they not bring forward and return their man? Were this attended with a split in the Liberal ranks, it would be easy to see where the responsibility lay. A well-informed friend told us lately, that in the county with which he was connected the Liberals had an overwhelming majority. They had never returned a Conservative since the passing of the Reform Bill, and he believed they never would. He said also that eight-tenths or more of that majority were Voluntaries men in humble position, but having votes and independence withal. If all this be correct, these men are clearly entitled to a Voluntary member; and if the result should be that a few weak-kneed Liberals should go over to the opposite party, they could be spared, and their new allies would be welcome to the accession.
Our general advice, then, is, First ascertain your ground, and after that let good sense regulate your procedure. We cannot doubt that if the Voluntaries act judiciously at next election, our cause will greatly gain. But let us not be unduly anxious. We have truth and justice on our side, and, Deo juvante, these must prevail.
J. Black, 184; Rev. G. Blair, 327; A.
334; Union Meeting, 521.
mont, 35; Jedburgh, High Street, 131; Keith,
Neighbours and Ourselves, 478; Socialism,
Voluntaryism, 81; An Important Crisis, 84;
369; Who Trains our Children, 372.
Auderson on Popery, 92; Arnot's Lessons
Beith's Sorrowing yet Rejoicing, 475; Bel-
Candid Examination of Theism, 428; Car.
Eadie's Scripture Illustrations, 41; Elliott
Fergusson on the Temples, 328; Fleming's
Graham on Inspiration, 186; Guest's
Hamilton's Faith in God, 91; Henderson's
Inglis on Genesis, 137.
Jerdan's Essays and Lyrics, 402; Jews,
Kelly on Elders, 331; Kennedy on Pilate's
Macarthur on The Beloved, 332; M*Ewan
Noblesse Oblige, 421.
Oliphant & Co.'s Books, 38, 284, 565; Olver
Parousia, The, 424; Pearson's Home to
Randles on Substitution, 283.
Taylor's Christ's Cause Triumphant, 422;
Wallace's Clouds of the Bible,
Young on Intemperance, 285.
J. Deans, 472 ; Rev. J. Milne, 233; Rev.
Opposition, 188; Presbyteries and, 236; Dr.
Hutton on, 480, 492.
Statistics, 384; Scottish Association for
National Religion, 426.
nating Distinctive Principles, 205; How to
Promote Christian Work, 347.
75, 124, 170, 260, 411, 461
94; Sales and Bazaars, 96; Church-planting,
172 ; Baruch, 217; God Our Home, 306; The
280; Rev. A. Gardiner, D.D., 131; Rev. W.
M. Halley, D.D., 184.
ston, 280 ; Rev. G. Blair, 377; Rev. J. E.
Thos. Whitelaw, 88.
22, 68,1 165
Bisset, 184; Rev. John Cooper, 421, 432;
Stark, 35; Rev. W. R. Thomson, 472, 480.
J. Bisset, 211; Rev. Dr. A. Cameron, 144;
377 ; H. Glen, 184; D. S. Henderson, 233;
Mitchell, 564 ; C. Moyes, 472; R. P. Watt, 131.
262; In Memoriam - James Craig, 311;
464; The Old Year, 552.
177, 225, 322, 552; Annandale, 177, 226, 372,
376, 563 ; Stirling, 131, 326.
Howatson, 327 ; R. Paterson, 327 ; W. Hood
The Pope and the Qu-en, 47; Hierarchy in
Scotland, 53, 109, 142, 238.
81, 468; Effætus, 82 ; Perthensis, 85; P. M.,
535; J. F. Dempster, 543; J. M. M., 552.
Missionary Societv, 88; New Premises, 89,
Another Surprise, 382.
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