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miah xxxi. 13, you will find a holy God making this promise to His people—“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together.” You may say the words are used metaphorically, but that does not alter the fact that the Greit Father can contemplate the mingling of sexes in a joyous dancing with feelings of complacency. Even the rejoicings of the family in heaven over the return of the prodigal son are shadowed forth to us by the word " dancing." And though I would not, of course, quote this as a proof that dancing ever takes place there, it does at least prove that in the eyes of the Saviour it was an expression of rejoicing sufficiently pure to be used as an illustration of the joy of angels over a redeemed soul. But while I cannot doubt the lawfulness of dancing, I feel bound to speak with somewhat less confidence as to its expediency at all times ; so much must depend on individual circumstances and temperaments. Some, to avoid becoming drunkards, feel compelled to sign a pledge of total abstinence; others can use the good gifts of God without abusing them. So must it be with dancing, and indeed with all pursuits that come under the name of recreation. Those who feel their own weakness must abstain ; but because the depravity of their nature
; is so much the more easily wrought upon than is the case with others, don't let these weaker brethren stigmatise dancing as a sin
, and dancers as over and above sinful; the harm lies, not in dancing and dancers, but in themselves : and it is no more essential that Christians who can enjoy the amusement without self-injury should relinquish it on their account, than it is incumbent on all religious professors to sign the pledge lest some weak member of the Church should fall into drunkenness.
Contra. Yet, says Paul, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother offend.” And again, “ Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling-block to them that are weak.” How can you reconcile the spirit breathed here by Paul with your own advocacy of an amusement which has tempted many into the paths of sin ?
Pro. The quotations do not apply to this matter at all. If dancing formed part of the heathen worship of a land wherein I dwelt, it would then become unlawful to me, though lawful in itself
, as these meats offered to idols were to the Corinthian believers As a rule, I do not think that weakness is helped by being pandered to-rather the reverse. Young people must occasionally enjoy themselves, and in many cases it would be not only lawful but expedient to make dancing a recognised pastime, and thus greatly lessen the temptation to engage in it surreptitiously. When deprived of the sanctifying influences of home, and pursued among low and depraved companions, it does become, though innocent in
, one of the devil's spares for luring young men to destruction; but I do not believe that its interdiction at home, or the lack of instruction when young, ever kept a young man who was so inclined from dancing-rooms or casinos.
Contra. By introducing it at home you encourage a taste for it , which may lead many to follow it up more closely in these abominable places
Pro. My experience tells me that to fallen human nature " forbidden fruit is tempting." The fact of freely being allowed to indulge in a dance at home, among suitable companions, would be enough to make a young man of right feeling shrink from the mere thought of joining in the same amusement with companions of a totally different character. All our amusements, no less than dancing, may become sinful in proportion as from were amusements they are made pursuits. If children are well trained, as the sons and daughters of righteous parents, there is no danger of their spiritual growth being hindered by an occasional dance; and if their minds have been well cultivated, and their characters disciplined, there is no fear that the dance will ever be more than occasional, or serve any worse purpose than being used as a healthy and graceful recreation.
Y. A. N.
This week New College re-assembles after its long vacation. Of the professors in their various class-rooms, one will be conspicuous by his absence from the chair of the Greek, Testament. Amongst the students who return, there will be probably not one who does not feel that absence to be a cause of sadness, and who does not anticipate that it will prove no less a cause of loss. How far this feeling of the students is shared by the friends of the College generally, it is impossible to say. If inquiry could be made, it would probably appear that a large majority of them had already willingly acquiesced in what they feel to be a necessity and a duty; while the minority might not be small who look upon this unexpected result of the deliberations of the Council with sorrow not unmingled with other feelings. It is indeed a cause of anxiety, when we find that we have no subject on which such a teacher can be trusted to address our students except the safe topics of logic and mental philosophy. It seems to be acknowledged by all that he is a man eminent for devoutness of spirit and holiness of character; that he
prepared himself, by years of most careful study, for the exposi
tion of all that belongs to the Greek Testament; that he is eminently fitted, by natural ability as well as by acquired skill, for the work of his choice ; that he stands probably first, in the denomination to which he belongs, in this branch of scholarship. That the services of such a man should be lost to the Church may well excite sorrow, and curiosity may be not less awakened to know if there are many such men to be found who can take his place. It will not do, however, for us to be angry with the conditions of our life, whether natural or denominational. We must try to understand them, and to submit to them. It is not easy to do either one or the other with this denominational life of ours. It is, like most dwarfish things, both mysteriously puzzling and sometimes annoyingly irritating. The law of its being, if it has one, seems to be this—ta, break
up "the unity of the spirit” into little bodies—technically so, called, of course—on each of these bodies to put a head, some one; or more men representative of the members. Some positions are representative, and their types must be found to occupy there Generally, the type is easily found; but now and then, urfortunately, some one gets into a representative post, and is not a type. At first he creates uneasiness, and then murmurs; then he is cut off. And so denominationalism is a witness to the sacrednes and weakness of democratic principles. In the case of New College
, we have been surprised that anyone could even pretend that Mr. Godwin was a representative man. To us it seems that in hardly a single aspect can he be said to represent “the body.” He is a man of exquisite sensibility; and “bodies ” have not much of the higher feeling. There is a fine humanity about him
a wonderful tenderness, that leads him to dwell on the moral aspects of Christian truth—that gives tone and colour to the religion he exhibits. Then his mental habits, and his modes of expression, his very terms, ara not those of the “great body." There is hesitation in him, as there must be in all minds that take in many considerations There is a manifest suspension of the judgment over the area of thought that can neither be understood nor welcomed by those who find relief only in belief strongly asserted, and expressed in sharp, well-defined forms. Such persons excite sympathy: the require and they deserve it; but, like many persons who have a claim on our sympathy, they are apt to make its cause a reason for tyranny over those who show it. It is easy to conceive the distres they would feel as they read, or attempted to read, his recent work. They told the truth, in some cases angrily and conceitedly
, when they said “they missed something ;" "it was not what they had
' been taught;” “it did not agree with the standard of theology All this meant that Mr. Godwin did not represent them and their views according to the right type—the type most common to them. They concluded he had better leave the College. Whether this was
best thing even for them to do is a question. It is a question t many may yet ask themselves. To the friends of colleges these questions suggest many anxious conerations. What is to become of our students if they are to have the portunity now and then of engaging in a war, defensive or offene, about their teachers? Their Christian temper will not be imved by such exercises. And what is to become of their Biblical dies if their professor is not to expound the Greek Testament,
to make it fit the system understood at the time to be the ndard ? If this be a necessary work, surely it is not his work. s duty is to see that his class masters the words and meaning of
text, with all its necessary allusions—a duty correspondent h their profession in classical literature. Doubtless, in the course explanation, hints theological, homilitical, and practical will be own off; but these are incidental, not essential. But another estion may be asked, such as the following :- What has been the ture of the Biblical studies of our students? Has it not been ry meagre? Have they, as a rule, really mastered a single Gospel, many of them are supposed to have mastered Cæsar or Thucyles ? Do they know even the English version well? Do they ow from their own reading and experiment whether a harmony the four Gospels is possible, and how far possible ? Do they w anything of the history of the Canon? How many of them, er a College course of five or six years, could read—we do not say : Old Testament, but the New, in the original—without the aid the English version ? Are we wrong in supposing that one of most weighty reasons that led the Council toward the acceptance Mr. Godwin's resignation was, that his pretensions were in adnce of his students—that, being unprepared for his expositions, y received more injury than help? that, in fact, it was felt at most of the men who entered his class needed a good preratory drill in the text rather than discourses founded upon it? e believe the last statement to be correct. There are, of course, ceptions. Some of those who enter our colleges have had great vantages; have received a good education. These form but a
; all class. The majority know nothing of orderly methodic study. e would not, nor do we, speak of them as differing from Christian eople generally. It is a common disgrace that the Bible is not well Down. From some causes not easily ascertainable, the Christian orld is miserably ignorant, not merely of the meaning of what is ritten in Holy Scripture, but of the order of the thoughts and atements therein contained. It has been said that times of calm lief are unfavourable to the study of the Bible ;* that “the ible, like the Church, gains fresh force and strength in times of trial. As long as it is unassailed, it is also in a great measure unstudied. It is received, as a whole, with unquestioning reverence; but the characteristics of its component elements are undistinguished A vague sense of the general unity of the books of which it is composed takes the place of a clear view of their organic union." This is the relation of the Bible to a large portion of the religious mind of England at this time. There is, however, comfort for all; the time of trial has come. The times of refreshing are not distant
* Westcott's “ Introduction to the Gospels."
. Colenso may only be the means of a great revival in scriptural studies. Our preachers will tell us more of the book and its truths and expound to us the word as well as the way of God more perfectly. But before the preacher can do it, the student must know it; and so we venture to ask, what can be done for our colleges ? Is not this a fitting time to review our methods ? May we not ask ourselves whether we have done the best thing in the best way! Whether we have not trusted too much to the verbal utterances of the professor, and given too little to the student to acquire? Let us be careful to be understood. We would not get rid of the professor, nor would we reduce the work of the student to mere nechanical memory work. We wish to give to both professor and student an advantage they do not now enjoy. With a literal app?ication of a profound truth the teacher may say, “Ye do not understand my speech, because ye do not hear my word.”
If we were asked what we should recommend for the attainment of a more thorough knowledge of the Bible, we should say, more grammar, more lexicon, and more frequent examinations. Trench says, “The words of the New Testament are eminently the 'elements of Christian theology; and he who will not begin with a patient study of those shall never make any considerable
, least of all any secure, advances in this ; for here, as everywhere else some disappointment awaits him who thinks to possess the whox without first possessing the parts of which that whole is composed.
" This method entails much more work on the student, and it should be imposed by the professor. To do that, he must have recourse te text-books. It cannot be said that there are not such.
There are many and good ones--good in this sense, that they are recoguised by scholars universally as being well done, and they are not written with any theological bias. Why, for example, should not the boos just quoted—viz. Westcott's
Westcott's “Introduction to the Study of the Gospels ”-be regarded as indispensable, not merely as a work of reference, but as one that has been mastered and is possessed by the student ? In grammars we have several : the last contribution of the scholarship of Dr. Wm. Smith, in his recent grammar; Donaldson's, of which Dr. Ellicutt speaks in terms of bigh praise : above all, Winer's Grammar of the New Testament diction. Surei no student will say that the acquirement of the leading principles