Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

13 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



BRIDGEND MINISTERS AND SPORTS. l ;99A WORD WITH YOU." [TTe dofrot hold ourselve* responsible for the writer's opinions.—ED. <?.(?.] "A decadent Puritanism," wrote someone recently, is the most unlovely sight on earth it has lost all its strength and reality, and has taken on a hideous black monotony and a hypocritical conformity worse than any other social malady I know." Whilst conceding that this high-flown language is shorn of its intended effect by the unconscious sacrificing of clearness id an1'attempt at verbal poffiposity yet, he that is possessed of even ordinary intellectual penetra- tion cannot fail'to unravel, if he look beneath the surface, "a wealth of blazing truth," as Miss Braddon woald put it. We may be loth to admit it, yet it is a fact that cannot any longer be dis- guised, that even in this our little town of Bridgend there is a spirit of Puritanical intoler- ance abroad—a spirit of phlegmatic narrowmindedj ness, the existence of which in this age of vaunted enlightenment, and of universal tolerance of opinions and of reasonable conduct is a ludicrous incopgruity. It is pseudo-religiousness and nothing else '—(R. W. Blackmore). Who is re- sponsible for the outbreak at Bridgend ? Who are the men who are graduating in the art of telling other people "what to do, and what nob to do in regard to their social relations ? Let us take thought and consider. Most of us will remember appertain reverend gentleman's senseless raving against football in this our staid and lethargic town of Bridgend a few months ago. 'Twas only the irresponsible blathering of a man intoxicated by visions of lusty athletes fighting for supremacy —and 86 developing their physical selves-on the football field. Having burnt the midnight oil, and dug deep iato dictionaries for some high-flown words wherewith to pour forth the effervescing feelings that surged in his manly bosom, he brought matters to a climax by launching forth on his congregation—yea, his religiously debonnair congregation—a demoniacal tirade against all and Bundry who played, patronised, or otherwise countenanced the game of football. It is needless to recall the hysterical invective which he deemed it politic to make use of at the expense of so many hundreds-aye, thousands-of his fellow-beings. Sufficient unto his sermons is the evil done thereby. Needless to say that footballers, great and small, A-l and mediocre, bavelived down the obloquy with equanimity undisturbed, and with souls un- trammelled by visions ef a headlong rush into regions of perennial high temperature, which the reverend gentleman was good enough to mark out as their ultimate destination after passing oft this mortal coil. Since this reverend gentleman's irreverent coup d'etat, we have enjoyed compara- tive immunity from reverend interference with the liberty of the subject in respect to mundane enjoy- ments and time, the corrective of all wrong, seems to have acted the part of the aperient mediciae in cementing the mutual relations of gow-will which existed between different sections *,of ,Jhe tomm-anity, but which this apostle of the., brotherhood of man had for the nonce tried to undermine. After the storm came a calm. But alas we are again face to face with militant Pharisaism there is a recurrence of unclerical narrowmmdedness pseudo-religion is showing signs of resuscitated vitality, and we are quaking 'neath its exponent's censorious lash. Readers who keep themselves au cowrant with the inner workings of cliquish sections in this town will know what I am" dri viAg at. I. refer to the obnoxious, be- cause malignant circular which the Puritans of Bridgeud,.with,.an over-impulsive zeal not born of wisdom, have distributed throughout the town $dtMict" Let us emblazTon it forth in all its hideous nakedness:— Bridgend, May 30th, 1594.—Dear Sir,—Finding ftuCt Sports arr&ngtefl t>Jr' Licensed Victuallers or Publicans are to take place in Bridgend, on Monday Rest, the Nonconfprmist Ministers of Bridgend ■will feel thankful if you will kindly co-operate with them as much as possible to lessen the number of persons attending these sports, by doing your best on Sunday Next, through the Pulpit and the Sunday School, to warn and to influence the members of your congregation, the young especially, to keep away,,a.s(ksinp(, way to give support to or attend these demoralising gatherings. Inasmuch as the success of the sports depends very much upon the attendance and countenance given them by persons coming from the various valleys and villages of the district, it is strongly realised that the earnest and hearty co-operation of yourself and your church in the way suggested cannot but prove of very great service for good. Praying the Lord to richly bless all uniting thus in this service for His glory and the good of our fellow men.—We remain, on behalf of the Bridgend Minsters, yours faithfully, WILLIAM JOHN, Chairman; J. P. JONBB, Hon. Sec." Now, what can a man say to this kind of thing in these "free and civilized days?" Your first impulse is to affect, if not feel, consternation—or dumbfoundedhess even. Having become dumb- founded, you can't think because your mind is clouded by "hazy nothing;" gradually you recovet your sense of thinking, and taking one vigorous mental glance at this latest monstrosity of mother earth, you instinctively blurt out the thought that is in you, and exclaim, What a world is this Then you cogitate further and still keeping your eye on the latest monstrosity: ishisper gently, "This latest takes the cake." It has taken something besides the cake-it has taken men's seises away. The position these leverend gentlemen have taken up is contempible and absolutely untenable. After advocating the mammary extermination of football, they are now raising their eyes in scandalized amazement at athletic sports-the delight of ages and the stimu- lants of life-and the corollary to this is that they are clamouring for their abolition. When sports shall be no more "-that is their ideal but it is a spectral ideal that is not going to be rea- lized till the next blue moon. As well may they pray for the mountains to fall, and the sea to give up its dead Their scheme sounds too Utopian for a world steeped in worldiness," and the sooner they abandon it as hopeless and in- defeasible the better for them and the cause of Christianity, the fundamental principles of which they so ruthlessly trample under foot through their lack of breadth of vision. If they consider an innocuous indulgence in sport is inconsistent with Christian life-then pity their rudimentary conception of Christianity They view things through a medium distorted by prejudice, and marred by a lack of mental comprehensiveness. This is merely their despotic interpretation of Christianity in relation to man's daily life. These men are out of touch with the all-pervading spirit of the age-they are separated by a wide gulf from ttle-vedercurrent popular feeling of our day and generation. Their idea that man's whole feeing should* be enthralled by the shackles of religious ihcorrhptibleness, and that he should live by prayer and fasting,sounds too beatified- too idyllic, to be true. There isn't such a condition ia this world. Their action tends to alienate rather than conciliate thousands of people who are now their supporters. They are crying, Down with sports "—the things of beauty and joy for ever when the multitude are crying for more, and the multitude will have fheir way. A more well- behaved,decorous crowd than that which assembled to witness the sports at Bridgend on Monday could nor, well be imagined, and those who dare grudge the people the harmless three hours' enjoyment that they bad deserve to be treated as nuisances by the inhabitants at large. What earthly harm can these admirers of Knox and haters of Laud find in the event ? An answer will oblige. CAXDIDE.