The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 39
Letter No IV
Letter No IV.
One of the most annoying things in this modern age is the prevalency of common sense. The good old times are departing, and woeful times are most certainly at hand. It is even within my memory, when the word of a clergyman was never doubted, and when boys got deservedly thrashed by the schoolmaster and their parents when they forgot to lift their hats to the village curate. Sad indeed is it now, when even a common tradesman dares to question the existence of the devil, and refuses to pay his pew-rent, because we cannot prove to his satisfaction that he will go to hell if he does not. Oh! my Christian brethren, think of those happy times when the clergy had their own way, and had the power to make a man both pay his pew-rent and believe in an everlasting place of Fire and Brimstone! Those were glorious days! The clergy then were the most exalted of mankind, and the whole world knelt cringingly at their feet. This was as it should be, and we, divinely called, divinely aided, and divinely sanctioned men, could dispense to an unsaved world the undoubted passports to Eternal Glory, without any kind of opposition. The only way then to heaven was through our church, and the only guides to put you safely on the road were the clergymen of the said church. Now page 17 alas! every man gets to heaven as cheaply as possible, and for the sake of saving a few shillings, complacently walks round our church instead of going through it. It is shameful. It is destroying the business of those men who belong to the divine profession.
When men get common sense they get stingy. Where men, at death, used to leave all their lands and worldly possessions to the church, that the clergy might make sure of their souls getting to heaven all right, they now are so careless about their Eternal welfare that they leave all the wealth that Providence has granted them to their wives and children, and a few paltry charitable institutions! The church is left out in the cold! A man's wife and family, and his common brethren are actually considered of more account, now-a-days, than are the clergy! Sure the world is rushing on to ruin.
But there must be an end to all this presumption on the part of infidels some day or other. Common sense must be crushed out if the blessings of Faith are to be enjoyed and preserved; and since we clergymen in Africa are not at present able to do it, I believe that something Providential Will happen to bring the desired result about. Although I am not a Wesleyan, and according to the revered custom of my church really hate the Wesleyans, I am still exceedingly thankful to the Rev. J. S. Spencer for having drawn attention to the necessity there is for this, in the proper quarters and in the proper way. Prayer-meetings have great efficacy in ensuring a Providential destruction of all common sense upon religious matters. Therefore the Rev. J. S. Spencer has my sincere thanks for the good page 18 he has done us by taking part in the recent Wesleyan revivals, which I notice have secured even our church two new subscribers.
But Infidels need a warning. They think they are safe. But let them beware how they persist in their disrespect to the only men on earth who have been deservedly honoured by the distinctive title "Holy." What God did four thousand years ago to disrespectful heretics, he can do now. Let the twenty-sixth chapter of Numbers, and the ninth and tenth verses be read to learn the fact that because Dathan, Abiram, and Korah had been disrespectful to the High Priest, Aaron, and his brother, they, with their households, were swallowed alive by the earth. "And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them," are the very words of Scripture. What an awful fate for a heretic to anticipate!
But to the young there is a still more striking case than this of punishment for disrespect to the priests. It seems that in the time of the Prophet Elisha, the profession of "Hairdresser" was not established; consequently, those who lost their hair through disease or age were obliged to go about with bald heads. I am aware that one or two dubious authorities are of opinion that there were "Hairdressers" in those days, and that wigs were so customary that it excited the risible faculties of the young to an immoderate degree to see a man with no hair at all upon his head. But be this as it may, one thing is certain: Elisha one day went out with a bald head. If he wore a wig, he had forgotten it, and had left it at home. Now Elisha was a man of God, and with or without hair, was to be respected. Some naughty little children from the city of Bethel, how- page 19 ever, could not resist the temptation to laugh at the old man without a wig. They not only laughed, but they allowed their levity to carry them so far that they exclaimed : "Go up, thou bald head; go up thou bald head." What was the result? Elisha simply turned round and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Immediately, thereupon, two she bears came out of the wood and ate up forty-two of them! Children of Cape Town beware what you say to the priests when you meet them in the streets! In the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy and the twelfth verse, we read, "And the man that will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there . . . even that man shall die."
Just another word of warning before closing, to those who refuse to contribute towards supporting parsons, Ananias and Sapphira refused to give all they had to Peter, and even told a lie, so as to keep a little back for their own use (as though it was more important that a man should have money to get something to eat and clothe himself with than to give to the priest), so the result was they were both struck dead, Reader, if the priest wants it, give all you have, lest you also be struck dead! May this fate, for such a sin, never be yours, is the prayer of, yours, etc.