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1909-Articles 6-10
Revised Jan. 6, 2007

Newspaper Articles for 1909
Articles 6-10

About The Church Without a Name, The Truth, Two By Twos, 2x2s

October   7, 1909,   p. 8 - 6th Article:   "The Jesus Way.  Do They Follow it?"

October 14, 1909,   p. 5 - 7th Article:   "The Jesus Way.  Do They Follow it?"

October 21, 1909,   p. ? - 8th Article:   "The Jesus Way.  Do They Follow it?"

October 28, 1909,   p. 5 - 9th Article:   "The Jesus Way.  Do They Follow it?"

November 4, 1909  p. 5 -10th Article:  "The Jesus Way.  Do They Follow it?"

October 7, 1909, p. 8
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland




(By W.C.T.)

By W.C.T.

It is scarcely necessary to refer to the Tramp description of our Lord as ‘Jesus the Pauper,’ or other misrepresentations.  Our Lord was not a pauper.  He was a workman, and His trade could always keep Him.  But if at times He was far from his mother in Galilee, and had not where to lay His head, at other times he was an honoured guest, as at Bethany, where he was welcomed in the home of Martha and Mary.  A man could not well be a pauper who would be addressed as ‘Lord’ and with the words—‘I am not worthy that thou should’st enter under my roof.’  He dined at times with a rich man like Zacchaeus, and at others, as when He waited by the well in Samaria, His disciples went with money to buy food.  It is not at all likely that the great Physician, who healed all manner of diseases and raised the dead to life, would be as the Tramps say, ‘a slave,’ or left as ‘a pauper and a tramp,’ dependent, as they say, ‘on charity.’  Did he eat the bread of charity when welcomed to the table of Zachaeus or the home of Peter, or of Martha and Mary?  Nay, his presence was deemed an honour, and his company was sought for as a privilege.


This brings us to the interpretation of Scripture by uneducated men.  Now education is not everything:  we all know that the Apostles were poor fishermen, and we all know that they received their Divine commission from above, and that tongues of fire settled on others, so as to qualify them for their teaching work.  Some ‘ministers’ of the gospel and some educated men have been far from Jesus.  Education may qualify the mind, but it does not always qualify the heart.  But I do say that while Protestants claim the right of private judgment, yet no one can so well interpret the Scriptures as the educated man who has made the Scriptures a study, and by his knowledge of the original tongues and reading can comprehend the meaning of several passages which otherwise might be obscure or be judged by modern standards.  And if a man do not understand Hebrew or Greek, the next best thing is to get a commentary by one who did understand what he was writing about, so as to be conversant with the scene of the Lord’s labours, and the meaning of doubtful passages.

I do not know that there is even one among the Tramp communion (though there may be) who can read a single sentence of the Lord’s sayings as He spoke it.  Their chief authority (Mr. Irvine) does not know Biblical Greek, which is distinct from what we understand as classical Greek, just as the language of Chaucer was different from that of Spenser; and Shakespeare’s from that of Tennyson.  I do not seek to make little of the Tramps on this account.  Far from it.  Some of the best and most influential preachers were not acquainted with either Hebrew or Greek.  But they took the counsel of those who did understand these languages on delicate points; and did not assert that all the rest of humanity were wrong, and that they only were right.


One example of the low standard of education or want of knowledge of the Tramps is to be found in what they call a Hymn Book, which contains along with some well-known hymns a surprising collection of doggerel,—that a fifth rate newspaper would be ashamed to publish.  It looks as if some of their lines were written for nigger airs, with choruses.

The ‘Jesus way’ was to sing a hymn, which in his case was one of the Psalms; but the Tramp, so far from ascending to the beauty of, say—"The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want" consoles himself with this stuff—

Live the way I live was what Jesus said
To the men who went forth then:
Tramp about and preach, saints will give you bread.
This you’ll find described in Matthew Ten.

They call this ‘poetry!’  And this—

So we’ll fight for the Jesus way,
Whether it suits or not,
Never mind what the Pharisees say,
Those who preach should get what Jesus got.

This last line is grotesque!  There are no two lines of the stance correct; it is prose instead of poetry; and the last line contains three syllables more than the second, with which it should correspond.  It is rhyme, but it is bad prose, bad composition, bad sentiment, and is utterly devoid of poetry.  In another stanza, about a revival we are told that men

Will get right themselves first,
And walk the Jesus way,
For Pharisees at all times
Would never do but say.

Say what?  Imagination must supply the answer.  It is as clear as noon-day that the writers do not possess the sense or faculty of poetry or they would not perpetrate such street-ballad rhyme.

Some of this doggerel is intended to be sung to airs such as ‘The Boys of Wexford,’ ‘Belmahone,’ (not Bell Mahone, if you please,) ‘Poor old Joe,’ etc.  One of the stanzas that may be sung to the former is very rich(!) in composition in rhyme, and sentiment.

We are the slaves of Jesus,
We’ll therefore onward go,
And preach the truth though scribes, forsooth,
Say we should not do so.
For well we ken, through Matthew Ten,
The way that pleases God
Christ’s way is right,
For it we’ll fight
Till put beneath the sod.

We may forgive ‘the scribes,’ who say ‘we should not do so,’ but the ‘Matthew Ten’ is anti-climax!  Did any one ever read such stuff?

To return to the rhymes, Tramps offer us this wretched doggerel when we are rich in sublime ideas, charmingly expressed, and written in musical cadences for song and soul.  And while these are at hand to uplift or soothe the Christian heart, we find such stuff as this, speaking of our Lord—

He grew from year to year,
  Amidst the clashing view of creeds,
 Claiming to be the truth of God,
  Producing poisonous weeds.

How could ‘the truth of God’ produce ‘poisonous weeds?’  It would take a Tramp to tell that.  We are not informed either as to the ‘clashing view of creeds,’ whatever that may mean.  I can comprehend clashing creeds, but not a clashing view.’
However at the risk of being tedious, I must refer to one other so-called ‘hymn.’  It is about a gate through which few obtain entrance, we are told; and it has a ‘hit’ at the ‘prophets false,’ as it pictures them, after the manner of a satire, saying—

None are to be like Christ today:
  He preached for naught but we’ll take pay:
He said, give freely, live like we,
  But we must get a salary (sic.)
Observe the grammar and the salar-ee.  Then it proceeds farther—Note the first line (and its last word)—
  He lived the slave life, they are gents,
He freely gave, they charge pew rents,
  He went about, they settle down,
They get man’s smile, He got men’s frowns.

That stanza, I think, should receive a leather medal for the writer.  It is of undiluted ignorance, of deliberate misstatement of truth, and bosh.  The writer also has a weakness for ‘Matthew Ten,’ as he or it is termed—not Ten Matthews, we may suppose, but the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel:

So few profess through prophets true,
(The ‘prophets true’ are the Tramps!)
  They’re numbered with transgressors, too;
Whose thousands say—Lord, Lord through men
  Who preach, but work and live Matthew Ten.
Alas, poor Matthew Ten, you are responsible for a lot of this rubbish!

It is enough to make any one indignant that the highest and holiest of subjects, sacred and elevated, should be dragged down to such depths.  The writers and readers are apparently unfitted by their want of knowledge to appreciate the height, depth, and beauty of David’s psalms,—the most wonderful expression of the human soul,—or of such hymn-writers as Toplady, Charles Wesley, Faber, &c., when they can descend to such stuff.  It seems to suit their intellects and their ideas of religion.  I confess I feel indignant over the production of such literary garbage under the name of ‘hymns.’  It is a libel on the word.

The word hymn comes from the Greek word humnos.  It was originally intended to signify a poem in honour of the heathen gods, or heroes of old; or something to be recited in public.  Augustine’s definition of a Christian hymn is the view generally accepted, that it is ‘praise to God with song’ (cum cantico); but no definition of any kind I know of, would include such material as I have given samples of in the foregoing paragraphs, under the name of ‘hymns.’

The word ‘hymn’ has been applied to psalms, though that word in itself conveys that it is a song intended for use with or accompaniment by the psaltery.  Indeed the whole book of Psalms was described by Bede as liber hymnorum, the Book of Hymns, by universal consent.  A hymn (or psalm) was sung by our Lord and His Apostles after the institution of the Lord’s supper.  Perhaps it was the 103rd—

O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord,
  And all that in me is
Be stirred up, His Holy name
  To magnify and bless.

Other references to hymns occur in the New Testament, but it is worthy of remark that Paul seems to have recognised a difference between the sacred songs when he referred to ‘psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs,’ when he used the words—(I am again obliged to use Roman instead of Greek letters)—psalmois kai humnois kai orkois pneumatikais.  Some of the quotations of Paul from oriental poetry were from hymns, and the prayer of thanksgiving of the disciples in the 4th of Acts is given in a poetical manner.  Luke also was given to poetry.

The whole subject is most interesting, and the transition from Hebrew and Greek to German and English hymns, both in Latin and in the vernacular.  Luther’s movement was immensely assisted by the use of hymns, and the Church of Rome is beginning at last to recognise their power and teach their people in England to sing them.

‘Church of our fathers’ has now become as common with Roman Catholics in England as the Boys of ‘Wexford’ in Ireland, or

‘The Church’s one foundation’ with Protestant people.  As to modern hymns, their real beginning came from the Independents, Dr. Watts laying the foundation, assisted by Baptists.  Writers like Toplady, Cowper, Heber, Doddridge, Erskine, Keble, and Lyte will occur to most minds, and the greatest of all, Charles Wesley; and in a minor degree Dr. John Wesley himself.  It is when we look at the beautiful hymns of these authors that we recognise the immense gap between them and the doggerel of the Go-Preachers’ Hymn-book which emanated from the Tramp Preachers.  There are some hymns which are immortal, like the splendid lines attributed generally to Addison, but by some people said to date from 1615—

When all Thy mercies, O my God,
  My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view, I’m lost
  In wonder, love and praise.

The recital of this hymn is a prayer in itself.  How aptly the thoughts are expressed of our dependence on the Divine care and of gratitude for His mercies!  How sweetly flowing are the cadences—the emphasis on each alternate syllable—(for example in the all, weak, plaints, and cries of this first line)—

To all my weak complaints and cries
  Thy mercy lent an ear,
Ere yet my feeble thoughts had learned
  To form themselves in prayer.

Unnumbered comforts to my soul
  Thy tender care bestowed,
Before my infant heart conceived
  From whom these comforts flowed.

When in the slippery paths of youth
  With heedless steps I ran,
 Thine arm, unseen, conveyed me safe,
  And led me up to man.

The remaining verses can be found in any hymn book.  How exquisite that hymn! It satisfied even the Presbyterian purists, who were afraid to touch anything but David’s psalms.

When the burdened soul seeks comfort it may try to sing—
  My God, my Father, while I stray,
Far from my home in life’s rough way,
  O teach me from my heart to say,
Thy will be done.

Or when a prayer ascends to heaven what more fitting language than—

When the weary, seeking rest
   To Thy goodness flee;
 When the heavy laden cast
   All their load on Thee;
 When the troubled, seeking peace,
   On Thy name shall call;
 When the sinner, seeking life
   At Thy feet shall fall:
 Hear then, in love, O Lord, the cry,
   In Heaven, Thy dwelling place on high.

What balm there is in the hour of trouble for those who sing that well-known hymn of Watts, more popular today than when he published it in the early part of the 18th century!—

Our God, our help in ages past,
 Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
 And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of Thy throne
  Thy saints have dwelt secure;
 Sufficient in Thine arm alone,
  And our defence is sure.

Then those who like to dwell on the name of our Lord find comfort in:
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
  In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
  And drives away his fear.
It makes the wounded spirits whole,
  And calms each troubled breast,
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
  And to the weary – rest.

Or that other hymn which contains the stanza:—
Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
   Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,
  O Saviour of mankind.

We could dwell for hours on this delightful subject and repeat stanzas of wide-world hymns which have comforted the hearts of millions—hymns of thanksgiving, of prayer, of Christmas, of Harvest, and so on, and other immortals like

When I survey the wondrous cross
  On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
  And pour contempt on all my pride.

Scores of hymns rise at memory’s call from ‘Hark, the herald!’ to ‘Lead, kindly light,’ and the point of all of them is not the petty contentions, arguments, and Pharisaical spirit of rhymes of the Tramp preachers, but a true worship in which all can join—
O measureless Might:  ineffable Love!
 While angels delight to hymn Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
  With true adoration shall lisp to Thy praise.

Next article on ‘Matthew Ten’ and ‘Schism.’ (To be Continued.)


October 14, 1909, p. 5
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland




(By W.C.T.)

By W.C.T.

The references to ‘Matthew Ten’ in the rhymes of the so-called hymns of the ‘Go-Preachers Hymn Book, and the quotations from the chapter, show that the Tramp Preachers regard it as the Bed Rock of their movement.  On the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel they base their dress, mode of living, itinerancy, methods, &c., and I venture to say that if they incorporated the Sermon on the Mount with that chapter, no one would be inclined to say anything towards them but God speed; for with their ways of life, whether they shave or refuse to carry a purse, no one has any concern; the outside world is only concerned when the Tramp Preachers, ignoring the command ‘Judge not’—do judge and condemn their neighbours.  What shelters me in the present examination of their methods is the latter part of the same passage:—

‘That you may not be judged, for just as you judge others, you will yourselves be judged, and the measure that you mete, will be meted out to you.’
The Tramps assume that the commands in the 10th chapter of Matthew, delivered at the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, apply to them and to us today.  The first thing noticed about this chapter is—the persons to whom it was delivered.

Calling His twelve disciples to Him, Jesus gave THEM—(note the word)—authority over foul spirits, so that they could drive them out, &c. Here the commission was to ‘the twelve:’  the proof of the committing to them of this power was its exercise, and its marvellous effects.  It is plain from the context that the command was to them especially, for not only are they mentioned by name but they only received the power which was the fruit of the commission, and only they were able to exercise it.

There are many people who claim to be in the succession of the Apostles, but without investigating any one of these claims, and without venturing any opinion as to whether these claims are well founded, the fact remains beyond all question, that not one of the claimants, no matter how exalted or humble—can exhibit the proof of the power which the Apostles received to ‘cure the sick, raise the dead, make the leper clean, drive out demons.’  The proof of the commission was its exercise and the fulfilment of its agency.

The Tramps have no such proof:  they are not of the Twelve apostles, nor are they of the 72 disciples, to whom Luke narrates that these instructions were addressed.

One thing remains abundantly clear—the 10th chapter of Matthew states distinctly (ver. 6) that the apostles on this mission were not to go abroad, but to confine themselves to their own country, to Jewry.  They were not even to go to the adjoining province of Samaria, nor to the Gentiles; they were to confine their operations on this particular mission at home to their own province, for which they obtained these special instructions ‘to the lost sheep of the House of Israel:’  and for that reason, going among their own people, speaking their own language, travelling over a district not much larger than, or about the same size as the County Tyrone, they were not to cumber themselves with changes of clothing, nor were they even to take a staff in their hand.  These were the orders and they were obeyed.

We may quote the rest of the passage.  Having recited the names of the twelve, the record proceeds.  Those twelve Jesus sent out as his Messengers, after giving them these instructions:— ‘Do not go to the Gentiles, nor enter any Samaritan town, but make your way rather to the lost sheep of Israel.  And on your way proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  Cure the sick, raise the dead, make the lepers clean, drive out demons.  You have received free of cost, give free of cost.  Do not provide yourselves with gold, or silver, or pence in your purses; nor even with a bag for the journey, or a change of clothes or sandals, or even a staff; for the worker is worth his food.  Whatever town or village you visit, find out who is worthy in that place, and remain there till you leave.  As you enter the house, greet it.  Then, if the house if worthy, let your blessing rest upon it, but if it is unworthy, let your blessing return upon yourselves.  If no one welcomes you, or listens to what you say, as you leave that house or that town, shake off its dust from your feet.  (Twentieth Century version.)

Those were the instructions, and they remained valid until the great change came.  Perhaps two years had elapsed since that Judaean mission.  The fulfilment of prophecy came nigh.  The Feast of the Passover was near, and our Lord sent his disciples to prepare for it, according to the law of Moses.  Then followed that supper in the upper room which has excited the wonder of humanity, the most elevated imagination of the artist to depict on canvas or fresco, and the most intense devotion of the Christian to partake of, in which our Lord foreshadowed His end.

And, after thanks and glory giv’n,
  To him that rules in earth and heav’n’
That symbol of his flesh he broke,
  And thus to all his followers spoke—

‘My broken body thus I give,
  For you, for all:  take, eat, and live:
And oft the sacred rite renew
  That brings my wond’rous love to view.

Then in his hands the cup he raised
  And God anew he thanked and prais’d;
While kindness in his bosom glow’d,
  And from his lips salvation flowed.

‘My blood I thus pour forth, he cries,
  To cleanse the soul in sin that lies;
In this the covenant is seal’d,
 And Heav’n’s eternal grace reveal’d.’

With certain knowledge of death before Him, that His disciples would no longer have a leader, and that prophecy must be fulfilled, Jesus bids them prepare for distress and more perilous times.  He reminded them of former commands—(as in the 10th chapter)—as told in the same ‘Twentieth Century edition of the New Testament, from which I have already quoted:—He said unto them all
‘When I sent you as my Messengers, without either purse, or bag, or sandals, were you in need of anything?’
‘No,’ they answered.
‘Now, however,’ he said, ‘he who has a purse must take it and his bag as well; and he who has not must sell his cloak and buy a sword.  For I tell you, that passage of Scripture must be fulfilled in me, which says—
He was counted among the godless: indeed, all that refers to me is finding its fulfillment.’
‘Master,’ they exclaimed, ‘look, here are two swords!’
‘Enough’ said Jesus.  (Same version.)
Thus the commands of the 10th of Matthew and 10th of Luke were cancelled.
The Tramps put things this way:—
‘Are not all the commands of Jesus to be obeyed?’—Answer, ‘yes.’
‘Did not he give injunctions in Matthew Ten?—‘Yes.’
‘Therefore, as you are to observe all His commandments you must obey and go with those who follow those precepts?’

But the Tramp does not point out to the unthinking the conditions of those commands, nor the all important fact that those commands, given during the earlier part of his ministry, were cancelled in the 22nd chapter of Luke, after the Lord’s Supper, when new conditions had arisen.

When His disciples were to go among their own people only, in a small district, they had no need of purse (wallet,) bag (scrip), or shoes (sandals); bare feet were sufficient for a short journey but ‘now, however,’—now, under the changed circumstances, when they would be without their Master, and would have to go out to preach His gospel in foreign parts, they must provide necessaries for themselves; and thus guard against danger by providing a sword.  The people of Galilee were accustomed to go armed in those days, to protect themselves against robbers and wild beasts.  Even so lately as 30 years ago travellers in Palestine had to go armed, or travel in large parties for protection, or secure an armed guard.  Even yet arms are a necessary provision for safety in parts of Palestine.

When Jesus referred to the sword, it was found that there were two swords in the company; and Our Lord said—‘They are enough,’ or sufficient.  These swords were probably of the short Roman pattern, which could easily be concealed among flowing dress, and they were retained by the disciples, for Peter used one to cut off the ear of Malchus, showing that  it was a sword intended for use.  But Jesus had taught them that they must not advance His Kingdom by force; His sword, which was to prevail, was a spiritual one; and the disciples, doubtless, afterwards discerned that Jesus then spoke, as he frequently did, figuratively.

October 21, 1909
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland




(By W.C.T.)

By W.C.T.

The Tramp Preachers at Crocknacrieve ridiculed the idea of infant baptism, on the ground that it was not conformable to Scripture; and they also contended, as they manifest in their ‘dipping’ services, that baptism should only be performed by immersion.

This subject is a deep and prosy one for discussion in a newspaper.  I am not a theologian, and therefore not versed in doctrinal points, and can convey to my readers only what affects my own mind on the subject.  I do not say that Baptists are wrong in immersing their people, but what I do contend is, that they are not entitled to declare that others are wrong who baptise by sprinkling, and that the Scriptural grounds for one are equally strong as for the other; while reasons of health require that—in this climate at least—baptism by sprinkling should be preferred.

It should be remembered that just as the form of the cross bore a sacred significance in Pagan times, so the rite of baptism had existed previous to the ceremony at Bethabara.  It was generally used for purposes of initiation.  Indeed when we come to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, we ask into what was this an initiation, for John himself admitted that it was he who should have been baptised by the Messiah, baptised as a believer in the Christ, just as he had been the fore-runner.  Had this baptism by John any connexion with the Jewish habit of baptizing converts or disciples, or with purification from sin by sprinkling of water, as indicated in the 20th chapter of Ezekiel, and in the 13th of Zechariah?  However, Jesus considered the ceremony was fitting ‘thus to satisfy every claim of religion,’ and the opportunity was availed of by God the Father to seal the act with a declaration of the sonship of Jesus— This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.

It is strange that our Lord did not Himself perform the ceremony of baptism.  He did not even baptize his disciples, so far as we are informed; and it seems as if he regarded the rite as of secondary importance when he confined Himself to preaching the Word, and leaving baptism to be performed on His followers by the disciples (4th John).

The Tramp Preachers, when insisting on immersion as Scriptural, argue that Jesus, after His baptism, came up ‘out of’ the water, quoting the words of the authorized version.  I do not see that the words ‘out of’ necessarily involve the fact of immersion, though they are capable of such a construction.  The word used in this passage in the original Greek for ‘out of’ is apo, which means ‘from.’  The word ex in Greek means ‘out of;’ and therefore we have the same passage in the Revised version rendered—‘He came straightway from the water,’ which does not convey any idea of immersion at all.  The 20th Century Testament is in the same line—‘After the baptism of Jesus, and just as He came up from the water,’ so that the idea of immersion is absent.

The word baptism comes from the Greek baptizo, to dip or wash, and it bears both significations in Scripture.  It does not necessarily bear the sense of immersion.  It also frequently conveyed the sense of cleansing, as in 5th of Ephesians and 10th of Hebrews (22nd verse), where we are told to have ‘our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.’  The early proselytes were dipped or immersed, and others were sprinkled, in the ceremony of baptism.  Both forms are Scriptural.  Immersion was perhaps preferred among the early Christians, but sprinkling steadily advanced in popularity and in use until it became legalised in 1311 by the Council of Ravenna, which left the matter to the discretion of the officiating minister.  Baptisteries or buildings for the baptism of neophytes and others were built in connexion with several of the early churches of Southern Europe, but the matter of climate felt itself felt as the Church proceded northward until the practice of immersion gradually faded away.

Yet from time to time there were outbursts of ‘Anabaptists,’ as they were called, in favour of immersion, and so violent even were the Baptists in England after the Reformation in professing their doctrines, and so intolerant of infant baptism, that several of them suffered punishment by the state for upholding their principle, and some of them even perished at the stake.

It is quite true, as the Tramp Preachers maintain, that our Lord was an adult when he was baptised by the Baptist, but they forget that he had been baptised (the christian equivalent of circumcision) when an infant of eight days old through the rite of circumcision.  As a matter of necessity all disciples of John were adults.  Christianity had not then entered upon its career; and when Jesus Christ preached His gospel one of the most momentous utterances of the time was His declaration respecting children—Forbid them not, For of such is the Kingdom of heaven.

Whether these children were the baptised children of Jewish converts (as does not seem likely), or children who by circumcision had had their covenant made with God by their parents on their behalf, as we do today in the rite of baptism (as seems most probable), the fact is, our Lord recognised their heavenly qualification.  These children without any baptism by immersion, were already fit for the Kingdom of God, and they had already undergone the Jewish form of baptism in infancy.  When Israelites became christians they had their children baptised as well as themselves, following the law of Moses under the new state of things as well as the old, and thus we have the infants of converts baptised as well as those of mature years.

When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost to the multitude, he told them by repentance and baptism they would receive the Holy Ghost, for the promise was ‘unto you and your children,’ so that Peter conveyed the impression distinctly that children were to be admitted into the church along with their parents.

The Tramp Preachers fall into an error in conceiving that the baptism on the Day of Pentecost was one of immersion.  We must have regard to common sense and to the surroundings.  We are told in the 2nd chapter of acts that these Apostles had added to them that day 3,000 souls.  How many hours of the day remained after Peter’s great speech?  We are not told.  It takes the Tramp Preachers about five minutes to baptise one of their people, which, if their theory of immersing the 3,000 could possibly be true, would have required 15,000 minutes for the ceremony at Jerusalem; and as that space of time would cover almost 10 ½ days, it is obvious that the form of baptism employed could not possibly have been that of immersion.  Two minutes to each immersion would have consumed five whole days of 24 hours!!

Moreover, if we were to suppose that it was possible to immerse the 3,000 in one afternoon and evening, where was there water for the purpose?  The brook Kedron was the only natural means available.  There was no deep river Erne there, and the brook Kedron was dry at that season; and baptism must have been then performed either by pouring water on the head, as was often done, or by sprinkling.

Nor was it possible, so far as we can see, for the Philippian gaoler and his family to have been immersed, when baptised at midnight in their own apartments.  From what we know of eastern houses, and especially the eastern fashion in which their women were secluded, it seems highly improbable, and beyond the ordinary bounds of possibility that immersion could have taken place.  Private baths or tanks were not usual in those days.

In the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) Philip and he came to ‘some water.’  And they ‘went down into the water’ from the carriage.  That is, walked down into the water, and Philip baptised him.  But when they ‘came up out of the water,’ conveys the idea of returning again towards the chariot.  The words do not necessarily involve the idea of immersion.

As in the case of the 3,000 also, we must have regard to the exigencies of the climate.  Deep water was rare in Palestine.  Water was scarce; and when pools were to be found they were generally shallow.

Philip and the eunuch may have waded into the water of the pool as far as the ankles, or deeper, which their eastern dress and bare limbs would have permitted, so that Philip could obtain water enough to place on the eunuch’s head, instead of dipping him wholly, and thus sending him home in wet garments.

Further the same Greek word eis, translated here as ‘into,’ occurs several times in the same chapter of Acts, perhaps 10 times, and in no instance does it possess the meaning of ‘under,’ so that ‘into the water’ does not necessarily convey the meaning of ‘under’ the water.  It is altogether the other way.  I question strongly, but that is a matter for scholars, whether even one case of immersion can be proved from Scripture.

On the other hand several cases of baptism by sprinkling, or pouring water on the head, as we know, from the apochrypha and early writings, did take place.  Long before the advent of the Messiah, perhaps for two thousand years (as directed  in Genesis 17, and 13 and 14 verses) infants were brought into God’s church by circumcision.  This is unquestionable.

As infants were received into covenant with God by circumcision, so the converted Jew, who was baptised, would in the same manner, bring his child for baptism, for the promise of old was ‘to him and to his children.’  All Jews who have been converted to Christianity have brought their children to ‘be baptised,’ following the custom of their faith.

Baptism, according to Paul, dated back to the time when the children of Israel had been ‘baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the Red Sea.’  That baptism was not one of immersion, but of sprinkling; for the children of Israel passed over on dry land and it was a type of Christian baptism Paul tells us (6th Corin. 10 chap. and 6th verse), and an example.  Here the children were baptised along with the older people.

Paul, indeed, goes farther.  He speaks in the same letter to the Corinthians, (7th chap. 14) that when one of the parents had accepted the Christian faith the children were ‘holy,’ and the use of the word ‘holy’ is here understood to convey that the children are brought into connexion with the church and presumably baptised.  And Paul addresses these children in his letter to the Ephesians, and to the Colossians (3 and 20) as being members of the church.

Another point rises here.  We have mention in the Scriptures of several house holds having been baptised, such as that of Stephanas by Paul, and the word ‘household’ includes children.  Immersion was not at all likely in an eastern house of the period.  There were no facilities for it.

Then in no case have we any mention made of any children who had been once baptised, being re-baptised as adults.  It is absolutely certain from the reading of history that infant baptism prevailed along with adult baptism.  Both Justin Martyr and Origen, who lived shortly after the apostles, write of infant baptism as a practice of the early church:  and it is noteworthy that the doctrine is held by all the Christian churches, with the exception of the Baptists; and while I do not dispute from Scripture their right to baptise adults, if they please, I maintain that they cannot deny from Scripture our right to baptise our children into the Church of Christ.

The whole question is one on which a great deal might be said, if we lived in the Holy Land.  But we do not live there.  In Jerusalem the temperature varies from 70 to 130 degrees, and a bath in such a heat might prove grateful.  In our treacherous climate, with an average of only 55 or 60 degrees in the summer alone, except during a few spells of heat, the same ceremony would be dangerous to some, and fatal to others; while immersion in winter would be simply impossible, as it has proven to the Tramp Preachers themselves.  Baptism by sprinkling is not limited to a time or place; baptism by immersion requires, with the Tramp Preachers, warm water, or exposure in the open air; and it becomes impossible in Normany, in Iceland, and in Greenland, where the Arctic zone forbids immersion.  So that having regard to all the circumstances, practice of the Jews, and of the early church, to the difference of climate and therefore, of dress to the changed condition of Christendom as distinct from the heathendom of the early Christian age, when we desire to see all our children enrolled—even if it only be nominally—in the Christian army, and to the example of Paul in baptizing a whole household, I am content to accept sprinkling as abundantly scriptural and much more prudent, more modest, and more decorous than immersion.    


 Next week ‘Schism and Christian Communism,’ and then the closing chapter.

October 28, 1909, p. 5
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland




(By W.C.T.)

By W.C.T.

I cannot understand why the Tramps, who desire to follow Jesus Christ so literally in all respects, do not obey their own code in ‘Matthew Ten,’ as they term it, to go without shoes.  They adhere to the one suit of clothes, they will not have ‘wallet’ or change of clothing, they do not carry purse or scrip; yet they wear shoes, though ordered in the same sentence not to use them.

Now Jesus, following the custom of his day, walked barefoot or wore sandals. For this reason some of the monks of the Roman Church go barefoot, while others wear sandals, to be like Him, in this respect, while the Tramps do neither, nor have I ever known them to refer to the subject.

This simple matter is an illustration of where some knowledge is needed to understand the Bible.  Outside an Eastern home were placed some jars of water, for the purpose of washing the feet, and thus were the feet kept clean when entering a house.  When Jesus went to dine with the Pharisee, the latter gave the Christ no water to wash his feet.  Jesus reclined after the Eastern manner at dinner, and the outcast woman thus was able to wet his feet with her tears, and dry them with the hair of her head, and to anoint them with perfume.

Where have the Tramps any authority for their untidiness?  The gospel of dirt may appeal to some, as if to resemble veritable tramps, but, happily, untidiness, is out of fashion now-a-days.

Even if ‘Matthew Ten’ were not cancelled, as it undoubtedly is, it would not apply to this climate.  A man wearing the simple, single garment or few garments of the East, could readily bathe and wash himself, and thus keep himself clean.  The dirty fellow of today, who will not bring night garments about with him, and will continue to use the one suit of clothes without change, saturated with perspiration, in a foolish obedience to what he calls ‘Matthew Ten,’ should go to Palestine to carry out his methods.  They do not suit the Temperate or Arctic zones.

Palestine was about the size of the province of Ulster, and it was and is situated in a warm climate, where a  river bath was handy, and where a linen or calico garment was sufficient for use.  The Tramp will not wear that garment, and while he uses the garments of this climate will not observe the cleanliness that they demand.  He will neither shave, nor let his hair grow, as the Lord did, being a Nazarene; and he preserves an unclean-looking stubble on his chin.  Some of the Tramps affect the shabby garments as if to resemble a tramp or ‘pauper,’ while others are just as particular about their clothing as the rest of humanity.

A few pages of my ‘copy’ respecting the use of the term ‘Reverend’ having gone astray, I wish to add to what I have already written that, as I have shown, the term was applied, not by Scriptural authority, but as a matter of courtesy to an honoured and honourable calling.  The Tramps are correct in stating that there is no authority for such a designation of a Christian minister, but then, Paul is most emphatic on the subject in his final counsels in his first letter to the Thessalonians—

We beg you, brothers, to value those who toil among you, and are your leaders in the Lord’s service, and give you counsel.  Hold them in the very greatest esteem and affection for the sake of their work.

It was to carry out this injunction that a term was found to respectfully designate the ‘leaders in the Lord’s service’; and it was accorded to the clergy, not designed by them.  I admit, however, there is no scriptural authority for its use; and its use or abnegation may be a matter of taste.  The rector of Killeevan in this diocese when issuing notices lately, did not employ ‘Rev.’ as a title before his own name, nor the word ‘clerk’ after it, but signed himself simply as ‘John O’Connor, Sec. Board of Missions.’  That method would satisfy even the Tramp Preachers.  Some ministers such as Baptists and Congregationalists do not use the term ‘Reverend’ at all:  its use or disuse does not at all affect their ministerial usefulness.  The term is merely one of courtesy, which may be offered or ignored according to the individual taste.

One thing seems to me certain—that the man who has to demand it as a right has but a poor claim to it, for if he be what he ought to be, the courtesy will be freely extended.  All men delight to honour a godly minister.  The clergyman who has to lay claim to any distinction by reason of his cloth immediately forfeits it; for if he deserve it he will receive it.  To no one is a compliment so readily tendered as to a Christian minister.

But for a clergyman to deserve the title of ‘Reverend’ he must be a minister.  To minister (from the Latin ministro) is to serve, and he who serves God and serves his parish, his congregation, or the sphere in which he works, will obtain the recognition which his work deserves.

If a minister think of his social position, or the status of his position in a church, and trouble himself about precedence in diocese or state, or about the social standing of those whom he would admit to his home, he clearly unfits himself for the reverence due to a minister of Christ, and is not entitled to the designation.  If he be lazy in the performance of his duties, or incompetent, or unfit, he, by his own acts, disentitles himself to the designation which courtesy willingly yields to a minister of God.


Paul writing to the Philippians warned them against those who ‘proclaim the Christ out of jealousy and opposition,’ who speak in ‘a factious spirit,’ and advised them that ‘nothing should be done in a factious spirit or from vanity.’  He urged Timothy ‘solemnly, as in the sight of God, to avoid controversy, a useless thing, and the ruin of those who listen to it.’  Paul advised the Hebrews to ‘obey their leaders and submit to their control, for they are watching over your soul as men that will have to give an account,’ and John pointed out that ‘true love was not mere words but showed itself in acts.’

Where is there any love or charity, even a particle, in the language of the Tramps?  For love or charity is a hall-mark of christianity.  I am constrained, therefore, to give special heed to two verses in the last chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans:  ‘I urge you, brothers, to be on your guard against people who, by disregarding the teaching which you receive, cause divisions and create difficulties:  disassociate yourselves from them.  For such persons are not serving Christ, our Master, but are slaves to their own appetites (notoriety, and the rest); and, by their smooth words and flattery they deceive simple-minded people.’

How appropriate these words are!  Since the Tramps believe in total immersion (as many do), why not join the Baptists?  Since they do not believe in the use of the word Reverend, why not join the Baptists?  Since they do not believe in a special dress for the ministry why not join the Baptists?  They do not do so, but create schism, ‘cause divisions and create difficulties,’ as spoken of by Paul, and endeavour to delude and prey on the more religiously inclined members of society, to pervert them.  No wonder that Paul wrote to the Ephesians—‘Do not let any one deceive you with specious argument.’


I have not hitherto referred to the Tramps allowing women to speak in public at their assemblies.  That, most certainly, is not ‘the Jesus way,’ for it never occurred with Jesus, or his disciples, and Paul is most emphatic on the point, when he says (1st Cor., 14 and 34)—

Let the women keep silence in the churches:  for it is not permitted unto them to speak.  (Revised version.)

The Tramps have no authority whatever—not the faintest—for women preachers.  I do not here enter into the expediency of the principle, or the possible utility of women in the church as preachers.  I am simply judging the Tramp Preachers by their own foot-rule.


Some Tramps have sold their possessions to divide them; others retain their property; and take good care to hold it.

Christian Communism was tried by the Apostles and disciples.  It is a most desirable thing; but when it failed with the disciples, it failed with the Tramps; and we can scarcely expect to see it until man attain a much greater degree of perfection than seems possible for ages yet to come.  Many have tried Christian Communism and failed.  The Tramps have, alas, found that they had, as Mr. Wm. Irwin acknowledged at Crocknacrieve, ‘hypocrites’ as well as other communities.

Perhaps the highest form of Christian communism has been exemplified in the Society of Friends, for which I have always had a profound admiration.  They exhibit love towards one another in a Christian spirit; and when one of their number fail in business, he is placed on his feet again.  If he fail again, the same thing occurs; and then he obtains a third and last chance.  No other Christian community exhibits this spirit of Christian communism in the same way.  Nay, I have known an honest man who failed through stress of circumstances to be slighted by members of his own congregation, when, on the very contrary, it was their duty to come to his assistance.  We might all—Protestants and Roman Catholics alike—take pattern by the Society of Friends in this and other respects, if we cannot adopt all their views.  And the spirit of love, of charity, of brotherly kindness so remarkable with the Quakers, is the very opposite of the bitterness, jeers and sneers, and factious opposition of the Tramps, who have been taught by those who should know better, to mock and insult those who may happen to differ from them in opinion.  Let us hope that they will in time, in the word of Paul, be—

No longer like infants, tossed backwards and forward, blown about by every breath of human teaching, towards the snares of error; but holding the truth in a spirit of love, we (they) shall grow into complete union with Him who is our Head—Christ himself.


November 4, 1909, p. 5
Established 1808
Newspaper for Enniskillen, Northern Ireland





By W.C.T.

It is scarcely necessary to touch upon the ‘special dress’ of ministers so often referred to by the Tramp Preachers.  There is no warrant for special dress of Christian teachers in the Bible any more than for that of Christian people generally; but there was special dress in Palestine to distinguish Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans, and the priests of the Temple, as we all know.  And we also learn from our Lord’s parable, that there was a special dress suited for special occasions like the ‘wedding garment,’ which was obligatory.

Ecclesiastical vestments as worn at present in the eastern and western churches were unknown in the Apostolic age; nor is there a trace—hardly a trace to be found of them during the first three centuries.  The long and flowing garments of the better classes in the east, associated with dignity, were in all probability worn by Christian ministers, and these remained unchanged during the next four centuries.  Modern ecclesiastical costume did not begin till the ninth century, and it approached the old civil dress of the Roman official dignitaries.

The long gown of our Episcopal ministers may be a modern adaptation of the white tunic of old, which among those of the better class had two long stripes of varying width on the tunic, which are supposed to be represented by what we now call stoles.  In the Church of Rome the early bishops held positions of power in the state, and thus some of the decorations of the Roman magistracy passed into use by the clergy.  These and the vestments that followed had some symbolical object and were supposed to be of some doctrinal significance.  Development of these vestments occurred in the 12th and 13th centuries, and these were supposed to approximate to those appointed for the Mosaic priesthood.  But neither our Lord nor his disciples wore any form of ecclesiastical garment.

There is no obligation on a Christian minister to wear any particular form of outdoor dress, but Society of itself has demanded that ministers should wear costumes befitting their profession, so as to mark out those whose business it is to minister in holy things, and also, perhaps as a sign or token of their mission.  There is no snarling or grumbling at a nurse having a particular garb; and how sweet that garb, with its snowy whiteness and cleanliness, is to the eye of a weary patient, can only be understood by those who have realized its value!  That special dress immediately compels respect to one whose profession is to minister to disease and pain; it opens up a way through a boisterous crowd; it claims of itself a deference to the wearer.

In the same manner the dress of a minister marks his calling, and facilitates his movements.  Yet I have known ministers not to wear clerical dress.  I know ministers today who wear a tweed or serge suit, but the tone of society, constituted as it is, tends to consider such dress worldly and not becoming to a minister.  The garb of a minister points out an accredited servant of God; and the probability is, that human society, through its respect for sacred things and the office of a minister, will continue to demand that the ministerial office show some token by which it can be recognized and receive respect.

There is no authority in Scripture for Roman alb, Anglican surplice, or Presbyterian gown.  Any one may preach the Gospel as effectively and authoritatively without the dress as with it; but there are some people who think the continuance of a historical white and black garment is of service, and according to their faith be it unto them.  Some of our best preachers never don a clerical garment of any kind:  others do:  and so long as the Gospel is effectively preached mankind will not trouble itself about the dress.

In the Church of Rome some significance is attached to certain elaborate and costly vestments, embroidered with gold and lace; but it is absolutely certain that neither our Lord and his Apostles nor the early Church acknowledged or wore vestments of any kind.  The black gown worn by Presbyterian ministers and by Evangelical Episcopal ministers (during the sermon) was first adopted at Geneva as a protest against the ornate vestments of the Roman clergy.  The last clergy to wear the black gown in Enniskillen church were the late Dr. Magee, afterwards Archbishop of York, and his successor, the rector of Enniskillen, the late Rev. Samuel Greer, and the late Rev. W. Hanna Bradshaw, curate,—each of whom wore the black gown when entering the preaching pulpit.


In bringing these articles to a conclusion I wish it to be understood that there should not be condemnation of a Christian movement solely because it does not happen to proclaim our own views on religious matters.  Any religious movement will have a certain amount of good about it.  It shows the yearning of the soul after its God, the desire for better things, the effort of man to partake of the higher and better life.

Therefore, the movement of the Tramp Preachers would have been received with a certain amount of sympathy if it had led the drunkard to forsake his ways, the sinful to follow a new course, and the ordinary man to think more of religious things and walk as God desires he should walk.  But the Tramp Preachers were not content with that; they were not reformers but revolutionaries; they wished not merely to build up but to pull down and destroy, to defame their neighbours, to exhibit an unparalleled malice against others better than themselves, and all under the pretence that they could read and understand God’s Word better than other people, in which they could not and do not succeed.

We must then view them with charity, extend patience and kindliness, without sacrifice of principle; and while holding fast by the ‘old paths,’ take care not to revile, persecute, or harass those who would like nothing better than such a display of want of charity, seeing that they do not pretend to exhibit charity themselves.  I have never, in all my large and varied experience, known any body of people who seem so utterly destitute of charity as the Tramp Preachers, and charity is one of the hall-marks of the Jesus Christ who revealed himself to us in the Scriptures.


I have sometimes wondered if the Lord were to come on earth again, what would happen?  If, for example, he visited London, where would He betake himself, if we are to judge Him by his past?  Somehow, I think, and it is only a matter of opinion, that he would not be found in the stately St. Paul’s, nor in the dim light of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, nor within the costly Cathedral at Brompton, nor Argyle Square Presbyterian Church, nor the City Road Methodist Church, nor any of those places where His name is daily or weekly invoked; but that He would go to the East End, to Whitechapel and Wapping, to the poor and needy; and that He would say—

‘God stamped his image on man, but ye herd them like beasts of the field, and make brutes of those for whom I died.  Your gorgeous cathedrals are loathsome to Me in sight of the wretchedness of your own brethren.  Your feasts and fasts and observances are as the outside of the cup and platter, in view of the misery of the poor, whose wretchedness ye make no sufficient effort to alleviate.’

Amongst the crowds who would follow Him would be the Bishop of London, just like any one else, with Nonconformist ministers, jostling for place, among his clergy—all on an equality:  and the missionaries and deaconesses, and the barefooted friar and sandalled monk of the purlieus and Sisters of the Poor, alongside of the Salvation Army man and lass.  Perhaps He would repair, seeing there was no mountain, to the open space and the steps in front of the great building erected by the genius of Christopher Wren, or mayhap by the tall column, with its gilded ball, which tells of the Great Fire of London.  And He might say—
‘Blessed are the workers, who toil for My sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
 And the people would cry Amen.
 ‘Blessed are all ye who labour for Me, and not for the gain of office, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’
 And they would cry Amen.
 And the Lord might say—
 ‘Truly, I say unto you, there be many swinging censers of silver and brass, yet My Father desires the incense of grateful and loving hearts.  As far as the East is from the West, is your East of London from your West; and it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those, the stewards of wealth, who, knowing My will, see their brethren ground down to the dust and lend not a hand to save.  Go ye among the people.  Tell them I am come and behold, there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.  For My people shall not be destroyed, nor shall rapine and plunder exist under the shadow of the cross which ye exalt on high, and yet place on the necks of the poor to crush them in their misery.’

I could not possibly conceive of the Lord going to St. Peter’s in Rome with all its gorgeousness and state and ceremonial; but I could fancy Him going to the yellow Tiber, to the beautiful children in the narrow streets, and caressing them, For of such is the kingdom of heaven.

And if good Francis of Assissi could be there, would not he, too, go to the poor and humble, as well as to all those who are contrite of heart?

One wonders what would the Lord do?  The impress which He has left on our minds does not fit in with earthly pomp and grandeur, and ‘lordships’ and ‘graces’ and ‘eminences.’  I hope I do not give any offence when I say that I cannot conceive of Him being escorted by a Cardinal, with two priests holding up his red train, anymore than I could imagine Jesus being attended by an archbishop in state robes, with mitre on head, holding a crozier, and two pages holding up his train!  My fancy may be at fault.  My ideas may be astray, but the impression which the Christ gives me of His kingdom being not of this world in the sense of temporal state and pomp and power, and the use of earthly titles of distinction, lead me to conclude that while He would receive ALL who truly love and follow him—Protestant and Catholic, peer and peasant—-that His humility and meekness, His tenderness and devotion, His entire abnegation of all worldly pomp and empty ritual, would lead Him once more into the streets and fields, away from forms and ceremonies, while at the same time He would not forget the injunction—‘not to forget the assembling of yourselves together,’—and He would be found on God’s Day in a place dedicated and consecrated to God’s name.

You ask where and what that place or building would be?  It would just be wherever—wherever—He was truly worshipped; wherever the hearts of the people beat in true unison with His.  For He could overlook those who had not the pure heart, and read at a glance those who really worshipped Him in spirit and in truth.  And one can easily fancy His message to the troubled crowds of burdened humanity who would flock to Him—forgetting their sorrows and woes, their anxieties and heartaches, as they would hear the tender, pleading voice of the Messiah, in a stream of liquid music, say:—

  Come unto Me
 All ye that labour
  And are heavy-laden,
 And I will give you rest.
  Take my yoke upon you,
 And learn of me.
  For I am meek and lowly of heart,
 And ye shall find rest for your souls.

And that music is monosyllabic but for three words!  Nearly all words of one syllable!

And, if I may be permitted to sermonize—He can be with us, in our churches, chapels, and homes;—He can be with us in our workshop and in the field; in the counting house and factory, if we only allow Him to accompany us.  I cannot fancy Him on the race-course, any more than I could fancy Him in a drinking den.  But I can mentally see the Saviour of Men in any home when He is welcomed, no matter how humble, where His holy name is invoked; for ‘wherever two or three are gathered together in His name,’ there is He in the midst of them.

The Jews always set a vacant chair at a table on the occasion of a Feast for the Messiah, if he should come.  The place is ‘laid’ for Him.  We know that He has come for all those who receive Him, and it is for us, by His grace, to retain the companionship, while life lasts.

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