Welsh Journals

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GRATIS. the: [GRATIS. elsh AND WATCHWORD OF PROGRESS: A MONTHLY MAGAZINE OF RELIGIOUS, SOCIAL, A.\l> POLITICAL ADVANCEMENT, AND HECOHI) OF IVOHK AMONG WELSH FREE CHRISTIANS IN LOS DON AND THE I'llINCIl'AUTY. Conclwctecl by S A IVI H E E S , No. 1.] JULY, 1895. [Vol. I. GREETING. Wales is a land of Liberalism. In politics, the free and progressive genius of the Welsh people is plainly manifest; and in religion, though standing, for the most part, by the creeds of orthodoxy, their liberal character is still evident. As a nation, Wales has repudiated tbe fetters of a State-made and State- controlled religion, and cherishes with signal devotion the perfect liberty of the Christian Gospel. Tbe present organ of opinion, which is now sounding its key-note, is intended to voice the aspirations of Welshmen who believe that their countrymen are prepared for another stride forward in the direction of religious liberty. In the past, Wales has stood for free organisation ; in the future, it will take its part on behalf of freedom in the realm of doctrine. Nonconformity in Wales, orthodox though it be, has done noble service for the people, and no Welsh¬ man, whatever his opinions, can regard it with other feelings than gratitude and affection. When the r,ro'*i+e^ and p^estp of the Stat^ ribnrch bad made themselves the willing tools of political oppression, and allowed the people to sink into heathenism, the nation was saved by fervent men who burst the bands of a slavish Establishment, and preaching in the native tongue, and ministering in the simplicity natural to the Welsh character, became the founders of our honoured Nonconformity. It is therefore in no spirit of antagonism to their work that the movement expressed by this journal is inaugurated. On the contrary, we feel profoundly convinced that our objects are a natural development of their mission. The brilliant light of the present century has made possible, nay inevitable, a further onward move in the path of progress. Old views have become untenable ; and we must be faithful to the truth within us by embracing new. We do not seek to detach any from a religious faith or denomi¬ national connection in which they find spiritual nourishment and philanthropic labour. But we are well aware that many are compelled, though with great reluctance, to break away from the orthodox creeds ; and are in most cases doomed to wander and perish in a moral desert. To such we offer an oasis of religious freedom, where thejr may continue to cultivate their aspirations towards the higher life without the intolerable pressure on their intellectual liberty, which is implied in the acceptance of creeds and dogmas In pursuing this mission, particularly among young Welshmen in London, we anxiously seek the sympathy of all our fellow-countrymen in the Homeland and in the Metropolis, and the adhesion and support of such as are able to identify themselves with our cause. P. H. Thomas. PROPOSED ORGANISATION OF LONDON WELSH FRhE CHRISTIANS. The movement recently set on foot to establish a Society of Welsh Free Christians in London is meeting with fairly good success. I am in receipt of letters on the subject from all parts of the country, most of which are couched in kindly and encourag¬ ing terms. Some two dozen compatriots, resident in different parts of London, have expressed themselves favourable to the idea, and it is hoped that in the course of a week or two we shall so far have arranged matters as to be able to convene a meeting to formally inaugurate the society; time and place will be duly notiJied by post to all interested. The following remarks are extracted from a letter I sent to the Inquirer, J une 22nd : " It is a matter for surprise that up to the present no attempt whatever .seems to liave been made to organise a Loudon Welsh branch of that broad and liberal Church of whose humane views and ethical teaching., your jcur";l i« such an able exponent We are told that there are in this great city con¬ siderably OVER TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND WELSH PEOPLE who speak their native language With tolerable accuracy and fluency. It is further calculated that of this astounding number of Welshmen, who are scattered in all directions over the metropolis and suburbs, only about one-third attend Welsh religious- worship ; on\y two-thirds of these again being ' members.' And these do not by any means represent the most cultured class of the London Welsh community. Indeed, on the contrary, it may be reasonably inferred that that class is to be found quite outside the pale of the ' orthodox' Church; because a bitter complaint is frequently made thatno sooner do those of our young men and maidens who happen to so cultivate and widen.their minds as to raise themselves somewhat above the standard intelli¬ gence of the average ' orthodox ' Welshman become a little energetic and desirous of doing good in the churches to which they belong,than they begin to realise the difficulty of making themselves truly useful in such a narrow groove as that in which fashionable ' Chris¬ tianity ' generally moves. Small wonder, therefore., that they turn a cold shoulder to the religion of their youth, and seek elsewhere a more congenial field of action and a wider scope for their charitable and un¬ stinted religious opinions. Now, we want to know what becomes of those of our fellow-couMrymen who are not in the habit of attending any chapel or church. And our object is to seek them out and endeavour to stimulate them to action—to take a