Welsh Journals

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■Ho * Vol. III. New Series. MAY, 1907. No. 5. Are Ministers Muzzled P INISTERS muzzled! That sounds almost irreverent. Ministers —the servants of God ! Muzzled — hindered by man ! The phrase is out of the choice vocabulary of present-day jour¬ nalism ; it is highly journalese. But it is none the less expressive when translated to the pages of a religious magazine. Are the servants of God hindered by men ? Are the speakers of the Divine message silenced by the fear of their fellows ? It is a question, not merely of interest to the journalist, but of enormous importance to the Christian church >and to the highest welfare of man¬ kind. At present the tendency in our Connex¬ ion is towards a more settled ministry. The old itinerant system is passing .away, and ministers are preaching in their own pulpits more regularly. The olid itinerants were certainly not muzzled ; they were here to-day and gone to-morrow; they had no reason for dreading the frown of amy man. But are the more settled ministers of to-day as fear¬ less, as independent, as plain-spoken as the itinerants were ? To be more settled means to depend more directly upon the church for stipend, for comfort, for success, for daily bread. The minister of to-day has to remain among the people to whom he preaches ; he has to go in and out among them day by day ; he lives upon their money, upon their re¬ spect, upon their love, upon their good will. Has he courage enough to tell them the whole counsel of God ? Has he honesty enough to reprove them when they are wrong, to speak out nobly the law of Right in the name of God and for the best good of man 1 Here is a minister who has to preach to what is facetiously called a "stylish" con¬ gregation. He has the capitalist in front of him. The man who employs other men ! The man who .moves in the devious ways of money-making. Does that minister preach honestly the Gospel of Righteousness ? Or does he fear the capitalist's frown ? Does he fear that the capitalist will pay for honest preaching by a reduced contribution towards the ministry ? Is he muzzled ? Here is an¬ other minister who has to preach to what is called a "working" congregation. He has