Compulsory Prayers.


In connection with the agitation concerning the abolition of compulsory chapel attendance, we print an article from the New York Times upon this subject. We are all familiar with the views held by the college press, but the stand taken by the outside press cannot fail to be noted with interest by all who have this reform at heart. The writer says:

"Those who adopted and have upheld this compulsory system in religion undoubtedly believe that it works for the good of the student-that it tends to keep the religious from backsliding and to draw the frivolous and irreligious to a sober consideration of religious truths and principles. But is this a correct view of the results of compulsion? There are in every college class students who would attend chapel and church if the rules did not require them to do so. They are active in prayer meetings and other religious work that is optional, so to speak. Compulsion is to them no hardship. They do not fully understand the feelings of those who protest against it, nor do they take into account the inevitable effect of compulsion in the minds of those who unwillingly submit. It is from those who do not feel the weight of compulsion that instructors are selected, who are in course of time to take part, in some colleges, in the government of the institution and to carry with them into the Faculty the views which they held before graduation. The abolition of compulsion would not work to the spiritual injury of these undergraduates. On the other hand, there are students who are led by this compulsory system to avoid religious services through their whole lives after graduation. They are represented by the graduate who declared that in four years he had heard enough prayers and sermons to last a lifetime, and that he would never again put his head inside a church. Would it not be better to incline such students toward religious observances by example and persuasion than to repel them by compulsion?"