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. " SERHMON UON .FOOTBALL GAME AND THE BARRACKER. -A topical subject, "Football-the Game and the Barracker," was treated as a sermon by the Rev. E. G. Pether ick at the morning service of the Hc- shaw Presbyterian Church on Sunday, and also at the -morniing s.:eirice atl Songerenong Collegec. 'Taking his lext from Samuel.ii, 10-12 Lotuts play thei game "ý :lRe Pletherick , -sid?A:n invi tition fiom a rather uiue petted quar ter had come to preach oa iootthll, the game and the barracker. This signifies that.the man in the street believes'there is some codinection betw eon religion and recreation;' tlthatChristianity has a mes sage ti lthe sport: of to-d:t. I'ris con nection is not fanciful. Jesus ? sav i rMlation betWeon -wheat in te piaddock aniid the harvest of GCod; between- fish in a net and thed dhy of judgment. St. Patul saw a relation between contest ,in the arena and the. fight o.f faith, beI tween a gymnast making his body fit and a Christian developing his soul. Football forces itself upon the notice of the nation becanuse of its popularity. Democracy counts hends. In Melbourne the league nimtches- attract over a hunldred thousand spectators every Sat tirday. How gre.at must be the at tendance throughout the. State. The ob server notes this aiid gives it word of warninig-football is only a pastime. 'Man's chief end is not his foot. Our pride in the Australian game is nat :ural; it is our most popular recreation, and it has evolved in Australia, due to the guidance of men like H. C. A. Har rison, but here again, there needs to be 'a warning. In our recreations we must not be little Australians; other codes are just as popular in their own coun tries. The observer sees, first, the g:ime is not won by the spectators. There is a thrill in the presence of an imiense crowd; mob pysehology is very mys terious. But we all like the crowd to be fair; to give a ringing cheer for brilliant play and to be willing to shout "Well done, the enemy." In. sensible prejudice must be put away. It is a pity to hear insinuations that "'so and so was bought." Too often the game is spoilt by one who bemoans the loss of his money because his team has failed. The observer sees also the game is not won by brute force; if this were so the club would only need to have a team of giants. The game is not merely for the big feet and the long armt. It has to be at heady game, and not a tricky gaie. Ience the team has to play the ball and not the man, and win the game by skill and not with the mouth. In his yeair Joe Pearce, full back and captain of the Melbourne Football Club, was the acknowledged champion footbailler. He had played cricket in Bendigo ; he was a member of the choir and superintendent of the Sunday school in East Melbourne. En listing in 1914 he was killed in the boats at the landing on Gallipoli. Af ter his death was announced, the fol lowing tribute to his memory was writ ten : ''rThe whistle blows, the referee calls "Time!" The players drop their futile panto mime. The game is o'er, the final goal is made, A fickle public says to you, "Well played." But to.a sterner field you heard the call, Leaving the men of softer stuff at.ball, And gladly gave your life to save the goal The honor of your country; yea., it's soul. A peerless wreath of laurel crowns- four name, For, fearless to the end, you "played the game.' A man, clean, honest, fair aind unafraid,. Who played the game as He would have it played." The nation knows the game is gov erned by a code. If a player breaks the laws or rules be is penalised. Some players may tryito evade themn, but there they stand. (1) So if you miss a goal by a foot, you suffer loss. How often a team needs only three points to win. There is some brilliant play--a kick-the crowd is ready to chcer-then a groan-the ball has hit the' post!" So in a greater game it is possible to be near the kingdom and yet fail. 'rOne thing thou lackest," said Jesus to :a yoiung man. "No drunkard; rno blas phnemer enters the kingdom," sayi° St. Paul. (2) A certain area is prescribed for play; irouild it is a white line, and thus far and no further can th~e player go, otherwise he is out of bounds. So also is an area prescribed for the soul; transgressing it a man trespasses, and becomes a breaker of God's laws. The observer sees two officials (1) umpire. -The player has his own free will (unless he ihas lcen ',botitit") the captain can guide his team; the bar rackei can cheer or eecrat-e, but none of these control the game. The umpire is in charge. IHaIve you ever thought of the Umpire of Umpires? The Judge of-all? who sits over against the treas ury watchiig the cointributions we bring
in the str~ugg?e of life. ife sees, and hears, and knows. lie awards tlhe praise; he gives the penalty. (2) The timekeeper. \What a thrill runs through the crowd when a team is playing against time. One site is defending. holding all they've got; another side is attacking. Five minutes to go, and they need ten points. Three minutes to go, they need four points. Then the bell rings, and tlhe game is lost and won! The p1nremiership is decided. Of teniyotr call ouir eitrthly existence ."the game of life:" Remember it hais an eild.: 'iThe whistle Iblos, :tlhe referee cills ';Time.", Mreii. B. Spurr givcs us thc m age- . ?.sa : r" ' st gime of all,-i when the Spaie fIs turned by the hand of time, He waits for the end of the players'.. game, In every .age and clinme;, No .matter how much each one wins, SOr how much each one saves,? The spade w'-ill finish: up the -gaie ' And dig' the players' graves." Play on, play tip and play the mganme Then shall you hear at the end the 3Master's "Well Done"!