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Full text of "Christian life a normal experience : a study in the reality and growth of Christian experience"

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CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL 
EXPERIENCE 



BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR 



Fundamental Religious Principles in Brown- 
ing's Poetry .,.,..... 
Introducing Men to Christ .... 
Personal Elements in Religious Life 
Christian Life — A Normal Experience 

Negro Life in the South 

Present Forces in Negro Progress . . 



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CHRISTIAN LIFE 
A NORMAL EXPERIENCE 

A STUDY IN THE REAL- 
ITY AND GROWTH OF 
CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE 



W. D. WEATHERFORD, Ph.D. 



ASSOCIATION PRESS 

New York: 347 Madison Avenue 
1919 



/ 



Copyright, 1916 

BY 

Smith & Lamar 



PREFACE. 

The ready interest in and response to the little volume, 
"Introducing Men to Christ/' far exceeded the highest hopes 
of any one. So far as can be ascertained, more than fifteen 
thousand students have followed its outline of studies; and 
it is believed that the faith of some has been strengthened 
and that many have been encouraged to undertake personal 
work. 

There has come a rather widespread demand for some 
volume written along the same general lines as the former 
volume, but more thorough and comprehensive. This, it has 
been thought, could be used with more mature workers and 
would not in any sense take the place of "Introducing Men 
to Christ," which it is hoped will still find large use with 
underclassmen. 

We have taken the liberty to follow parts of the general 
outline of the former volume and in one case to incorporate 
one chapter almost complete. This volume, however, is a 
completely new statement, made much more thorough and 
treated in greater fullness. 

The attempt has been to show the normality of Chris- 
tian experience; to indicate clearly how that experience 
grows and how it may become real in any life. There is a 
definite attempt also to set forth the superior claims of 
Christianity as over against the non-Christian religions and 
also those modern substitutes for Christianity which are so 
numerous at the present hour. The whole has been care- 
fully tested by experience with thousands of men in reli- 
gious work during recent years. It is hoped, therefore, that 
this may prove a laboratory book on Christian experience. 



6 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 

We are indebted to entirely too many friends and books 
to attempt to enumerate all. Whenever possible, we have 
tried to give credit for all quotations. We can only hope 
that this little volume will render as great a service as its 
forerunner has already seemed to do. 

W. D. Weatherford. 

Nashville, Tennessee, April, 1916. 



CONTENTS. 

FAGE. 

Preface 5 

STUDY I. The Meaning of Christian Life 11-25 

I. The Intellectual Element in Religion 12 

11. Emotionalism as Religion 14 

III. Altruism as Religion 16 

IV. Religion as Ritualism 18 

V. Religion as Relationship 20 

VI. Religion as Relationship (Continued) 2.'2 

VIL Christian Life, Both Individual and Social 24 

STUDY II. Entrance and Growth in Christian Life 27-41 

I. Removing Barriers 28 

II. God's Attitude of Approval 30 

III. The Law of Expression 32 

IV. The Meaning of Faith 34 

V. The Meaning of Faith (Continued) 36 

VI. The Law of Association 38 

VIL The Law of Service 40 

STUDY III. Personal Results of Christian Experience 43-57 

I. What Is Conversion ? , 44 

XL What Is Conversion ? (Continued) 46 

III. Unification of Personality 48 

IV. A Sense of Loyalty 50 

V. To What Shall We Be Loyal? 52 

VL The Revaluation of the Self 54 

VII. Enthusiasm for Humanity 56 

STUDY IV. The Message of the Non-Christian Religions. 59-73 

I. The God of the Non-Christian Religions 60 

II. The God of the Non-Christian Religions (Continued) . (i2 

III. Valuation of Man in the Non-Christian Religions 64 

IV. Conception of Sin in the Non-Christian Religions 66 

V. Standards of Morality in Non-Christian Religions 68 

VI. Conception of Salvation in Non-Christian Religions... 70 

VII. Do the Non-Christian Religions Satisfy? 72 

(7) 



8 CONTENTS. 

PAGK. 

STUDY V. Modern Substitutes for Christianity 75-89 

I. Theosophy 76 

II. Christian Science 78 

III. Pessimism 80 

IV. Positivism, the Religion of Humanity 82 

V. Theism, a Christless Christianity 84 

VI. Eclecticism 86 

VII. The Ethical Culture Movement 88 

STUDY VI. A Personal God 91-105 

I. Modern Scholarship and a Personal God 92 

II. Modern Scholarship and a Personal God (Continued) . 94 

III. The Character of God 96 

IV. The Meaning of God to Daily Life 98 

V. Can God Speak to Men? 100 

VI. Conditions of Knowing God 102 

VII. What Is the Bible? 104 

STUDY VII. Christ the Supreme Revelation of God 107-121 

I. The Manhood of Christ 108 

II. Christ's Perfect Moral Standards no 

III. Christ the Forgiver of Sin 112 

IV. Christ the Revealer of God 114 

V. Meeting the Needs of Men 116 

VI. The Meaning of Christ's Consciousness 118 

VII. Is the Incarnation Idea Unreasonable ? 120 

STUDY VIII. Man and His Relationships 123-137 

I. The Nature of Man 124 

II. Growth of Moral Life 126 

III. Selfishness as Sin 128 

IV. The Growth and Meaning of Sin 130 

V. The Sacredness of Man 132 

VL The Destiny of Man 134 

VII. Can We Accept the Idea of the Permanence of Per- 
sonality? 136 

STUDY IX. Can the Modern Man Pray? I39-I53 

I. The Universality of Prayer 140 

II. Difficulties in Answer to Prayer 142 

III. Do We Need to Pray to a Good God ? 144 

IV. Prayer Answered through Suggestion 146 

V. Negative Conditions of Prayer 148 



CONTENTS. g 

PAGE. 

VI. Positive Conditions for Prayer 150 

VII. Prayer a Working Force 152 

STUDY X. The Reality of Religion 155-169 

I. Religion as tlie Projection of Our Own Desires 156 

II. The Origin of Religion 158 

III. The Minimum of Belief 160 

IV. The Attitude of the Truth Seeker 162 

V. The Will to Believe 164 

VL Hindrances to Reality 166 

VII. Laws of Growing Reality 168 

STUDY XL Sharing the Christian Message 171-185 

I. The Meaning of Testimony 172 

II. The Test of the Reality of an Experience 174 

III. The Nature of Our Testimony 176 

IV. Life as Religious Testimony 178 

V. Lack of Experience and Ability to Express an Experi- 
ence 180 

VI. We Shrink from All Personal Conversation 182 

VII. Testimony and the Needs of Men 184 

STUDY XII. Testimony and the Extension of the King- 
dom 187-201 

I. Christ's Method of Extending the Kingdom 188 

11. Many Can Be Reached Only Through Personal Testi- 
mony 190 

HI. Men Are Waiting for Our Testimony 192 

IV. Simple Testimony Effective 194 

V. How to Help Those in Doubt 196 

VI. How to Help Those in Doubt (Continued) 198 

VII. Arousing the Indifferent 200 

Bibliography 203-206 



STUDY I. 

The Meaning of Christian Life. 



12 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

**Be not wise in thine own eyes." (Prov. iii. 7.) 

"My soul, if thou wilt receive my words, 
And lay up my commandments with thee; 
So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, 
And apply thy heart to understanding; 
Yea, if thou cry after discernment. 
And lift up thy voice for understanding; 
If thou seek her as silver, 
And search for her as for hid treasures : 
Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, 
And find the knowledge of God. 
For Jehovah giveth wisdom; 

Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." 

(Prov. ii. 1-6.) 

*Tn that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O 
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things 
from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even 
so. Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." (Luke x. 21.) 



PART I. THE INTELLECTUAL ELEMENT IN RELIGION. 

Perhaps the greatest need of our time is that we shall 
get a clearer conception of the real meaning of Christian 
life. There is much confusion here, and not a few people 
are taking one element of Christian life to be the whole of 
the Christian experience. Naturally a one-sided character 
is developed as the result ; or, what is more serious, this one- 
sided Christianity fails to make any appeal whatever to 
thoughtful people. 

The first one-sided conception of religion is that of intel- 
lectualism. This is perhaps traceable to Greek philosophy. 
The Greek sophists set aside all tradition and all absolute 
standards of truth and goodness, holding that the individual 
must be the final authority as to what was good for him. 
Socrates replied to this by saying that men were not to be 
bound by mere traditional standards, but that they must 
think through the facts of human conduct and hence find 
the fundamental of moral obligation. To Socrates virtue 
and knowledge were identical, and to know the truth was 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 13 

to become virtuous. To live a life guided by reason was, 
therefore, to Socrates the supreme happiness. 

Influenced by Greek philosophy, men have often defined 
Christianity as a system of thought; and certainly Chris- 
tianity is a system of thought. But to accept that system as 
true does not constitute one a Christian. The fundamental 
weakness in Socrates's theory of the "good" lay in the dis- 
crepancy between thought and action. Most men know well 
enough what is right, but many men fail to act on this in- 
tellectual knowledge. To know truth is fundamental, but 
not all-sufficient. Christian life has a creed, but it is not a 
creed. The Christian man will base his experience on the 
conviction of certain fundamental truths, but the intellectual 
assent to those truths will never by itself make one a Chris- 
tian. 

Some students are waiting to get all their intellectual 
problems settled before they consciously give themselves 
over to Christian living; and others, equally mistaken, sup- 
pose that because they have no particular intellectual diffi- 
culties with the Christian system of thought, conclude, 
therefore, that they have met the whole conditions of Chris- 
tian life. But both are mistaken. "To inform the mind is 
one thing ; to enrich the soul is quite another thing."^ 

The Pharisees were most scrupulous about their intellec- 
tual conceptions and prided themselves on their thorough 
knowledge of the law. But Christ bluntly told them that it 
was not sufficient : "Ye search the scriptures imagining you 
possess eternal life in their pages — ^and they do testify to 
me — ^but you refuse to come to me for life."^ 

It is not a matter of indifference what one believes, as 
some seem to think. It is not enough just to do the best 
you know — that is good so far as it goes — but you must also 
be striving to know the best. No man ever yet built a cor- 
rect life on a false conception. But we must not fall into 
the other mistake of supposing that thinking correctly will 
of itself make our conduct and character right. Reason as 
a final standard is not sufficient, because man is more than 
a rational being. Religious intellectualism is not Christian 
experience. 

^Brumbaugh, 'The Alaking of a Teacher/' page 5. 
^John V. 39-44. From Moffatt's translation. 



14 



CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"Now as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village : 
and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet, 
and heard his word. But Martha was' cumbered about much serv- 
ing; and she came up to him, and said. Lord, dost thou not care 
that my sister didst leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that 
she help me. But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, 
Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things : but one 
thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall 
not be taken away from her." (Luke x. 38-42.) 



PART IL EMOTIONALISM AS RELIGION. 

Another misconception of Christian life is that it con- 
sists in an ecstatic feeling of emotion. In many of the older 
types of revivals the most prominent manifestation of reli- 
gious experience was that of a violent emotionalism ex- 
pressed in tears, groanings, and shouting; and even in the 
quieter and more decorous congregations deep emotion was 
considered the necessary concomitant of religious experi- 
ence. Not a few students are still expecting such an up- 
heaval of feelings to warn them that a change of life has 
taken place. Professor Coe thinks that the degree of emo- 
tionalism expressed at conversion in any group of people 
will depend on two things : First, on the amount of expec- 
tancy for such experience for which they have been taught 
to look, and, secondly, on the temperament of the individual 
persons. In those denominations where emotional excite- 
ment is supposed to be the sign and seal of conversion all 
the conditions favorable to producing such upheavals are 
regularly used."^ 

We ought not allow ourselves to be misled here. There 
can be no personal relationship without an emotional ele- 
ment. It would be foolish for one to suppose that he could 
love his mother without some emotion. Emotion is a normal 
and a necessary part of personal life and must not be dis- 
counted. To deny its rightful place is equally as foolish as 

'Coe, "The Spiritual Life," page in. 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 15 

to deny that all religion must have an intellectual back- 
ground. Without thought content religion becomes super- 
stition; without emotion it becomes a lifeless and impotent 
theory. The twofold danger of our day is that the more 
cultured will set emotion aside as something to be discounted 
and that the ignorant will consider it the full content of re- 
ligion. 

Hegel said : "The true nerve [of feeling] is the genuine 
thought, and only when the thought is true can the feeling 
be of a genuine kind." And Eucken adds that when feeling 
"attempts to weave a content out of itself in order to lead 
man beyond the mere human province to a relationship with 
the divine, it degenerates of necessity to the level of eccen- 
tricity and fancy. "^ "The function of feeling in the total 
experience," says Ames, "may be stated as that of a sign of 
the value of the activity in which the organism is engaged."^ 

There is no passage in the Bible, so far as I am aware, 
which prescribes the kind of feeling one must have in order 
to be religious. Hence those persons who say that they can- 
not be religious because they do not feel like it are certainly 
mistaken in this conception of the meaning of religion. If 
we have been wrong and want to be right, we may turn our 
faces toward God and give our lives to him regardless of 
whether we have any feeling about it or not. It is likely 
that the feeling will come later ; for, according to functional 
psychology, all feeling is dependent upon and follows action. 
We first act, then we have the glow of emotion because we 
acted. Feeling is not religion; it is the consequence of right 
relationship, which is religion. Not until we have given 
ourselves to religious life have we a right to expect religious 
emotion. 

^Eucken, "The Truth of Religion," page 81. 

*Ames, "Psychology of Religious Experience," page 328. 



l6 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"And he came forth and saw a great multitude, and he had com- 
passion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: 
and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now 
far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said. The place is desert, 
and the day is now far spent : send them away, that they may go into 
the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat 
to eat. But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. 
And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred penny- 
worth of bread, and give them to eat?" (Mark vi. 34-37.) 

"And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One 
thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven : and come, follow me." 
(Mark x, 21.) 



PART III. ALTRUISM AS RELIGION. 

One of the most prevalent misconceptions of our day is 
that religion consists in doing good deeds. Men glibly quote 
St. James about "caring for the widows and orphans in their 
trouble" as the essence of pure religion. Social service has 
come to be such a magic phrase with us that many men 
have supposed that it is a dynamic for life within itself and 
a "cure-all" for personal and social evils. 

One would not want to underestimate the value of social 
service. One would not dare belittle the altruistic impulses. 
But the doing of good deeds is hardly sufficient. It may 
become a fad and have very little of spiritual dynamic be- 
hind It. But deeper than this is the fact that altruism does 
not spring out of nothing. It has an origin and a cause. It 
goes back to something deeper than itself : the appreciation 
of the value and sacredness of human personality. Now, 
this appreciation of the sacredness of personality is of the 
very essence of Christ's message of life, and out of that 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. ij 

message have sprung all the world's philanthropic move- 
ments. One who has traveled the world knows well that the 
fact of social service is known only in countries where the 
message of the Bible has been made known. 

Social service is not, therefore, religion; it is the expres- 
sion of religion. It is the normal and natural outgrowth 
of all true Christian experience. The man who thinks he 
is religious but has no interest in his fellow men is surely 
mistaken, and just as surely is that other man mistaken who 
thinks his interest in men has not sprung from a religious 
impulse. He may not have consciously given himself over 
to the Christian life, but his conception of the value of hu- 
manity, which is the mainspring of his service program, is 
purely and specifically Christian. 

The danger of past religious periods has been that re- 
ligion would be too subjective, spending itself on mere in- 
tellectual and emotional states; but the chief danger of our 
age is that religion shall become too objective, spending it- 
self in outward deeds without giving sufficient attention to 
the enriching of the inner personal experience, from which 
all good deeds must flow. 

2 



i8 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"Hear the word of Jehovah, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto 
the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. What unto me is the 
multitude of your sacrifices? saith Jehovah: I have had enough of 
the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight 
not in the blood of bullocks, or lambs, or of he-goats. When ye 
come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to 
trample my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an 
abomination unto me ; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assem- 
blies, — I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting. Your 
new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a 
trouble unto me; I am weary of bearing them. And when you 
spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when 
ye make many prayers, I will not hear : your hands are full of blood. 
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from 
before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, 
relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." 
(Isa. i, 10-17.) 

"For thou delightest not in sacrifice ; else would I give it : 
Thou hast no pleasure in burnt offering." (Ps. li. 16.) 

"And in his teaching he said, Beware of the scribes, who desire 
to walk in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places, 
and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts : they 
that devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers; 
these shall receive greater condemnation." (Mark xii. 38-40.) 



PART IV. RELIGION AS RITUALISM. 

Once more we must set aside a false conception in the 
form of ritualism, which is but an aspect of ecclesiasticism. 
Perhaps this is not so prevalent a misconception as in past 
times; but there are still those who think that joining the 
Church, attending its services, partaking of its sacraments, 
the reading of the Bible, the saying of prayers, constitute 
the whole of religion. To them religion is loyalty to an in- 
stitution ; it is a beautiful form, a well-appointed service, a 
careful performance of set practices. The danger of all 
religion and of all worship is that it shall become dead and 
formalistic. Indeed, this is the archenemy of all life; but 
perhaps it is a more serious problem in religion than in any 
other phase of life. 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 



19 



The evil of all evils to be dreaded is that our religion 
shall become institutionalized and lose its vital content. 
Formalism was the chief sin of Isaiah's day, which, he tells 
the people, induces religious stupidity and finally incapacity 
to see truth. The danger of our loyalty to an institution is 
that we forget that for which the institution stands. The 
great danger of any set ritual is that it shall come to take 
the place of real fellowship with God. It is apt to leave the 
life without any moral content. "When ye make many 
prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood." 

We must not go to the opposite extreme, however, and 
suppose that there is no need for loyalty to the Church or 
order in worship. Human life seems to be dependent to a 
large extent on symbols. We are not, for the most part, 
able to grasp abstract truth. Truth must become incarnated 
or put into symbols. This the Church as an institution, 
with its ritual of worship, helps to do and thus is a means 
to strengthen the reality of religion. There is no possible 
objection to using symbols, provided we know always that 
they are symbols and not realities. We must always be able 
to break through the form and get to the reality. We must 
pierce the crust of organization and ritual and find the real- 
ity of God. 

If organizations, times, seasons, and forms help us to find 
God, let us have them; but not for the sake of the institu- 
tions or seasons, but for the sake of finding life. God may 
be more vivid to us in the Church service, but he is just as 
real and as active in everyday life. We must not shut him 
up to consecrated places nor expect to see him only in hours 
of ritual performances. He is greater than any form, any 
sanctuary, or any sacred season or creed. We must find 
Him. 



20 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before 
the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with 
calves a year old? will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, 
or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for 
■my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He 
hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah 
require of thee, but to do justly, to love kindness, and to walk hum- 
bly with thy God?" (Mic. vi. 6-8.) 

"And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only 
true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." (John 
xvii. 3.) 

"No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not 
what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things 
that I heard from my Father I have made known unto you." (John 
XV. IS.) 



PART V. RELIGION AS RELATIONSHIP. 

If religion is not intellectualism, not emotionalism, not 
altruism, not ritualism, then what is it? Micah says it is 
right relationship to our fellov^ men — doing justice and 
loving kindness — ^and fellowship with God. 

If we were trying to define religion in generic terms, we 
would say that it was man's consciousness of relationship to 
a higher but kindred power, with whom he desired to live on 
terms of friendliness. It is the expression of man's desire 
to have fellowship with the kindred power outside himself. 
The unifying element in all religions is this God-conscious- 
ness. The interpretation of this consciousness by peoples of 
varying temperament, culture, and environment has given 
rise to very divergent forms of religious belief. But the 
fact of universal religious consciousness makes us certain 
that there is central truth here. This fact of consciousness 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 21 

of a higher kindred power — religion — Eucken says, is *'the 
strongest power within the world/' 

"Whatever appears in life as heroism," says Eucken, 
*'roots itself ultimately in religion. Nothing can inspire man 
in the depth of his soul, nothing can win his entire self- 
surrender, unless it has linked itself to his religion or has 
become a kind of religion in itself. Indeed, all belief of 
humanity and of the individual seems inseparable from a 
belief in the indwelling of a divine in human nature, of the 
loving presence of an eternal and spiritual energy in the 
deeds of man."^ 

To give another generic definition of religion: It is the 
response of man to this eternal energy within his soul and 
the ordering of his life in accordance with that response. 
This response will be largely conditioned by the conception 
any man has of God; but that God deals directly with every 
man and that every man's soul responds to this influence 
from God seems to be a fact well verified by the study of 
anthropology and comparative religions. 

Even the lowest forms of religion, therefore, seem to be 
a matter of relationship, a response of human souls to divine 
influence. 

^Eucken, "The Truth of Religion," page 4. 



22 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every 
branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh it away: and every 
branch that beareth fruit, he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. 
Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto 
you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit 
of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye 
abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches : He that abideth in 
me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me 
ye can do nothing." (John xv. 1-5.) 



PART VI. RELIGION AS RELATIONSHIP. 
(Continued.) 

If one attempts to define Christian religion, he has a more 
specific task; for here we are speaking of relationship to a 
personal God as revealed in a specific person, Jesus Christ. 

A Christian is, therefore, one who through daily associa- 
tion with God, as he is revealed in the life and record of 
Christ, has come to know God's will and joyfully conforms 
his life to that will. Or, again, to be a Christian is to be 
rightly related to all persons : God as we know him in Christ 
and men as we find them interpreted by Christ. A Christian 
is a friendly son of God and a brotherly friend of men. It 
should be carefully noted that attitude toward persons de- 
termines one's religious life — and this means all persons — in 
so far as we know them and are conscious of them. No 
man can have the right attitude toward some persons and 
the wrong attitude toward others. Personality is essentially 
one. It is a living principle, and he who despises the sacred- 
ness of personality in one cannot properly respect it in an- 
other. A man cannot love God and hate his fellow men, 
nor can he really love his fellow men while he is deliberately 
neglecting his Father God. The man in the South who 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 23 

hates his black neighbor, the man on the coast who despises 
the Japanese, the man in New England who scorns the im- 
migrant, needs to ask himself thoughtfully whether, after 
all, he really has the Christian spirit. In our country, with 
its polyglot population, we need to be sure that we have a 
religious life which will stand the test of such a definition. 

In this matter of relationship the whole personality is in- 
volved. It is not simply thinking correctly about persons, it 
is not simply feeling right concerning persons, nor is it sim- 
ply acting right toward them. The whole personality — intel- 
lect, emotion, will — ^must respond to the other person. Hegel 
said that religion regarded as knowledge was an ever-in- 
creasing comprehension of God ; regarded as feeling, it was 
an ever-increasing harmony with God; regarded as will, it 
was an ever-increasing and spontaneous obedience to God. 
And all three, he added, must be combined in one. If we 
use the word "person" — including both God and man — 
where Hegel used the word "God," we have a comprehen- 
sive description of the right response of the soul which con- 
stitutes religion. If, then, we define religion in terms of the 
characteristics of personality, we would say that a Christian 
is one whose whole personality goes out to a Christlike God 
and to his fellow man in glad and responsive fellowship and 
service. 



24 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY I. THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 

"And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning to- 
gether, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, 
What commandment is the first of all? Jesus answered. The first 
is, Hear, O Israel ; The Lord our God, the Lord is one : and thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other com- 
mandment greater than these." (Mark xii. 28-31.) 



PART VII. CHRISTIAN LIFE, BOTH INDIVIDUAL AND 
SOCIAL. 

The Christian religion, therefore, has both an individual 
and a social gospel. All religions have an individual gospel, 
but the religions of the Bible alone have a real social gospel. 
If the fact of God and man's relationship to him alone is 
stressed, we have a rank individualism. If the relation of 
man to man alone is stressed, we have rank socialism. But 
Jesus combined the two in a perfectly harmonious gospel. 
He taught that all men are sons of God because they par- 
take of the very nature of God himself. He was, therefore, 
very eager that men should consciously accept this sonship 
and should live in accordance with the desire and purpose 
of God. He wanted every individual by conscious and de- 
liberate choice to pass out of the realm of potential sonship 
into the realm of actual sonship. 

At the same time Christ taught that all men were brothers. 
The fact that every man had within him the very Godhood, 
the fact that all were made in this image and likeness of 
God, made them kindred to each other. They were heirs 
of the same kingdom and possessors of the same nature. 
It was necessary, therefore, not only that every man should 
be rightly related to God, but also that he should have a 



THE MEANING OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. 25 

kindly feeling toward all men, thus setting up a kingdom of 
brotherly men in which all would have full opportunity to 
make the most and the best of life. An individual gospel 
of the value of each person is essentially to give meaning to 
society, and a social gospel of a race of brotherly men is 
essential in order that each individual and society as a 
whole may have opportunity to develop the Godhood within 
it. The two cannot be divorced. Neither can really live 
without the other. Individuals must be interested in hu- 
manity, and groups of human beings known as institutions 
and corporations must no longer be soulless ; they must be 
true to the individual. Neither individualism nor socialism 
is completely true; but combined in Christianity the es- 
sence of both is preserved, and both become eminently true 
and inspiring. 



m 



STUDY II. 
Entrance and Growth in Christian Life. 



2S CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY II. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness : 
According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my 

transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity. 
And cleanse me from my sin. 
For I know my transgressions; 
And my sin is ever before me. 
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, 
And done that which is evil in thy sight ; 
That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest. 
And be clear when thou judgest. 
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; 
And in sin did rny mother conceive me. 
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts ; 
And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom. 
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean : 
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 
Make me to hear joy and gladness. 
That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 
Hide thy face from my sins. 
And blot out all mine iniquities. 
Create in me a clean heart, O God; 
And renew a right spirit within me." (Ps. li. i-io.) 



PART I. REMOVING BARRIERS. 

If life Is relationship, then real life cannot be possible if 
there are barriers which keep us separated from other per- 
sons. The fullest life will be the one which has fewest walls 
of separation between it and other lives. In order that 
I may enter into harmonious communion or friendship 
with other persons, I must make sure that all barriers are 
removed. The barriers are such as prejudice, hatred, jeal- 
ousy, or some other form of sin against other persons. If 
I have sinned against you, I have grieved you. I have 
thrown up a barrier between you and me. Suppose you 
have been very good to me and have helped me In every 
hour of need; then suppose I just pass you by without ex- 
pressing any gratitude to you for your kindness ; or suppose 
I actively injure your reputation or your business or your 
person. I have surely raised a barrier between us which 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 29 

makes common understanding and sympathy impossible. 
You may continue to wish me well — indeed, if you are a true 
person, you will wish me well — but you cannot possibly ap- 
prove the way I have acted. There is just one way for me 
to get back into your approving friendship, and that is to 
change my attitude toward you and make you see that I 
have changed my attitude. 

Technically, this is called repentance. We care not what 
it Is called ; what we want to know is its meaning. The word 
itself means change of mind. It is this change of attitude 
from one of indifference or hostility to one of interest and 
friendliness. This change of attitude may be brought about 
by my seeing the heinous results of my deeds on your life, 
or by my seeing the continued goodness of your soul, or by 
seeing how you hate my attitude but still love me and wish 
me well. I will certainly never be turned to repentance by 
seeing how you hate me in response to my hatred for you. 
That never brings repentance. 

My sense of repentance may strike deep into my emotion- 
al life, or it may be more in the realm of sober judgment; 
but, in any case, my whole personality sees its wrong and 
deliberately comes back to you and tells you of the wrong 
and asks you to forgive. 

Sin and selfishness — perhaps we ought to say sin as selfish- 
ness — ^have led us away from God. They have made us un- 
grateful to God or even rebellious against his will. He has 
done all possible for us. He has made large, full, and rich 
life possible to us. But we turn from him and thus grieve 
him. How can we get back into the approving love of God ? 
We must see that our attitude is wrong. We must change 
that attitude. This we will be induced to do when we see 
how God disapproves our actions and when we see how he 
loves us in spite of our attitude. This we are able to see in 
the life and death of Christ as nowhere else; and it is for 
this reason that presenting Christ to men has so often led 
them to change their minds, to set aside the old attitude and 
turn in loving fellowship to God. It means that we begin to 
feel about evil as Christ feels about it. It means that we 
have the attitude toward life which Christ has. Old atti- 
tudes have passed away, and all things have become new. 



30 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 

STUDY 11. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own 
sake; and I will not remember thy sins." (Isa. xliii. 25.) 

"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a 
cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee." (Isa. 
xliv. 22.) 

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though 
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they 
be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. i. 18.) 



PART II. GOD'S ATTITUDE OF APPROVAL. 

What ought to be my attitude toward one who has sinned 
against me ? Shall it be hatred, anger, scorn, desire for re- 
venge, or simple indifference? It should be none of these. 
It ought to be one of hearty disapproval of the offender's 
deeds and of the spirit which prompted those deeds. But if 
I am really a true man, certainly if I am a Christian, my 
attitude should be one of kindliness toward the man and de- 
sire that he should change his attitude toward me. The one 
thing I should want ought not to be revenge, but that he 
shall come to see his error and change his attitude. 

God's attitude toward selfish and sinful men is not one of 
hatred. God never punishes for revenge ; his punishment is 
always for reformation. Like a good father, he may have 
to punish the child in order to show the child how he dis- 
approves his spirit and action. But God loves all men al- 
ways. He never hates men. He only disapproves — heartily 
and strongly disapproves — the evil manner of life. Being 
wholly righteous, he must disapprove all evil. "Sense of 
value of an object, but not necessarily moral approbation of 
the object, is the essence of love."^ 

i.Clarke, "The Christian Doctrine of God/' page 86. 



'ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 



31 



This does not, however, mean that we are shut out of 
God's kingdom. God never casts us off. "The Ukeness to 
Christ which St. John holds forth as the future heritage of 
saints must have its root and ground in the essential consti- 
tution of humanity. Man is the son of God, even if a lost 
son."^ Sin does not destroy the sovereignty of God. It does 
not take the man out of the field of God's love. It does not 
sell man over to another. It simply raises a barrier between 
man and God so that man cannot understand God and God 
cannot approve the sinning man. The great consequence of 
sin consists not in the physical suffering it entails, but in 
the fact that it builds a barrier between us and God. 

Since God is just and righteous, he cannot cease to dis- 
approve our spirit and attitude so long as we continue to 
act wrong and have a wrong attitude. But when we see that 
we are wrong, when we decide to change our attitude, when 
as the result of our new understanding we acknowledge our 
wrong — then, of course, God as a righteous God must ap- 
prove our action. He could not do otherwise. Some have 
supposed that Christ had to persuade God to change his 
attitude toward us. Not so. Christ's work is to help us 
change our attitude toward our own sin by showing us how 
God feels about that sin. Forgiveness must, therefore, fol- 
low after this change on the part of the wrongdoer. It 
cannot precede. 

Forgiveness is, therefore, the change on the part of God 
from the attitude of a disapproving love to the attitude of 
an approving love, and it can come about only when the 
spirit of the one forgiven is such that God can approve it 
as worthy. The great result of forgiveness is that the sense 
of estrangement between the forgiver and the one forgiven 
is then removed, and a real fellowship may begin. 

^Mcintosh, "The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ," page 
439. 



CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY II. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"On that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 
And there were gathered unto him great multitudes, so that he en- 
tered into a boat, and sat; and all the multitude stood on the beach. 
And he spake to them many things in parables, saying, Behold, the 
sower went forth to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell by the 
wayside, and the birds came and devoured them : and others fell 
upon the rocky places, where they had not much earth : and straight- 
way they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth: and 
when the sun was risen^ they were scorched; and because they had 
no root, they withered away. And others fell upon the thorns; and 
the thorns grew up and choked them : and others fell upon the good 
ground, and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some 
thirty. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou 
unto them in parables ? And he answered and said unto them, Unto 
you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but 
to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, 
and he shall have abundance : but whosoever hath not, from him shall 
be taken away even that which he hath." (Matt. xiii. 1-12.) 



PART III. THE LAW OF EXPRESSION. 

When one has recognized himself to be in the wrong, 
when he has deliberately decided to do right, when he has 
turned his face in the direction of right associations, there 
is yet need that he should give open expression to his deci- 
sion. This is not so because religion arbitrarily demands it, 
but because his nature is such that it is necessary. There is 
a law of nature which says that whatsoever is covered and 
unexpressed will die. If you express a thought, you will 
strengthen it; if you suppress a thought or aspiration, you 
kill it. Indeed, psychology goes farther than that and tells 
us that no thought is ever a completed thought until it has 
found some kind of expression. "A disembodied human 
emotion is a sheer nonentity."^ The fuller your expression, 
the more vivid and permanent the thought or aspiration. 

^James, "Psychology," page 380. 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 



33 



If I am ashamed to acknowledge my friendship for you 
or for any reason whatsoever fail to make such expression, 
my friendship will surely die. If I take particular pains 
never to be seen in your presence — which it will be readily 
seen is a form of expression of my friendship — then I will 
soon lose my friendship. 

Now, one of the dangers of our present-day religious at- 
titude is that we shall fail to recognize this fundamental 
law. Particularly is this true with more cultured people. 
There has arisen a general feeling of aversion to giving any 
public expression to religious convictions. They tell you 
that it is a matter to be settled between a man and God, that 
it is no business of others, and such very plausible reasons 
for refusing to express their convictions. But the law of 
expression stands firm, and no excuse will abrogate its ef- 
fects. 

Fortunately, there are many forms of expression of reli- 
gious conviction. One very important form of expression 
is moral action. Another is service for those who need us. 
Another is standing for right principles in spite of great 
opposition. Still another way may be uniting one's self with 
the organized Church. And yet another way may be a form 
of public testimony In the proper place. None of these 
forms can be neglected with impunity. They should never 
be used for ostentation or for show. They should not be 
too boldly forced upon others. All religious work must be 
done with great respect for the sacredness of the privacy 
and personality of others ; and yet we must face the fact that 
the fuller the expression of conviction, the deeper will be the 
conviction. We must never allow men to suppose they can 
live a Christian life on the quiet. Nicodemus tried that and 
failed, and his successors in our day could be named "le- 
gion." 

3 



34 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY II. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative 
concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even 
as they deUvered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye- 
witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, 
having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to 
write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou 
mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast 
instructed." (Luke i. 1-4.) 

"That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, 
that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and 
our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was 
manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto 
you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was 
manifested unto us) ; that which we have seen and heard declare 
we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, 
and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ: and these things we write, that our joy may be made full." 
(i John i. i-S.) 



PART IV. THE MEANING OF FAITH. 

Faith has been supposed by many to be a leap in the 
dark. The Httle Sunday school boy defined it as "beUeving 
what you know ain't so.'* The growth of the scientific 
method and spirit has put much emphasis on fact as knowl- 
edge and has seemed to discredit faith. Indeed, the concep- 
tion of faith which was once held as a leap in the dark is 
no longer tenable. Speaking of this old conception, Ames 
says: "Faith has thus come to be regarded as the test of 
religion, as knowledge is the organ and sphere of science. 
Religion as faith, then, involves submission to authority; 
and its test is sometimes represented in the willingness to 
accept that which is intellectually inconsistent in itself, but 
which is presented as the dictate of conscience or of the 
divine will.""^ There is a reason for this conception of faith ; 
for Tertullian, one of the early fathers, declared: "I believe 
because it is absurd." St. Augustine advanced one step and 
said he "believed that he might know," but his faith was not 
based on knowledge. 

Out of this conception of faith there has arisen a feeling 
that no scientific mind can any longer act on faith; and if 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 35 

this were the true meaning of faith, it would need to be 
abandoned. But are we so sure that faith is divorced from 
all knowledge ? It may go beyond proved knowledge, but it 
certainly must be based on knowledge. With Abelard 
we must say : "We believe because we understand." 

There is undoubtedly a place for authority in religion as 
in all other fields of experience. No man has or ever will 
verify all truth or all experience. We act on authority in 
science just as much as we do in religion. I have never 
demonstrated that the world is round, but I accept it on 
authority. While every man must of necessity be an experi- 
menter in the field of religion, he cannot compass all reli- 
gious experience and must accept some things on authority. 
Every man cannot do all the scholarly work necessary to 
verify all the records of the Bible, but he must accept much 
of this on authority. 

But this does not contravene our statement that all faith 
must be based on knowledge, for authority is a kind of 
knowledge ; indeed, the kind of knowledge on which we base 
ninety-five per cent of our life's activities. A man who ver- 
ifies by actual experiment the principles that lie behind five 
per cent of his life processes is no tyro either in science or 
in philosophy. 

I remember hearing in my early boyhood a preacher illus- 
trate what he meant by faith. There was a small stream 
running through my town which in the rainy season often 
rose very suddenly, becoming an angry torrent. I crossed 
this stream on a footbridge every day as I went to and from 
school. My preacher friend said that if I went down to that 
stream and the water was overflowing that footbridge, but 
a man standing there told me that it was still in place, it 
would be faith if I staked my life on his word and ventured 
to wade in. Well, that depended on the man who told me 
that the bridge was still there. If he were an ordinary 
tramp, my act would not be faith, but foolhardiness. If it 
were my father, however, it would be faith, for I would 
have a basis of knowledge. I would accept his word as 
authority, for I would know I could trust him to give me the 
truth. Faith divorced from knowledge is mere superstition 
and cannot be commended to any one. 

*Ames, "The Psychology of Religious Experience," page 413. 



36 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY 11. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"And straightway he constrained the disciples to enter into the 
boat, and to go before him unto the other side, till he should send 
the multitudes away. And after he had sent the multitudes away, 
he went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when even was 
come, he was there alone. But the boat was now in the midst of the 
sea, distressed by the waves ; for the wind was contrary. And in the 
fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea. 
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were trou- 
bled, saying, It is a ghost ; and they cried out for fear. But straight- 
way Jesus spake unto them, saying. Be of good cheer; it is I; be 
not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, 
bid me come unto thee upon the waters. And he said. Come. And 
Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come 
to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid ; and beginning 
to sink, he cried out, saying. Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus 
stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, 
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they 
were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. And they that were in 
the boat worshiped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." 
(Matt. xiv. 22-33.) 



PART V. THE MEANING OF FAITH. 
(Continued.) 

Simple knowledge is not all o£ faith. Many a man gives 
intellectual assent as to the reality of God, but he has no real 
faith. A second element in faith is personal commitment. 
It lies in the realm of the will and perhaps involves both the 
will and the emotions. Knowledge merges into faith when 
we act on that knowledge. "A belief that God is worthy to 
be trusted becomes faith when God is trusted.'" 

To go back to my former illustration, my bare belief in 
the truth of my father's statement about the footbridge 
would have become faith when I committed myself to him 
and allowed him to lead me into the water and out onto 
that bridge. Our knowledge may not always be verified, but 
it must have rationality. Faith may be defined as willing- 
ness to act on a rational conviction. The two elements of 

^Clarke, "The Christian Doctrine of God," page 469. 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 3; 

faith, therefore, are : First, the intellectual, or belief, which is 
the mental attitude of assent to the reality of a fact or per- 
son; and the second is volitional, which takes the form of 
active and glad surrender of one's self to that fact or person. 

It must not be forgotten, however, that faith goes farther 
than knowledge. While it must always base itself on knowl- 
edge, it must and does transcend verified knowledge. The 
scientist finds certain facts of light and sound waves to be 
verifiable; and, building on these facts, he postulates ether, 
which is a pure act of faith. It transcends verifiable facts; 
it goes beyond what has actually been proved. It is a ven- 
ture, not in the dark, but without complete light. Reason 
has interpretive insight, according to Hegel, which enables 
it to go beyond what it has verified. Without this there 
could be no advance in knowledge. 

The Christian, therefore, is not unscientific in going far- 
ther than verified knowledge. He is in line with the best 
scientific method. "Now, faith means we are confident of 
what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see." (Heb. 
xi. I.) We cannot demonstrate God, but it is reasonable to 
believe that he is. Our faith does not cut across reason; 
it simply goes beyond what we have proved as a fact. 
Therefore to commit ourselves to God, to accept his will as 
our will, is not blind superstition. It is just what the scien- 
tist must do in his particular field. 

"The doctrine of God contains truth to which the meth- 
od of demonstration does not correspond. The intellect 
must believe in him on the evidence that we possess — and 
it is great — and the whole man must rise to him in the 
direction which the evidence warrants by an act of faith; 
for it is the nature of faith to go out beyond sight and to 
take hold upon that which is not seen or proved. Faith is 
a rising of the soul to truth."^ 

We have but faith : we cannot know. 
For knowledge is of things we see; 
And yet we trust it comes from thee, 

A beam in darkness : let it grow. 

— Introduction to "In Memoriam." 

^Clarke, "The Christian Doctrine of God," page 467. 



38 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY II. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will 
keep my word : and my Father will love him, and we will come unto 
him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth 
not my words: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the 
Father's who sent me. 

"These things have I spoken unto you, while yet abiding with you. 
But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send 
in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remem- 
brance all that I said unto you. Peace I leave with you ; my peace I 
give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not 
your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful." (John xiv. 23-27.) 

"And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and 
I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou 
hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are." (John xvii. 
II.) 



PART VI. THE LAW OF ASSOCIATION. 

Francis Bacon, in his essay on friendship, writes: "A 
man would better relate himself to a statue or picture than 
to suffer his thoughts to pass in smother." And another pas- 
sage in the same essay says that friendship "maketh day- 
hght in the understanding out of darkness and confusion of 
thoughts." If one wishes to grow in mind and soul, he must 
associate with characters that have mind and soul richness. 
Even dwelling with a picture which depicts character would 
be better than dwelling solitary. All growth is dependent on 
association. Emerson says that the purpose of a friend is 
to make us do what we can. Association with a noble per- 
sonality draws out from us the higher and nobler qualities. 

"It sometimes seems as if the single, all-inclusive counsel 
that one need ever care to give to another might be summed 
up in the one sentence : Stay persistently in the presence of 
the best in the sphere in which you seek attainment. Hear 
persistently the best music. See persistently the best art. 
Read persistently the best literature. Stay persistently in the 
presence of the best in character. Results must follow such 
association with the best."^ 

^King, "The Laws of Friendship," page 155. 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 39 

Life is relationship. It is the contact of soul with soul. 
It is the responsiveness of soul to soul. Life comes by no 
other process than by association. If it were possible to take 
a human child and completely isolate it from all personal 
contact, it would grow up to be hardly a human. All of 
those finer elements which characterize manhood would be 
lacking. There would be no fully developed sympathy or 
love or unselfishness or pity; in fact, the most distinctive 
characteristics of a developed soul — those powers which can 
be grown only in association with kindred souls — would be 
entirely lacking. If, then, life is association, it will be deep- 
ly colored by the type of association it finds. He who would 
build the fullest character must of necessity associate with 
the best. If one wants the highest, therefore it is not a 
matter of choice whether he will be a Christian or not. 
God as revealed in Christ is acknowledged by the whole 
world to be the highest type of manhood, and to associate 
with him means the fullest life. The best cannot be found 
elsewhere. 

If I am to associate with my friend, it will not be through 
physical proximity, but through mental and spiritual sym- 
pathy. I will try to find out what my friend thinks of life, 
what his attitude is toward the various facts of personal en- 
vironment. As I find out his attitude I will put myself in a 
kindly and sympathetic attitude toward him, and little by lit- 
tle we will grow alike. I do not have to strive to grow like 
him. All I need to do is to hold myself persistently and 
sympathetically in the presence of his attitude of life, and I 
will inevitably grow like him. Constant and sympathetic as- 
sociation Is an absolute law of growth. He who would grow 
in God's likeness must constantly and persistently put him- 
self into the presence of God through Bible study, prayer, 
meditation, and service ; and he will naturally, normally, and 
inevitably grow into a Godlike character. 



40 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY II. ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRIS- 
TIAN LIFE. 

"But he that is the greater among you, let him become as the 
younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." (Luke xxii. 
26.) 

"And whosoever would be first among you shall be servant of 
all. For the Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but 
to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark x. 44, 
45.) 

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life 
shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the 
gospel's shall save it" (Mark viii. 34» 35-) 



PART VII. THE LAW OF SERVICE. 

The psychologists tell us that all thought is impulsive — 
that is, all thought tends to pass into action and will do so 
unless restrained by another thought or a direct act of the 
will. They further tell us that those thoughts which are not 
allowed to express themselves are killed or made ineffective. 
They say that a thought never becomes fully alive which is 
not allowed to find expression. Conversely, when a thought 
is expressed, it becomes alive, active, and is made intense. 

One way in which thought may best express itself is in 
overt deeds. Service, therefore, is a law of growth. If we 
expect our nobler thoughts and impulses to grow, we must 
give them expression in positive service. If my friend gets 
sick and I do not visit him, do not do anything to help him, 
and suppress every impulse of my soul to comfort him, my 
friendship will surely die. Often we get too busy or too 
preoccupied to give expression to our friendly impulses, and 
hence our friendship dies. It costs something to be a real 
friend and to develop one's own spirit of friendliness. 
Thoughtfulness, love, and unselfish service are the price we 
must pay; and many are not willing to pay this price. But 
he who will not pay this price loses his own soul. He who 
will not give himself must starve. 



ENTRANCE AND GROWTH IN CHRISTIAN LIFE. 41 

"Who gives himself with his alms feeds three : 
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me." 

To be a friend of Christ, therefore, one must serve him. 
Not that Christ needs our service so much as we need to 
cultivate the spirit which this service will engender. To 
grow in Christian life one must give himself freely to those 
who need him and share his love of Christ with those who 
know him not. "Lord, when did we see you hungry and fed 
you? or thirsty and gave you drink? . . . The King will 
answer then, I tell you truly, in so far as ye did it to one of 
these brothers of mine, even to the least of them, you did it 
unto me." (Matt. xxv. 37-40.) 

Whatsoever does not serve dies. This is a law of life. 
If I tie my hand to my side and allow it to stay there for 
six months and then remove the bandage, it will hang limp 
and lifeless by my side. It has not served ; it has been in- 
active and has atrophied. Full many a man starts out with 
a deep religious impression and aspirations, but for some 
cause or other he fails to give these aspirations expression 
in action. Later he is amazed to find that his truest aspira- 
tions seem to be dead. His deep yearning for fellowship 
with Christ has vanished. He finds his soul cold and with- 
out religious enthusiasm. He has not served his cause, and 
his religious soul has died. At our peril do we get too busy 
to have a share in the Christian campaign ; and if later we 
wake to the fact of an atrophied soul, it will be the sure sign 
that we have been breaking an inexorable law. 

I think this is the authentic sign and seal 

Of Godship, that it ever waxes glad 

And more glad, until gladness blossoms, bursts 

Into a rage to suffer for mankind, 

And recommence at sorrow : drops like seed 

After the blossom, ultimate of all. 

Say does the seed scorn earth and seek the sun? 

Surely it has no other end and aim 

Than to drop, once more to die, into the ground, 

Taste cold and darkness and oblivion there, 

And then rise, treelike grow through pain to joy. 

More joy and most joy — do man good again. 

— Browning's "Balaustion's Adventure" 



STUDY III. 

Personal Results of Christian Experience. 



44 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born 
of the Spirit is spirit." (John iii. 6.) 

"For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is 
life and peace. . . . But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus 
from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from 
the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit 
that dwelleth in you." (Rom. viii. 6-11.) 

"And [the jailer] brought them out and said. Sirs, what must I 
do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou 
shalt be saved, thou and thy house. And they spake the word of the 
Lord unto him, with all that were in his house. And he took them 
the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes ; and was bap- 
tized, he and all his, immediately. And he brought them up into his 
house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, with all his 
house, having believed in God." (Acts xvi. 30-34.) ' 



PART I. WHAT IS CONVERSION? 

In the preceding chapter we have gone over the steps 
which one takes in entering a Christian life and growing 
into a Christian experience. At the very threshold of this 
growing experience one passes through what is commonly 
called conversion. We have discussed these various steps 
first in order that this difficult topic might become more 
plain. Of recent years there has been much discussion as 
to whether one needs to be converted or not. Should not a 
child, if properly trained and living in the right environ- 
ment, just grow into a normal religious experience? Does 
there need to be any great change in such a life as this? 
Here is a boy who has been reared in a Christian home with 
the influence of Christian parents. He has gone to Sunday 
school and church. He has never known anything save to 
love and obey Christ in so far as his childish mind under- 
stands Christ. Does such a child need conversion? Cer- 
tainly such a child does not need a great cataclysmic break 
with the past. He does not need to weep and mourn over 
great sins. So far as he knows, he has been fashioning his 
life after the life of Christ. What, then, does conversion 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 45 

mean to him? Perhaps it may be best described as a con- 
scious acceptance of the Christ program as his Ufe program, 
a deHberate giving himself over to Christ, whom he has fol- 
lowed rather by imitation in the past. Up to this time he 
has been a kind of Christian by authority. He has lived as 
best he could like Christ because his father and mother 
taught him to do so. But sometime he must come to ac- 
countability. He must deliberately and consciously make 
this life his own. He must do from inner impulse what he 
has done by a kind of outward compulsion. When that time 
arrives there will be a defining of Christian experience, a 
growth in Christian consciousness. There will be a con- 
scious loyalty which he never had before. There will be a 
deliberate choosing of the Christian life as his own which 
will usher him into a deeper experience, and this is certainly 
a type of conversion. 

Indeed, something of this same type of experience may 
come to a man who has been trying to follow the Christian 
life for years. Speaking of the validity of sudden conver- 
sion, Stevens says : *'On the other hand, we shall remember 
this also, that in all education, religious and intellectual, 
there are times of rapid growth and times of slow; there 
are moments of surprise when truths burst suddenly on the 
mind; there are periods of stagnation or even decay, and 
then times when interest is renewed and the spirit leaps up 
and presses forward and hastens to maturity."^ 

This dawning of consciousness of the deeper meaning of 
life, this ripening fellowship with God which seems to come 
like the ebb of the ocean, this high tide of the Spirit, as some 
one has called it, is really and truly of the essence of con- 
version. We must not discredit it because it is not cataclys- 
mic, or of the nature of an upheaval. God works in many 
ways, and this is one of his genuine methods of changing 
life. 

^Stevens, "The Psychology of the Christian Soul," pages 27, 28. 



46 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"But Saul, yet breathing threatening and slaughter against the 
disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and asked of him 
letters to Damascus unto the synagogues, that if he found any that 
were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound 
to Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, it came to pass that he drew 
nigh unto Dam.ascus : and suddenly there shone round about him a 
light out of heaven : and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice 
saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said. 
Who art thou. Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecut- 
est: but rise, and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what 
thou must do. And the men that journeyed with him stood speech- 
less, hearing the voice, but beholding no man. And Saul arose from 
the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and 
they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus." (Acts 
ix. 1-8.) 



PART IL WHAT IS CONVERSION? 
(Continued.) 

But this quiet, conscious acceptance of Christ as our 
Friend does not cover the whole ground. There are those 
who have gone far into sin, those whose trend of life has 
gotten hard set toward evil ; and when these become Chris- 
tians, there is likely to be much upheaval. There must be a 
break with the past. Sometime or other such a person must 
come to the realization that he is wrong, that his movement 
is away from God, that his attitude is out of harmony with 
God. He must deliberately make up his mind to face about, 
to change his attitude, to give himself to God. Such a con- 
version was St. Paul's. Such a conversion was Sam Had- 
ley's, of the famous Water Street Mission. Such a conver- 
sion is the experience of thousands who have lived in re- 
bellion against God. This is the type of conversion described 
in such definitions as the following: "The restoration of 
friendship between a man and God is conversion." 'Tt is 
the definite conscious turning of a man from sin to God." 
*Tt is change of character and ruling disposition." 

When man has done his part — that is, turned to God — it 
is then possible for God to do his part — impart life to the 
man. Man by turning to God has removed the barriers that 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, 47 

separated him from God and made it possible for God to 
have access to his soul. The impress of the soul of God on 
the soul of man has been technically called regeneration. It 
is, as it were, a rebirth, a birth into a God- fellowship. Man 
is changed from a possible or potential son into a real son. 
God awakens in the man new affections, new aspirations, 
new motives. The processes of a new character are set in 
motion, and man enters into a fellowship with God, which 
is the essence of being a Christian. 

While this is a process shrouded in mystery, it is no more 
so than the birth of a human friendship. What one of us 
has not at some time grieved a companion ? But finally we 
have come to the realization that we have done wrong; we 
have changed our attitude ; we have come back to our com- 
panion and asked for forgiveness, and immediately there 
has sprung up in each soul a new enthusiasm. The touch of 
one soul upon another is the most mysterious fact of life, 
but it is likewise the most real and common experience. 
When a man deliberately turns to God, something really 
happens in his life. There is a new dynamic, a new enthu- 
siasm, a God in us which we never had before. 

All sense of estrangement is removed. A man is at one 
with God. "The newly awakened soul opens its eyes to the 
assuring smile of God. All inner cleavage, all isolation, all 
sense of contradiction in the universe is removed. The soul 
is at home in God's world."^ 

^Hermann, "Eucken and Bergson," page 62. 



48 CHRISTIAN LIFE—A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of 
the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit 
against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; 
that ye may not do the things that ye would. But if ye are led by 
the Spirit, ye are not under the law. . . . And they that are of 
Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts 
thereof. If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk." 
(Gal. V. 16-18, 24, 25.) 

"Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ ; through whom also we have had our 
access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God." (Rom. v. i, 2.) 



PART III. UNIFICATION OF PERSONALITY. 

William James defines conversion as unification of per- 
sonality. "To be converted, to be regenerated, to receive 
grace, to experience religion, to gain an assurance, are so 
many phrases which denote the process, gradual or sudden, 
by which a self hitherto divided and consciously wrong, in- 
ferior and unhappy, becomes unified and consciously right, 
superior and happy, in consequence of its firmer hold on 
religious realities."^ 

Eucken speaks of a "for and against" into which our 
circle of life is divided.^ The **for'* is the call of the divine 
within the human soul ; the "against" is that nearest-at-hand 
world, the lowest impulses which would keep us from our 
best. "The soul in humanity," says Clarke, 'Vas not born 
into peace, but into conflict."^ The fact of Hfe itself con- 
tains this strange contradiction. We are bom with capaci- 
ties for good and for evil, and it is only by struggle that we 
are able to make the good dominate the life. But this strug- 
gle is necessary to give moral quality to the life. If we 
were good by necessity, as it were, we would not really be 
good ; for nothing is good which is not the result of choice. 

Hence the most intense reality of human life is struggle, 
conflict, aspiration for the good in conflict with the tug of 

^James, "Varieties of Religious Experience," page 189. 

^Eucken, "Truth of Religion," page 3. 

^Clarke, "The Christian Doctrine of God," page 456. 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 49 

the evil. So much is this the case that our very nervous 
nature itself seems to have taken on a dual life. *'The 
mechanism for the cognative intellectual group of activities 
is the central nervous system, and that of feeling is the sym- 
pathetic nervous system. This accounts for the fact that 
the individual is liable to be torn between two contending 
worlds, between science and religion, between mysticism and 
worldly wisdom — that is, between the lower and external 
world and the inward spiritual life.''^ 

As these two types of ideas rise from the subconscious 
realm into the conscious, they struggle for mastery, and the 
man is drawn in two directions. Groups of ideas concerned 
with good and with evil, being so diametrically opposed to 
each other, make in man the most intense battle. Hence it 
is that when a man begins the Christian life his inner con- 
flict may be of the most desperate sort. The great question 
is, Which set of ideas shall hold the center of consciousness? 
It will be impossible to destroy entirely either set, but to 
give one central place in one's conscious life is to make it the 
master of the life. "It makes a great difference to man," 
says Professor James, "whether one set of his ideas or an- 
other be the center of his energy; and it makes a great dif- 
ference as regards any set of ideas which he may possess, 
whether they become central or peripheral v/ith him. To 
say that a man is 'converted' means, in these terms, that 
religious ideas originally peripheral (on the outer tdgo. of 
consciousness, or dim) in his consciousness now take the 
central place and that religious aims form the habitual cen- 
ter of his life energy."^ 

When a man becomes a Christian, he deliberately puts his 
will power on the side of the Godward ideas — on the side 
of this "for," as Eucken calls it. He exalts these ideas into 
the central field of consciousness. The battle will not all be 
over, for the evilward ideas will still remain on the outer 
rim of consciousness to harass him in his weaker hours. 
But so long as these Godward impulses are held in the cen- 
tral position, just so long will he be secure from failure. 
The impress of the soul of God on the soul of man makes 
it possible to bring these Godward ideas into the central 
position. 

^Ames, "The Psychology of Religious Experience," page z^^' 
^James, "Varieties of Religious Experience," page 196. 
4 



50 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor hfe, nor angels, nor 
principahties, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to sepa- 
rate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
(Rom. viii. 38, 39.) 

"That in all things he might have the preeminence." (Col. i. 18.) 

"Whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto 
men ; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of 
the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ." (Col. iii. 23, 24,) 

"I have been crucified with Christ ; and it is no longer I that live, 
but Christ liveth in me : and that life which I now live in the flesh I 
live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, 
and gave himself up for me." (Gal. ii. 20.) 



PART IV. A SENSE OF LOYALTY. 

In this attempt to make Godward ideas the central and 
dominating ideas of the energy, the spirit of loyalty must 
find place. "Loyalty shall mean,'" says Professor Royce, 
*'the willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a 
person to a cause. A man is loyal, first, when he has some 
cause to which he is loyal ; when, secondly, he willingly and 
thoroughly devotes himself to this cause; and when, thirdly, 
he expresses his loyalty in some sustained and practical way 
by acting steadily in the service of his cause."^ 

The great need of many lives is just this sense of loyalty 
which will centralize their energies and give them driving 
power. Full many a person is wasting life on the mere 
twaddle of nothingness because they have never found any 
cause big enough nor any person attractive enough to grip 
up their lives into a unity and give purpose to their activi- 
ties. Their thoughts are scattered, their energies are dissi- 
pated, their purposes vacillating — all for the need of a great 
centralizing cause. Professor Royce declares that "a self 
is a life (only) in so far as it is unified by a single purpose.""* 

^Royce, "The Philosophy of Loyalty," pages 16, 17. ^Ihid,, page 
171. 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 51 

"It is devoting the self to a cause that, after all, first makes 
it a rational and unified self instead of what the life of many 
a man remains — namely, a cauldron of seething and bub- 
bling efforts to be somebody, a cauldron which boils dry 
when life ends."^ **If you want to find a way of living 
which surmounts doubts and centralizes your powers, it 
must be some such a way as all the loyal in common have 
trodden since first loyalty was known amongst men."^ 

Most of us are so divided between the impulses for good 
and those which are either indifferent or positively evil that 
we tread round in a circle and never make any progress. 
"Speaking generally,'" says Professor James, "our moral and 
practical attitude, at any time given, is always a resultant 
of two sets of forces within us, impulses pushing in one way 
and obstructions and inhibitions holding us back. 'Yes, yes,' 
say the impulses. 'No, no,' say the inhibitions."® The only 
thing which will break down the inhibitions and enable one 
to live at his best is a great emotion of some kind, a great 
enthusiasm. This can best be engendered by giving one 
some object or cause to which one may be loyal. "Given a 
certain amount of love, indignation, generosity, magnanim- 
ity, admiration, loyalty, or enthusiasm of self -surrender, the 
result is always the same. That whole raft of cowardly 
obstructions which in tame persons and dull moods are sov- 
ereign impediments to action sink away at once."* 

The great need, therefore, of those who find themselves 
weak and vacillating, those in whom the Godward ideas 
have small chance of remaining central, is to find some great 
cause for loyalty which will so centralize the being and so 
unify their energies as to give them a driving purpose in life. 
Many a man has failed to live a life of moral content simply 
because the temptations have been too persuasive. The in- 
hibitions or obstructions can be swept away only by a great 
supreme loyalty. 

^Royce, "The Philosophy of Loyalty," page 46. ^Ibid,, page 172. 
^James, ''Varieties of Religious Experience," page 261. ^Ibid., 
page 266. 



52 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"And passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and An- 
drew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were 
fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will 
make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they left their 
nets, and followed him." (Mark i. 16-18.) 

"And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with excel- 
lency of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of 
God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus 
Christ, and him crucified." (i Cor. ii. i, 2.) 

"Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said unto his fellow 
disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him." (John xi. 16.) 



PART V. TO WHAT SHALL WE BE LOYAL? 

If loyalty be necessary for the centralizing of one's pow- 
ers, then the question immediately arises. To what shall one 
be loyal? This is a supreme question, since that to which 
we are loyal will be the molding factor of our lives. We 
dare not make a mistake here, for life is at stake. To 
choose less than the best as our object of loyalty would be 
to condemn our lives to mediocrity when excellence might 
have been ours. To what, then, shall we be loyal? Some 
have felt that it was enough to be loyal to a great piece of 
work, and undoubtedly this is an inspiring object. It has 
strengthened many a man in hours of great strain to have a 
great task to do. But, in the very nature of the case, no 
work can be permanent. Changing times and conditions 
will demand new applications of energy and new forms of 
work. Others have felt that devotion to principles was a 
sufficient motive. But principles are cold and lifeless, and to 
make them the center of one's loyalty robs the life of 
warmth and enthusiasm. Still others have felt that self- 
culture should be our goal and center of loyal aspiration. 
But the difficulty here is that self-culture is its own worst 
enemy. Self is never a sufficient goal, because to concen- 
trate on one's own inner life takes us away from contact 
with other souls, which is our only means of growth. 

All of these ideas are more or less individualistic. If 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 53 

life is relationship, then one dare not chose any object of 
loyalty which does not bind his life up with other personal 
life. To give one's self to things builds barriers around the 
life which make it impossible for one to get in contact with 
persons, and to be separated from persons is death. Hence 
our object of loyalty must be a person; and if it is to be the 
greatest source of power, it must be the greatest person. 
Here none but the best will do, and the best is God. In the 
person of God as we know him in Christ we must find our 
center of loyalty. 

Eucken has said: ''A negative movement from a self- 
centered, self -enslaved individuality to a God-centered per- 
sonality, a movement from the sense world to the self and 
through the self inwardly to God, is at once the assertion and 
true salvation of our true selfhood." 

When one deliberately gives himself over to loyalty to 
Christ, one ceases to be a self-centered man. His life at 
once begins to take on larger proportions. He is brought at 
once into a wider field of interest. "The psychologist says 
that by a sudden emotion or otherwise the life has become 
organized around a new nervous center; that the old chan- 
nels of thought have been walled up; and that the self has 
become identified w4th a new world, v/here broader and 
newer channels of thought must be found."^ 

Religiously speaking, the thing that has happened Is the 
touch of the soul of God on the soul of a man, giving him 
new impulses and new enthusiasm. From thinking alone of 
self the converted one immediately begins to feel himself 
impelled to help others. Something has really happened in 
the life that makes all life bigger and more unselfish. It 
was such a loyalty as this which transformed Saul the 
Pharisee into Paul the Christian and world citizen. It was 
his intense loyalty which enabled him to say: "For me to 
live is Christ." It made him a new man. 

^The author's "Introducing Men to Christ," page 37. 



54 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons 
of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; 
but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 
The Spirit himself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are 
children of God." (Rom. viii. 14-16.) 

"Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature : the old 
things are passed away; behold, they are become new." (2 Cor. 5- 
17.) 



PART VI, THE REVALUATION OF THE SELF. 

Side by side with this change from a self-centered to a 
God-centered personality there arises in the Christian man a 
new valuation of himself. The new relationship to God 
opens up vast possibilities of growth and achievement and at 
once calls the life to more strenuous endeavor. Eucken says 
that through religion "our existence raises itself to incompa- 
rable greatness and intrinsic value, and into our being the es- 
sence of the cosmos enters and longs for our decision."^ 

A man's life is dignified by its relationships. A young 
college friend of mine was invited to be the guest of the 
President of the United States. His Hfe immediately 
seemed more important to all his friends. He who comes to 
associate with the infinite God finds his life larger and more 
worthy than he had before dreamed it might be. 

"It seems that the heightened worth of self and the altru- 
istic impulses in conversion are closely bound up together; 
and the differences between them lie simply in the different 
content of consciousness, determined by the direction in 
which it is turned. The central fact underlying both is the 
formation of a new ego, a fresh point of reference for men- 
tal states."^ Speaking of the great power of great religious 
truths to release energy within a man, Stevens says : "These 
and such as these pull a man together and, it may be, send 
him out on a new path of life with a swing. (They) open 

^Eucken, "The Truth of Religion," page 3. 
"Starbuck, "The Psychology of Religion," page 129. 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 55 

up the future to him with promise and hope and show him 
the possibiUty of achieving something that is worthy."^ 

This new valuation of the self is not simply an emotional 
estimate ; it has its roots in reality. New powers have been 
released within the soul which had heretofore been dormant 
and undiscovered. It is a well-known fact that each of us 
has great physical resources which are used only in emer- 
gencies. The house in which I was- boarding once suddenly 
caught fire and burned to the ground. It was located far 
out in the suburbs of Atlanta, so no immediate help was 
available. After summoning the fire company, I set to work 
getting out the most valuable things. Soon three negro men 
arrived to help me. We went into the parlor and picked up 
a big upright piano, a man at each corner, and marched out 
of the room, down eight or nine steps off the porch, then 
down a still longer flight of steps off the high terrace on 
which the house was located, and placed the piano safely on 
the other side of the street. Again we entered and picked 
up a large bookcase filled with books, weighing perhaps a 
half more than the piano, and carried it to safety. Under 
ordinary circumstances I could not have so much as lifted 
one corner of that case; but I had the strength somewhere 
stored away, and the great emergency brought it out. 

In similar fashion we all have more of spiritual capacity 
than we are using. When we have a religious experience, 
these dormant powers are awakened into activity, and this 
is the real basis for revaluation. Speaking of the result of a 
religious experience in the life. Professor Starbuck says : "It 
is as if brain areas which had lain dormant had now sudden- 
ly come into activity, as if stored-up energy had been liber- 
ated and now began to function."^ 

What is needed in the life of a man to release this energy 
is the touch of God's life. All about us are men and women 
who are living far less than their best. They are using only 
a small per cent of their spiritual resources. If they are 
ever to come to their best. It will be because of the contagion 
of the God life which will liberate their dormant powers. 
Each man of us must ask himself whether he is living at 
his best. If we are not, we should ask God to give us life. 



^Stevens, "The Psychology of the Christian Soul," page 97. 
^Starbuck, "The Psychology of ReHgion," page 132. 



56 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY III. PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN 
EXPERIENCE. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering-, kind- 
ness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such 
there is no law." (Gal. v. 22, 23.) 

"Behold, this is the third time I am ready to come to you ; and I 
will not be a burden to you : for I seek not yours, but you. . . . 
And I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls." (2 Cor. 
xii. 14, 15- ) 

"And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the 
things which you have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, 
the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead 
are raised up, the poor have good tidings preached to them." (Luke 
vii. 22.) 

PART VII. ENTHUSIASM FOR HUMANITY. 

Christ once said to his disciples : *'By this will every one 
recognize that you are my disciples, if you have love one for 
another." (John xiii. 35.) The nonbelievers said of the 
early Christians : "Behold how these Christians love one 
another \" The test of a Christian life always has been and 
always will be its attitude toward other men. If Christian 
life is being rightly related to all persons — God and men — 
then he who hates or scorns his fellow men cannot be a real 
Christian. Christian life has always shown itself in friend- 
liness. Ames records the experience of a highly trained 
woman to v/hom religious experience meant new interest in 
people. "New love of people took possession of me/' she 
writes. "I don't think I had ever before cared deeply for 
any one. Now even the meanest person seems wonderfully 
significant simply as a human being."^ 

Any one who has done any evangelistic work in which 
men have been brought to a deep consciousness of God 
knows how frequent this phenomenon of new kindliness to 
men appears. Many times after an appeal for loyalty to 
God I have had college men come to me to know how they 
could get right with their fellow men. No religious expe- 

^Ames, "The Psychology of Religious Experience," page 242. 



PERSONAL RESULTS OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. 



57 



rience is genuine which does not affect our relation to men. 
Within twenty hours of writing this paragraph I was speak- 
ing to a group of business men about what Christ could do 
for life. In this particular address I was not emphasizing 
the social aspect of Christ's message, and yet at the close a 
business man deeply concerned about his relation to his fa- 
ther came for an interview. For some reason unaccountable 
to him the father had conceived a great aversion to the son. 
This business man was deeply grieved and felt that his own 
religious life was on trial. He felt that he could not really 
be a Christian if he did not somehow show such genuine 
kindliness as to win his father's confidence and love. 

In Montgomery's poem, "The Watchman," the captain of 
the guard at Christ's tomb was completely transformed in 
his attitude toward humanity by seeing the risen Christ : 

I care no more for glory; all desire 
For honor and for strife is gone from me, 
All eagerness for war. I only care 
To help and save bruised beings and to give 
Some comfort to the weak and suffering; 
I cannot even hate those Jews: my lips 
Speak harshly of them, but within my heart 
I only feel compassion; and I love 
All creatures, to the vilest of the slaves, 
Who seem to me as brothers. Claudia, 
Scorn me not for this weakness; it will pass- 
Surely 'twill pass in time — and I shall^ be 
Maximus, strong and valiant once again, 
Forgetting that slain god. And yet, and yet — 
. He looked like one who could not be forgot ! 

This is no fanciful picture. This is just what has been 
happening for centuries. It is the new interest in humanity 
kindled by Jesus Christ which has built hospitals in China, 
asylums in India, and schools everywhere. The service of 
humanity was not multiplied, but was really initiated by 
Jesus Christ. Speaking of the pagan peoples before Christ, 
Seeley says : "Humanity was known to them as an occasional 
impulse, but not as a standing rule of life; but with the 
coming of Christ this lethargy passed away, and humanity 
becomes a passion v/ith the early Christians."^ When one 
becomes a Christian, something really happens in his life. 

^Seeley, "Ecce Homo," pages 154, 155. 



STUDY IV. 

The Message of the Non- Christian Religions. 



6o CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity ; and the 
things that they delight in shall not profit; and their own witnesses 
see not, nor know : that they may be put to shame. Who hath fash- 
ioned a god, or molten an image that is profitable for nothing? Be- 
hold, all his fellows shall be put to shame; and the workmen, they 
are of men : let them all be gathered together, let them stand up ; they 
shall fear, they shall be put to shame together." (Isa. xliv. 9-11.) 

"He hath cast off thy calf, O Samaria; mine anger is kindled 
against them : how long will it be ere they attain to innocency ? For 
from Israel is even this ; the workman made it, and it is no God ; yea, 
the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces." (Hos. viii. 5, 6.) 

"For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world 
are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, 
even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without 
excuse : because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, 
neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their 
senseless heart was darkened." (Rom. i. 20, 21.) 



PART I. THE GOD OF THE NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 

In order to understand clearly the uniqueness of the 
Christian message it is necessary to set forth very briefly 
the message of the non-Christian faiths. It will be neces- 
sary to do full credit to these religions if we are to have a 
fair understanding of the supremacy of Christianity. Sure- 
ly every religion has much of good in it; for it represents, in 
part at least, the striving of the Spirit of God with these 
people as he attempted to lead all men to himself. "The 
scientist," says Professor Knox, "may ignore the wisdom of 
Asia, but the Christian cannot ignore its faiths. He must 
consider their claim and compare them with his own." 
Perhaps we shall find that this comparison will be the great- 
est proof of the supremacy of Christ's gospel. 

As a religion is determined by its conception of God, let 
us first see what these non- Christian faiths have to say con- 
cerning this ultimate reality. 

Islam holds firmly to a personal Being who is the divine 
and final person in the universe. "There is no God but 
God," is the battle cry of the Mohammedan. In the fact of 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 6l 

a personal God, Islam is like unto Christianity; but in the 
characteristics of that God they stand far apart. Christian- 
ity believes in a God who is self-existent, has free will, but 
always acts in accordance with his own highest self, Islam, 
on the other hand, sets forth a God who is self-existent, has 
a free will, acts in entirely arbitrary fashion, without any 
regard for self-consistency. The Mohammedan God is, 
therefore, one without consistency or, one may almost say, 
without real morality ; for no person who is arbitrary can be 
completely moral. Of the ninety-nine names given to the 
God of Islam, there is none that denotes the idea of father- 
hood or tender care. He is absolutely separate and distinct 
from the world and touches it only according to caprice, not 
according to any law of self-consistency. Such a God, su- 
premely worthy in its conception of unity, which opposes 
all polytheism and destroys all idol worship, can hardly sat- 
isfy the longings of the human soul for fellowship with the 
divine. 

Islam arose out of a recoil from the Mariolatry and prac- 
tical polytheism of an effete Christianity. It is Christianity's 
greatest and most powerful rebuke. One cannot visit Pales- 
tine without being deeply moved by the tragedy of the situ- 
ation. The idolatrous form of Christianity which gave rise 
to Mohammedanism has in turn corrupted that religion until 
it has become essentially ilodatrous in its practice among the 
common people. While its founder, like that of Christian- 
ity, taught that there was one God, its degenerate form, like 
that of Christianity, is much given to sacred shrines, holy 
places, and holy persons — all of which are virtually wor- 
shiped by the common people. 



62 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"Wherefore should the nations say. 
Where Is now their God? 
But our God is in the heavens : 
He hath done whatsoever he pleased. 
Their idols are silver and gold. 
The work of men's hands. 
They have mouths, but they speak not; 
Eyes have they, but they see not; 
They have ears, but they hear not; 
Noses have they, but they smell not; 
They have hands, but they handle not; 
Feet have they, but they walk not; 
Neither speak they through their throat. 
They that make them shall be like unto them; 
Yea, every one that trusteth in them." 

(Ps. cxv. 2-8.) 

"And he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face 
of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the 
bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they 
might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each 
one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as 
certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his off- 
spring." (Acts xvii. 26-28.) 

PART II. THE GOD OF THE NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 
(Continued.) 

Turning from Mohammedanism to Hinduism, we imme- 
diately come into an entirely different realm of thought. 
Mohammed held to a God of distinct personality and com- 
plete unity. While the Hindu religion from time to time 
declares its God to be personal, it is a personality far differ- 
ent from anything we know. He is the sole essence and 
reality of the universe, the unity pervading all things. Be- 
sides him there is no other reality. "There is no second 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 63 

outside of him, no other distinct from him/' is the set for- 
mula of the Hindu faith. This does not mean that there is 
no other god beside him; it means that there is no other 
reality beside him. 

There is in this conception the fundamental truth of the 
unity of life, the interrelatedness of all being; but there is 
the fundamental error of leaving out of account all human 
personality. If there is no other besides God, then I am a 
mere dream, a shadov/, a delusion. This being so, it is made 
impossible for me to know that it is so ; for my friend, which 
tells me it is so, is not real, has no existence. It should be 
noted that the denial of the reality of sense impressions 
plunges us into utter darkness as to finding truth, for all 
our experience arises out of sense impressions and as such 
is the basis of knowledge. 

The Buddhist conception goes still farther and denies not 
only the reality of man, but the reality of God. There is no 
reality; all is change and decay and illusion. "It is an es- 
sential doctrine," says Rhys Davids, perhaps the greatest 
authority on Buddhism: "It is an essential doctrine, con- 
stantly insisted upon in the original Buddhist texts and still 
held, so far as I have been able to ascertain, by all Bud- 
dhists, that there Is nothing, either divine or human, either 
animal or vegetable or material, which is permanent. There 
is no being ; there is only becoming."^ 

Personal Thought. — Reflect for a moment to-day on what 
the value of religion would be to you if you were convinced 
of the truth of the doctrine of these religions — that is, that 
there is no such thing as a human person ; that you are sim- 
ply deluded when you think you exist. 

^Davids, "American Lectures," page 121. 



64 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"God maketh comparison between a slave, the property of his 
Lord, who hath no power over anything, and a free man whom we 
have ourselves supplied unto good supplies, and who giveth alms 
therefrom both in secret and openly. Shall they be held equal? 
No ; praise be to God ! But most men know it not." (The Koran, 
Sura i6.) 

"And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, whom thou shalt 
have ; of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy 
bondmen and bondmaids." (Lev. xxv. 44.) 



PART III. VALUATION OF MAN IN THE NON-CHRISTIAN 
RELIGIONS. 

According to Islam, man is not akin to God ; he does not 
partake of his nature and essence; neither, indeed, is such a 
thing desirable. Man is the creature of God. He is abso- 
lutely dependent upon his Creator in everything. While 
theoretically he is a moral agent, practically he cannot be ; 
for God has fixed his fate long before man comes into being. 
One Mohammedan writer has put it thus : 

When fate has come, man cannot it avert; 
Fate fails not, should he mind and sight exert. 
Beyond the Lord's decree, writ by his pen. 
Nor less nor more comes to his servants, men. 

This conception at once takes from man all his dignity 
and worth. He is simply a puppet in the hands of an arbi- 
trary God. The Hindu and Buddhist conception is far less 
satisfactory. According to the former, man has no distinct 
existence, but is simply an emanation from the divine, to 
which he will sooner or later return. He is not responsible, 
for whatever he does is the deed of the all-pervading God. 
This at once cuts the nerve of all high endeavor. Buddhism 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 6$ 

goes farther and denies man any existence whatever. Man 
is simply a shadow; or, to be more exact, he is just the re- 
sult of the stored-up energy of past deeds and desires. De- 
sire, lust, longing — these are the efficient cause of existence. 
If I do not put away all desire, when my being disintegrates, 
another being must come into existence to live out the result 
of the stored-up energy of my desire and deeds (karma). 
The horror of life, therefore, is rebirth in another form, to 
have new desires, only to give birth to a new existence. 
Man, therefore, is a creature bound to the eternal round of 
decay and rebirth in endless and monotonous succession. 
Salvation, as v/e shall see later, is the getting free from this 
wheel of destiny, the stopping of this monotonous succes- 
sion of rebirths. 

These conceptions do not dignify manhood. Hence In 
these countries the common man is nothing; he is simply a 
slave. Only the man who has fortune or some temporal 
blessing can be worthy of notice. Man is valuable, not be- 
cause of what he essentially is, but because of something he 
possesses. As a result of such conceptions there is no social 
uplift movement known in these countries. Man is not 
worth lifting. No one needs spend energy on a delusion. 
Crossing over the Yang-tse River at Hankow, China, one 
morning I was amazed and horrified to learn that a little 
girl who had fallen overboard from a house boat had been 
allowed to drown. The fisherman near had said : * 'We do 
not want her. She would be a care to us." Life in these 
countries has no value, no worth, no sacredness. There are 
no native asylums, no hospitals, no orphanages. The waste 
life is thrown on the scrap heap without remorse. 

Religions which have no more exalted ideas of man are 
not apt to make provision for a very worthy salvation. 
5 



66 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS^ 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"Verily this is no other than a warning to all creatures, 
To him among you who willeth to walk in a straight path. 
But will it ye shall not, unless as God willeth it, 
The Lord of the world." (The Koran, Sura 8i.) 

"Happy are the believers who restrain their appetites, save with 
their wives, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, for in that 
case they shall be free from blame." (The Koran, Sura 23.) 

"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity. 
And cleanse me from my sin, 
For I know my transgressions ; 
And my sin is ever before me. 
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, 
And done that which is evil in thy sight; 
That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, 
And be clear w^hen thou judgest." (Ps. li. 2-4) 



PART IV. CONCEPTION OF SIN IN THE NON-CHRISTIAN 
RELIGIONS. 

No non-Christian religion has such a note of personal sin 
as that in the reference just quoted, Psalm li. 2-4. 

Every religion, so far as I am aw^are, takes account of a 
man's consciousness of sin — that is, recognizes that man is 
out of harmony with his truer self and his environment. 
The form which this conception of sin takes varies greatly. 

The Mohammedan conception of sin is nearest to that of 
Christianity. Here sin is a transgression of the will of God 
and hence personal. The fundamental weakness of the con- 
ception lies in the fact that this will of God is purely arbi- 
trary and not necessarily in conformity to any fundamental 
law of right or wrong. In other words, while Mohammedan 
sin is personal, it is the transgression of the whimsical com- 
mands of an arbitrary God. Thus, as a Mohammedan ex^ 
pressed it to a missionary: "If I use tobacco, God may 
damn me; but if I murder or commit adultery, Cxod may be 
merciful." This at once throws sin into the realm of arbi- 
trary codes and does away with its most heinous aspect, the 
nonconformity to a holy and loving will of a self -consistent 
God. 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 67 

According to Hinduism, since there is no personal God, 
there can be no such thing as nonconformity to his will ; so 
sin in the Christian sense is unknown. Also, in view of the 
fact that God is all and in all and nothing exists besides him, 
all deeds are simply the deeds of the God and hence cannot 
be sinful. There can be no such thing as personal transgres- 
sion. In spite, however, of this philosophic unreality of sin, 
the Hindu religion has much to say about it. Somehow the 
sense of sin cannot be set aside. The chief sin is the affir- 
mation of personal, separate existence. Thought of person- 
ality is a delusion and an error out of which arises all suf- 
fering. It is this which gives rise to karma (the influence 
which lives on in a new birth), which condemns one to per- 
petual rebirths. 

"In India the great line of cleavage in the universe has 
always run between the real and the unreal, rather than 
between the right and the wrong.'*^ 

Buddhist sin is closely akin to that of Hinduism. Since 
there is no such thing as permanent existence, either human 
or divine, since all is change, the chief sin is to harbor the 
delusion of personal existence. The first fetter which holds 
man from entering the eightfold path of peace is sakkaya- 
ditthi (the delusion of self). 

From this very brief statement one immediately sees that 
sin has no such terror for the non-Christian peoples as it has 
for those of the Christian faith. Sin with them is error, 
delusion, failure. With Christianity it is personal, willful 
transgression. One would expect, therefore — and one is 
not disappointed — that moral life would be at low ebb in all 
these countries. In Christian countries one finds sin in spite 
of our religion. In non-Christian countries much of the sin 
exists because of the religious beliefs. 

^Pratt, "Psychology of Religious Belief," page 90. 



68 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"Ye may divorce your wives twice: Keep them honorably or put 
them away with kindness. . . . Fight for the cause of God, — 
And kill them wherever ye shall find them— such the reward of infi- 
dels." (The Koran, Sura 2.) 

"And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God 
gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are 
not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covet- 
ousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; 
whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, 
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understand- 
ing, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, 
knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are 
worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them 
that practice them." (Rom. i. 28-32.) 



PART V. STANDARDS OF MORALITY IN NON-CHRISTIAN 
RELIGIONS. 

It cannot be doubted that the non-Christian religions have 
many splendid moral precepts. We have paid little attention 
to Confucianism in these studies, but here one ought to say 
that the Confucian standard of morals is high. The Golden 
Rule, though expressed negatively, the high reverence for 
parents, the inculcation of virtue, courage, benevolence, loy- 
alty — all these are splendid. But in Confucianism God is 
ignored, woman is degraded, polygamy is sanctioned, and 
no power is given whereby the other virtues may be attained. 
China, leprous with sin and degradation, is a full and suffi- 
cient answer to Confucian ethics as a final system. 

Mohammedanism inculcates the highest reverence for 
God, mercy to captives, charity to the needy, patience in 
hardships, sobriety, and kindness. These are all well worth 
while. But side by side with these precepts it inculcates the 
most bitter cruelty to and persecution of nonbelievers ; slav- 
ery is directly and positively sanctioned; lying to women is 
justified; woman is degraded and made a tool of man's lust; 
and even heaven itself is a land where man may have un- 
numbered houris to minister to his debased passion. No one 
who reads the Koran, much less any one who views the 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 69 

practical outcome of the Mohammedan code of morals, can 
find any final standard there. 

Hindu moral codes differ with the numerous sects; but, 
on the whole, it may be said that all alike teach self-control, 
truthfulness, and the sanctity of the marriage relation. The 
most cultured sect, following the Bhagavad-Gita as their 
sacred book, may be said to have a fair code of morals. 
But no religion can pose as having a final standard for 
morals which sets up in its temples carvings which are such 
a travesty of morality and decency that no Christian woman 
can visit the temple. Nor can it hope to have much moral 
power when its gods in incarnate form are notorious as 
thieves and licentious beyond measure and a part of its 
sacred books must be condemned by the English government 
as obscene literature. 

In Buddhism there is the most utter confusion of essen- 
tials and nonessentials. Thus sleeping on a trundle-bed is 
put side by side with hatred, pride, and self-righteousness. 
Morality is a code and not a principle. Not only so, but all 
basis for morality is cut from beneath a Buddhist's feet ; for 
he believes in neither self nor God, and there can be no 
moral duty for either. 

None of these religions can satisfy our sense of moral 
life. They are the morals of a stationary code and cannot 
meet the needs of growing life. They were valuable in their 
day; but these peoples, with their belated sense of God, have 
far outgrown their codes. A new dynamic is needed, and 
Christianity can furnish that dynamic. 



70 



CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"On couches ranged in rows shall they recline; and to the dam- 
sels of large, dark eyes will we wed them." (The Koran, Sura 52, 
spoken of future life.) 

What grief 
Springs of itself and springs not of desire? 
Senses and things perceived mingle and light 
Passion's quick spark of fire. 

This is peace: 
To conquer love of self and lust of life, 
To tear deep-rooted passion from the breast. 
To still this inward strife. 

^Arnold's "The Light of Asia/* 



PART VI. CONCEPTION OF SALVATION IN NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

By the word "salvation" we do not here refer specially to 
future life. This is simply a resultant of salvation. Salva- 
tion is what a religion proposes to do for us here and now. 

In accordance with the Mohammedan idea of sin, as the 
transgression of the arbitrary mandate of God — often with- 
out regard to the fundamental conception of right and 
wrong — the result of sin is disfavor, but not guilt. Sin does 
not have the quality of guilt which it has for Christians. 
Hence Mohammedan salvation is not forgiveness, but In- 
dulgence; not freedom from guilt, but freedom from pun- 
ishment. A man who still has a murderous heart may gain 
entrance into Paradise if only God pleases to be indulgent. 
Personal holiness is not inculcated as the goal for Moham- 
medan character. 

According to Hinduism, the supreme evil of life is this 
embodied existence which continually returns in a new 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 71 

embodied form. To get rid of this round of rebirth, to get 
away from embodied existence, to be reabsorbed into the 
divine is the one conception of salvation. This can be at- 
tained only by the complete denial of self, with all its desires 
and passions. Hence salvation is the going out of the fires 
of life. 

Buddhism is much akin to this. It also seeks freedom 
from embodied existence. It is necessary thereto that a man 
extinguish all desire, all passion, all thought; then he will 
pass out of this deluded state into Nirvana, the state where 
he is at rest and without desire, without anxiety. Finally, 
when this present embodied existence is dissolved, he will 
simply be snuffed out; he will have attained extinction 
(parra-nibana). This is final and complete salvation; it is 
simply nihilism. 

In these religions salvation is purely negative. It is free- 
dom from some load, some punishment, some undesirable 
state. There is nothing positive in it. It has no real con- 
tent. It must be acknowledged that Christian salvation has 
had too much of the idea of freedom from the pains of hell. 
But this is perverted Christianity. Christ's salvation was 
positive fellowship. Set this beside Buddha's extinction or 
Hinduism's reabsorption into the divine, and we readily see 
how barren the non-Christian conception is. 



72 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IV. THE MESSAGE OF THE NON-CHRIS- 
TIAN RELIGIONS. 

"For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world 
are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, 
even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without 
excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, 
neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their 
senseless heart was darkened." (Rom. i. 20, 21.) 

How many births are past, I cannot tell ; 

How many births to come, no man can say. 
But this alone I know, and know full well. 

That pain and grief embitter all the way. 

— South India Folk Song. 



PART Vn. DO THE NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS 
SATISFY? 

We have very briefly set forth the non-Christian concep- 
tions of God, man, sin, morality, and salvation; and we must 
now ask in conclusion. Do these religions satisfy the souls 
of men? "The religious problem," says Professor Knox, 
*'is : Given man, dependent and ignorant, with feelings, fears, 
hopes, hatreds, loves, in the midst of he knows not what 
dangers and difficulties, how shall he be triumphant over 
fear and sin and death? How shall he live in peace and 
make existence not only endurable, but worthy? Thus, 
though some may regret it, the direct and fundamental 
proofs of our religion can be found only in its satisfaction 
of the cravings of the soul and by its adaptation to the high- 
est wants of society through Its ethical activities."^ 

Measured by these standards, do the non-Christian reli- 
gions prove adequate? The supreme craving in every hu- 
man soul Is for fellowship with a higher kindred power. 
Browning has well voiced this hunger of the soul in his 
splendid words in "Pauline" : 

The last point I can trace is — rest beneath 
Some better essence than itself, in weakness ; 
This is "myself," not what I think I should be : 

^"Direct and Fundamental Proofs of the Christian Religion/' 
pages 156 and 173. 



THE MESSAGE OF NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS. 73 

And what is that I hunger for but God? 

My God, my God, let me for once look on thee 

As though naught else existed, we alone. 

And as creation crumbles, my soul's spark 

Expand till I can say: "Even from myself 

I need thee, and I feel thee, and I love thee." 

I do not plead my rapture in thy works, 

For love of thee, nor that I feel as one 

Who cannot die; but there is that in me 

Which turns to thee, which loves or which should love. 

Which one of the religions which we have discussed can 
meet this test? Islam cannot; for its God is a capricious, 
austere, absentee Ruler who cares naught for human life. 
Buddhism cannot, for it denies the existence of any God at 
all. Hinduism, though its contemplative method comes 
nearer than any other, cuts off any final satisfaction; for 
there cannot be any real communion, since there are no per- 
sons to enter into that relationship. There is only one. 
That is God ; and even he is not a person, but a vague, pan- 
theistic essence that pervades the universe. 

Those who have studied the peoples in the mission fields 
know from observation that the souls of these men are hun- 
gry. There is a great unrest, a great longing, which finds 
no final satisfaction through the non-Christian faiths. That 
these religions have value cannot be doubted, but that they 
are not able to meet the needs of men is equally clear to any 
student. This dissatisfaction is written large in the faces 
of all whom one sees in these lands. There is an over- 
anxious expression which none can miss. The non-Chris- 
tian peoples have much of joy. They love their friends; 
they have the love of their children; they are completely 
human; but the deepest yearning of the soul is only par- 
tially met. They know God but dimly and hence are unsat- 
isfied. 



STUDY V. 
Modern Substitutes for Christianity. 



76 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"For thus saith Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and 
ye shall live ; but seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not 
to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel 
shall come to nought. Seek Jehovah, and ye shall live ; lest he break 
out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be none 
to quench it in Bethel. Ye who turn justice to wormwood, and cast 
down righteousness to the earth, seek him that maketh the Pleiades 
and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and 
maketh the day dark with night; that calleth for the waters of the 
sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth (Jehovah is his 
name); that bringeth sudden destruction upon the strong, so that 
destruction cometh upon the fortress." (Amos v. 4-9.) 



PART I. THEOSOPHY. 

That we are living in a period of religious unrest, no one 
can doubt who has given any thought to the ten or a dozen 
forms of new faith which have found adherents in our 
midst. As would be expected, most of these cults have some 
truth which is worth retaining; and one should, so far as 
possible, see what this truth is. 

Closely related to the non-Christian religions or ethnic 
faiths is the system of thought known as Theosophy. The 
Theosophical Society was organized in New York in 1875, 
and perhaps Madam Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant have been 
among its most noted advocates. It claims to be the final 
religion, the final science — in fact, the final wisdom. As a 
cult it is esoteric — that is, only the initiated can understand 
it fully. Its authority rests on a secret tradition which is 
the special property and revelation of an advanced brother- 
hood, who through successive incarnations have come to that 
high stage where the secrets of the universe may be revealed 
to them. Madam Blavatsky claims to have been associated 
with this brotherhood in receiving her revelations. 

Theosophy is closely related to Brahmanism, is purely 
pantheistic, denies the personality of God, and says all ob- 
jective reality is a temporary illusion. From the one over- 
soul man proceeds and hither he returns. "The most that 
can be said is that the absolute periodically differentiates 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. yy 

itself and periodically withdraws the differentiation into 
itself." After this human existence has been dissolved, man 
enters into a kind of heaven where he remains a longer or 
shorter time, in accordance with his merits, and then is 
ready for a reincarnation or rebirth. If he is ever able by 
perfection of life to get freedom from the wheel of death 
and rebirth, he then enters Nirvana or is reabsorbed into the 
absolute. 

While it cannot be denied that some of the Theosophists 
have lived beautiful lives, nevertheless their system, like all 
other forms of pantheism, cuts the true nerve of moral ac- 
tion. If I am a part of God, then I cannot sin; for God, 
being the all-pervasive, all-inclusive, all-perfect essence, 
whatever I do he does, and hence I have no more responsi- 
bility. It denies all reality to man, just as does Hinduism, 
and hence takes all motive out of life. The mystical, con- 
templative element in it has made an appeal to many restless 
souls ; but this mystical element arises out of the fact that 
man is a delusion, and his final salvation consists in getting 
out of himself, as it were, finding out that he is a delusion, 
and hence passing out of this shadowy existence. In no 
such system can any permanent satisfaction be found. Ex- 
tinction is not a goal worth working toward, and such a 
religion is a poor incentive to life. It is pessimistic to the 
core and gives no incentive to high endeavor. 



78 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out 
of Egypt. The more the prophets called them, the more they went 
from them : they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to 
graven images. Yet I taught Ephraim to walk ; I took them on my 
arms ; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords 
of a man, with bands of love ; and I was to them as they that lift up 
the yoke on their jaws ; and I laid food before them." (Hos. xi. 1-4.) 

"How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I cast thee off, 
Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as 
Zeboim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled 
together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not 
return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy 
One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath." (Hos. 
xi. 8, 9.) 



PART 11. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE. 

Perhaps Mrs. Eddy would resent her system's being put 
close to Theosophy, but here it logically belongs. Christian 
Science, too, owes part of its large influence to its Hinduistic 
elements. Mrs. Eddy distinctly denies the personality of 
God and says : "God is not a person ; God is principle." In 
other words, her system borders on, or may be called, a type 
of pantheism. She is in harmony with both Theosophy and 
Hindu thought when she denies all reality to the sense world. 
"Christian Science reveals incontrovertibly that mind is all 
in all, that the only realities are the divine mind and idea. 
God is the only intelligence of the universe, including man." 
"There is no finite soul or spirit." "Matter will finally be 
proven to be nothing but a mortal belief." "Matter and its 
belief — sin, sickness, death — ^are states of mortal mind which 
act, react, and then come to stop. They are not ideas, but 
illusions." "Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death, 
inasmuch as he derives his essence from God and possesses 
not a single original or underived power." "Thus the long 
tragedy which sin is supposed to have enacted in the world 
turns out to have been only a deceptive dream." 

It will at once be seen how close this comes to philosophic 
Hinduism. God is all in all. He is the one essence. Man's 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. 79 

earthly state is pure delusion. In fact, man has no real and 
separate existence. There is, therefore, no solid foundation 
for morality, no good or final development, not even any sure 
basis for knowledge, since all sense impressions are mere 
delusions. The system is full of contradictions. It resents 
being called pantheistic, and yet denies all personality to God 
and makes man a kind of emanation of the divine. It holds 
that God is love ; but one wonders how love can be an attri- 
bute of a completely impersonal element. 

Into her system Mrs. Eddy has incorporated the power 
of suggestion in curing physical ills; and that she and her 
followers have wrought many marvelous cures, no one need 
deny. The system has rightly called attention to the close 
relation of the mind to the body and also to the fact that 
any real religion should have reference to well-being in this 
life as well as in the life to come. It undoubtedly has helped 
some people and has struck at that otherworldliness which 
has at times been the bane of Christianity. 

But these virtues do not explain away the inconsistencies 
or make it a tenable system for a thoughtful mind. Pro- 
fessor Leuba's lame defense of this doctrine of the unreality 
of matter as identical with idealism seems to me wide of the 
mark. Concrete idealism does not deny matter, but claims 
that it is not opposed to, but, as it were, a manifestation of, 
spirit. Christian Science has value neither as Christianity 
nor as science and must sooner or later run its course. 



8o CHRISTIAN UFE—A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY V. MODERX SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

*nie \6^ mocmtams are for the wild goats ; 
Tbe rocks are a refnge for tlie conies. 
He appointed tbe moon for seascms : 
The Sim knovedi his going down. 
Thoa *";^ 1"* s fr darkness, and it is yiigfit^ 
Wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth. 
The jono^ hoos roar after their prey. 
And seek their food frooi God. 
The stm riseth, they get them awajr. 
And laj them down in their dens. 
Man goeth forth imto his work 
And to his labor tmtil the erening. 
O Jehovah, bow manifold are tfaf works ! 
In wisdom hast thoa made tfaem aU: 
The earth is full of thy richer" (Ps. civ. 18-24.) 



?>-?- ::i PESSIMISM. 

ANOTHER cult which 15 closely related to the Oriental re- 
ligions is that of PessimisttL Both Schopenhauer and Von 
Ifartman were in deep sympathy with certain elements of 
Buddhism. According to Schopenhauer, the world is the 
esqM-ession of will, and bad will or blind will at that The 
will as unsatisfied striving creates the world. This world, 
he claims, is the worst possible world. Thought is not per- 
manent, since it is a mere fimction of the brain. There is, 
therefore, no possible immortality, since when the thought 
vanishes with the brain there is no personality to be immor- 
taL Life is taken up with the purstiit of happiness, which 
may never be attained; hence life is a failure. There is 
much more of evil in the world than there is of good. Man 
is worthless and deserves no better than he gets. 

Plunged into so deep a sea of pessimism as this, the one 
recourse was to find an exit from existence. This both 
Schopenhauer and Von Hartman found in the Buddhistic 
doctrine of extinction. Pessimism accepts one substance or 
being, which is impersonal, of which all souls are simply 
emanations. Here it is hardly at one with Buddhism, but in 
the fact of widespread misery and suffering the two systems 
come together again. Like Buddhism, Pessimism finds re- 
lief through extinction. 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. 8l 

As a philosophy and as a religion, Pessimism is a failure. 
No man can be expected to strive much in a world when all 
is against him. If all is predetermined beforehand and is 
bad, what use to strive for that which is good? If, fur- 
thermore, final extinction is the ultimate hope, there is no 
hope at all. The mind refuses to rest in such a system. 

Again, Schopenhauer's system breaks down because he 
makes unsatisfied striving the essence of evil. But is it? 
Would complete satiety be blessedness? An ox that has fed 
and drunk and lies down to rest is a perfect ox ; but not so 
of man. His very manhood reveals itself in its striving. 
To be completely satisfied w^ould be stagnation, and that 
means death. It is of the nature of spiritual life that it ever 
aspires. So that Schopenhauer's thesis of perpetual striving, 
instead of being a basis for Pessimism, is the proof of the 
divine within man. 

Poor vaunt of life indeed 

Were man but formed to feed 
On joy, to solely seek and find and feast; 

Such feasting ended, then 

As sure an end to men ; 
Irks care the crop-full bird? Frets doubt the maw-crammed 
beast? 



Rejoice we are allied 

To That which doth provide 
And not partake, effect and not receive ! 

A spark disturbs our clod; 

Nearer we hold of God 
Who gives than of His tribes that take. I must believe. 



What I aspired to be 
And was not comforts me. 
A brute I might have been ; but would not sink in the scale. 
— Browning's "Rabbi Ben Ezra." 

Optimism arises not out of overlooking the evil and suf- 
fering of life, but springs from the belief that God is bring- 
ing all life to higher perfection. This life is a training 
ground, and our desires and struggles are but teachers of 
larger life. It bases itself on the belief that through the uni- 
verse "one increasing purpose runs." On the whole, human- 
ity has found it impossible to accept any other than an op- 
timistic theory of life. Pessimism gets us nowhere, and we 
will not follow a blind alley. 
6 



82 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"That they should seek God, if haply they might feel after hini 
and find him, though he is not far from each one of us : for in him 
we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own 
poets have said, For we are also his offspring." (Acts xvii. 27-29.) 



PART IV. POSITIVISM, THE RELIGION OF HUMANITY. 

According to this theory of life, a mother holding a child 
in her arms is the symbol of real religion. August Compte 
set aside a personal God and put in his place a kind of deified 
humanity, a great being. He claimed that religion must 
have two roots : First, the belief in a universal being, and, 
secondly, the belief in immortality. Since he could not ac- 
cept a personal God, he found his supreme being in a deified 
humanity. Since he could not believe in the continuity of 
the individual after death, he found his immortality in that of 
the race. The aim of Comte was to bring about through his 
new religion a social ideal. He claimed that humanity was 
suffering from an overemphasis on individualism; and that 
to turn man's thought away from himself would not only 
benefit society, but also the individual. 

Fauerbach claimed that humanity is actually the object of 
all religious worship, since our God is only the anthropo- 
morphic formation of our own desires and needs. He 
claimed that there was no objective reality corresponding to 
our conception of God, save as it could be found in human- 
ity itself. Hence to him the setting up of humanity as our 
object of worship was bringing religion in touch with reality. 

George Eliot is perhaps the best literary exponent of 
this system. To her it became an enthusiasm; and while 
not in complete agreement with Comte, she has done much 
to popularize his theory. The central idea of her religion 
was not faith in God, but faith in man. Savonarola repri- 
mands Romola for trying to run away from suffering. *Tf 
your own people are wearing a yoke," he says to her, "will 
you slip from under it instead of struggling with them to 
lighten it?" George Eliot called men to renounce self for 
the sake of a larger humanity. This is good if sufficiently 
motived by a humanity which has the Godhood within it. 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. 83 

Immortality was the share each person could have in build- 
ing a larger race. This also is good, provided all progress 
gained can be permanently kept. 

May I reach 
That purest heaven, be to other souls 
The cup of strength in some great agony, 
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love! 



So shall I join the choir invisible 
Whose music is the gladness of the world. 

— Eliot's "O May I Join the Choir Invisible!" 

The value of this theory is to bring us back to earth and 
socialize our lives. 

This thing is all very beautiful; but the trouble is, on the 
positivistic basis, taking all Godhood out of man, it is not 
true. First of all, there is no such thing as an idealized hu- 
manity. This is a pure fiction. Humanity is far from ideal- 
ized, and that it can lift itself by its own boot straps is the 
wildest dream. In setting aside man's relation to a divine 
power, the Positivists remove all hope of humanity's ever 
reaching an ideal state. Neither is humanity permanent so 
far as this world is concerned. Science holds that many 
centuries hence this world will be a burned-out cinder, and 
life upon it must be snuffed out. Hence humanity in the 
state we know it now, as a collection of individual beings, 
will ultimately be no more. An idealized humanity would, 
therefore, be a god of time and not of eternity and our reli- 
gion a temporary makeshift by which we could delude our- 
selves into a temporary enjoyment of life. Immortality of 
the race is a figment, since when the last human being leaves 
this form of existence all the struggles of the human soul 
for character are thrown away. There will be no world in 
which gladness shall be music, and all the practice of the 
choir will have been useless. "The religion of humanity," 
said Frederick Harrison, '*'is simply morality fused with so- 
cial devotion and enlightened by sound philosophy." But 
this is just where this religion breaks down. It neither has 
a sound philosophy nor does it offer to men a sufficiently 
permanent and valuable humanity to command our fullest 
devotion. I will not devote myself completely to a mere 
passing puppet, however well dressed and well trained that 
puppet may appear. Any humanity which is a bare human- 
ity, bereft of a divine element, is finally a puppet show. 



84 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth 
us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and 
dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the 
Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not 
that I am in the Father, and the Father in me ? the words that I say 
unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me 
doeth his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father 
in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." (John xiv. 
8-II.) 

"All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no 
one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the 
Father, save the Son,^ and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to 
reveal him." (Matt. xl. 27.) 



PART V. THEISM, A CHRISTLESS CHRISTIANITY. 

It has become more or less popular to say that we believe 
in God, but we do not need Christ to interpret God. That 
the Jews had a noble religion and that they knew God, no 
one denies. That there are adherents of Mohammedanism 
who know God, one cannot doubt. But do they know God 
in his fullness? and are we satisfied with their less perfect 
knowledge ? On the other hand, there are many, both Jews 
and Christians, who are reading into God all the qualities 
which Christ came to reveal and then are saying that they do 
not need Christ, for their God has the same value to them as 
our Christlike God. It is fair, however, to ask where they 
got their conception of God. 

At the University of Nebraska a Jewish student stood 
along with a number of others who were thus indicating 
their quiet decision to give themselves to the Christian life. 
After the service the Jewish student came and asked if 
I thought he was right. He said he did not believe in 
Christ as the Messiah, but he believed in him as the greatest 
prophet. I then began to ask him about his conception of 
God. I found that he believed in the same kind of a loving 
Father that I trust and worship. His God was not the con- 
ception of Jehovah in the Old Testament, but the Heavenly 
Father of the New Testament. He was reading into his 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY^ 85 

Jehovah all the attributes which Christ came to make known. 
For this I am thankful. Only I tried to make clear to my 
inquirer that it was hardly fair to incorporate into one's life 
all the message of the Christ life and yet deny the historical 
fact whence that message draws authority and power. 
Christ is not another God. Those who worship him are not 
dualists. This unitarian emphasis has had the benefit of 
bringing us to realize that we do not go to Christ instead 
of God, but we go to God through Christ. "He that hath 
seen me hath seen the Father." 

This does not mean that the Hindu does not have access 
to God simply because he has not heard of Christ. It means 
that his conception of God is less full and rich. It is in this 
sense that no man can come unto God save through Christ. 
If a man can only count ten, he is shut off from the further 
reaches of mathematics. And if a man has only had dim 
revelations of God, he has not come to God In his fullness. 
The doctrine of Christ is not the denial of any light that any 
man may have. It is simply the promise and fulfillment of 
a truer light to all who will through him come unto the 
Father. To cast aside Christ as unnecessary and unreason- 
able simply because all men have not heard of him is just 
as foolish as to cast aside all mathematical formulas simply 
because an African savage can only count ten. Not only 
so, but to say that one owes no debt to Christ in coming to 
God is on a par with saying that the savage counting ten 
can arrive at full mathematical knowledge without the inter- 
vening formulas. 

Christ is a historical fact, and we read God in the light of 
that fact. One can no more read the full character of God 
without the historical fact than we can have light without 
the candle which emits it. 

By all means let every man put into his conception of 
God all the richness which he can find from any source, but 
let him not deny the source from which that richness springs. 



86 CHRISTIAN. LIFE—A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made through him; and without him was not any- 
thing made that hath been made. . . . And the light shineth in 
the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not." (John i. 1-5.) 

"There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, 
coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was 
made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his 
own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as 
received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, 
even to them that believe on his name : who were born, not of blood, 
nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And 
the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, 
glory as of the only-begotten from the Father), full of grace and 
truth." (John i. 9-14.) 



PART VI. ECLECTICISM. 

In the midst of the confusion of faiths the Japanese have 
thought they could compound a new religion out of all the 
best elements of the various religions. Accordingly, many a 
Japanese will tell you that he is neither a Buddhist, a Shin- 
toist, nor a Christian ; but he is all in one. A similar move- 
ment arose in New England in the last half of the last cen- 
tury. A prominent educator of the East has recently es- 
poused a new religion bordering on some such theory of 
religious values. The Religion of Reason during the French 
Revolution was a movement in the same direction. But this 
French religion was not able to make much progress. One 
of its representatives, feeling that they had incorporated into 
it every good element of all religions, was at a loss to know 
why it did not win more adherents. Accordingly, he asked 
Talleyrand what was necessary to make this religion a suc- 
cess. It is said that the old diplomat replied: "I should 
advise you to get yourself crucified and rise from the dead 
on the third day." 

This strikes at the very heart of the difficulty. Religion 
is not a theory, it is a fellowship; and to be a fellowship 
there must be loving persons on both sides. 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. Sy 

"As the nutritive elements of the soil cannot be made to 
minister to life and movement by being brought together 
and can fulfill that function only when taken up by a living 
organism already present, so religious truths cannot be com- 
bined into a living whole by a mere process of juxtaposition. 
A living religion sufficiently comprehensive in its fundamen- 
tal principles can be hospitable toward truths found any- 
where in the limits of the accessible universe ; but the simple 
compiling of the truths will not make a religion endowed 
with victorious energy."^ 

Principles in themselves have no transforming power. It 
is life that transforms; and a religion that is simply a com- 
pilation of principles is useless. What the human race wants 
and needs is great purposes and principles incarnated into a 
person. This no eclectic religion can furnish. If the eclec- 
tics are to make a successful religion, they will not have the 
simple task of compiling elemental religious truths ; but they 
must create outright a God who incarnates them all. 

^Sheldon, "Unbelief in the Nineteenth Century," pages 216, 217. 



88 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY V. MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR 
CHRISTIANITY. 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in 
Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made 
me free from the law of sin and of death. For what the law could 
not do, in that "it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own 
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the 
flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who 
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after 
the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the 
Spirit the things of the Spirit." (Rom. viii. 1-5.) 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 
All things were made through him; and without him was not any- 
thing made that hath been made. . . . And the light shineth in 
the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not." (John i. 1-5.) 



PART VII. THE ETHICAL CULTURE MOVEMENT. 

This is not essentially a religion, but a declaration that 
supernatural religion is unnecessary to life. It is closely 
akin to Positivism in that it makes an idealized humanity the 
object of its endeavor, and it is related to Eclecticism in that 
its moral code is an attempted compilation of all the best 
elements of moral truth to be found. Felix Adler, the 
founder of this movement, in his book on "The Religion of 
Duty," says that we cannot get our religion from authority — 
by which he means the Bible — we cannot get it from philos- 
ophy; we cannot get it from science. "All really religious 
persons will agree that religion is primarily a matter of ex- 
perience/'^ 

The central element in that experience is spirit. By this 
he does not mean what he calls ghosts or what he calls a 
universal world ghost — a god. By spirit he means a "non- 
material something" which dwells in us. This spirit is a 
kind of all-pervasive essence in which the human race is 
united. "The very idea of spirit is that of unity expressing 
itself in plurality and of endless differences fused together 
in an all-embracing unity."^ The indwelling spirit is not 

^Adler, "The Religion of Duty," page 8. ''Ihid., page 15. 



MODERN SUBSTITUTES FOR CHRISTIANITY. 89 

something personal, but, on the contrary, decidedly imper- 
sonal. It is the common feeling we have for others, the bond 
of unity between man and man. It is, therefore, the world 
gj-ound of all true morality. Hence morality is of the very 
nature and constitution of man. It is the essence of the uni- 
verse, and in response to morality one finds himself in har- 
mony with the universe. This universal, all-pervasive spirit 
is a kind of cosmic urge, or universal impulse, pushing all 
humanity forward to a higher and truer destiny. Inasmuch 
as this spirit pervades all men to a greater or less degree, it 
gives dignity to all human beings. 

This movement has two definite contributions to make. 
First, it lends sacredness and dignity to all life and brings 
all men into a common brotherhood. Secondly, it puts em- 
phasis on moral action as the very essence and meaning of 
life. It thus checks up all religions on their moral content 
and justly calls them to make their practice as good as their 
creed. 

But the weakness of the ethical culture movement lies in 
its failure to explain this cosmic urge. How does it come 
that the heart of the universe is moral? How does it hap- 
pen that in adjusting ourselves to this all-pervasive, imper- 
sonal spirit we find ourselves acting morally ? There cannot 
be any explanation save that this all-pervasive, impersonal 
spirit is moral. But here we have a contradiction of terms. 
Whatever is moral is personal, if language means anything. 
Things, essences, impersonal entities do not have morality 
ascribed to them. Hence the ethical culturist must either 
cease to call his "spirit" moral or must impute to it some 
kind of personality. Now, if it be personal spirit, then we 
have no new theory, for Christianity has for centuries taught 
that the Spirit of God within the soul urges men on to moral 
endeavor. This same Spirit has united men into a common 
brotherhood and has given a high and dynamic motive for 
brotherly action or morality. 

It would appear, therefore, that if ethical culture is really 
new, its philosophy is not true; and if there is truth in its 
philosophy, it really is nothing new. 



STUDY VI. 
A Personal God. 



92 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"Then Jehovah answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 
Who is this that darkeneth counsel 
By words without knowledge? 
Gird up now thy loins like a man; 
For I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth ? 
Declare, if thou hast understanding. 
Who determined the measures thereof, if thou knowest ? 
Or who stretched the line upon it? 
Whereupon were the foundations thereof fastened? 
Or who laid the corner stone thereof, 
When the morning stars sang together, 
And all the sons of God shouted for joy? 

(Job xxxviii. 1-7.) 

PART I. MODERN SCHOLARSHIP AND A PERSONAL GOD. 

In our modern time some have feared lest the advance of 
science would drive God out of the universe. The supposed 
conflict between science and religion is not so acute now as 
formerly, but there are still those who feel that there is con- 
flict. Let us see. Science proceeds on the assumption of 
the uniformity and the universality of law. It assumes that 
a rock dropped here or in China or anywhere else on the 
earth will fall to the ground — that is, the law of attraction 
of bodies is uniform and universal. But what is the deeper 
meaning of this fact of uniformity? Does it not mean es- 
sential unity? If I should go into the customhouse of a 
city and see the clock set itself just at twelve, then on anoth- 
er day go into the courthouse and see the clock there set 
itself just at twelve in the same fashion, I would, if I were 
a thoughtful man, begin to wonder what the meaning of this 
uniformity could be. I think I would come to the conclusion 
that these clocks were unified either by common device and 
design, or else they were connected up somewhere to a cen- 
tral clock — that is, I would conclude that uniformity of ac- 
tion meant some kind of unity. I would probably find that 
they were all connected up with the Western Union and 
hence were really unified. 

Now, the thoughtful man sees that there is a law of uni- 
formity throughout the universe. This does not just hap- 



A PERSONAL GOD. 93 

pen. A self-running universe is a fiction of muddy thinking. 
There is somewhere a unifying element, a something that 
grips up all forces into itself and makes them one. Science 
calls this force. Hartley said that it was a very mysterious 
force, and so it seems to me ; but at least it is unity. There 
are not a thousand or a hundred or even two supreme ele- 
ments in the universe. The whole is unified, else there would 
be cross purposes and utter confusion. Then there could be 
no science. Science, therefore, gives us unity. This is not 
God, but it certainly does not deny God. The Christians 
claim that God unifies all life, that he is the supreme force 
in the universe. Science does not deny this. Indeed, it 
looks in this direction, but cannot go so far. 

Again, science proceeds on the assumption that life is a 
process; that nothing is, but all things are becoming; that 
all things are moving toward a goal, be that goal good or bad. 
The law of evolution says that there is uniformity of pro- 
cedure. Even the so-called jumps of nature are uniform in 
action and come about in accordance with fixed law. But 
when science says there is uniformity, progress, movement 
toward a goal, it says there is intelligence ; for nothing save 
intelligence can have purpose. Blind force and purpose be- 
long to two unrelated fields. They cannot be put together. 

Hence science, as pure science, says there is a unifying 
element which knits all life into one unity, and this unity is 
shot through with intelligence. This is not God, but it does 
not contradict him. 



94 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; 
And the firmament showeth his handiwork. 
Day unto day uttereth speech, 
And night unto night showeth knowledge. 
There is no speech nor language; 
Their voice is not heard. 
Their line is gone out through all the earth, 
And their words to the end of the world. 
In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber. 
And rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 
His going forth is from the end of the heavens. 
And his circuit unto the ends of it; 
And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 

(Ps. xix. 1-6.) 



PART II. MODERN SCHOLARSHIP AND A PERSONAL 

GOD. 
(Continued.) 

The very definite and decided tendency in philosophy is 
tov^ard personalism. The old form of crass materialism has 
lost its hold. No one now believes that the higher states of 
consciousness can be evolved out of sheer matter. Pure 
idealism has likev^ise passed. We cannot deny the existence 
of matter. To define it as a delusion of our senses is sheer 
nonsense, for it cuts the nerve of all true thought and makes 
knowledge impossible. Therefore we must say that matter 
and spirit are somehow akin. They are not absolutely op- 
posed to each other. The personalistic philosophy claims that 
material is the manifestation or embodiment of idea. Now, 
thought incarnated is person; and so philosophy to-day is 
looking toward personalism as the ultimate meaning of the 
universe. "Unless, then," says Dr. Bowne, "appearances are 
unusually deceitful in this case, it is plain that man is no im- 
potent annex to a self-sufficient mechanical system, but is 
rather a very significant factor in cosmic ongoings, at least 
in terrestrial ongoings.'* And proceeding further he says : 
"A world of persons with a Supreme Person at the head is 
the conception to which we come as the result of our critical 
reflection."^ 

^Bowne, "Personalism," page 279. 



A PERSONAL GOD. 95 

"But" objects a student who came to me recently, "how- 
can God be infinite and yet personal ? Does not personality 
limit him?'' That depends on your conception of personal- 
ity. 'These, then," says lUingworth, *'are the constituent 
elements of personality as such — self-consciousness, the 
power of self-determination, and the desire which insistently 
impels us into communion with other persons — or, in other 
words, reason, will, and love/'^ 

A person is a spirit which is conscious of itself in all its 
differentiations. If we think of human personality, it cer- 
tainly would limit God. But we must remember that no 
human being is completely personal. We are just growing 
toward personality and are far from complete. We have a 
little intelligence. We know that we can find some truth, 
even though we often conceive falsely. We have some love 
power; for we know that we love our mothers and our 
friends, even though we often go astray in our emotional 
life. We have a little will; for we do choose right part of 
the time, even though we choose falsely often. Growth in 
personality is growth in fullness and accuracy of these fac- 
ulties. All education is to help us know right, respond 
rightly to that knowledge, and act right when we know and 
feel. It is not impossible to conceive of a personality in 
which the knowing faculty is complete, in which there is 
right response to all life, and in which all choices are right 
and true. Here would be a perfect person, an unlimited per- 
son — that is, unlimited in the realm of personal life. The 
fact that one person has all the powers, emotions, and quali- 
ties of all his friends and his own besides does not limit him. 
He does not become less personal because he is not set over 
against his friends. If God contains all the attributes of hu- 
manity and nature, as well as all that our imperfect natures 
point toward, he is not thereby limited, nor is he less personal. 

Dr. W. N. Clarke defines a perfect person as "the being in 
whom these essential powers which constitute personality 
(intelligence, affection, and will) exist in perfect quality 
and degree and are perfectly bound together and welded in 
use in the unity of self -directing consciousness." Such a 
conception is not impossible, and such a conception ap- 
proaches the idea of a personal God. It is poor and barren 
compared with what God must be, but it does not limit God. 

^Illingworth, "Personality, Human and Divine," page 38, 



96 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal 
life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; 
but that the world should be saved through him." (John iii. i6, 17.) 



PART III. THE CHARACTER OF GOD. 

If we are to have a God whom we can worship, his char- 
acter must be self-consistent and good ; otherwise he would 
be a monster whom we might fear, but whom we could 
never worship. No sooner do we come to consider this 
phase of God's nature than the problem of evil rises up to 
confuse us. If God is good, how does it happen that evil is 
prevalent and at times seems to be triumphant? If evil is 
separate from God and not amenable to God, then we have a 
dual universe, which science will not permit us to believe. 
If, on the other hand, God is supreme, how can we reconcile 
the continued existence of evil in the world with our con- 
ception of his benevolence? This is the age-long problem, 
which can never be completely solved, but which we can in 
a measure come to justify. 

The purpose of life is training, as we shall show in a later 
chapter. But training in moral character can come only 
through overcoming obstacles and through moral choice. 
In a world where every obstacle was removed and in which 
one could not help doing the right there would be no real 
morality. Character could never be developed in such a 
place. "Tell me, now," says Browning, "what were the 
bond 'twixt man and man, dost judge, pain once abolished?" 
In his poem entitled "Rephan" Browning sets forth clearly 
that life without battles would be a dead calm where no 
character could be born. Life in such a place would be un- 
bearable, and one would be glad to get to a world where 
struggle was and victory was possible. 

"You divine the test. 
When the trouble grew in my pregnant breast 
A voice said: "So wouldst thou strive, not rest? 

Burn and not smoulder, win by worth, 

Not rest content with a wealth that's dearth? 

Thou art past Rephan ; thy place be earth !" 



A PERSONAL GOD. 97 

Instead, therefore, of its being impossible to reconcile a 
good God with a world of conflict, it would be impossible to 
conceive of God as good in a struggleless world ; for a God 
who would shut me up to dead indifference would rob me of 
the chance of character and hence be immoral. We have no 
praise for the parent who so smooths the path of the child 
as to rob the child of all endeavor, for thereby he robs the 
child of character. Precisely this is the danger of all luxury 
and ease : it makes people soft and spineless. No good God 
will treat me thus. We cannot make God less benevolent 
than our standard for parenthood. It is easier to justify 
the existence of evil in the presence of a good God than it 
would be to believe in a good God in the absence of any 
chance for character. 

Kant, in his critique of practical reason, said that there 
was an oughtness in the human soul, a sense of duty which 
gave meaning to all morality. "But,'* said Kant, "if this 
oughtness is not in harmony with the spirit of the universe, 
I am opposed to the universe and must be ground to pow- 
der." He felt it absolutely essential, therefore, to posit the 
goodness of the universal order. We must believe that God 
is good or else plunge into absolute pessimism, which denies 
all morality. 

On the hypothesis of a God without goodness, man's good- 
ness would be the highest and the best in existence. But we 
all know that man's goodness is very partial. If, therefore, 
God is not good, there is no final goodness, and the world is 
incomplete. There is failure written at the very heart of 
things. All my striving for right is a failure, because there 
is no final standard. All morality is a chaos, my own moral 
nature a misfit and a lie. Again, we are plunged into com- 
plete pessimism, which ends in a blind alley. This human 
nature cannot and will not accept. 

While we may not escape the difficulty of this problem, 
we at least can rest sure of this, that a universe such as we 
have is far more reasonable on the hypothesis of a God who 
is good than on any other basis ; and if we are to be really 
scientific, we will act on the most reasonable hypothesis. 
We can no more prove God than we can prove the existence 
of a substance called ether; but we must accept both in order 
to reconcile the facts of experience. 
7 



98 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish 
without the law : and as many as have sinned under the law shall be 
judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before 
God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles 
that have not the law do by nature the thingsof the law, these, not 
having the law, are a law unto themselves; in that they show the 
work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing 
witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or 
else excusing them)." (Rom. ii. 12-15.) 



PART IV. THE MEANING OF GOD TO DAILY LIFE. 

Most men do not deny God. They simply fail to see that 
he has any meaning for their daily lives. To them God is a 
being far removed from the earth, who dwells apart from 
men. Christ, on the other hand, conceived of God as a Fa- 
ther deeply interested in his children and having daily con- 
tact with them. 

If God is a Person, as we have seen there is reason to 
believe he is, then it is possible to have personal fellowship 
with him. In an earlier study we tried to show that Chris- 
tian life is just this companionship with God and that this 
companionship is normal. 

This at once dignifies all life. I measure myself and am 
measured by others on the basis of my companionships. 
Noble companionships dignify life. A student friend of 
mine was invited to ride with President Roosevelt in his 
private car across my friend^s native State. The friends of 
this college man never ceased to talk about this honor done 
him. His life was at once dignified by his friendship with a 
strong personality. This is a weak illustration of what God 
does for us. By giving us access to his life he at once dig- 
nifies our persons ; he makes us bigger and better men. 

Again, this Christian conception of God as a Person gives 
basis for universal religion. If religion were initiation into 
an occult system of knowledge, as the systems of India de- 
clare, some men would be incapable of being religious. If 
religion were living according to set formula or creed, then 
no man could be religious until he knew that formula. Even 



A PERSONAL GOD. 99 

If religion were a specific type of emotional response, then 
some races and some individuals of every race might find 
themselves incapable of such emotional response and might 
be cut off from religious life. But since religion is fellow- 
ship with God and God is a Person, then all men of every 
grade of intelligence and of every temperament can enter 
this fellowship. The fact that we are personal means that 
we can enter into fellowship with persons. Hence religion 
is a universal possibility — indeed, broadly speaking, it is a 
universal fact. Jesus called men away from an external 
and formalistic religion to an inward and personal religion, 
a religion of personal fellowship. 

This Christian conception of God as a Person further 
means that all men may receive from God help in their 
every hour of need. The greatest power in the world is 
not electricity or steam or any other form of physical force. 
No amount of physical force can change a man*s disposi- 
tion or his spirit or his attitude. Only personal influence 
can do this. The stronger the personality, the surer will be 
fiis influence upon us. Henry Drummond once said: "I 
become a part of every man I meet, and every man I meet 
becomes a part of me." There is no more certain fact of 
scientific research than this fact of the influence of one per- 
son upon another. If, therefore, God is a person and we 
will use these laws of personal association, we can have our 
lives transformed by his presence. To help us in our every 
need God does not have to dip into the universe, as it were, 
and change all the laws of nature. 

If I can so strengthen the character of my friend that he 
can care for his own physical welfare, I have served him 
more really than if I had furnished food and clothes all his 
life. If God through direct contact with our souls can equip 
us to live, he has met the fundamental need of our lives. 
This God does and is doing day by day. 



100 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"Surely the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, except he reveal his 
secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared; who 
will not fear? The Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who can but proph- 
esy?" (Amos iii. 7, 8.) 

"For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that 
speaketh in you." (Matt. x. 20.) 



PART V. CAN GOD SPEAK TO MEN? 

But some object that we cannot come to know God. Ac- 
cording to Herbert Spencer, God, as the Absolute, is un- 
known and unknowable. To think is to condition or limit 
objects; it is to set them over against what they are not. 
But to think the absolute or unconditioned would be to 
think the unthinkable. This was Mr. Spencer's contention, 
and there is considerable disposition on the part of some 
modern writers to take his attitude. Felix Adler seriously 
asks: "Can we form any conception of the kind of being 
capable of governing these tremendous forces, of overlook- 
ing this interminable wilderness of worlds? Can the anal- 
ogy of human intelligence give the least clue to the nature 
of such a being ?"^ And yet in this very same chapter Adler 
gives a lot of clues to his nature when he says that "it tends 
to back up moral efforts" or that it is "a power outside our- 
selves which cooperates in the attainment of moral ends." 
"I believe that there is a higher Being, an ultimate divine 
Reality in things." He at least is saying that this Being has 
morality and effective will. That is something. 

Mr. Spencer and his followers, down to and including the 
modern ethical culturist, say that we cannot know God and 
then proceed to describe him. We must not forget that all 
knowledge is relative. That is Mr. Spencer's contention. 
Thought about a thing delimits it by setting over against it 
what it is not; but we cannot think of the delimited object 
without at the same time thinking of that which limits it. 
We cannot think of the North Pole without at the same time 
setting it over against the South Pole, by which process we 

are of necessity forced to think of the South Pole. No man 

* — ■■ 

^Adler, "The Religion of Duty," page 37. 



'A PERSONAL GOD. lOI 

can conceive of a stick with only one end. When he thinks 
of one end, he sets it over against another end. So when I 
think of a finite being Uke myself, by the very necessity of 
thought I set finitude over against infinitude. 

The fact that I have to think of the infinite in terms of 
the finite does not mean that the conception of the infinite is 
completely false. All knowledge must be expressed in terms 
of my own experience; and while that experience may be 
relatively incomplete, it is, nevertheless, true so far as it 
goes. Take this away from me, and I can have no knowl- 
edge whatever. I could not even know that I do not know. 
It is not only religion, but all knowledge, which is of neces- 
sity anthropomorphic. 

Herbert Spencer recognized the inconsistency of his the- 
sis, for he acknowledges : "Though the absolute cannot in 
any manner or degree be known in the strict sense of know- 
ing, yet we find that its positive existence is a necessary da- 
tum of consciousness and that so long as consciousness con- 
tinues we cannot for an instant rid it of this datum."^ 

The real thing which men mean when they say that we 
cannot know God is that we cannot handle him or see him 
or demonstrate his existence as we deal with scientific facts. 
Neither can I see or feel or demonstrate your personality 
nor my own. No man can prove his own existence, for the 
first step in the proof would be to assume his personality as 
the tool with which he would set to work to make the proof. 
But, although I cannot see your personality, I can know it. 
Every man does know his friends, and to try to argue him 
out of his belief in this knowledge is the sheerest folly. He 
knows them, not by scientific experiment, but by personal 
association. I know a person, not by finding out where he 
was born or how old he is, not by facts about him, but by 
living in the presence of his spirit. This is the one way of 
knowing a person; and this way is just as trustworthy, just 
as real, just as certain as is science in its own field. 

God being a Person, we must know him through personal 
association. This method is as vital, as real, as trustworthy 
as any scientific method. God can be known. He can com- 
municate himself to me, just as my friend can make his 
impress on me. 

^Spencer, "First Principles," page 29. 



102 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for 
they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain 
mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God." 
(Matt. V. 6-8.) 

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou 
hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no 
priest to me : seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also 
will forget thy children." (Hos. iv. 6.) 

"If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, 
whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself." (John vii. 
17.) 



PART VI. CONDITIONS OF KNOWING GOD. 

If it is reasonable to believe that God can make himself 
known, then we cannot escape the conviction that he will 
make himself known to his children. No good and loving 
father would refuse to speak to his children. "Self-expres- 
sion is of the essence of personality." It is impossible to 
think of personality separated from a desire to make itself 
known. At least one of the great activities of God's life is 
that of self-expression. This is not an abstract term. A 
person cannot express itself in vacuo. Real expression 
means revelation; it means communication of self to some 
one else. We must conclude, therefore, that God is contin- 
ually trying to reveal himself to all men. If men have not 
heard his voice, it is because their ears are dull. That all 
men have heard something of God's message is proved by 
the fact of universal religion. All religions, however per- 
verted, are the standing proof that men have caught some 
faint message from God; for religion, as Dr. Tiele puts it, 
springs from the consciousness of God within the human 
soul. 

What, then, are the conditions of God's message being 
heard? What is inspiration? Inspiration is man's side of 
the process of intercommunication, of which revelation is 
God's side. The first condition of a moral revelation must 
be moral character. There must be likeness of character in 
order that there may be intercommunication. A man who 



A PERSONAL GOD. I03 

is reeking with crime can scarcely understand the speech 
of a pure man who talks of unselfish love, much less can he 
fully understand God. All men have some moral impulse in 
them; and it is by the cultivation of this, through response 
to God's will, that a man grows in capacity to understand 
God. Revelation is a growth; it is progressive. The more 
I give myself to God, the more is he able to make himself 
known to me ; and the more he makes himself known to me, 
the more am I willing to give myself to him. It is recipro- 
cal action. 

Inspiration may, therefore, be described as the process of 
character growth, by which a man becomes capable of re- 
ceiving messages from God. Revelation is the message 
which comes to man in consequence of this process of prep- 
aration. 

If we are not hearing God's voice progressively, it is be- 
cause we are not progressively preparing to hear it and lis- 
tening to it. The law of all thought growth is that we shall 
act on what we know. We must live to our best daily in 
order that to-morrow there may be a better knowledge pos- 
sible. God can speak only to those who are willing to hear 
and who by habitual hearing have prepared themselves to 
hear more clearly. 

A so-called special revelation would, therefore, not be 
miraculous. It would follow the normal law of preparation. 
It would mean that one person or one group of persons had 
lived in such harmony with God that they were able to catch 
more of God's message thcin others. Why should we think 
this strange or impossible? We accept this in every other 
realm of knowledge. The artist grows by attention and 
interest. He gives himself to beauty, as it were. He, there- 
fore, sees more beauty than others. When the artist Tur- 
ner was showing a lady one of his landscapes, she re- 
marked : "Mr. Turner, I have never seen such high coloring 
in nature." "No," said the artist ; ''but don't you wish you 
could?" 

Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall 
see God," and this is the law of revelation. Growing like- 
ness of character is the basis of a growing clearness of rev- 
elation. 



I04 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VI. A PERSONAL GOD. 

"Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, 
for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness : 
that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto 
every good work." (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.) 

"And we have the word of prophecy made more sure ; whereunto 
ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, 
until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts : knowing 
this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man : but men spake from 
God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Pet. i. 19-21.) 

"Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have 
eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me." (John 
V. 39.) 

PART VII. WHAT IS THE BIBLE? 

The Bible does not claim to be a textbook o£ science, his- 
tory, or literature. Neither is it a fetish to drive off evil 
and bring good. It is not a book of holy riddles. It does 
not even claim to be the only revelation of God's will. John 
says distinctly that his record of Jesus is only a partial rec- 
ord and that if all were written down the world could 
scarcely hold the written records. (John xxi. 25.) The 
Bible is and claims to be a record of man's progressive 
growth toward God. It is a record of man's age-long search 
for and his experience with God. It is, therefore, a record 
of what God has been able to make known to men in past 
ages and through a specific race. It is, as it were, the lab- 
oratory book of that part o£ humanity which was most alert 
to the sense of God. The Jews went into the great labora- 
tory of personal forces; and, finding God, they wrote down 
their experience for us, just as a scientific student writes in 
his laboratory book the experience he has with certain phys- 
ical forces. 

It is evident, therefore, that the Bible will be a progressive 
revelation. Many students have asked me how I could ex- 
plain for them the seemingly incomplete morals of the Old 
Testament. It must be explained on the basis of progres- 
sive revelation. What Moses heard God say was of neces- 
sity colored by the content of his own mind. He did not 
have the fully developed, pure soul of Paul or Jesus, and he 
must of necessity fail to catch the full meaning of God's 
message. 



A PERSONAL GOD. 10$ 

Revelation is not a miraculous something that has no ref- 
erence to man's intelligence. It must come through the 
medium of man's person and hence must take on to some 
extent the color of the medium. It is for that reason that 
all revelation is incomplete, save that which comes in the 
perfect person, Christ. He is final, but it must not be for- 
gotten that we have not fathomed all that finality yet. Ev- 
ery century finds new meaning in Christ, because no pre- 
vious century has had people capable of understanding that 
side of Christ's life. We are just now beginning to catch 
the meaning of Christ's social message. The message has 
always been there, but we are just now becoming able to 
interpret it. 

The Bible, therefore, is a progressive revelation fitted to 
man's capacity. God is wiser than a kindergarten teacher, 
and no such teacher would begin her six-year-old children 
in the abstractions of mathematics or astronomy. Or, to 
put it differently, I have a friend. After I have known him 
a month, I think his character is one thing. After I have 
known him a year, I see new depths in his life. After I 
have known him intimately ten years, I am sure that I did 
not know him at all at the end of the first year. This is 
progressive revelation. Now, the Bible is just the report 
that some of the world's greatest souls have given us of 
their growing friendship with God. Since we can know 
God only through personal association with him, this is 
the only way that the world's stock of knowledge about God 
can grow. Our knowledge must be the sum total of avail- 
able experiences which men have had with God. These 
great hungry souls went in search of God, and they found 
him in ever-increasing measure. Or, if we turn it around, 
the eager, loving soul of God yearned to make himself 
known to his children, and he has progressively been able 
to make them understand. If man is a person and God a 
loving Person, we cannot doubt that somehow they may 
come to know each other. The Bible, therefore, is the rec- 
ord of these supreme meetings of the soul of man with the 
soul of God. It is the record of the supreme experiences of 
the race and will ever remain a sacred book. That section 
of the Bible which records Christ's consciousness of God 
must be our highest and our final standard of truth, for 
Christ met God as no other man may ever hope to meet him. 



STUDY VTI. 
Christ the Supreme Revelation of God, 



Io8 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

'They say unto him, Teacher, this woman hath been taken in 
adultery, in the very act. Now in the law Moses commanded us to 
stone such : what then sayest thou of her ? And this they said, trying 
him, that they might have whereof to accuse him." (John viii. 4-6.) 

"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be 
tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty 
nights, he afterward hungered. And the tempter came and said unto 
hirn, If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become 
bread. But he answered and said. It is written, Man shall not live 
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth 
of God." (Matt. iv. 1-4.) 



PART I. THE MANHOOD OF CHRIST. 

Our last study brought us face to face with God's method 
of making himself known to men. There we saw that 
Christ was God's highest expression of himself. Here we 
must justify that statement. It must be noted, in the first 
place, that Christ evidently conceived himself to be without 
sin. He challenges the haughty leaders of Israel to convict 
him of sin. (John viii. 46.) In all the records of the New 
Testament we find not the least intimation that he knows 
sin in his own person. In the five passages which refer to 
his character and which Schmiedel^ recognizes as alone 
absolutely authentic Jesus acknowledges his dependence on 
God. He recognizes his relative inability, save as related to 
the Father; but in no case is there the least intimation that 
he has sin in his life. He never asks forgiveness; he shows 
no signs of penitence. "He comes back to each new duty 
untrammeled by any rebuking memories. . . . He is 
conscious that he has never deflected at any point from the 
line prescribed. . . . And so he confronts the present 
with an undimmed confidence."^ 

This confidence was not due to a hardened condition of 
soul. Men sometimes sin until they become so deadened 
that they are unaware of their sin. Indeed, the sense of sin 
is usually a mark of growing moral character. But this was 
not the explanation of Christ's sense of sinlessness. No 

^Mark iii. 21-35; x. 18; xii. 32; xiii. 32; xv. 34. 

^Forrest, "The Christ of History and Experience," pages 30, 31. 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. 109 

other person ever condemned sin so unsparingly and yet 
loved men so whole-heartedly. 

Not only do the Gospels portray Christ as a perfect moral 
character, but also the letters of the New Testament. St. 
Paul was a man of scholarship and a man with sterling 
business qualities. He was not a man who could easily be 
hoodwinked. Not only so, but he knew personally most of 
the closest followers of Christ. And yet St. Paul asserts 
again and again that Christ was a sinless man. 

It is further to be noted that the whole world joins in this 
estimate. Even the most severe critics have not dared at- 
tack the moral character of Jesus. 

Renan was the arch-skeptic of France. I remember my 
surprise when I read his life of Christ. I had expected rid- 
icule; instead I found the highest praise. Listen to this 
word of his : "From amidst uniform depravity pillars rise 
toward the sky and testify to a nobler destiny. Jesus is the 
highest of these pillars that show to men whence he comes 
and whither he ought to tend." And again he says : "The 
palm is his who has been both powerful in words and deeds, 
who has discerned the good and at the price of his blood has 
made it triumph. Jesus from this double point of view is 
without equal, his glory remains entire, and will ever be re- 
newed." 

It is the deliberate conclusion of those who have studied 
the facts with care that Jesus presents to the world the one 
moral character which is above reproach. Sidney Lanier, 
the great Southern poet and scholar, after calling the roll 
of the world's great names and coupling with each name 
"some sweet forgiveness" for their "errors rich," breaks 
out in this wonderful word about Christ, which is a sum- 
mary of the estimate of the ages : 

But thee, but thee, O sovereign seer of time, 

But thee, O poet's poet, wisdom's tongue, 

But thee, O man's best man, O love's best love 

O perfect life in perfect labor writ, 

O all men's comrade, servant, king or priest — 

What if or yet, what mole, what flaw, what lapse, 

What least defect or shadow of defect, 

What rumor tattled by an enemy, 

Of inference loose, what lack of grace 

Even in torture's grasp, or sleep's or death's — 

O, what amiss may I forgive in thee, 

Jesus, good Paragon, thou Crystal Christ! 

— Lanier's "The Crystal.'* 



no CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

"All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do 
unto you, even so do ye also unto them : for this is the law and the 
prophets." (Matt. vii. 12.) 

PART 11. CHRIST'S PERFECT MORAL STANDARDS. 

Not only did Jesus live an exemplary moral life, but he 
set up a complete and final standard of morals. I have had 
many students say that we have outgrown the standards of 
Buddhism, those of Mohammedanism, and those of Confu- 
cianism. Why may we not outgrow those of Christianity? 
First, I have suggested that there is a fundamental difference 
between the standard of Christ and that of the other reli- 
gions. This is not a difference of degree, but a difference of 
kind. Confucius, Buddha, and Mohammed attempted to set 
forth a minute code of all the moral duties of life. A care- 
ful reading of the texts of these religions will reveal splen- 
did moral precepts, although there are many nonessential 
and nonmoral principles exalted to the plane of morality. 
But the great difficulty lies in the fact that a code which fits 
the needs of men to-day will be outgrown by the next gen- 
eration. Under the system of a code the people advance, 
but their moral standards stay fixed. 

Speaking of this situation in China, Legge says : "There 
has been a tendency to advance, and Confucius has all along 
been trying to carry the nation back. The consequence is 
that China has increased beyond the ancient dimensions, 
while there has been no corresponding development of 
thought."^ A code of morals means a stationary morality; 
and human life is progressive and not stationary. Hence 
no code can ever be drawn up which will be permanent. 

It is just here that Christ shows himself superior to all 
other moral teachers. Even the Old Testament lays down 
its Ten Commandments, which are perhaps the best moral 
rules that the world has. But they were inadequate even in 
Christ's day. In the fifth chapter of Matthew Christ goes 
beyond a number of the old commands, implying that they 
are too low a standard for his kingdom. "I have not come 
to abrogate these, then (the law), but to give them their 
completion." He does not put in their place some set form 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. m 

of command. He does not attempt to work out a list of du- 
ties or prohibitions. Christianity has no moral code. It has 
a moral principle and a moral dynamic, but not a code. 

Christ's teachings outstrip all other teachings. He took 
morality out of the realm of overt action and pushed it back 
into the realm of motives. He said that a murderer was not 
simply a man who took his brother's physical life, but also 
the man who hated his brother and would like to take his 
life. (Matt. v. 21, 22.) He said that the adulterer was not 
simply the man who in his body sinned against a woman, 
but a man who cherished lustful thoughts about a woman. 
(Matt. V. 2y, 28.) In other words, according to Christ's 
standard, sin was not simply a deed that could be catalogued 
or punished ; sin was a motive of the inner life. 

He went further and described the quality of a moral 
motive and the quality of an immoral motive. He set forth 
the fundamental principle in accordance with which every 
motive must be judged. He said that love was the test of 
life. If we want to know whether a motive is right or not, 
test it by unselfish love. If your motive is unselfish and 
held in the spirit of love to others, then your life is morally 
good. This love must extend, not to your neighbor alone, 
but to all men, even your enemies. 

Lovelessness is the final sin. A man can go to ruin in his 
character as rapidly by the road of lovelessness and selfish 
motive as along the road of criminal deeds. Love is life; 
but selfishness is death. Now, this sets a final standard of 
morals which humanity can never outgrow. Little by little 
humanity is growing in the spirit of brotherliness. Little 
by little we are seeing that unselfishness is the law of life. 
The more we see this, the more will Christ's standard of 
perfect brotherhood tower above us. It is a flying goal. 
The more we approach it, the further it leads ahead. The 
jnore we see of the meaning of unselfish love, the more do 
we recognize the unfathomed depths of Christ's moral prin- 
ciple. 

In taking morals out of the realm of codes and putting 
them in the realm of motives and in setting unselfish love as 
.the highest motive of life, Christ has given us a standard of 
morals which is final and unsurpassable. 

^Legge, 'The Chinese Classics," Volume I., page 107. 



112 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

''But when the Son of man shall come in his glory,, and all the 
angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and 
before him shall be gathered all the nations : and he shall separate 
them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from 
the goats ; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats 
on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world : for I was hungry, and ye gave me 
to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and 
ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye vis- 
ited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the 
righteous answer him, saying. Lord, when saw we thee hungry, 
and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we 
thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And 
when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And tht 
King shall answer and say unto them. Verily I say unto you. Inas- 
much as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, 
ye did it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left 
hand. Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels : for I was hungry, and ye did not 
give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a 
stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; 
sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also 
answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a 
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto 
thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not 
unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but 
the righteous into eternal life." (Matt. xxv. 31-46.) 



PART III. CHRIST THE FORGIVER OF SIN. 

But Christ did not stop with having a moral life and set- 
ting up a final standard of moral action. He went further 
and said that a man*s life was to be judged by his attitude 
toward him as revealed in his attitude toward his fellow 
men. (Matt. xxv. 31-46.) In other words, Christ as the 
Judge of sin was also able to forgive sin. But the power to 
forgive lies in the capacity to bring people to the attitude 
where they may be forgiven. Even God cannot forgive a 
man who does not want forgiveness. If forgiveness is, as 
we defined it earlier, the change on the part of God from a 
disapproving love to an approving love, then that change 
can take place only when man's attitude is worthy of ap- 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. 113 

proval. The attitude of turning from sin, the attitude of 
reverence for the best, the attitude of love toward persons 
is the prerequisite of forgiveness. If Christ v^^as to be a 
forgiver of sin, he must have capacity to bring men back 
to their better selves, back to God. This Jesus believed he 
had capacity to do. "But I, when I am lifted up from the 
earth, will draw all men to myself." (John xii. 32.) He 
felt that there was that moral attractiveness about his life 
that would make men hate sin and turn from it. He felt that 
he was able to give such a complete picture of the loving 
heart of God that men would gladly turn away from sin and 
turn to God. 

Precisely this is what has been happening in all the centu- 
ries since Christ. Men have been coming into his presence 
to see what the real standard of life is. There they have 
come to have a sense of sin. If any student wants to find 
out whether he is living right or not, let him study the 
Gospels. Let him stand in the presence of the manhood of 
Christ, and he will soon find out what kind of a character 
he has. 

Now, the whole unselfish life and the unselfish and shame- 
ful death of Christ were necessary to help make clear to 
men how God hated sin. On the life of Christ the burden 
of sin rested. He agonized over it in every person he saw. 
He suffered with every sinful man ; and his deep sympathy, 
which ultimately broke his heart on the cross, was manifest 
not only in his life, but in his death. By some mysterious 
alchemy of the human soul, love and sympathy arouse the 
same feeling in the soul loved, so that Christ's love has bro- 
ken the hearts of men of hardened life. His death on the 
cross was the summation of all his sympathy for men in 
their struggle with sin. He too had known the bitter agony 
caused by the sin of man. Not his own sin cost him his life, 
but his sympathy for the sin of others. It costs something 
to know the sin and failure and need of others. It will 
break your heart to really sympathize with those in need, 
but in breaking your heart it will help to save the world. 
It is just this fact of heartbreaking sympathy for men, of 
self -identification with them, that has made the cross of 
Christ the means of bringing men into a new attitude to- 
ward God. The facts of life show that Christ's expectation 
was justified. His suffering love has led men back to God, 
and thereby he has really become the forgiver of sin. 
8 



114 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that 
sent me, and to accomplish his work." (John iv. 34.) 

"I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which 
thou hast given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with 
thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the 
world was. I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gav- 
est me out of the world : thine they were, and thou gavest them to 
me; and they have kept thy word. Now they know that all things 
whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee : for the words which 
thou gavest me I have given unto them ; and they received them, and 
knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that 
thou didst send me." (John xvii. 4-8.) 

"Jesus answered. If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: It is 
my Father that glorifieth me ; of whom ye say, that he is your God ; 
and ye have not known him : but I know him ; and if I should say, I 
know him not, I shall be like unto you, a liar: but I know him, and 
keep his word." (John viii. 54, 55.) 



PART IV. CHRIST THE REVEALER OF GOD. 

At the age of twelve Jesus went with his parents to Jeru- 
salem to attend the great feast. At the close of this festival 
occasion, as they started northward, for some unaccountable 
reason Jesus was left behind. When the parents found out 
about it, they went back to hunt for him and found him in 
the temple discussing the facts of God's life. It is evident 
from what we have reported at that time that there was 
already dawning in his consciousness that deep sense of fel- 
lowship with God which makes him the most remarkable 
person the world has ever had. 

All the way through his life Jesus seemed to have an un- 
wavering sense of close communion with God. Other men 
have had this sense to a remarkable degree, but not as Jesus 
had it. To him it was the one great reality. Everything 
was dominated by this ; and if it were not true, then he was 
the most deluded man that history records. 

Not only did Christ feel that he knew God, but he felt 
that it was his supreme mission to make God known to men. 
"Jesus," says Harnack, "is conscious that he knows God in 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. 



115 



a way which no one ever knew him before, and he knows 
that it is his vocation to communicate this knowledge to 
others by word and deed."^ 

He talked so often and so familiarly about God that one 
day one of his disciples said: "Lord, show us the Father, 
and it sufficeth uSo" Jesus' simple answer was: "Have I 
been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, 
Philip ? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. How 
sayest thou. Show us the Father?" (John xiv. 8, 9.) Jesus 
was so conscious of God that he felt he was living the very 
life of God himself, so that a man who saw him saw also 
the very life of God. Christ never urges men to take his 
teachings apart from himself, but he embodies his teachings 
in himself. 

Herein lies a fundamental distinction between Christian- 
ity and the other religions. Other religions are the religions 
of a book. Christianity is the religion of a person. I mean 
that Gautama, the Buddha, specifically told his disciples to 
forget him, but to keep the law : "Whoever shall adhere un- 
weariedly to this Law and Discipline, he shall cross the ocean 
of life and make an end of Sorrow."^ We have the law of 
Buddha, and it makes no difference who gave it. It is not 
dependent upon his life. But with Christianity it is entirely 
different. Christ identifies his life with his message. We 
are, therefore, not told to follow his law, but to follow him. 
He is a living Person, a revelation of God to men, contin- 
ually dwelling in the hearts of men. His teachings are only 
instruments to lead men to him, the Life Giver. 

Does the precept run, "Believe in good 
In justice, truth, now understood 
For the first time'' ? or, "Believe in me. 
Who lived and died, yet essentially 
Am Lord of life"? 

— Browning's ^'Christmas Eve" 
1.1 t 

^Harnack, "What Is Christianity?" page 128. 
2Rhys Davids' "Buddhism," page 79. 



Ii6 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

"Come unto me, all ye that labor 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 in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For 
my yoke is easy, and my burden is Hght." (Matt. xi. 28-30.) 

"The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy : 
I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." (John 
X. 10.) 

"I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me." (Phil. iv. 13.) 



PART V. MEETING THE NEEDS OF MEN. 

But even more remarkable than anything else in the life 
of Christ was his consciousness that he could meet the needs 
of men. No religious worker fails to see the deep hunger 
and unsatisfied longings of men. This longing cannot be 
satisfied with things. Some of the most dissatisfied people 
we know have a superabundance of things. It is only fel- 
lowship with kindred souls that will satisfy a person. It is 
for this reason that men when they really love a person will 
sacrifice all else rather than lose the person. Persons alone 
meet our need. Jesus believed that he in a supreme sense 
could meet the needs of men. "He seems to be confident 
that no one else can give what he promises. What he prom- 
ises is a life of profound usefulness or satisfaction; and he 
promises it to any troubled spirit, no matter what its bur- 
dens or unresting aspirations may be. Imagine with what 
confident desire he looked out upon the crowds of travelers, 
business men, and soldiers thronging the great world high- 
ways that crossed' and recrossed Palestine. They were go- 
ing here and there in the world on various errands. He 
stood looking at them from the Galilean hilltops with the 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. ny 

consciousness of being one who could afford them peace and 
light through his companionship."^ 

The remarkable thing is that men through all the ages 
have felt that Christ was doing what he thought he could 
do. Poor, distraught human beings have come to Christ and 
have gone their way with a new sense of peace and calm. 
Men needing freedom from sin have found peace through 
him. Men needing strength for battle have found courage 
in him. It is no make-believe. Millions of the earth's tru- 
est and strongest and best have come to Christ and found 
life. We can no more doubt their testimony than we can 
doubt the whole company of scientists who agree on certain 
scientific discoveries. "The scientific student goes into his 
laboratory and, taking his formula, tests it to see if it gives 
the proper results. If he follows the conditions laid down, 
he gets the results. Another man, who tries the same for- 
mula but does not follow the conditions in full, fails to get 
the results. He allows an error to slip in — some precipitate 
or acid or what not. But if every man who meets the con- 
ditions of the formula finds the same results, we say that the 
formula is correct."^ In similar fashion the men who have 
met Christ's conditions have found him meeting their deep- 
est needs. Some who have not met these conditions may 
deride the idea of Christ meeting men's needs, but they can 
have no right to an opinion when they have not met the con- 
ditions. Meeting the conditions and trying the experiment 
is the one way to find the truth, and those who have made 
the venture testify that he meets their deepest needs. 

^Bosworth's "Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles," page 39. 
^The author's "Introducing Men to Christ," page 169. 



Ii8 CHRISTIAN LIPE—A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

"God is a Spirit : and they that worship him must worship in spirit 
and truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh 
(he that is called Christ) : when he is come, he will declare unto us 
all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he." 
(John iv. 24-26.) 

"And many more believed because of his word; and they said to 
the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we 
have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour 
of the world." (John iv. 41, 42.) 

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life ; 
no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John xiv. 6.) 



PART VI. THE MEANING OF CHRIST'S CONSCIOUSNESS. 

What, then, is the meaning of such a consciousness as 
Christ had? He believed himself to be a sinless man. He 
believed that he had a unique fellov^^ship with God. He be- 
lieved that he could bring men to turn to God. He believed 
that he could meet all the needs of men. What a wonderful 
opinion to have of one's self ! He must have been one of 
three things, either the world's greatest egoist or the world's 
craziest man or what he really claimed to be. 

It seems to me that we can set aside the first at once as be- 
ing a psychological impossibility. If Christ in his colossal 
egotism was simply deceiving men, how could we account 
for his perfect moral life? There is a unity of moral life, 
and no man can be completely false and untrue in one realm 
of his nature and still be true and holy in another realm. 

We may almost as quickly dismiss the second. If Christ 
had been deluded as to his essential nature, surely he could 
not have been the sanest, most normal, best-poised man in 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. 



119 



the world. But even the skeptics acknowledge that he was 
the world's wonder of sanity, poise, and self-possession. 
Neither could we suppose that the world's finest system of 
morals and its highest expression of life could be the result- 
ant of a demented brain. No one can believe this. 

If, then, he was neither a deceiver nor a deceived man, 
he was surely the kind of person he believed himself to be, 
the very Son of God. 

If Christ, as thou affirmest, be of men 

Mere man, the first and best but nothing more, — 

Account Him, for reward of what He was, 

Now and forever, wretchedest of all. 

For see : Himself conceived of life as love. 

Conceived of love as what must enter in, 

Fill up, make one with His each soul he loved: 

Thus much for man's joy, all men's joy for Him. 

Well, He is gone, thou sayest to fit reward. 

But by this time are many souls set free, 

And very many still retained alive : 

Nay, should His coming be delayed awhile, 

Say ten years longer (twelve years, some compute). 

See if, for every finger of thy hands, 

There be not found, that day the world shall end. 

Hundreds of souls, each holding by Christ's word. 

That He will grow incorporate with all. 

With me as Pamphylax, with him as John, 

Groom for each bride! Can a mere man do this? 

Yet Christ sayeth, this He lived and died to do. 

Call Christ, then, the illimitable God, 

Or lost ! —Browning's "A Dearth in the Desert," 



120 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VII. CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELA- 
TION OF GOD. 

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld 
his glory, glor};- as of the only-begotten from the Father), full of 
grace and truth." (John i. 14.) 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; 
And the firmament showeth his handiwork." 

(Ps. xix. I.) 

"God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets 
by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these 
days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, 
through whom also he made the worlds." (Heb. i. i, 2.) 



PART VII. IS THE INCARNATION IDEA UNREASONABLE? 

After presenting all the foregoing facts to a certain stu- 
dent, he said : *'Yes, they all seem to be true ; but the incar- 
nation idea seems to me absurd and impossible. There can- 
not be such a thing." Well, let us see. Is this opposed to 
all reason, as my student thought? A Christian should be 
the last one to ask a student to believe that which was essen- 
tially unreasonable. We may not be able to demonstrate all 
truth — in fact, only a very limited number of truths can be 
demonstrated. All we need to do is to show that a fact is 
not unreasonable, that it does not cut across the normal 
processes of the mind. 

First of all, let us remember that this idea of an incarna- 
tion is deeply imbedded in the human mind. Men of all 
nations have looked for the incarnation of the God idea. 
Even in Mohammedan countries, where the founder of the 
system strenuously denied the possibilities of an incarna- 
tion, the human heart has found many ways to circumvent 
this philosophy. If this is so deeply imbedded in human 
nature, we should not be surprised if the fact should prove 
tenable and reasonable. 

So long as our philosophy was purely materialistic and 
all existence was simply the result of blind forces acting 
in accordance with blind laws — in other words, so long as 
we thought of the world as purely a mechanical world — 
there could be no place for an incarnation. But we do not 
now so view the world. We think of the universe as the ex- 



CHRIST THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD. 121 

pression of will. It is matter shot through with personality. 
Spirit and matter are not opposites. Spirit is not abstrac- 
tion, but is self -embodying soul. Just as I am conscious of 
my processes and as I manifest myself in this human em- 
bodiment, so God is conscious of himself in all his embodi- 
ments in nature. In other words, God is the process of the 
tmiverse. Every phase of the universe is but an expression 
of God. The forces of nature are but the workings of his 
will. This is our present-day philosophical attitude. Per- 
haps the strict philosopher would use the word ^'absolute" 
where I use the word "God." 

*Tn a perfectly real sense creation is incarnation, nature 
the body of the infinite Spirit, the organism which divine 
thought has articulated and filled with this breath of life."^ 

What man who has stood on the mountain top and seen 
the beauty of the landscape or the richness of a mountain 
sunset has not felt himself in the very presence of God? 
Beauty and majesty have no utilitarian value. They seem to 
be alone set to show us the life of God. We are in the habit 
of saying that we see God in nature. 

"The heavens declare the glory of God ; 
And the firmament showeth his handiwork." 

So we speak, and this is the incarnation idea. This incar- 
nation idea is just the fact of the Unseen looking out upon 
us through the seen. 

Now, if God can look out upon us through nature, what 
is to hinder him looking out upon us through the highest 
form of that nature, which is human nature? And if in one 
human nature he should completely and fully look out upon 
us, there would be nothing unreasonable or untenable in the 
thought. The facts seem to show that this is precisely what 
he has done. 

"Many were the forms and fashions in which God spoke of old 
to our fathers by the prophets, but in these days at the end he has 
spoken to us by a Son." (Heb. i. i, 2.) 

I say, the acknowledgment of God in Christ, 
Accepted by thy reason, solves for thee 
All questions in the earth and out of it, 
And has so far advanced thee to be wise. 

— Broivning's "A Death in the Desert." 

^Fairbairn, "The Philosophy of the Christian Religion," page 479. 



STUDY VIII. 
Man and His Relationships. 



124 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"And God said. Let us make man in our image, after our 
likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and 
over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the 
earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created 
he him; male and female created he them." (Gen. i. 26, 27.) 

"For thou hast made him but little lower than God, 
And crownest him with glory and honor. 

Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; 
Thou hast put all things under his feet : 
All sheep and oxen, 
Yea, and the beasts of the field, 
The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea. 
Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." 

(Ps. viii. 5-8.) 

"And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not 
man for the sabbath." (Mark ii. 27.) 



PART I. THE NATURE OF MAN. 

We have defiined religion as the right relationship between 
persons. It is essential to the full understanding of this 
definition that we come to understand the nature of the per- 
sons entering into this relationship. On one side stands God 
as revealed in Jesus Christ ; on the other stands man. 

We have seen that personaHty consists in a combination 
of three aspects of consciousness : intelligence, emotion or 
sensibility, and will power. All of these elements man pos- 
sesses in some degree, though no one of them may be found 
in perfect degree in any one person. Man, therefore, is not a 
perfect person; or one might say that he is not completely 
personal. He is growing toward personality. Man's per- 
sonality is not dififerent in kind from God's, but is limited in 
degree — that is, we know truth, in so far as we know it at 
all, just as God knows truth. We love, in so far as we really 
do love, just as God loves; for love is love, even though a 
a perfect love would be so far advanced over our own that 
it would appear to be an entirely new species. We are made 
in the likeness of God. There is a real likeness, though not 
a complete likeness. 

We assert this likeness when we declare that man is a 
moral being. We mean that there is harmony between the 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 125 

inmost being of man and the essence of the universe, or 
God. The foundation of all morality is the sense of ought- 
ness within the man, which is just another way of saying 
the sense of man's unity with the universe, which is the 
expression of God's life. When a man says that he ought, 
he has gone to the bottom. Why ought he? Just because 
his nature tells him that he ought. And that nature tells him 
that he ought because oughtness is of the very essence of 
personal being, which, traced to its ultimate meaning, is that 
he is akin to a self -consistent and moral God. All con- 
science, all sense of duty, all moral right and wrong, ulti- 
mately grounds itself in our sense of oneness in nature with 
God. 

The reason morality has such transcendent power, the 
reason it cannot be really and permanently crushed, is that it 
is an expression of the permanent and eternal likeness of 
man to God. "For if the Supreme Power of the universe 
is allied with the cause of goodness [we would prefer to 
say, is goodness] , the man who performs a good act has the 
universe behind him. Even though the act appear to be one 
of absolute self-sacrifice, yet the individual cannot really 
lose, since God is on his side."^ Man's morality consists, 
therefore, in his deliberate choosing of that which is right, 
that which is in harmony with his own highest nature and in 
harmony with the nature of God. In this choice man's will 
is the final determining element. Even though man at any 
stage of his life may not know the final good, he is duty- 
bound to live to the best he knows at any time. His sense of 
right will be a growing attitude. 

The Christian doctrine of man differs from that of the 
non-Christian religions in most fundamental ways. Mo- 
hammedanism denies that there is any kinship between God 
and man. Confucianism ignores such kinship, even though 
it may not deny it. Not only so, but Mohammedanism and 
Hinduism both deny the freedom of man's will. The first 
is a system of determinism; the second is a system of fatal- 
ism. While Christianity recognizes this sovereignty of God, 
it at the same time maintains the freedom of man and his 
moral responsibility. Christianity, therefore, puts much 
more emphasis on moral life than any of the non-Christian 
religions. 

^Wright, "Self-Realization/' page 277 



126 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath 
been approved, he shall receive the crov^n of life, which the Lord 
promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, 
I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he 
himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, when he is 
drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it 
hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full-grown, 
bringeth forth death." (Jas. i. 12-15.) 

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he 
fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear : 
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that 
ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of es- 
cape, that ye may be able to endure it." (i Cor. x. 12, 13.) 



PART IL GROWTH OF MORAL LIFE. 

A CHILD is born into the world with capacities both for 
good and for eviL It is not a moral being, but it has capaci- 
ty to become a moral being. Two great forces will mold the 
life into its mature form. The first of these forces is hered- 
ity. The individual man is a part of the race. He enters 
life in the midst of the stream of human consciousness. He 
must, therefore, bring with him certain of the established 
tendencies of the race. This relation of the individual to 
the race has led some to suppose that the direction of the 
life is so set before responsibility dawns, that the nature of 
the child is so bent at birth, as to remove from him all re- 
sponsibility. We may not be able to answer all the questions 
raised by heredity in relation to freedom ; but this much we 
do know: that all human society, all law, all discipline is 
based on the conviction that man ultimately and finally is 
free. Heredity may modify the degree of responsibility, but 
it cannot destroy it and leave man still a man. I have noth- 
ing to say about the kind of disposition I inherit, but I am 
responsible for the way I use and train that disposition. 

After the child comes into the world, he finds himself sur- 
rounded by certain forces and influences. These have a 
tendency to mold his character in accordance with their own 
nature. Some have, therefore, supposed that a man is made 
by his environment. While no man can prevent his enviroa- 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 12; 

ment influencing his life, even if it be only in the nature of 
a recoil, yet man is not bound by his environment. A man 
can make his own environment, as it were. We grow like 
that on which we center our attention, and a man's power of 
attention lies in the realm of the will. I may attend to the 
best about me, or I may attend to the worst. Tw^o boys 
come from the same home with approximately the same 
heredity and practically the same environment. They enter 
college. One becomes a social dandy, and the other be- 
comes a serious student. The difference is largely in the 
things to which they give attention. Man ultimately is free 
and, therefore, responsible. Or, to put it from the reverse 
angle, we hold man responsible for his actions; therefore 
we must believe that he is ultimately free. How, then, does 
the child use his freedom to build character? "It is of the 
very essence of life to express itself; and this expression 
takes the form of personal assertion, personal initiative, the 
assumption of self-command. It is out of this inner strug- 
gle of self-command and self-assertion that character is 
born. All character, whether good or bad, is the accelerated 
victory over opposite tendencies. This, then, means the de- 
velopment of will, the building of the power of choice."^ 
Since it is of the nature of life to express itself, this choice, 
this self-assertion, is not in itself evil or selfish. But out of 
this growth into self-assertion the selfish tendency arises. 
We are apt to come to the place where we do a thing simply 
because we want to and without due regard to the rights of 
others. The minute our self-assertiveness becomes selfish- 
ness it has passed over into the realm of evil and sin. 

^The author's "Personal Elements in Religion," chapter on "Sin." 



128 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"And he said unto all. If any man would come after me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For who- 
soever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his 
life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man profited, 
if he gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit his own self?" (Luke 
ix. 23-25.) 

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said. Ye know that the 
rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise 
authority over them. Not so shall it be among you : but whosoever 
would become great among you shall be your minister; and whoso- 
ever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the 
Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to 
give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. xx. 25-28.) 



PART III. SELFISHNESS AS SIN. 

The fact that it is of the very essence and nature of life 
to express itself has given rise to a kind of laissez faire 
theory of morals. It has become a kind of defense of li- 
cense. A college man came to me once, saying that indul- 
gence of his physical nature was no more nor less than the 
expression of his being; and that was natural. He had for- 
gotten, however, and refused to remember that his nature 
must be expressed with reference both to his own best self 
and to the well-being of others. To act in accord with the 
demand of my lower life without due regard to the rights 
of my higher self and the rights of others is sin. 

"Love, looking upward toward God and outward toward 
man, is the true law of life; and such love, filial and frater- 
nal, will render it impossible for a man to be a selfish, self- 
regarding, self-seeking person. It is true that there is a self- 
regard which in its place is not sinful, but normal and wor- 
thy; and yet to a man in the right attitude, not self, but God 
and men, will appear the chief end to be regarded, and the 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. i2g 

general claim of duty will appear more urgent than all self- 
interest/" 

Sin, therefore, is the placing of my will, self-will, self- 
ishness, over against the will and the need of all other per- 
sons — God and men. Sin is selfishness. It will appear, 
therefore, that sin is not an abstract something, but is a 
concrete form of relationship. It is lack of harmony, delib- 
erate opposition to other persons or my best person. When, 
therefore, man gets so set on having his own way and on 
following his own desire that he forgets and disregards 
either his own highest self or other selves, he becomes a sin- 
ful man. Selfishness is the root of all sin. A man is a 
libertine because he forgets his own higher nature and the 
person against whom he sins in the one consuming desire to 
satisfy his lower nature — that is, he is selfish. A man is 
dishonest when he forgets the property rights of others in 
the morbid desire to possess. He is selfish. Persons are 
jealous when they exalt the importance of their own natures 
and fail to give consideration to the virtues and rights of 
other natures. They consider themselves alone worthy of 
love, which is a form of selfishness. One is selfish when, 
because of ease, one indulges one's lower nature and neg- 
lects one's higher nature, which becomes sin. All intellec- 
tual laziness, all inordinate yielding to ease at the expense 
of development, is selfishness, is sin. 

Therefore one may go to perdition on the road of selfish- 
ness as rapidly as one goes on the road of so-called grosser 
sins. The essential failure of selfishness lies in the fact that 
it makes one insensible to the needs and rights of others. It 
thus cuts one off from sympathy with others and destroys 
one's means of growth. In this respect selfishness becomes 
sin. 

iQarke, "Outline of Christian Theology," page 235. 

9 



130 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"Behold, all souls are mine ; as the soul of the father, so also the 
soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 
xviii. 4.) 

"Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants 
unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin 
unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But thanks be to 
God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from 
the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered ; and 
being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness. I 
speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh ; 
for as ye presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to 
iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members as serv- 
ants to righteousness unto sanctification. For when ye were servants 
of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. What fruit then had 
ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed ? for the 
end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin 
and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, 
and the end eternal life. For the wages of sin is death; but the 
free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. vi. 
16-23.) 

"Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness ; and sin is law- 
lessness. And ye know that he was manifested to take away sins; 
and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: who- 
soever sinneth hath not seen him, neither knoweth him." (i John 
iii. 4-6.) 

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the 
truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and right- 
eous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous- 
ness." (i John i. 8, 9.) 



PART IV. THE GROWTH AND MEANING OF SIN. 

Stevens, in his "Psychology of the Human Soul,'* out- 
lines the growth of the power of sin, or selfish desire. First, 
we perceive an object or an end. Secondly, we think of this 
object or end as a possible good. Thirdly, we dwell on the 
thought of the good to be received. In common parlance, 
we play with temptation. Fourthly, a strong desire seizes 
us to take this possible good for ourselves regardless of how 
it may aflfect others. Fifthly, we act, and the sin is done. 
Every man who has yielded to temptation knows how true 
is this description. Sin comes from staying so long in the 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 131 

presence of a selfish desire that we forget other things in 
this supreme desire. 

Sin has at least four evil results in the individual life. 
First of all, it brings suffering. The laws of righteousness, 
as we have seen, are inwrought into the very fiber of the 
universe, and he w^ho does wrong goes counter to the uni- 
verse. He may not suffer at once, but suffer sometime he 
surely must if the laws of the universe hold true. 

In the second place, sin dulls our perception of right and 
wrong. The tempter told the woman that her disobedience 
would open her eyes to knowledge; instead it blinded her to 
truth and opened her eyes to all sorts of evil. Like propa- 
gates like, and he who sins begins to see life as sinful. To 
become so blinded by sin that one is incapable of seeing 
God's truth is probably the impardonable sin spoken of by 
Jesus. 

Thirdly, sin paralyzes the will. "From him that hath not 
shall be taken away, even that which he seemeth to have." 
Not only does sin blind a man to new truth, but it makes 
him incapable of acting on the truth he already possesses. 
He becomes obsessed, as it were, with evil. His mind is 
auto-intoxicated with its own selfish desires. Even the ha- 
tred of our sin causes us to dwell on it until it fairly pos- 
sesses us, and we seem helpless to shake ourselves free. 

Lastly, as suggested before, sin separates us from persons. 
Soul responsiveness is the law of life, and lack of soul con- 
tact is certain moral and spiritual death. 

This is an entirely different conception of sin from that 
of the non-Christian religions. According to India's reli- 
gion, sin is an error, delusion, mistaken conceptions. Ac- 
cording to Mohammedanism, sin is the doing of things for- 
bidden by the decrees of an arbitrary God. Sin carries with 
it no sense of guilt, but rather a fear of punishment. 

Sin, according to Christianity, entails guilt and hence re- 
morse. Liability to punishment is as nothing compared 
with the sense of guilt. This sense of wrongdoing is present 
with all men, but the non-Christian religions have failed to 
rightly relate it to a true theory of repentance. Rather they 
have connected it up with ritualistic observances which lead 
to no moral end. 



132 



CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"And if thy hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut It off, 
and cast it from thee : it is good for thee to enter into life maimed 
or halt, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the 
eternal lire. And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, 
and cast it from thee : it is good for thee to enter into life with one 
eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire. See 
that ye despise not one of these little ones : for I say unto you, that 
in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who 
is in heaven. How think ye ? if any man have a hundred sheep, and 
one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, 
and go unto the mountains, and seek that which goeth astray? And 
if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth over it 
more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray. 
Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one 
of these little ones should perish." (Matt, xviii. 8-14.) 



PART V. THE SACREDNESS OF MAN. 

We have seen that man is made in the image of God and 
that he is, therefore, capable of associating with God. We 
have also seen that sin is the breaking of this relationship 
with God and men. It is setting our selfish desire over 
against the need and rights of other persons. 

If the man is to keep himself free from sin and grow into 
the fullness of life, he must ever keep himself conscious of 
the sacredness and value of other persons. In the sense of 
sacredness which inheres in every person, Christianity stands 
supreme among all religious teachings. Felix Adler, in his 
"Religion of Duty,*' says that this is one of the great out- 
standing teachings of Christ which we have not outlived, 
and he seems to think that we will never outlive it. 

Many new books have come from the press in the last two 
decades on the social meaning of life. Practically all, if not 
all, indeed, of these books have drawn their inspiration from 
the words of Jesus. He taught that a man v/as not to be 



MAN AND BIS RELATIONSHIPS. 133 

valued because of what he had, but because of what he was. 
What a man is may be entirely in embryo in possibilities, as 
it were, but he is essentially related to God and has a herit- 
age of a noble destiny. This is essentially the social mes- 
sage. Our motive for social service is that man is worthy of 
being served and, furthermore, that by being served he can 
be lifted toward God. If that were not so, there would be 
no motive for service. Christianity of all religions gives 
sufficient motive for a real service program. No other reli- 
gion save that of the Bible has ever developed a genuine 
social program. 

If man is sacred, we must never treat any individual man 
as if he were a thing. We cannot despise any man. To do 
so is to despise the very Godhood within him. This at once 
makes all men our brothers and sets aside all race hatred, 
race antagonism, and race conflict. He who hates the black 
man or the red man or the yellow man hates one made in 
the image of God and really hates God himself. There is 
no middle ground here. We may be Mohammedans and 
hate other men, but we cannot be Christians and hold such 
an attitude. Hinduism may produce a caste system ; but in 
Christianity there can be no castes, there can be no such 
thing as worthless or hopeless humanity. Christianity is the 
world's dynamic for social reform. Christ is the world's 
greatest social teacher. He is this because he valued men 
most and gave himself most freely to meet the needs of men. 
He who would keep himself free from sin and keep the ave- 
nues of his soul open Godward must incorporate Christ's 
teachings of the sacredness of persons into his philosophy 
and practice of life. 



134 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, 
that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For 
this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 
Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made mani- 
fest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we 
shall be like him ; for we shall see him even as he is. And every one 
that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure," 
(i John iii, 1-3.) 

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who 
is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him 
up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all 
things? . . . Nay, in all of these things we are more than con- 
querors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither 
death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor 
things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other 
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is 
in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. viii. 31, 32, 37-39.) 

"Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature : the old 
things are passed away; behold, they are become new." (2 Cor. v. 
17.) 



PART VI. THE DESTINY OF MAN. 

In no other regard do the non-Christian religions fall so 
short as in the conception of the future destiny of man. 
Mohammedanism holds to a future life, but it is a very gross 
picture. Faithful Mohammedans will be physically resur- 
rected with their own human bodies, and nonbelievers will 
be raised with bodies of apes, swine, and other animals. 
Paradise will not be perpetual fellowship with God, but a 
life of sensual pleasure. 

But for the God-fearing is a blissful abode, Inclosed gar- 
dens and vineyards, 

"And damsels with swelling breasts, their peers in age. 
And a full cup."^ 



^Rodwell's translation of the Koran. Sura 78. 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 135 

Hinduism denies the continuity of human personality, 
and Buddhism denies all personality. Whatever there is, 
therefore, corresponding to immortality in these two reli- 
gions is a kind of death and rebirth up to the eight mil- 
lion four hundred thousand times. It is a dreary, monoto- 
nous round of death and birth, without any conscious con- 
nection between the various incarnations. 

Set by the side of these crude conceptions, Christianity 
stands supreme. According to Christ's conception, a man 
is here and now, according to his character, entering the 
vestibule of eternal life, and life is never-ending. The joys 
of future life will be continued personal fellowship with 
God, with Christ, and with purified human personalities. 
Men are to be freed from the lowly elements of their nature, 
and their real personalities are to blossom forth into a per- 
petual progress. The Christian conception of immortality, 
therefore, is purely spiritual, or, one would better say, purely 
one of progressive personal relationship. The very fact of 
our personality means that we are immortal, for self -con- 
sciousness binds within its power the past and the present. 
It transcends time and change. "As persons we are identi- 
cal in the midst of change, and on account of our identity 
we are potentially infinite."^ 

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust: 
Thou madest man, he knows not why, 
He thinks he was not made to die; 

And thou hast made him: thou art just, 

— Tennyson's "In Memoriam." 

^Illingworth, "Personality, Human and Divine," page 91. 



136 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY VIII. MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
according to his great mercy begat us again into a living hope by 
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance 
incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in 
heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith 
unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (i Pet. i. 
3-5-) 

"Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched 
diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you." 
(i Pet. i. 10.) 

"And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true 
God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." (John 
xvii. 3.) 

"But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live 
with him." (Rom. vi. 8.) 



PART VII. CAN WE ACCEPT THE IDEA OF THE PERMA- 
NENCE OF PERSONALITY?' 

Serious arguments have been advanced against the belief 
in immortality. The first is that of the evolutionist, who 
holds that all life is a flux. Nothing is permanent or abid- 
ing, but all things are becoming. Man is simply a temporary 
stage in a long process. There is no reason to believe that 
man, one of the most insignificant beings in this cosmic 
process, should be singled out for preservation. This argu- 
ment tries to bully us by the preponderance of physical 
force. 

It is a purely quantitative argument. Men will no lon- 
ger be browbeaten by such fallacious logic. Even though 
man is small as to quantity, he is supreme as to quality. 
Furthermore, if evolutFon is going anywhere, it must have a 
goal. There must be a residuum. It would be pure chaos, 
a senseless process, that eternally threw away all it produced. 
Man is acknowledged as the highest product of this process 
of the centuries ; and if he is to be thrown away after a few 
centuries or eons, what is the reason or sense of the whole 

'Cf. the author's "Personal Elements in Religious Life," Chapter 
VIII. 



MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS. 137 

process? If the universe is reasonable, surely there must be 
some permanent element which gives value to the process. 
Even the evolutionist needs the conception of immortality to 
save his theory from utter chaos. 

Again, it has been argued by the psychologist that thought 
is a mere function of the brain and that when the brain de- 
cays the thought is snuffed out. Thought being a central 
element in personality, the decay of the brain would mean 
personal extinction. But this is a gratuitous assumption. 
No psychologist has ever proved that thought is a function 
of the brain. It is far easier to prove that thought uses the 
brain as its instrument and that, when the agent is worn 
out, the agency may find other means of expression. There 
is no proof on either side, hence the psychologist who thinks 
that thought is a function of the brain is no more to be 
trusted than the psychologist who holds that the brain is the 
mere instrument of thought. If psychology cannot prove 
immortality, it just as surely cannot disprove it. 

The third argument, which we have noticed before in our 
discussion of Positivism, claims that it is evil and selfish to 
be thinking all the time about our own personal existence in 
the future. They hold that it is a mere offering of a prize, 
as in a high school. But we cannot see it thus. Immortality 
is not a prize for a good life, but it is really a chance to make 
the life good. We make a small start toward the develop- 
ment of character, and then death cuts our career short. If 
there be no chance to continue the growing process, what 
good has the struggle been ? We are foreordained to failure 
before we start, and we had just as well not start at all. 
No man would start to be a philosopher if he knew that all 
reasoning power would be taken from him at the end of the 
first day. In order to make our struggle for character ra- 
tional, we must conclude that there is a chance to continue 
the task. 

The conception of immortality rests ultimately on the fact 
of God. Having a good God, who created us, we cannot 
believe that he will cast us aside just as we are beginning 
to grow into character capable of having fellowship with 
him. Man being what he is and God being a loving Father, 
we cannot escape the belief in a continued personal exist- 
ence. 



STUDY IX. 

Can the Modern Man Pray? 



140 



CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"But Jehovah sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was 
a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 
Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god; 
and they cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to 
lighten it unto them. But Jonah was gone down into the innermost 
parts of the ship ; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmas- 
ter came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper ? 
arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that 
we perish not." (Jonah i. 4-6.) 

"And the tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from 
his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him with sack- 
cloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation and published 
through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, 
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them 
not feed, nor drink water; but let them be covered with sackcloth, 
both man and beast, and let them cry mightily unto God : yea, let 
them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that 
is in his hands. Who knoweth w^hether God will not turn and re- 
pent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" 
(Jonah iii. 6-9.) 

"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height 
was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it 
up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. . . . Then 
the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treas- 
urers, the counselors, the sherififs, and all the rulers of the prov- 
inces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that 
Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the 
image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the herald cried aloud, 
To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at 
what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psal- 
tery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the 
golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up." (Dan. iii. 
I, 3-5.) 



PART I. THE UNIVERSALITY OF PRAYER. 

Many thoughtful people are much troubled about prayer. 
Some have dropped the habit of prayer and return to it only 
in hours of stress and strain. Others continue the habit, 
but have grave doubts as to its efficacy. A Christian 
worker recently came and asked the bold question : "Do you 
think the modern man of thought can consistently continue 
to pray?" We must try to answ^er this. 

First, I reminded my Christian friend that all men do 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 141 

pray. Men frequently go for long periods without uttering 
prayers, even though their general attitude may be a prayer. 
But in hours of great stress even the man who denies the 
efficacy of prayer will break out in spoken prayer. There 
seems to be a deep feeling in the human heart that the uni- 
verse is adjusted to and responsive to the soul of man. 
At least all men do at times call out for help, whether they 
believe in a personal God or not. Dr. Nassau, describing the 
prayers of the people in Central Africa, says : "They have 
a ring of urgency. They are appeals for mercy, pathetic, 
agonizing protestations, pitiful deprecations of evil."^ Car- 
lyle is reported as saying : "Prayer is and remains the native 
and deepest impulse of the soul of man." Even in the coun- 
tries where the religions deny prayer, men continue to pray. 
The Buddhist prays in spite of the fact that his religious 
creed denies the existence of both God and man. Queer 
enough, the followers of Gautama, the Buddha, have deified 
him and pray before his image most ardently and regularly. 
The savage is never too crude nor the man of culture too 
civilized to pray. Prayer seems to be a universal habit. 

But prayer is not simply asking things. It is the deep 
trend of the life, the purpose, the motive, the supreme de- 
sire. It is the yearning of the soul to find God. "This reli- 
gious desire and effort of the soul to relate itself and all its 
interests to God and his will is prayer in the deepest sense. 
This is essential prayer. It is the soul's desire after God 
going forth in manifestation."^ Prayer is much broader 
than petition. It is praise, worship, and fellowship. It is 
the whole attempt of the personality to bring itself into har- 
mony with and properly relate itself to that higher kindred 
power outside itself. All work as the expression of our de- 
sires is prayer. All character-building is prayer. Petition is 
just a part of the whole process, which is as broad as life. 

^Nassau, "Fetichism in West Africa," pages 97, 98. 
^Bowne, "The Essence of Religion," page 132. 



14.2 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"Bless Jehovah, O my soul. 
O Jehovah my God, thou art very great; 
Thou art clothed with honor and majesty: 
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; 
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain; 
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; 
Who maketh the clouds his chariot; 
Who walketh upon the wings of the wind; 
Who maketh winds his messengers; 
Flames of fire his ministers; 
Who laid the foundations of the earth, 
That it should not be moved forever. 
Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture; 
The waters stood above the mountains. 
At thy rebuke they fled; 
At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away 
(The mountains rose, the valleys sank down) 
Unto the place which thou hadst founded for them." 

(Ps. civ. 1-8.) 



PART 11. DIFFICULTIES IN ANSWER TO PRAYER. 

My religious worker went on to say that he believed in 
prayer because it had a reflex influence. It brought the per- 
son praying in harmony with the idea and purpose of his 
prayer — that is, in that sense helped one to answer his own 
prayer. As a universal habit he thought it had value. 
"But," he continued, "how can God answer prayer in a 
universe run according to fixed laws? In a world of nat- 
ural order does prayer do anything?" 

First, it was necessary to make sure that we knew what 
he meant by the laws of nature. They are not entities or 
things. They are neither matter, mind, nor force. They do 
not rule or govern. Laws are simply our formulation of 
the uniform method by which the universe is run. The 
method is the result of a high intelligence, else there could 
be neither uniformity nor method. The universe Is not run 
by some mechanical necessity. There is a power behind the 
uniformity of nature. The process in the universe is but 
the perpetual expression of the will of God. The order of 
nature is the order of God. Now, if God is the essence of 
the universe and its order the expression of his will, then 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAYf 



143 



he is free to express his will in advanced ways. Granted a 
divine will and a sufficient cause, things may happen which 
would not have happened had there not been prayer. 

"Yes," said my friend, ''they may happen, but do they? 
Will God dip into the world even if he can?" Here, again, 
we were back to an old difficulty, the conception of an un- 
changing world. God does not have to dip in ; he is already 
in. He is not outside of his universe. The universe would 
not run itself one minute if the activity of his will ceased. 
"Then," said my inquirer, "if he is the all-pervading will, 
can he change things without destroying all uniformity and 
hence destroying all basis for scientific knowledge ?" Most 
certainly he can. My will is a part of the natural order, 
just as God's will is the all-inclusive element. Now, I 
change things without destroying uniformity. A man 
pitches me a ball. The law of gravity says that the ball 
must fall to the ground ; but my will intervenes, and I catch 
the ball. I have not destroyed the law of gravity. I have 
only superinduced a higher law, the law of will. I have not 
destroyed order, but I have changed things. 

Indeed, all the work done by modern inventions of ma- 
chinery, of wireless telegraphy, and all the rest is not a 
destruction of natural order, but the superinducing of high- 
er laws — of which we were formerly ignorant — into the 
place of the natural order. As science discovers more and 
more the laws of nature, we will increasingly be able to 
bring about new results without changing one particle the 
natural order. If man with his puny will can change 
things, surely we cannot deny to God equal power. God 
with his infinite knowledge of all the laws of the universe 
may be able to answer any legitimate prayer I make by use 
of law and not in spite of it. 



144 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and 
shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him. Friend, lend me three 
loaves; for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, and I 
have nothing to set before him ; and he from within shall answer and 
say, Trouble me not : the door is now shut, and my children are 
with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? I say unto you, 
Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet 
because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as 
he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; 
seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; 
and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. And of which of you 
that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? 
or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask 
an egg, will he give him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know 
how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your 
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 
V. 13.) 



PART III. DO WE NEED TO PRAY TO A GOOD GOD? 

"Granted that God could answer prayer without destroy- 
ing the order of the universe, I have a deeper difficulty," 
said my inquirer. "If he is an all-wise and good God, he 
knows my needs and will give them to me without asking. If 
he does not know my needs, he is not all-wise; and if he 
knows but withholds, he is not good." At first sight this 
seems like an unanswerable argument. It is certainly more 
serious than the former difficulty. In order to clear the 
question, we must ask what the purpose of life really is. 
What is God trying to do with us here on earth? If we are 
correct in supposing that he is trying to develop a race of 
men who are fitted in character to associate with him and 
to dwell together in harmony and peace, we at least have a 
clue to our answer. The religious education of the race 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAYf 



145 



means bringing to fruitage in the individual the spirit of 
love, sympathy, kindliness, unselfishness, and brotherhood. 
How may such qualities be developed? Experience has 
taught us that such qualities of character can be cultivated 
only by being practiced. We learn sympathy by sympa- 
thizing. We learn to love by loving. We grow unselfish 
by sharing. We must, therefore, have the chance to serve 
others if we would grow in character. It is for this reason, 
doubtless, that God plans to give each of us the largest pos- 
sible share in the ongoing of his kingdom. He must often 
wait until we want certain things enough to ask for them, 
and he must wait to do certain things until some of his chil- 
dren get sufficiently interested in others of his children to co- 
operate with God in meeting their needs. 

The Young Men's Christian Association is a great organ- 
ization. It is doing a wonderful work for the young men of 
to-day. I suppose it was greatly needed fifty years before 
it was founded. I am sure that God knew the needs of 
young men then just as he sees their needs now; and yet he 
waited in order that George Williams and many others like 
him might see the vision, work for its realization, and so a 
whole generation of men might be trained in unselfish serv- 
ice. We know that God does actually wait for men to co- 
operate with him. Why should we doubt that he has good 
reasons for waiting until we will cooperate by prayer? 

Viewed in this way, prayer is not man's attempt to make 
God do something which he wants done. It is man's at- 
tempt to put himself in such an attitude that God can work 
through him in accomplishing his will for men. It is not 
dictation to God or begging God to be good to his own chil- 
dren; it is putting ourselves into his hands for his service. 
In this way, and in this way alone, can God train us in all 
the fullness of character. 
10 



146 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; 
and the Lord said unto him in a vision, Ananias. And he said. Be- 
hold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go 
to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of 
Judas for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus : for behold, he prayeth; 
and he hath seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his 
hands on him, that he might receive his sight. But Ananias an- 
swered, Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how much evil 
he did to thy saints at Jerusalem : and here he hath authority from 
the chief priests to bind all that call upon thy name. But the Lord 
said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to 
bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of 
Israel: for I will show him how many things he must suffer for 
my name's sake. And Ananias departed, and entered into the house ; 
and laying his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Je- 
sus, who appeared unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath 
sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the 
Holy Spirit." (Acts ix. 10-17.) 



PART IV. PRAYER ANSWERED THROUGH SUGGESTION. 

Dr. Edward I. Bos worth has made a suggestion con- 
cerning answer to prayer which is worthy of careful 
thought. He says that most prayers which a mature Chris- 
tian prays can be answered if God is able to put a thought 
into the mind of a man. Most of the legitimate prayers will 
naturally be with reference to other persons. Not that we 
may not pray for other things; but, on the whole, most of 
our prayers could be answered by persons. Now, if God 
can put into the minds of other persons the proper thoughts, 
most such prayers may be thereby granted. 

Merrell Vories, a young college man, went to Japan as a 
government school-teacher. He was very active out of 
school hours in personal work among his students. Soon 
he had won a number to the Christian life. The Buddhist 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 



147 



priests then became angry and secured his discharge from 
the school. Vories found himself in a foreign land without 
much knowledge of the language, without a position, with- 
out a mission board behind him. Besides, he was the target 
of bitter criticism and was liable to physical persecution. 
What should he do? If he left, his little band of followers 
would soon be scattered. If he stayed, he faced hardship, 
persecution, and physical evil. He and his students prayed 
long and earnestly. Finally it was decided that he should 
stay, cost what it would. He set about finding a livelihood. 
Two days later a draft for twenty-five dollars came to him 
in the mail. This draft was renewed a month later, and so 
for two years it arrived every month without Vories know- 
ing whence it had come. An American business man 
traveling in Japan heard the story of Vories's work and 
said he was deeply impressed that he should send some 
money there. He followed the deep impression, thus en- 
abling Vories to stay at his post and push his work. I be- 
lieve God suggested that thought to the American busi- 
ness man and thus answered Merrell Vories's prayer. 

Why should I doubt that God can put a thought into a 
man's mind? I can do it by blundering word, by written 
sign, by expression of face, by many means. Surely God is 
not more limited than I. Thought is the reaction from stim- 
ulus, and we all know that the strongest possible stimulus to 
thought is personality. Why should we doubt God's ability 
to suggest a thought to a human person and thus answer 
prayer? 



148 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles* 
hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, 
Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he 
may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him. Thy silver 
perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of 
God with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter : for 
thy heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this thy wick- 
edness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be 
forgiven thee. For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and 
in the bond of iniquity. And Simon answered and said, Pray ye for 
me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken come 
upon me." (Acts viii. 18-24.) 

PART V. NEGATIVE CONDITIONS OF PRAYER. 

There is much false talk about the answer to prayer. 
Every prayer may be answered, and yet few answered just 
as we felt they ought to be answered. This leads us to lay 
down the first negative law o£ prayer. 

Prayer is not making demands on God. It is an attempt 
to put ourselves in harmony with his will. To demand 
means that we suppose we know better what we need than 
God knows. If so, we are the God, and the one to whom 
we pray is a puppet. "Thy will be done" is no overpious 
phrase. It is simply the recognition of God's infinity and 
our finitude. 

Again, we cannot legitimately ask God to do for us what 
we can do for ourselves. We may commune with God 
about any matter that affects our lives, but we may not ask 
him to relieve us of the responsibility of living. If a teacher 
of mathematics solves all the problems for the pupils, there 
will result a dull class. We must learn by mastering. If 
God's purpose is to build character in me, he must let me 
struggle with some of the problems of life. He cannot do 
all things for me. 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 149 

Again, I may not demand that God free me from the pain 
which is consequent upon my sinfulness. If I am careless 
about the sanitation of my premises and get typhoid, I need 
not expect God to save me from all suffering. I may pray 
for wisdom to avoid such suffering again, and I may pray 
for wisdom in overcoming the present disease, if his wisdom 
sees fit to help me. Prayer is not a kind of fire escape to 
keep us out of difficulties. 

Lastly, we may not ask that which is selfish. God can 
never lend himself to a selfish scheme. No good parent will 
give to one child what will injure another one of the chil- 
dren in the home. Such action would indicate a partial or 
prejudiced parent. God cannot help me in my business if my 
business injures others. I cannot ask God to give me wis- 
dom that I may outwit and defraud my neighbor. We said 
any prayer could be answered, granted there was a divine 
free will and a sufficiently important cause. But selfishness 
is never sufficiently important. A selfish desire weighs as 
zero in the sight of a just and loving God. He who would 
really pray must not demand; he must not shirk; he must 
be willing to bear his own evil; he must not desire to suc- 
ceed at the expense of others. No such prayer can be legit- 
imately answered in the affirmative. 



I50 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, 
and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and 
thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. And in pray- 
ing use not vain repititions, as the Gentiles do : for they think that 
they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like 
unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, 
before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our 
Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom 
come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this 
day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have 
forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver 
us from the evil one. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men 
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." 
(Matt. vi. 6-15.) 



PART VI. POSITIVE CONDITIONS FOR PRAYER. 

If prayer is to be availing, surely it must have laws or 
standards. 

First of all, it would seem that we must ever keep fore- 
most the meaning of prayer as the attempt of a man to find 
harmony with God. We will be aided in this by the study 
of God's world, by studying the lives of other Christians, 
and by meditation. Prayer is not so many words said, so 
many beads counted, so many wheels turned, so many kneel- 
ings and uprisings. Prayer is the soul's attempt to know 
and do the will of God. It must, therefore, be characterized 
by deep humility and openness to the truth. 

The second condition of real prayer is earnestness. No 
good father gratifies every whim of his child. That would 
be to spoil the child and weaken the character. If we are to 
be developed in life, God must give us a chance to live for 
some things, to struggle, to agonize. This is perhaps the 
meaning of the parable of the importunate neighbor. The 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 151 

man in his bed did not give his neighbor bread simply be- 
cause of his much knocking, but because it revealed his dead- 
earnestness. I cannot pray for missions if I am not dead in 
earnest enough to do all in my power for missions — my 
money, my influence, my life must be at the disposal of 
God. No halfway, lazy prayer indifferently requested could 
be answered if God remain true to his purpose of training. 

Thirdly, I must be interested in the things in which God 
is interested, if I am to pray. This is the positive way of 
saying that I must not be selfish. Occasionally as I work 
in the colleges I find a boy to whose parents I write in trying 
to help him. Such a letter is an open sesame to the hearts 
of those parents. I am interested in their supreme interest 
— their boy — and, of course, I get a hearty response. No 
man can really pray who is not interested in his brother 
men. He has no basis for prayer. God is interested in 
men ; and if I am to find harmony with God, I cannot hate 
men. We dare not despise any — white, black, or yellow — 
for if we do, we cannot effectually pray. We can only ask 
God to help us get in the attitude to pray. 

Lastly, if we are to be really praying men, we must un- 
dertake tasks too big for our human powers. When we 
have a superhuman task, we are drawn back to God. No 
man will pray so long as he thinks he does not need help in 
meeting the demands of life. But try a great task for God. 
Try to change the life of a wayward companion. Try to 
clear up the moral conditions in a college or the civic condi- 
tions in a rotten city, and you will find need for God. Let 
us undertake such great things for him that we can do them 
only through him, and we will have to pray. 



152 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY IX. CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 

"But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath 
ever entered into my mouth. But a voice answered the second time 
out of heaven, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common. 
And this was done thrice : and all were drawn up again into heaven. 
And behold, forthwith three men stood before the house in which we 
were, having been sent from Csesarea unto me. And the Spirit bade 
me go with them, making no distinction. And these six brethren 
also accompanied me; and we entered into the man's house." (Acts 
xi. 8-12.) 



PART VII. PRAYER A WORKING FORCE. 

When prayer meets the conditions of the last two studies, 
it becomes a dominating force in the life, and it begins to 
achieve its objects. "This is true, in the first place, because 
a central craving organizes all the faculties of our lives 
about itself and sets mind and hands to do its bidding. Of 
the three ways in which men cooperate with God — working, 
thinking, and praying — a cursory view might suggest that 
praying is a somewhat superfluous addition. Dominant de- 
sire gathers up the scattered faculties, centers the mind, 
nerves the will, drives hard toward the issue."^ Mr. Fos- 
dick further goes on to say that this dominant desire as 
prayer organizes other forces around it which help to make 
the answer possible. It becomes a working force. It cer- 
tainly releases the energies of God into a man's life and 
makes him capable of doing what he could not have other- 
wise done. 

Prayer has undoubtedly been the dynamic of all great 
Christian advances. "For many years it has been my prac- 
tice in traveling among the nations to make a study of the 
sources of the spiritual movements which are doing most to 
vitalize and transform individuals and communities. At 
times it has been difficult to discover the hidden springs ; but 
invariably, where I have had the time and patience to do so, 
I have found it in an intercessory prayer life of great real- 
ity."' 

It cannot be doubted that God has great reserves of power 

^Fosdick, "The Meaning of Prayer," page 145. 
^Mott, "Intercessors : The Primary Need," page 24. 



CAN THE MODERN MAN PRAY? 153 

at his disposal and that the one means of access to this pow- 
er is prayer. It is for this reason that most great workers 
have been great prayers. Prayer couples the power of God 
with the instrumentality of man and makes great power 
available in the world. ''Every grave crisis in the expansion 
of Christianity which has been successfully met has been 
met by the faithfulness of Christ's disciples in the secret 
place. That there is a necessary connection between the 
progress of Christians on the one hand and, on the other, 
the revealing of Christ's plan, the raising up of workers, and 
the releasing of the great spiritual forces of the kingdom 
is a fact as clearly established as any fact can be estab- 
lished."' 

I have noticed that in those colleges where there were few 
men, if any, who believed in prayer, no great transformation 
of life has been possible. But in those colleges where there 
have been a few earnest students praying, great moral 
changes have come about. It seems as if the spiritual forces 
of the universe align themselves with the intense, eager, 
earnest prayer of a Christian man. No one can study mis- 
sionary movements without realizing that prayer has been 
wielded by the missionaries as a mighty working force. If 
we expect to do work beyond the mediocre in grade and in 
transforming power, we must be men of prayer. 

God has the abundant resources to transform the world, 
and the man who puts himself in the attitude to use these 
forces by his prayer life becomes a mighty worker for right- 
eousness. 



^Mott, "Intercessors: The Primary Need," page 24. 



STUDY X. 

The Reality of Religion. 



156 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"(For when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the 
things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto them- 
selves ; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, 
their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one 
with another accusing or else excusing them)." (Rom. ii. 14, 15.) 

"That they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him 
and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 
xvii. 27.) 

PART I. RELIGION AS THE PROJECTION OF OUR OWN 

DESIRES. 

Not a few thoughtful people are asking whether there is 
any reality corresponding to our conceptions of religion. 
An old college friend of mine, now a prominent professor 
in a great State university, came to me sometime since with 
just this difficulty. He had once been an ardent Christian; 
but, with some more or less superficial study of religion, he 
had come to the conclusion that it was purely a fiction of the 
imagination. There is also a group of psychological think- 
ers who feel that religion is just functional in origin — that 
is, it arises out of the activities of our own persons. It is 
the resultant of a certain mental stimulus arising out of 
social contacts. According to the functional theory, religion 
is just man's adjustment to a certain part of his environ- 
ment. This definition of religion we would readily accept if 
the psychologist would allow us to define that environment 
in terms of a personal God. 

This conception of religion arises out of a one-sided phi- 
losophy or a one-sided psychology. In our time of special- 
ization there is danger that men shall lose perspective. 
Pratt, in his "Psychology of Religious Belief," justly calls 
attention to the fact that intellect and logic alone cannot 
give us truth. "The one thesis which I wish to defend, the 
one contention for which I really care, is that the whole man 
must be trusted as against any small portion of his nature, 
such as reason or perception."^ Whenever men have trust- 

^Pratt's "Psychology of Religious Belief," page 27. 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION, 



157 



ed one side of their nature alone, it has landed them in er- 
ror. Of course the religionist has been accused of just this 
one-sidedness. It has been said that he follows not his rea- 
son, but his impulses. 

The human heart's best; you prefer 

Making that prove the minister 

To truth; you probe its wants and needs. 

And hopes and fears, then try what creeds 

Meet those most aptly — resolute 

That faith plucks such substantial fruit 

Wherever these two correspond/ 

The critic claims that out of our one-sided desire for a 
religious life we create our whole system. 

Did not we ourselves make Him? 

Our mind receives but what it holds, no more. 

First of the love, then; we acknowledge Christ — 

A proof we comprehend His love, a proof 

We had such love already in ourselves, 

Knew first, what else we should not recognize, 

'Tis mere projection from man's inmost mind.^ 

There is certainly truth in this last quotation. If we did 
not have the Godhood in us, we could never comprehend 
God. We cannot know anything which is completely and 
absolutely foreign to our nature. The fact that we do com- 
prehend God indicates that we are enough like him to come 
to know him. But, on the other hand, this does not prove 
that all our knowledge of him comes from our own imagin- 
ings. If religion is the result of pure imagination, how does 
it come that all peoples have it? No other form of pure 
imagination has universal sway. There must be some deep- 
er explanation. 

^Browning's "Easter-Day." 
^Browning's "A Death in the Desert." 



158 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION, 

"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, 
So panteth my soul after thee, O God. 
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : 
When shall I come and appear before God? 
My tears have been my food day and night, 
While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 
These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me. 
How I went with the throng, and led them to the house of God, 
With the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday. 
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? 
And why art thou disquieted within me? 
Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him 
For the help of his countenance." (Ps. xlii. 1-5.) 



PART II. THE ORIGIN OF RELIGION. 

There is planted deep in man a desire for full and com- 
plete development. The meaning and method of this devel- 
opment vary greatly with different groups, but the aspiring 
impulse is universal. It is likewise universally recognized 
that man needs help in this struggle for development. He 
feels that there is something without him which can help to 
make or mar his destiny. He feels that his inner life can 
be made complete only by the proper adjustment to this 
outer influence, and religion is just man's attempt to make 
this proper adjustment. This need for proper adjustment 
is just the deepest fact of human consciousness. The 
savage has need for such an adjustment and attempts to 
make it. Fetishism, animism, and totemism are the results. 
"At one pole of being," says Tailing, "the savage instinc- 
tively recognizes his [God's] existence. At the other phi- 
losophy needs God as the fundamental pr^mise."^ Kant, in 
his "Critique of Practical Reason," says : "I find an ought 
within which compels me to complete development. But I 
cannot attain complete development if the universe is bad at 
heart and hence against me. Hence I must believe that the 
universe is for me, that there is a God at the heart of things, 
and that my self -development is proper adjustment of my- 
self to this God." This is religion. 



^Tailing, "The Science of Spiritual Life," page 49. 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 159 

This sense of oughtness and its relationship to a higher 
power is universal, and all religious experiences have grown 
out of it. "The origin of religion consists in the fact that 
man has the infinite within him, even before he is himself 
conscious of it and whether he recognizes it or not.""" Euc- 
ken's "solid nucleus" of religion is the upspringing of God 
within the human soul. Jevons says that the "Continuum of 
Religion" is the direct and convincing revelation of God to 
the human soul, and every historian of religion must accept 
the facts of this religious consciousness. 

It is generally agreed that the facts of religious conscious- 
ness are universal. What does that imply as to their real- 
ity? It means that there must be truth behind these facts, 
or else universal human nature is a lie. It does not mean 
that the forms of religion may not be filled with error, but 
it does mean that the religious impulse out of which these 
forms spring must have reality in it. If I cannot trust uni- 
versal nature to tell the truth here, even though mixed with 
error, then I cannot trust human nature at all. There is no 
way of finding truth, and I am landed in nescience. But the 
mind will not rest in negation. We know that we can find 
truth, and we know that we find it by trusting our whole 
personality. Eucken might well have said of all knowledge 
and experience what he said of religion : "In the conviction 
of the author, religion is able to attain a secure position and 
an effective influence only when it is founded upon the 
whole of life and not upon a particular so-called faculty of 
the soul, be it intellect, feeling, or will."^ 

If we trust the whole nature of man, it undoubtedly tells 
us that religion Is a reality and that the only way to deny the 
truth is to discredit human nature. We cannot discredit 
human nature and still continue to think. We must, there- 
fore, accept the fact of religion as real. The forms of reli- 
gion may be false, but the central fact of religious con- 
sciousness as a relation to a superior being is as deep as 
human life itself and cannot be set aside. 

^Tiele, "Elements of the Science of Religion," Volume II., page 
230. 

^Eucken, "The Truth of Religion," Preface. 



l6o CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or 
else believe me for the very works* sake." (John xiv. ii.) 

"And one of the multitude answered him, Teacher, I brought unto 
thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit. . . . And he asked his 
father, How long time is it since this hath come unto hm? And he 
said. From a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him both into the fire 
and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, 
have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus said unto him, If 
thou canst ! All things are possible to him that believeth. Straight- 
way the father of the child cried out, and said, I believe; help thou 
mine unbelief," (Mark ix. 17, 21-24.) 



PART III. THE MINIMUM OF BELIEF. 

It cannot be denied that we are in an age of unsettled 
faith. Historical research has undermined old beliefs, and 
criticism of the Biblical texts has made many uncertain of 
the exact authority of many passages. Many a student of 
religion is saying that he cannot think his way through the 
whole maze of the difficulties. He does not wish to be in- 
sincere and claim to believe that about which he knows 
nothing. Neither does he desire to throw away that which 
has given him power and may ultimately prove to be the 
truth. What, then, can he accept as absolutely abiding and 
on that build to a larger faith ? A man at the University of 
Texas came to me in just this frame of mind on my last 
visit to that institution. What can we say to such a man ? 

First of all, we can say to him that there are certain fun- 
damental facts which he can accept without any knowledge 
of historical or textual or any other form of criticism. He 
can accept the statement of the last study, that the religious 
consciousness is a universal reality. He can test this and 
verify it by his own nature. He knows that there is aspira- 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION. l6l 

tion for something bigger than himself. He feels that right 
adjustment of his inner life to this something bigger will 
bring life. Of this much he may be sure, for it is a part of 
universal consciousness. 

Secondly, he believes in the law of righteousness. No 
man in his senses can doubt this. He may not know how 
we arrive at our judgments of what is righteous, but he feels 
within him a sense of right and wrong. He approves his 
own life when he lives righteously and condemns his life 
when he does unrighteousness. 

"But," said my Texas student, "what is right, and what is 
wrong?" I tried to show him that the final example of right 
life was given us in Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether 
Jesus was more than a man or not, regardless even of wheth- 
er he was a Person or not, the picture we have of him in the 
Gospels is the best picture we have ever had of true right- 
eousness. This the whole world has had to acknowledge. 
Furthermore, Jesus set for us the final standard. (See 
Study VHL, Part H.) 

That there is a universal religious consciousness, that 
righteousness is the highest law of life, that Jesus is the best 
embodiment of righteousness we know, and that Jesus gave 
us a permanent standard of morals, my skeptical Texas stu- 
dent granted. "There," I said, "you have a big foundation 
on which to build." Give yourself without reserve to these 
things which you can accept and which perhaps all men can 
accept. Every man must take the best he knows and must 
live it to the limit of his ability. I must be true to my best 
conception until I find one that is better. And here is the 
beginning of personal religion. No man has a right to wait 
until he has solved all questions before starting to live what 
he already knows. To be religiously true to the best we 
know now is the surest way of knowing better to-morrow. 
II 



1 62 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man doth not 
cast our demons, but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons. . . . 
Therefore I say unto you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven 
unto men ; but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall 
be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, 
it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in that which 
is to come." (Matt. xii. 24, 31, 32.) 



PART IV. THE ATTITUDE OF THE TRUTH SEEKER. 

One day Jesus healed a blind, dumb lunatic; and the 
carping and critical Pharisees said that he did it by the pow- 
er of the devil. Forced by human desire for understanding 
to attribute the deed to some great power, but unwilling to 
see any good either in Jesus or in his works, they attribute 
the whole thing to the influence of evil. Christ's rebuke is 
sharp and clear. He says that the sin of misunderstanding 
him is pardonable; but when one so long shuts his eyes to 
truth that he cannot see the difference between truth and 
falsehood, he has committed what Mark calls the eternal sin. 
It is an eternal sin just because it closes the gates of truth 
and locks them so that no truth can get access. It is a terri- 
ble warning against trifling with one's conscience, against 
failure to live up to the best we know. Lack of fidelity here 
will undo the whole life, for it changes the whole stream of 
impressions which come to us. It shuts out the best ; it opens 
us only to the worst. Playing fast and loose with one's 
sense of truth not only blurs moral perceptions, but blots 
out all distinctions between right and wrong. 

To the truth seeker, therefore, nothing is more essential 
than an open and aggressive attitude toward truth. It is 
not enough to live to the best we know to-day. We must 
seek after truth. It is not a sin to be ignorant to-day, but it 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION, 163 

is a sin to be satisfied with that ignorance. It is not indica- 
tive of lack of force or character for a man to fall down in 
a puddle of mud; but if he stays there, we would count him 
an imbecile. There is no sin in having one*s mind vexed 
with doubt, but it is a sin to sit quietly and nurse one's 
doubts without trying to solve them. One of the greatest 
dangers of our time is that we shall be satisfied with nega- 
tion. In no other realm are we so likely to make this mis- 
take as in religion. 

The man who wants to be fair to religion must search for 
truth. He must not be passive. This is too important a field 
for him to assume a negative attitude. Secondly, he must 
act on all the truth he has day by day. He who will not do 
these two things is neither honest nor scientific. 



1 64 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, 
whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself." (John vii. 
17.) 

PART V. THE WILL TO BELIEVE. 

Speaking of academic audiences, Professor James says : 
"Paralysis of their native capacity for faith and timorous 
abulia in the religious field are their special forms of men- 
tal weakness."^ In his essay on "The Will to Believe," 
James points out that the great fear of our age is that we 
shall believe some error. We are even willing to forego 
finding truth if we can be sure to keep ourselves free from 
all erroneous opinion. "Better go without belief forever 
than believe in a lie." Assume the part of absolute impar- 
tiality to all truth. Make sure that you allow no bias to get 
into your thinking. Have no enthusiasm for any truth, lest 
it might prove to have a modicum of error. This is the spir- 
it of our age. 

"But," says Professor James, "this is precisely the poorest 
way of finding truth. If you want an absolute duffer in an 
investigation, you must, after all, take the man who has no 
interest whatever in the results. He is the warranted inca- 
pable, the positive fool."^ 

He further points out that in all moral and religious ques- 
tions there can be no external proofs. One can never write 
"Q. E. D." after any religious statement. The very fact of 
lack of proof gives moral truth its efficacy. Make it an iron- 
clad and undoubtable fact that a certain action will bring 
good or evil, and the moral quality has been taken out of it. 
It is only a dolt who would fail to choose it if it meant abso- 
lute and certain good, or leave it alone if its consequences 

7ames, "The Will to Believe," Preface. ""Ibid., page 21. 



THn REALITY OF RELIGION. 165 

were utterly and surely evil. All moral questions present a 
living option, as James would call it — that is, there is always 
a possibility of different standards of worth in that action, 
"Now," says James, "we may, if we will, throw ourselves on 
the side of good. We may take the chance of getting some 
evil with our good and of losing some other good. But we 
can choose. We can accept the theory of the right as our 
working hypothesis. Religion is a forced opinion so far as 
that good goes. We cannot escape the issue by remaining 
skeptical and waiting for more light, because (although we 
do avoid error in that way, if the religion be untrue) we lose 
the good, if it be true, just as certainly as if we positively 
choose to disbelieve."^ "Skepticism, then, is not avoidance 
of option. It is option of a certain particular kind of risk. 
Better risk loss of truth than chance of error."^ 

The will to believe, therefore, is finding what has the best 
appearance of truth and throwing ourselves into it to verify 
it by experience. It is not blindly gulping down something 
on authority ; it is taking a worthy hypothesis and testing it 
out In experience. This the scientist does in every advance 
he makes. This the seeker after religion must do. We must 
make the great adventure and correct our conceptions as 
new truth is made clear to our souls. 

^'James, "The Will to Believe," page 26. ""Ibid, 



l66 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah? 
And who shall stand in his holy place? 
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart ; 
Who hath not lifted up his soul unto falsehood, 
And hath not_ sworn deceitfully. 
He shall receive a blessing from Jehovah, 
And righteousness from the God of his salvation." 

(Ps. xxiv. 3-5.) 

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me : and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I 
will love him, and will manifest myself unto him." (John xiv. 21.) 

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High 
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." 

(Ps. xci. I.) 

"But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they 
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be 
weary; they shall walk, and not faint." (Isa. xl. 31.) 



PART VI. HINDRANCES TO REALITY. 

A STUDENT at the University of North Carolina was trou- 
bled because religion did not "take hold of him/' as he ex- 
pressed it. He was sure that there was a God and that reli- 
gion was man's relationship to that God, but somehow he 
could not let the impression find him. "It is to be carefully 
noted/' says Dr. King, "a thing may be unreal to us because 
it seems to have no living connection with the rest of our 
life or because it seems to have no special contribution to 
make to life. It must not be so different that it cannot be 
believed to belong to the same world and to the same human 
nature and to the same God as the rest of life, and yet it 
must be seen to be different enough to have a genuine and 
indispensable contribution of its own to make."^ 

One group of persons fail to find reality in religion be 
cause they fail to realize that God is a living Person and can 
be approached as other persons. Religion is not like friend- 
ship; it is friendship. It has definite laws of growth, just 
as has any other friendship. God is not far away. He is 

^King, 'The Seeming Unreality of Spiritual Life," page 15. 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 167 

tiot off in the corner of the universe. He is a Person and 
can be met as a person. 

On the other hand, some have not felt the reahty of reli- 
gion because, as a kind of mystical experience, it has not 
seemed to add anything to life. It has seemed to them that 
it might add a degree of peace in hours of loneliness, but 
that it could make a man a better worker in a workaday 
world has never dawned on them. But if God is personal, 
then his contact with me can give me the same kind of in- 
spiration as fellowship with other kindred souls. It is a 
commonplace fact that we can work better if we have sym- 
pathetic understanding and fellowship in our work. If God 
is a real Person, he can give us just this fellowship. He 
therefore can and does do something for us. 

Again, others have found no reality in religion because 
they have expected to know God easily, quickly, and exactly ; 
and failing in this, they find religion unreal. Such persons 
should remember that no personal relationship is complete. 
Think how little we really know about our best friends, our 
mothers, our sisters and brothers. It is hard to break away 
the veil that hangs between two personalities. Strive as we 
may, we can never quite comprehend another soul. How 
much less will we be able to fully comprehend the infinite 
Soul! 

Yet once more we fail to find reality in religion because 
we expect to experience God before we have met the condi- 
tions. Functional psychology says that we act first and then 
feel afterwards. We demand the overwhelming sense of 
God before we have met the conditions which would bring 
a convincing experience. Dr. King reminds us that "the 
highest things everywhere require complete commitment. 
They give themselves only where all is risked. No tempo- 
rizing, half-hearted experiment here will give results. The 
meaning of a genuinely useful love, for example, does not 
yield itself to any calculating experiment."^ 

We cannot try God for a period and then tear away if we 
are not satisfied, for the very fact that we have not risked all 
will vitiate an experiment. This is not a special demand of 
religion ; it is a part with all personal relations. What man 
ever held himself in reserve as he tried to win the heart of 
a woman ? The very fact that he did not risk all would de- 
feat the attempt which he made. 

^King, "The Seeming Unreality of Spiritual Life," page 40. 



l68 CHRISTIAN LIFR-^A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY X. THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things 
are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good 
report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on 
these things. The things which ye both learned and received and 
heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall 
be with you." (Phil. iv. 8, 9.) 

"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as In a mirror the 
glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory 
to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit." (i Cor. iii. 18.) 



PART Vn. LAWS OF GROWING REALITY. 

The fundamental question is. What are the laws of a 
growing sense of reality in any personal relationship? 

The first law is to give careful heed to the concrete ex- 
pressions of God which we possess. If we wish to keep cer- 
tain loved ones fresh in memory, we have their pictures on 
our table, we put around us pieces of their handiwork, we 
read as often as possible their words. We spend time put- 
ting ourselves into the presence of their attitude of life. 
Now, Jesus is the historical picture of God. He is the best 
expression of what God can do in the realm of character. 
He who would have his communion with God real will, 
therefore, spend time with Christ. He will read the record 
of his life. He will catch his matchless spirit of love and 
sacrifice. He will give much heed to this concrete expres- 
sion of God's life. 

The second law is like unto this first : Stay persistently in 
the presence of the facts of God. See what he has done in 
the lives of men. Read his dealings with other men in other 
times. Nothing is real to us which does not get persistent 
attention. Neglect any element in your environment long 
enough, and you will cease to be conscious of it. Give at- 
tention to any fact in your environment, and you will see 
new manifestations of that fact on every hand. The wonder 
is that God is as real as he is. We so constantly and per- 
sistently shut him from our field of attention that one won- 
ders that he has any hold at all. We have no time in the 



THE REALITY OF RELIGION. 169 

morning for Bible study or prayer. The heat of the day is 
filled with something else. At night we are too tired to think 
of God. We must pay the inevitable price. God cannot 
become real to us unless we pay the price of holding our- 
selves, through Bible study, prayer, and meditation, in his 
presence m.ore than most of us have. 

The third law is the law of activity. He who would know 
truth must act on what he has to the utmost of his ability. 
The man who will not act on the simple fact that two plus 
two are four will not be able to make progress in mathe- 
matics. He who does not act on what he knows about God 
need not hope to find more truth of God flooding his soul. 
Action gives rise to thought, which in turn moves on to ac- 
tion. So the process continues. It is a kind of endless 
chain, but action has creative power for thought. He who 
would have a realizing sense of God must act Godlike- so 
fast as ever he knows how. 

Fourthly, let one who wants to find God real live much 
with persons to whom he is a reality. Biography in reading 
and persons in daily life have molding power upon our sense 
of reality. Live with these persons, and we will catch their 
spirit of reality. 

Lastly, seek to have your own experience and express it 
in your own way. I cannot know and appreciate another 
person just as you do. I must know him in my own way. 
He makes a different impression on me from that he makes 
on you.. Your experience with God will not be exactly my 
experience. Be yourself and not another. Express your 
experience in your own terms and not in the worn-out terms 
of other people. Insist on finding out God rather than those 
things about God. Make the great venture of throwing 
yourself into the God program, and reality will slowly but 
surely dawn in your life. 



STUDY XI. 
Sharing the Christian Message. 



1^2 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XL SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, 
that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and 
our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was 
manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto 
you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was 
mainfested unto us) ; that which we have seen and heard declare v/e 
unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us : yea, and 
our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 
(i John i. 1-3.) 

"But the man from whom the demons were gone out prayed him 
that he might be with him : but he sent him away, saying, Return to 
thy house, and declare how great things God hath done for thee." 
(Luke viii. z% 39-) 



PART I. THE MEANING OF TESTIMONY. 

Most men come to the appreciation of a new value 
through the experience and testimony of others who have 
become familiar with that particular value. If I am thrown 
with Mr. Edison or Mr. Marconi, I will soon begin to be 
interested in electricity. If I live with Mr. Burbank for a 
short time, I will undoubtedly get interested in the breeding 
of plants. So it is in every realm of life. I do not enter a 
new field of interest purely on my own initiative, at least the 
great mass of men do not. 

In order that a man's testimony shall be contagious, he 
needs to have had first-hand experience with the thing of 
which he speaks. In a law court they want from a witness 
the report of what he has seen or heard or experienced. 
They do not want heresay or inferences or generalizations. 
In other realms we are equally exacting. We are not much 
interested in what a man thinks in general about Africa; 
but if he has been there and has had experiences, we are 
interested at once. A competent witness, therefore, is one 
who has had experience with the facts under consideration 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 173 

and who can be trusted to report truthfully what he has 
found. If either of these elements is lacking, his testimony 
will be worthless. In the field of electricity an African in 
the heart of the Congo would not be competent, because of 
lack of experience. Neither would an electrical expert be 
competent if there were reason to suppose it was to his 
advantage to distort the facts. The testimony of a New 
Testament scholar would be worthless in the field of elec- 
tricity, and Mr. Edison's testimony would be equally worth- 
less in the field of New Testament scholarship. It is not 
every man who can pass judgment on religious life. 

Testimony is the report of a real experience which one 
has had with the facts of life. Life has many facts and 
forces besides those we can see or hear, taste or smell. The 
spiritual facts of life are just as real, though not so tangible, 
as some other facts. 

Men have gone into the laboratory of spiritual forces; 
they have had certain soul impressions ; they have come out 
and reported these experiences to men. This is religious 
testimony. This is the meaning of the Bible. It is the ex- 
perience we have had with God. To have such an experi- 
ence and to report it is the most fundamental thing a Chris- 
tian can do. 



174 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY XL SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, 
of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Naza- 
reth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him. Can any good 
thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him. Behold, an 
Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile ! Nathanael saith unto him, 
Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Be- 
fore Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw 
thee. Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; 
thou art King of Israel." (John i. 45-49.) 



PART II. THE TEST OF THE REALITY OF AN 
EXPERIENCE. 

Reality is that which is found to be in accord with the 
estabUshed order of facts. I have a theory and try it out in 
the laboratory. I find that the facts agree with my theory ; 
so I say there is reality in the theory. It may be that later 
facts will change my theory, but this does not discredit all 
science. There is not a single scientific theory which has 
not undergone some change, some development ; but sensible 
men have not thrown away science. Indeed, it is the boast 
of scientists that they are constantly finding new facts, and 
this openness to development is the surest sign of the reality 
of science. Science, therefore, survives all its own errors. 

Queer enough, many men are not willing to allow to reli- 
gion the same liberty. If it remains static, they say it is fos- 
silized; if its conceptions develop, they say it has proved 
false because it has had to incorporate new truth. Religion 
being man's interpretation of his relationship to God, it 
must of necessity be a growing quantity. As man grows in 
understanding he must reinterpret. Religion is not thereby 
proved unreal, but it is proved all the more real. 

How, then, shall we know when our theory corresponds 
to facts? How shall we test our own experience? The 
chemist observes certain facts. He makes a theory to ac- 
count for those facts and then tests his theory by repeated 
experiments. If the experiments reveal other facts, he 
changes his theory to suit the facts ; if they agree with the 
theory, he feels that his theory is real. But he tries his ex- 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 



175 



periments over and over again to make sure that he has 
made no error. Then he calls in the experience of other 
competent chemists. If they agree with him, he says the 
theory is true, and it becomes a law of chemistry. 

Religion must submit — and, indeed, has submitted — to 
just this process. Men have observed certain spiritual phe- 
nomena. They have made a religious theory to account for 
these phenomena. They have then tested the theory out in 
practice and in thought. Unfortunately for religion, all the 
forces cannot be brought together in a laboratory, and the 
theory cannot be tested out in a day or in a month or in a 
year. It takes long periods scattered over wide areas of 
human life to test its theories. But these theories are tested 
and sifted. Little by little man has worked out better con- 
ceptions of the meaning of religion. 

An individual takes these laws and applies them to his 
ov/n life and finds certain results. Others try then and get 
similar results. So we say that these laws are real. They 
correspond to the facts of life. The test of the reality of 
an experience is the consensus of opinion of the competent 
experimenters in any field of truth. 

If our theory of religion is in accordance with the facts, 
if those w^ho have met the conditions and are thus competent 
experimenters say that it works, if we see it transform life, 
it has stood the test and is verified as truth. Neither science 
nor religion can be condemned or discarded simply because 
some errors have crept in. The one supreme question is. 
Does it work? No sane man can doubt that Christianity 
does work, that it does transform life. 



176 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XI. SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"He answered. The man that is called Jesus made clay, and 
anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to Siloam, and wash : so 
I went away and washed, and I received sight. And they said unto 
him, Where is he? He saith, I know not. ... He therefore 
answered, Whether he is a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, 
that, whereas I was blind, now I see. . . . The man answered 
and said unto them, Why, herein is the marvel, that ye know not 
whence he is, and yet he opened mine eyes. We know that God 
heareth not sinners : but if any man be a worshiper of God, and do 
his will, him he heareth. Since the world began it was never heard 
that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were 
not from God, he could do nothing." (John ix. 11, 12, 25, 3033.) 



PART in. THE NATURE OF OUR TESTIMONY. 

A MAN who has lived out of harmony with God comes to 
realize that he is wrong, unhappy and divided, dissatisfied. 
He turns around in his life and finds certain experiences to 
be the result. He finds that his sense of wrong is removed. 
He feels that his whole personality is thrown into the battle 
for better life. He finds a growing happiness and a sense 
of growing satisfaction. Further, he finds that moral ques- 
tions have taken on a new meaning. Things which before 
seemed right now seem wrong. New forms of life make an 
appeal to him. He has a new standard of moral values. He 
finds himself interested in persons as he has not been inter- 
ested before. He finds himself glad to serve other people 
more unselfishly. He does not scorn men and criticize them 
so severely as he once did. He reports these changes in sim- 
ple fashion, and this is his testimony. 

Testimony, being the report of reality, never has the air 
of the superficial. It is genuine and cannot be considered as 
hypocrisy. Neither will testimony take the nature of boast- 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 177 

ing. Personal character is not a thing about which any man 
dare boast. There are always so many weaknesses that 
boasting is shut out. But, on the other hand, man has had a 
real experience. His gratitude for a larger life ought to bid 
him to share his blessing with others. 

Our testimony must not exceed our experience. We may 
not in the beginning be able to say all the things in the above 
testimony, but we at least have experienced part of the facts 
there described. Let us report in our own terms what we 
have experienced. Through this simple testimony others 
may be led into the experience of these values. 

Needs must there be one way, our chief, 
Best way of worship; let me strive 
To find it, and when found, contrive 
My fellows also take their share. 
This constitutes my earthly care; 
God's is above it and distinct. 
For I, a man, with men am linked. 
And not a brute with brutes ; no good 
That I experience must remain unshared. 

— Browning's "Christmas Eve" 
12 



178 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XL SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had 
perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled ; 
and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 
And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they could 
say nothing against it." (Acts iv. 13, 14.) 



PART IV. LIFE AS RELIGIOUS TESTIMONY. 

"Ethical judgments are worth estimates. Their proof 
is, first, that they commend themselves to the minds of men; 
secondly, that they can be embodied in conduct. The funda- 
mental proof of the Christian religion is, therefore, in the 
realm of ethics, where its theory can be understood and 
tested as other theories in ethics can be understood and test- 
ed. If it fail us here, we may well surrender it altogether."^ 

Life and conduct are of the essence of our testimony. 

A geologist may investigate the strata of the earth and 
find certain facts which will not in the least be vitiated by 
the immorality of his life. The amount of truth he finds 
doubtless may depend on his spirit toward truth — that is, 
his moral life — ^but, in so far as he does find truth, it is 
independent of the state of his character. Not so with the 
Christian. Christianity has to do with character; and if the 
Christian's character does not square with his testimony, we 
are apt to accept his character rather than his words as to 
his final experience. 

Religiously speaking, therefore, a man's testimony is his 
life. The deepest desires of my life, the average of my 
conduct, the normal attitude I have toward men — this is the 
fundamental testimony which I can give. "What you are 
thunders so loudly in my ear that I cannot hear what you 

^Knox, "The Direct and Fundamental Proofs of the Christian Re- 
ligion," pages 119, 12a 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 179 

say." This does not mean that our testimony need not be 
expressed in words. It does need such expression. But the 
real meaning is that our moral lives must correspond to what 
we say, else our testimony will be void. Our daily life is 
our experience, in the very nature of the case; and if that 
experience is not increasingly moral in tone, then we have 
no Christian testimony to give. 



l8o CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY XI. SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a 
throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above 
him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he 
covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain 
he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said. Holy, holy, holy, 
is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the 
foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, 
and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me ! for 
I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in 
the midst of a people of unclean lips : for mine eyes have seen the 
King, Jehovah of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, 
having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs 
from off the altar : and he touched my mouth with it, and said, Lo, 
this hath touched thy lips ; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy 
sin forgiven. And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying. Whom 
shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; 
send me." (Isa. vi. i-8.) 



PART V. LACK OF EXPERIENCE AND ABILITY TO EX- 
PRESS AN EXPERIENCE. 

The fact that religious testimony springs out of life ac- 
counts for the fact that many people refuse to bear religious 
testimony. The real issue is that they have no experience to 
repeat. Religion is not simply a knowledge of certain facts; 
it is the experience of a fellowship, which experience even- 
tuates in a changed life. While religion is not an enthusi- 
asm, it begets enthusiasm. He who has no enthusiastic fel- 
lowship with God is not apt to bear testimony to the reality 
of God. 

The greatest need of religious people is a sense of mes- 
sage. It was this sense of message that sustained Christ in 
the midst of all his persecutions. It was a sense of message 
which sent Paul to the great cities of the Levant with an 
enthusiasm that could not be dampened and a courage that 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. i8l 

could not be daunted. Amos met God in the solitude of the 
Tekoan hills, and the meaning and righteousness of God so 
burned in his heart that no hatred or scorn or persecution 
could keep him quiet. If we are to have a group of testify- 
ing Christians, we must have those who really know God. 
Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and he immediately 
said : "Here am I ; send me." It may not be unfair to say 
that the amount and enthusiasm of your report are apt to be 
in proportion to the depth and reality of your religious ex- 
perience. 

In some cases — ^yes, in many cases — I am persuaded that 
Christians fail to bear testimony because they have not given 
sufficient thought to the meaning of their experience to be 
able to formulate it into words. They are afraid they will 
blimder in their expression. While one respects the rever- 
ence with which people approach so serious and momentous 
a subject, yet one cannot allow the validity of the excuse. 
The subject is so momentous for life that we must learn how 
to express ourselves. We dare not give this excuse to God. 
Suppose a father pleaded that he did not know how to make 
money and hence could not provide for his children. We 
would scorn his excuse and tell him that life depended on 
his learning how to provide. Many of my friends are miss- 
ing just the greatest thing in life, and I cannot give God the 
excuse that I do not know how to help them. I must learn 
how. This issue is momentous, and I am God's representa- 
tive. 



l82 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XL SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

'Then said I, Ah, Lord Jehovah! behold, I know not how to 
speak; for I am a child. But Jehovah said unto me, Say not, I am 
a child; for to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go, and 
whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid 
because of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith Jehovah. 
Then Jehovah put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Je- 
hovah said unto me, Behold, I have put words in thy mouth." (Jer. 
i. 6-8.) 



PART VI. WE SHRINK FROM ALL PERSONAL 
CONVERSATION. 

Religion is very personal, and we shrink from free con- 
versation concerning it, particularly with those whom we do 
not know well. This feeling of reserve holds in every realm 
of life. We do not want people to tell us all their private 
affairs, neither do we want them to pry into our own per- 
sonal business. Even the closest friendship does not give us 
the right to throw down all reserve and demand entrance 
into every secret of another heart. One must always walk 
with reverence and awe in the presence of the deep things of 
another soul. 

But one dare not allow this argument to be carried too far. 
That we do have a right and an obligation to share our ex- 
periences with others, all life proves. If we did not share 
our experiences, then every human soul would have to learn 
from the beginning, and humanity could make no progress. 
And it should be noted that all such sharing is of necessity 
personal. The teacher is not simply dealing out so many 
cold facts to his pupils. The best teacher is the man who 
fuses his own soul with his facts and makes them live out 
of his own experience. His teaching is his attempt to help 
others see life as he sees it. Likewise the preacher is not a 
phonograph grinding out theological facts. He is the inter- 
preter of God to men. As such he must interpret God in 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 183 

the light of his own experience, which is a truly personal 
matter. In like manner the artist is, through his art, trying 
to interpret life for us — that is, trying to help us see life as 
he through his experiences has seen it. If, then, I must not 
enter the personal life of another, I cannot teach, I cannot 
preach, I cannot write, I cannot paint — in fact, I must shut 
myself off from men, for all real contact with men is per- 
sonal. Of course this is the extreme, but it is the logical 
outcome of the theory of the noninterference in personal 
life. 

The very fact that religion is so vital to persons means 
that I must continue to share what I have found so valuable 
to my own growth. My testimony need not be prying or 
lacking in reverence, but it may be intensely in earnest. If 
I have a real friend who has meant much to me, I am eager 
to share that friend with other friends and even good ac- 
quaintances. In like manner, if I know God and he means 
life to Tf\e, I must of necessity desire to share this experi- 
ence, ly some method or other I must break through all 
reserve ^d share my treasure. 



l84 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY XL SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. 

"How then shall they call on him In whom they have not be- 
lieved? and how shall they beHeve in him whom they have not 
heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall 
they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beauti- 
ful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!" 
(Rom. Xo 14, 15.) 

"As it is written, There Is none righteous, no, not one; there is 
none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." 
(Rom. ili. 10, II.) 



PART VII. TESTIMONY AND THE NEEDS OF MEN. 

Jesus believed that a mati who was not associated with 
him was missing the full meaning of life. He was one who 
was lost. ''He was away from those to whom he belonged 
and was in danger of not getting back." With Jesus social 
position, wealth, or other externals counted for nothing. 
The rich man with his barns bursting with the harvest was 
as completely lost and as absolutely in need as the veriest 
beggar on the highway. Dives was far more to be pitied 
than Lazarus. 

We are always in danger of using false standards of value. 
Because a man is respectable, because he has a good house, 
because he wears good clothes, because he has a degree of 
intellectual attainment, and such externals, we are apt to 
think he is not in desperate need. But his inner life may be 
pinched and starved and dying. Often people of the largest 
external possessions have the least of internal richness, be- 
cause overattention to the externals has robbed them of a 
chance to know the meaning of personal fellowship. 

We need to call ourselves back continually to the reality 
of things. We need to remember that life consisteth not in 
the abundance of the things it possesseth. We need to see 



SHARING THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE, 185 

the depth of agony, the hunger, the longing of human per- 
sons. We need to know that only fellowship with God can 
fully satisfy. This will give new impulse and motive to our 
personal work. Our prayer to God should daily be that we 
may be sensitive to the deep needs of men. We are so con- 
tinuously in the presence of need that our souls may become 
callous. 

Only he who continually sees the deep suffering and lone- 
liness and waste of life and as continually reminds himself 
of the sacredness of all life will be leading men to God, who 
alone can save life. To be a personal worker is to be a co- 
worker with God in saving needy men. 

*TIs life, whereof our nerves are scant, 
O, life, not death, for which we pant; 
More life, and fuller, that I want. 

— Tennyson's "The Two Voices." 



STUDY XII. 
Testimony and the Extension of the Kingdom. 



l88 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"So thou, son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house 
of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them 
warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, 
thou shalt surely die, and thou dost not speak to warn the wicked 
from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood 
will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked 
of his way to turn from it, and he turn not from his way; he shall 
die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul. And thou, son 
of man, say unto the house of Israel: Thus ye speak, saying, Our 
transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we pine away in them ; 
how then can we live? Say unto them. As I live, saith the Lord 
Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; but that the 
wicked turn from his way and live : turn ye, turn ye from your evil 
ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" (Ezek. xxxiii. 7-11.) 



PART I. CHRIST'S METHOD OF EXTENDING THE 
KINGDOM. 

It Is a most remarkable thing that Christ left no written 
records of his life, even though he was engaged in founding 
a world-wide empire. Neither do we have any intimation 
that he instructed any biographer to set down his sayings. 
He took twelve peasant people, kept them with him for three 
years, filled them with his Spirit, helped them to catch his 
message of God, and left them to spread his kingdom 
through testimony. Christ to-day expects each Christian to 
become a competent experimenter in the field of religious 
truth. He expects that each one will win another. He 
commanded us to go out and win others until all nations 
have been won. 

In the use of this method Christ himself set the example. 
Many of his very greatest statements of truth were made to 
one person, or at least to a very small group. One thinks of 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 189 

the wonderful conversation with Nicodemus, the woman at 
the well, Zacchasus, and others ; and they went away with a 
new sense of God in their souls. 

This was also the method of the early Church. St. Paul 
in the Roman prison saw one man after another for two 
long years and bore his personal testimony to them. Philip 
preached one of his best sermons to the man on the way 
down to Gaza and brought a man face to face with God. 

It is said of the Waldensians that every man was a per- 
sonal worker. "He who has been a disciple for seven days 
looks out some one whom he may teach in turn, so that there 
is a continual increase." 

This is the great method of work in mission fields even 
to-day. When I was in Seoul, Korea, I met a great old 
Christian, Ye Song Che. He was a member of the first le- 
gation to represent Korea at our own national capital. Im- 
prisoned after his return to Korea because of his radical 
reform ideas, he became a Christian while in prison. He is 
now the Religious Work Director of the Seoul Young Men's 
Christian Association. His one great task is personal work. 
He is absolutely untiring in his personal testimony. He is 
a type of the native Christian. Jesus Christ means so much 
to them that they at once want to share him with their 
friends. We Americans are so accustomed to the gospel 
message, we so little appreciate what it has done for us, 
that we are very recreant about our duty. 

But this is Christ's approved method, and the Church 
must adopt it if Christianity is ever to be triumphant. 



I90 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and 
go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem 
unto Gaza : the same is desert. And he arose and went : and behold, 
a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, 
queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come 
to Jerusalem to worship; and he was returning and sitting in his 
chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said 
unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip 
ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, 
Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, 
except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come 
up and sit with him. Now the passage of the scripture which he 
was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and 
as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth: 
in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: his generation who 
shall declare? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch 
answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet 
this? of himself, or of some other? And Philip opened his mouth, 
and beginning from this scripture, preached unto him Jesus." (Acts 
viii. 26-35.) 



PART II. MANY CAN BE REACHED ONLY THROUGH 
PERSONAL TESTIMONY. 

Dealing, as I do, with many large meetings for men, I am 
constantly struck with the small number who hear the mes- 
sage compared with those who do not. A very small per- 
centage attend religious services o£ any kind. It would be 
hazardous to say how large a percentage never attend, but 
it is appalling when we think of the millions who never hear 
the public presentation of the Christian message. If these 
are ever to be won, it must be through the method of per- 
sonal testimony. 

Again, there are many who do occasionally attend religious 
services, even those who attend regularly, who will never 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 



191 



enter the Christian Hfe through any pubHc presentation. 
Some of these have difficukies which must first be cleared 
away, and this can never be done in pubHc address. I re- 
member once a college man whom I asked to come to me 
for an interview. He revealed a story of desperate struggle 
in which I was able to show him some way out. After a 
half hour's interview, he quietly but surely accepted the 
Christian life. He would never have made a decision, he 
would never have come for the interview voluntarily, but 
was glad enough to come on invitation and eager enough to 
talk when we were together. I am sure that it was the only 
method to win him. 

Another young man came up to speak to me after an ad- 
dress. He asked if I knew his brother in China. I did 
know him well. I suggested that I hoped he was one of the 
Christian workers in the college. No, he was not. Then I 
asked him if he would not think this over all the afternoon in 
the wood shop where he was to work. He agreed that he 
would and that he would be back that night. After my ad- 
dress that night, I asked if any man wished to declare his 
decision to be a Christian. That student was the first one 
on his feet. I afterwards asked him what it was that led 
into the Christian decision. His answer was : "I have been 
to church almost every Sunday of my life. I have heard 
enough preaching to convert every man in the State. But 
you are the first man who ever said a word to me personally 
about being a Christian." Yet his father was a Presbyterian 
minister, and his brother was a missionary in China. 

If the world is ever won for Christ, we must have a great 
uprising of Christians who are willing to take their share in 
tiie great task by reporting their own experience to others. 



192 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"And Peter went down to the men, and said, Behold, I am he 
whom ye seek : what is the cause wherefore ye are come ? And they 
said, Cornelius a centurion, a righteous man and one that feareth 
God, and well reported of by all the nation of the Jews, was warned 
of God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear 
words from thee." (Acts x. 21, 22.) 

"And Cornelius said. Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping 
the ninth hour of prayer in my house ; and behold, a man stood be- 
fore me in bright apparel, and saith, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, 
and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send 
therefore to Joppa, and call unto thee Simon, who is surnamed 
Peter; he lodgeth in the house of Simon a tanner, by the seaside. 
Forthwith therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that 
thou art come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight 
of God, to hear all things that have been commanded thee of the 
Lord." (Acts x. 30-33.) 

PART III. MEN ARE WAITING FOR OUR TESTIMONY. 

Many Christians fear to bear personal testimony, lest it 
will be resented by those with whom they speak. My ob- 
servation proves that this is not the case. For fifteen years 
I have been a traveling secretary of the Young Men*s Chris- 
tian Association, and I have made it my daily business to 
talk with men about Christian life. Many thousands have 
sat down with me quietly during these years. So far as I 
know, only two of these students have resented my testi- 
mony. One of them said that he was sorry he came because 
I had told him the truth and he was not willing to follow it. 
The other was a skeptical student who became very angry, 
but a year later joined the Presbyterian Church. He 
thanked me later for what I said to him and said that it had 
been the means of bringing him to Christ. 

Not only do men not resent being approached, but I am 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 193 

sure that many of them are wondering why we do not open 
the conversation. 

I shall never forget an experience I had some years ago 
at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. After speaking one night, 
I came downstairs and was just starting to leave the build- 
ing. It was a rainy night ; and out on the porch, which was 
very dimly lighted from within, there stood a young col- 
lege man. I greeted him as I walked out and noticed 
that his greeting was rather cordial. I then ventured the 
question as to whether he had attended the meeting. His 
reply was cordial again and in the affirmative. Made a little 
more bold, I suggested that he was probably one of the 
Christian workers. No, he was not even a Christian! I 
asked him if he would mind going in and talking it over. 
Imagine my amazement when he replied: "1 have been 
standing here waiting for you to come out, hoping you would 
ask me to do that." After half an hour he made a decision 
for Christian life. Suppose I had missed that chance ! 

Once at a Northfield Conference I knew a young man 
from Yale who said he had come down to this Conference 
with the delegation, thinking that surely some man would, 
in that place and in that atmosphere, speak to him about the 
Christian life. One of our international student secretaries 
of the Young Men's Christian Association told me that his 
roommate in college, a prominent athlete, had to make this 
secretary talk to him about religious life. What must people 
think of the value we put upon our Christian experience 
when we are so slow to share its blessings ? 

The field is ripe unto the harvest, but the laborers are 
few. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to thrust us forth 
and make us bold to do this work. 
13 



194 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, 
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but 
to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of 
the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light 
a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth 
unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before 
men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
who is in heaven." (Matt. v. 13-16.) 

"So the woman left her waterpot, and went away into the city, 
and saith to the people, Come, see a man, who told me all things that 
ever I did : can this be the Christ ? They went out of the city, and 
were coming to him." (John iv. 28-30.) 

"And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him 
because of the word of the woman, who testified, He told me all 
things that ever I did." (John iv. 39.) 



PART IV. SIMPLE TESTIMONY EFFECTIVE. 

Perhaps more men are kept from bearing personal testi- 
mony by the fear of its ineffectiveness than by any other 
thing. They feel that they are such amateur experimenters 
in the field of religious truth that their testimony could not 
possibly be helpful. Such people should remember that a 
real experience is a most wonderful phenomenon. People 
are alw^ays interested in real experience, whether religious 
or otherwise. If I wish to interest another person in some 
phase of science, I will report some simple experience I have 
had in that field, and soon interest springs up in the other. 
One's testimony does not need to be exhaustive; it needs 
only to be real. 

Somehow or other the forces of personal life have been 
so arranged that just the least word from one will help 
another into the Christian kingdom. 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 



195 



At a college in which I was giving a series of addresses 
recently there was an outstanding graduate student. In his 
undergraduate days he had captained every Varsity team 
and had held almost every post of honor which the students 
could give. But he was not a Christian. I tried hard to get 
at him, but he would slip out of the hall at the close of the 
meetings before I could get to him. Finally a friend asked 
him to come to see me. He came. We had not talked ten 
minutes until he said: "I see it now, and I can do that.'* 
He is now an active Christian worker. All he needed was 
the smallest possible push, and he stepped over into the 
Christian kingdom. It often does not take much. 

H. Clay Trumbull, who was both a great preacher and a 
great personal worker, said that he knew of more men won 
to Christ through his personal conversation than through 
his public ministry, even though he had preached to many 
thousands. Every man who has tried this method of ex- 
tending the number of Christ's followers is amazed at the 
way in which God can use the simplest sort of testimony to 
bring others into his fellowship. 

The main thing about this testimony is that it shows others 
your real concern. Two college students roomed together 
for three years. For some reason they roomed apart their 
senior year, but were fast friends. John was a Christian; 
Charles was not. John had often meant to ask Charles to 
become a Christian, but could not get it done. One day after 
class as they came down the walk together John determined 
he would say a word. Just as they parted he said : "Char- 
lie, it almost breaks my heart that you are not a Christian." 
Charles went home, threw himself on his knees, and gave his 
life to God. Afterwards he said : "When I knew that John 
cared so much, I couldn't stand it. It was time for m£ to 
get right." Do we care enough to really win men ? 



196 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE, 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, and said, Ye men 
of Athens, in all things I perceive that ye are very religious. For 
as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found 
also an altar with this inscription, To an Unknown God. What 
therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you." (Acts 
xvii. 22, 23.) 



PART V. HOW TO HELP THOSE IN DOUBT. 

In attempting to help those whose faith is unsettled it is 
essential that we should have a clear conception as to the 
particular form of their difficulty. Infidelity, that form of 
unbelief which carries with it the implication of loose mor- 
als, is not prevalent in our day. Men are not proud and 
blatant in their lack of faith. It cannot be denied that some 
who discard Christianity are immoral in conduct, neither 
can it be doubted that immorality tends to superinduce 
doubt; but it is distinctly unfair to infer from these two 
statements that those who are in doubt are immoral. 

Agnosticism, which claims that I not only do not know 
God, but that it is impossible to know God, is not such a 
frequent form of doubt as it formerly was. Men are begin- 
ning to see that if we cannot rely on our natures to give us 
truth about the supersensible world, then we are not sure of 
any true basis for any form of knowledge. 

Atheism, the denial of God, is not prevalent in our time. 
Men accept some kind of a supreme power, though they 
would not define this power as closely as the Christian de- 
fines God. The present form of unrest is that of imperson- 
alistic, even pantheistic, tendencies. Men say that God can 
hardly be personal, but that he is everywhere about in the 
form of impersonal influence. He is force, law, order, and 
what not. 

Still others have no definite form of doubt. They simply 
do not know. They are groping for the light. For the most 
part, they are reverent searchers for the truth. They have 
the attitude expressed by Tennyson's "In Memoriam" : 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 197 

I falter where I firmly trod, 

And falling with my weight of cares 
Upon the great world's altar-stairs 

That slope thro' darkness up to God, 

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope, 

And gather dust and chaff, and call 

To what I feel is Lord of all, 
And faintly trust the larger hope. 

What, then, shall be our attitude toward such persons? 
First of all, it should be one of sympathy and understanding. 
It was said of Christ that he would not break a bruised reed, 
and he would not quench the smoking flax. He was never 
harsh with honest doubt. He was harsh only with hypocrisy, 
which often took the form of pious belief without pious ac- 
tions. Many are the men who have been driven away from 
Christianity because of the intolerant attitude of those who 
claimed to be Christians. It is not necessarily a sign of sin 
nor a sign of weakness that a person is plunged into doubt. 
Of course it may be a sign of either or of both, but in most 
cases this is not true. We must, therefore, have the attitude 
of confidence and trust. 

You say, but with no touch of scorn, 

Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes 
Are tender over drowning flies. 

You tell me, doubt is Devil-born. 

I know not : one indeed I knew 

In many a subtle question versed. 

Who touch'd a jarring lyre at first, 
But ever strove to make it true : 

Perplexed in faith, but pure in deeds. 

At last he beat his music out. 

There lives more faith in honest doubt. 
Believe me, than in half the creeds. 

He fought his doubts and gather'd strength, 
He would not make his judgment blind, 
He faced the Specters of the mind 

And laid them. — Tennyson's ''In Memoriam" 



jqS christian life— a normal experience. 



STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

"And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do 
questionings arise in your heart? See my hands and my feet, that it 
is I myself : handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, 
as ye behold me having. And when he had said this, he showed 
them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for 
joy, and wondered, he said unto them. Have ye here anything to eat? 
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish. And he took it, and ate 
before them. And he said unto them, These are my words which I 
spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs 
be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, 
and the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their mind, that 
they might understand the scriptures." (Luke xxiv. 38-45.) 



PART VI. HOW TO HELP THOSE IN DOUBT. 
(Continued.) 

Further, we must force those in doubt to get on posi- 
tive ground. Ask them to speak out everything they do not 
believe, then ask them to say one thing they do believe. 
Do not argue, but show the growing implications in the 
things which they positively believe. 

Recently a graduate student came to me primed for a 
great argument. He blurted out that he did not accept 
Christ as divine, that he did not believe in the Bible as au- 
thoritative, and that he did not believe in God as personal. 
I let him talk, and finally I asked him if there was any one 
thing that he did believe. This scared him. He was amazed 
to think that he had gone so far. I asked him if he accepted 
righteousness as the law of largest life. He said that he did. 
I asked him where we had the finest embodiment of right- 
eousness. He was forced to say in the person of Christ, 
although he said he was not sure that there was such a 
person. I told him not to mind about whether there was 
such a person as Christ or not. He accepted the picture 
of the Gospels as the world's best representative. Then I 
said: "If righteousness is the law of highest life and the 
best presentation of righteousness we have is in the gospel 
picture of Christ, you must, if you are honest, espouse the 
cause of the gospel righteousness, you must live it to the 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 199 

limit, and you must urge others to live it until you can find 
something better. We are obligated to live the best we 
know." 

I further told him that if he was honest he must find some 
reasonable explanation of why these early fishermen had 
been able to draw a portrait of the highest righteousness that 
the world knows. Of course there is but one reasonable 
explanation, and that is the fact that they had a living pic- 
ture before them. They were writing about a real life. The 
main point was that I forced him onto positive ground. I 
would not allow him to keep me constantly on the defensive. 
I would not argue, but I insisted on making him think clearly 
and conclusively. 

Honesty demands two things : First, that one will search 
for truth with all diligence. Secondly, that one will follow 
the truth to the limit when it is found. If one will be ab- 
solutely honest with himself and with the truth, I have no 
fear for the outcome. God can take care of his own cause 
if men will give him a chance. It is my business to get men 
to give him a chance. 

Be near me when my light is low, 
When_ the blood creeps, and the nerves prick 
And tingle, and the heart is sick, 

And all the wheels of Being slow. 



Be near me when my faith is dry. 
And men the flies of latter spring, 
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing, 

And weave their petty cells and die. 

■ — Tennyson's "In Memoriam." 



200 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE. 

STUDY XII. TESTIMONY AND THE EXTENSION 
OF THE KINGDOM. 

''Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall 
find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and 
make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them. And 
if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third, and find 
them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the 
master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, 
he would have watched, and not have left his house to be broken 
through. Be ye also ready : for in an hour that ye think not the Son 
of man cometh." (Luke xii. 37-40.) 

PART VII. AROUSING THE INDIFFERENT. 

Indifference may be traced to a number of causes. 
First, a man may be indifferent because he has lost faith in 
the old forms of worship or in the statement of creeds. In 
that case he must be dealt with in accordance with the last 
section. Others are indifferent because they undervalue 
religion. They do not see that it really gets them anywhere. 
They do not feel that they need it. Still others are indiffer- 
ent because they are so preoccupied with other affairs — ^busi- 
ness, pleasure, study, athletics — that religious interest has 
died from disuse. Traced to its ultimate meaning, this is a 
phase of the preceding difficulty; they really do not think 
religion counts. But its origin lies in a preoccupied life. 
Lastly, there are those who assume a forced indifference. 
There are practices in their lives incompatible with religious 
faith, and hence they dare not face God. Every personal 
worker has found many belonging to each class. What can 
be done for them ? 

Perhaps not first in practice, but at least first in logical 
procedure, one should make clear to these persons that life 
is determined by the things to which they give attention. 
To neglect any great field of values means to shut them out 
of the life permanently. We do not have to deny them; 
we only need neglect them. The classic illustration is Dar- 
win, who lost all love for music, poetry, and art by concen- 
trating on science for years to the utter exclusion of these 
other phases of life. 

When we neglect religion, we not only lose interest in it, 
but our capacity for religion atrophies, which is far more 
serious. We not only fail to see; but, like the fish in the 



TESTIMONY AND EXTENSION OF KINGDOM. 201 

Mammoth Cave, we lose our organs of sight by long disuse. 
This should be made clear to the indifferent. 

Secondly, it would be well to show the indifferent one that 
religion is a personal relationship and necessary for all per- 
sonal and social growth. He who will not give proper place 
to other persons in his life is cutting himself off from all 
growth and is robbing society of all the values which his 
character should add to human advancement. He is essen- 
tially antisocial. This will often arouse the indifferent. 

Lastly, but perhaps first in practice, the great means of 
arousing the indifferent is to bring them in touch with a 
genuine and attractive Christian personality. One of the 
best words of psychology and sociology during the last dec- 
ade is this : Character is not taught ; character is caught. 
Coleridge said that the secret of his life lay in the fact that 
he had a friend. "A friend," said Emerson, "is to make us 
do what we can." 

An uncle of Maltbie Babcock wanted the boy to be a 
minister. He invited his nephew and one of the choicest 
ministerial students at Princeton to spend a holiday vaca- 
tion together on his farm, and Babcock went away thinking 
of the ministry as a life work. 

One of the strongest students that ever went through 
Vanderbilt University went to the student conference at 
the end of his senior year and decided to study for the min- 
istry. He told me afterwards that he would have made that 
decision years before had he been thrown with such a whole- 
some set of men. He saw the manliness and worth of reli- 
gious students as he had never seen it before and as he could 
never see it in any single institution of the land. He spent 
ten days with the choicest Christian spirits from all the 
Southern colleges, and he went away with a new interest 
and a new life. Put your indifferent person into the pres- 
ence of some wholesome, enthusiastic Christian life, and 
transformation must follow. 

Let me live in a house by the side of the road, 

Where the race of men go by — 
The men that are good, and the men that are bad, 

As good and as bad as I. 

I would not sit in the scorner's seat, 

Nor hurl the cinic's ban; 
Let me live in a house by the side of the road 

And be a friend to man. 

— Foss's "TJie^ House by the Side of the Road" 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 

The following volumes have been carefully reviewed and are here 
listed as a guide to those who would like to pursue further the 
studies suggested by this book. Those titles that are starred will be 
valuable to mature students only. 

I. Books on Apologetics. 

Clarke, William Newton. — "The Christian Doctrine of God," "The 
Ideal of Jesus," "Sixty Years with the Bible." (Scribner's.) 

^Eucken, Rudolph. — "The Truth of Religion." (Putnam's.) 

Fosdick, Harry Emerson. — "The Assurance of Immortality." 
(Macmillan.) 

Illingworth, J. R. — "Personality, Human and Divine." (Macmil- 
lan.) 

Knox, George William. — "The Direct and Fundamental Proofs of 
the Christian Religion." (Scribner's.) 

Mackintosh, H. R. — "The Doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ." 
(Scribner's.) 

Watson, John. — "God's Message to the Human Soul." (Revell.) 

II. Books on the Psychology of Religion, 

*Ames, Edward Scrihner. — "The Psychology of Religious Experi- 
ence." (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.) 

Tailing, Marshall P. — "The Science of Spiritual Life." (Revell.) 

*James, William. — "The Varieties of Religious Experience." 
(Longmans, Green & Co.) 

King, Henry Churchill. — "The Seeming Unreality of the Spiritual 
Life," "The Laws of Friendship," "Rational Living." (Macmillan.) 

Pratt, James Bissett. — "The Psychology of Religious Belief." 
(Macmillan.) 

*Starbuck, Edwin Diller. — "The Psychology of Religion." 
(Scribner's.) 

Steven, George. — "The Psychology of the Christian Soul." (Hod- 
der & Stoughton.) 

*Stratton, George Malcolm. — "Psychology of the Religious Life." 
(George Allen & Co.) 

(205) 



2o6 CHRISTIAN LIFE— A NORMAL EXPERIENCE 

III. Books on Comparative Religions. 

* Bliss, Frederick Jones. — "The Religions of Modern Syria and 
Palestine." (Scribner's.) 

Davids, Rhys. — "Buddhism: Its History and Literature." (Put- 
nam's.) 

Douglas, Robert K. — "Confucianism and Taoism." Non-Christian 
Religious Systems Series. 

"^Deiissen, Paul. — "The Philosophy of the Upanishads," (T. and 
T. Clark.) 

Jevons, Frank Byron. — "An Introduction to the History of Reli- 
gion." (Mathew & Co.) 

Slater, T. E. — "The Higher Hinduism in Relation to Christianity." 
(Elliott Stock.) 

*Tiele, C. P. — "Elements of the Science of Religion," Volumes I. 
and II. (William Blackwood & Sons.) 

IV. Books on Personal Work. 

Johnson, Howard Agnew. — "Studies in God's Method of Training 
Workers." (Association Press.) 

Sanford, S. M. — "Personal Work." (Association Press.) 

Stone, John Timothy. — "Recruiting for Christ." (Revell.) 

Trumbull, Charles Gallaudet. — "Taking Men Alive." (Associa- 
tion Press.) 

Trumbull, H. Clay. — "Individual Work for Individuals." (Asso- 
ciation Press.) 

Weatherford, W. D.— "Introducing Men to Christ." (Smith & 
Lamar.) 

Wood, H. Wellington. — "Winning Men One by One." (Sunday 
School Times Company.) 



NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES 



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