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From fi\e Library of 

G"Ke Reverend HugK MatKeson 
LLB., D.D. 




Th. : 




{Theological library 


THEOLOGY has made great and rapid advances in recent 
years. New lines of investigation have been opened up, 
fresh light has been cast upon many subjects of the deepest 
interest, and the historical method has been applied with 
important results. This has prepared the way for a Library 
of Theological Science, and has created the demand for it 
It has also made it at once opportune and practicable now 
to secure the services of specialists in the different depart 
ments of Theology, and to associate them in an enterprise 
which will furnish a record of Theological inquiry up to 

This Library is designed to cover the whole field of Chris 
tian Theology. Each volume is to be complete in itself, 
while, at the same time, it will form part of a carefully 
planned whole. One of the Editors is to prepare a volume 
of Theological Encyclopaedia which will give the history 
and literature of each department, as well as of Theology 
as a whole. 

The Library is intended to form a series of Text-Books 
for Students of Theology. 

The Authors, therefore, aim at conciseness and compact- 
less of statement. At the same time, they have in view- 


that large and increasing class of students, in other depart 
ments of inquiry, who desire to have a systematic and thor 
ough exposition of Theological Science. Technical matters 
will therefore be thrown into the form of notes, and the 
text will be made as readable and attractive as possible. 

The Library is international and interconfessional. It 
will be conducted in a catholic spirit, and in the interests 
of Theology as a science. 

Its aim will be to give full and impartial statements both 
of the results of Theological Science and of the questions 
which are still at issue in the different departments. 

The Authors will be scholars of recognized reputation in 
the several branches of study assigned to them. They will 
be associated with each other and with the Editors in the 
effort to provide a series of volumes which may adequately 
represent the present condition of investigation, and indi 
cate the way for further progress. 


Theological Encyclopaedia. By CHARLES A. BRIGGS, D.D., Pro 

fessor of Biblical Theology, 
Union Theological Seminary, 
New York. 

An Introduction to the Litera- By S. R. DRIVER, D.D., Regius Pro- 
ture of the Old Testament. fessor of Hebrew, and Canon of 

Christ Church, Oxford. (Revised 
and enlarged edition?) 

The Stud/ of the Old Testa- By HERBERT EDWARD RYLE, D.D., 

President of Queen s College, 
Cambridge, England. 

Testament History. By HENRY PRESERVED SMITH, D.D., 

Professor of Biblical History, 
Amherst College, Mass. 

Contemporary History of the By FRANCIS BROWN, D.D.. Profes- 
Old Testament. sor of Hebrew, Union Theologi 

cal Seminary, New York. 

icology of the Old Testa- By A. B. DAVIDSON, D.D., LL.D., 

Professor of Hebrew, New Col 
lege, Edinburgh. 

An Introduction to the Litera 
ture of the New Testament. 

Canon and Text of the New 


The Life of Christ. 

A History of Christianity in 
the Apostolic Age. 

Contemporary History of the 
New Testament. 

Theology of the New Testa 

The Ancient Catholic Church. 

The Latin Church. 

History of Christian Doctrine. 

Christian Institutions. 

Philosophy of Religion. 

The Doctrine of God. 
Christian Ethics. 

The Christian Pastor and the 
Working Church. 

The Christian Preacher. 
Rabbinical Literature. 

By S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D., Prin 
cipal of the Free Church College, 

LL. D., Professor of New Testa 
ment Exegesis in the University 
of Leipzig. 

Lady Margaret Professor of Di 
vinity, and Canon of Christ 
Church, Oxford. 

Professor of Church History, 
Union Theological Seminary, 
New York. (Now ready.} 

fessor of Biblical Theology, Yale 
University, New Haven, Conn. 

fessor of Systematic Theology, 
Yale University, New Haven, 
Conn. (AVw ready.) 

Principal of the New College, 

Principalof King s College, Lon 

By G. P. FISHER, D.D., LL.D., Pro 
fessor of Ecclesiastical History, 
Yale University, New Haven, 
Conn. {Revised anJenlargededilion.} 

By A. V. G. AI.I.EN. D.D., Profes 
sor of Ecclesiastical History, P. 
E. Divinity School, Cambridge, 
Mass. (A~i>u> re adv.) 

Professor of Divinity in the Uni 
versity of Edinburgh. 

By A. B. BRUCE, D.D., late Profess 
or of New Testament Exegesis, 
Free Church College, Glasgow. 
(Revised and enlarged editinn.) 

fessor of Systematic Theology, 
Hamilton Theological Seminary. 

By NEWMAN SMYTH, D. D. , Pastor of 
Congregational Church, New 1 hi 
ve n . ( Revised and enlarged edition . ) 

Pastor of Cong regational Church, 
Columbus, Ohio. {Now ready.) 

By JOHN WATSON, D.D., Pastor 
Presbyterian Church, Liverpool. 

By S. SCHECHTER, M.A. , Reader in 
Talmudic in the University of 
Cambridge, England. 











SSnitorrsitg ^ress 


THIS book is intended to cover the field of what is 
known as Pastoral Theology. The technical phrase is not 
well chosen : theology, in any proper sense of the word is 
not connoted by it. It deals with the work of the Chris 
tian pastor and the Christian church. Its subject is 
applied Christianity. It is concerned with the ways and 
means by which the truth of the Gospel of Christ is 
brought to bear upon the lives of men, in the administra 
tion of the local congregation. It seeks to show the 
pastor how he may order his own life and the life of his 
flock so that their joint service may be most effective in 
extending the Kingdom of God upon earth. It is not 
wholly a matter of methods and machinery, for the spirit 
in which the work is done is the main concern; but it is a 
study of the life of the church as it is manifested in the 
community where it is planted. 

The forms of this life greatly vary as civilization 
changes. New occasions teach new duties. Ethical 
standards are purified and elevated; the emphasis of the 
teaching is altered; modes of address, methods of adminis 
tration that once were effective are no longer practicable; 
the work of the church must l>e adapted to the conditions 
by which it is surrounded. This truth has been con 
stantly in view in the preparation of this treatise. It is 
the work of one who has l>een for many years an active 
pastor; it has been written in such leisure as could l>e 
snatched from the engrossing cares of a large congregation, 
and it deals on every page with problems which have been 
and are in this present age matters of immediate practical 



concern. It is therefore to be feared that on the scholastic 
side it will be found less elaborate than many of the trea 
tises which have preceded it. The history of pastoral 
methods is a matter of interest, but that has been well told 
and scarcely needs retelling; the scholarly pages of Jan 
Jacob Van Oosterzee and Theodosius llarnack present 
all that the student needs to know about the administra 
tion of the churches in past generations. What has 
seemed more important, in the preparation of this volume, 
is the study of the life of the busy pastor at the end of the 
nineteenth century, in the midst of the swift and turbu 
lent intellectual and social movements now going forward ; 
in a society partially or wholly democratized ; in the pres 
ence of influences that are reshaping philosophies and in 
stitutions; in the day when it seems to be a question 
whether the religion of Christ represents an obsolescent 
force, or is just about to take up the sceptre of universal 
empire. That this is the day of opportunity and respon 
sibility for the Christian church is the faith on which this 


treatise is founded; and if this be true the need of dis 
cerning this time is the deepest need of the Christian 
pastor. The hope set before him is that the Church of 
God will have a great deal more to do with the life of 
coming generations than it has ever had to do with the 
life of past generations, not as a political power, but as 
an informing and inspiring influence. To lift up his 
heart with this expectation and to help him to see some of 
the ways in which it may be realized has been the motive 
of this labor. 

Tt needs not to be said that no man can fully understand 
the life of the church in any country but his own. It is 
only by inheritance of that life and lifelong identification 
with its various fortunes that he gains the power of esti 
mating its aims and criticising its practice. He can live 
his life but once and therefore he cannot intimately know 
the conditions and needs of the church in more than one 
country. Such knowledge cannot be gained merely from 


books. It follows that works on what is known as Pas 
toral Theology must always reflect the life of the churches 
out of whose experience they have grown. The flavor of 
the soil is always in them. Systematic Theology, Biblical 
Theology, Apologetics, Ethics are practically independent 
of local influences, but Pastoral Theology never is. It 
must be expected, therefore, that this volume, like those 
of Harnack and Van Oosterzee and Fairbairn and Palmer 
will show considerable local coloring ; if the book is alive 
it will pulsate with the life from which it has sprung. 
Between America and Great Britain there is so close a 
relationship that the discussions of these pages will not, it 
is hoped, be wholly unintelligible in the older country; 
and where the conditions are dissimilar, comparison and 
contrast may make them suggestive. Even to Chris 
tians of the Continental churches the book may be of ser 
vice as a somewhat imperfect picture of the Christian 
activities of other lands. 

For the free use of quotation which some of these chap 
ters will show, the author has no apologies to make. 
The questions under consideration are largely questions of 
practical administration concerning which many men 
know more than any man; and the readers of this volume 
have a right to know something of the best that has been 
said upon these themes by wise pastors and teachers of the 
present generation. 

To the younger men in the ministry and to those upon 
its threshold this book is offered in the hope that they may 
find in it some guidance in a calling whose brightest era 
and whose most glorious triumphs are yet to come. 

CoLtmnrs, OHIO, 

March 17, 1898. 




Pastoral J licology defined, 1. A Branch of Practical Theology, 1. 
Relation to other branches, 1. To Church Polity, 2. To Liturgies, 2. 
TQ JJomilctics, 2. To Christian Missions, .3. Includes Poimenics and 
Catechetics, . 3. Excludes Ilomiletics and Liturgies, 3. Its theme con 
notes a working church, 4. Change in the subject matter of the 
science, 4. Earlier Treatises concerned with the work of the pastor, 4. 
Later conception of the church as a working body, 8. The later con 
ception the higher, 10. Historical outline, 10. Biblical conception of 
Poimenics, 10. Patristic theories and treatises, 11. Mediaeval ideas, 
12. Poimenics of the Reformation, 13. Of the Eighteenth Century, 13. 
Of the Nineteenth Century, 14. Historical sketch of catechetics, 
Apostolic times, 17. Among the Early Fathers, 18. In the Middle 
Ages, 19. Among the Reformers, 19. In the Roman Catholic Church, 
21. In various Christian bodies, 22. 



This discussion is concerned with the local congregation, 23. Lim 
its of its membership, 23. Parish must not be too large for pastoral 
oversight, 24. Must not be too large for efficient organization and 
fellowship, 25. The edifice ethics of its architecture, 26. Location 
of the edifice, 28. Constituency of the congregation, 29. No caste in 
its assemblies, 30. All classes accessible, 31. Do the poor prefer to 
worship by themselves i 32. The churches on trial upon this issue, 33. 
Difficulty of maintaining Christian fellowship, 34. Significance and 
value of it, 35. Exclusiveness not wholly the fault of one class, 36. 
Relation of the Church to the Kingdom of God, 38. The Kingdom, 
not the church, the inclusive term, 40. The need of specializing re 
ligion in institutions of its own, 42. The church ancillary to the King 
dom, 44. The end of the church the christianization of society, 46. 
The church must _sjjxfi_society or lose its own life, 48. 




Tin; PASTOR 50-65 

Significance of the name, 50. Is the pastor a priest ? 52. Growth of 
the sacerdotal idea, 54. Remnants of the idea iu reformed churches, 
56. A spiritual priesthood, 59. The authority of the pastor, 61. 
Democracy implies leadership, 62. Spiritual power is moral in 
fluence, 64. 



The Pastor is the minister of Christ, 66. Every good work a divine 
vocation, 68. The inward call, 68. The outward call, 69. The Pas 
tor s dual relation, 70. How shall the church find a minister, 71. The 
system of patronage, 72. Qualifications of a pastor, 73. Methods of 
calling a minister, 74. Preaching as a candidate, 75. The calling of 
settled ministers to vacant churches, 76. May the minister seek a 
church 1 78. One candidate at a time, 79. No candidates without good 
and fresh credentials, 80. Must the call be unanimous ? 81. Definite 
dealings with temporalities, 82. 



The minister a student, 83. Other functions of the ministry, 84. 
The prophet must be a student, 85. Language and inspiration, 86. 
Art and inspiration, 88. The minister will continue the studies of the 
professional school, 90. The history of doctrines, 91. Apologetic 
studies, 92. Inductive study of hujaau nature, 93. Literature, 95. 
The Bible, 97. The individual and the social order inseparable, 100. 
The study of social science, 101. Mischief of separating individual in 
terests from social interests, 103. A scientific sociology confirms the 
Christian law, 104. The minister s study is his oratory, 105. 



Preaching the Pastor s chief function, 107. The message to the indi 
vidual, 108. The C9nversion of men, 109. Preaching the Jaw, 110. 
Preaching the gospel, 111. The Gospel of the Kingdom, 112. The 
minister s relation to practical affairs, 114. Spiritual law in the natural 
world, 116. Casuistry in the pulpit, 119. The evening service and 
applied Christianity, 121. The .secularization of the pulpit, 123. Cur- 
rent^ topics in the pulpit, 125. Historical studies, 125. The poets as 
preachers, 126. Biographical studies, 127. The use of a text, 128. 
May sermons lie repeated ! 132. The leader of worship, 134. Prepa 
ration for public prayer, 135. The service of ong, 139. Hymnals, 
140. Church tunes, 141. The organ, 142. Vocal leadership of the 
congregation, 143. English choirs, 144. American choirs, 145. 



Qhoir and congregation, 146. Liturgical enrichment of worship, 150. 
Responsive reading, 152. Creeds and collects, 153. Devotional read 
ing, 155. The administration of baptism, 157. The significance of 
baptism, 159. Sponsors, 162. The Lord s Supper, 164. Preparatory 
services, 164. Modes of administration, 166. Guarding the table, 167. 
Reception of new members, 168. The ordinance of marriage, 170. 



The Pastor in general society, 172. Intercourse witli all classes, 173. 
As confidential friend, 176. His personal ministry, 179. Dealing with 
doubters, 180. Reclaiming wanderers, 184. Despondency and despair, 
TS5. The visitation of the_sick, 186. The Lord s Supper in the sick 
room, 189. Infectious diseases, 191. Burial services, 192. General 
visitation, 195. Nature of pastoral calls, 197. Shall they be profes 
sional 198. The opportunity of friendship, 199. Systematic visiting, 
200. Value of such work, 202. 



Temporalities and spiritualities, 204. The business side of the 
church, 205. Need of upright men for this service, 206. The christian- 
ization of church business, 207. Assignment of sittings, 208. Keep 
ing of church records, 209. The minister needs assistance, 209. Pas 
tor and Preacher, 212. Church officers as leaders of work, 214. Or 
ganism and mechanism, 215. The problem of organization, 217. 



The Sunday school a modern institution, 220. Robert Raikes, 221. 
The Oxford movement, 222. The Sunday School and the Church, 223. 
Best hour for the session, 224. Organization of the school, 225. The 
pastoral work of the teacher, 226. The service of song, 227. Ojrder in 
the school, 228. The Sunday school rooms, 229. Sjibjects to be 
studied, 230. Qr.adation of the school, 232. Senior department, 233. 
Work of this department, 234. The Higher Criticism and Sunday- 
school teaching, 236. The Home Department, 238. 



Need of a social meeting for worship, 239. Meetings for prayer, 240. 
" Experience " meetings, 241. Social prayer, and its uses, 242. Uses 
and abuses of public conference, 245. The work of the church the 
theme of the service, 247. Leader of the meeting, 248. Topics, 248. 
Familiar and conversational methods, 249. The singing, 250. The 
question box, 252. A Social opportunity, 252. 





For whom is the church responsible? 253. Whose servant is the 
minister 1 254. Getting acquainted with the neglecters, 256. Their 
number sometimes exaggerated, 256. Visitation by the church, 258. 
Can the unchurched he brought to church? 259. Location of new en 
terprises, 260. Church colonies, 262. Ineffectiveness of missions, 263. 
College settlements and churches, 264. Strong churches in poor dis 
tricts, 267. Street preaching, 268. The shepherding of the poor, 269. 



The Church a social fellowship, 271. Not a commune, 272. It har 
monizes all types of character, 273. The opportunity of love, 274. 
The mingling of the leaven, 276. Djfficulty of this task, 278. The 
christianization of the church, 279. The fellowship of work, 280. 
Neighborly relations, 281. Division of the parish into districts, 282. 
Welcoming committees, 283. Social assemblies, 284. Fellowship 
meetings, 285. 



The place of wojnan in modern society, 289. Woman s work in the 
Apostolic church, 291. In the post-apostolic church, 293. The Sisters 
of Charity, 293. The revival of the order of deaconesses, 295. In the 
Episcopal churches, 296. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, 297. 
Deaconesses as pastor s assistants, 298. In the Church of Scotland, 
299. The Kaiserswerth Institution, 302. Form of consecration, 304. 
The deaconess home and the local church, 306. Women s associa 
tions in the churches, 307. Their financial operations, 307. Church 
of Scotland Woman s Guild, 309. 


THE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN. . . . 313-331 

The German Christliche Jiinglingsvereiue, 313. Young Men s Chris 
tian Association, 314. Young People s Societies of Christian En 
deavor, 315. Epworth League and Baptist Young People s Union, 316. 
The aims of these organizations, 3 1 8. The Endeavor movement and mu 
nicipal reform, 319. Mission work, 320. Work in the local church, 321. 
The Brotherhood of St. Andrew, 322. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew 
and Philip, 325. Young Men s Leagues, 325. The Church of Scotland 
Guild, 326. Prize Examinations and Competitions, 328. Free Church 
of Scotland Guild, 329. German " Unions," 330. "Brother Houses," 





The Snuday school arid the children, 332. Jimiyr Societies, 333. 
The "Children s Hour, "334. The pastor s relation to the children, 334. 
Catechists in the early church, 335. Decline of catechetical instruction, 
337. Reasons why pastors should resume this work, 338. The rationale 
of catechetics, 338. The basis of the instruction, 341. Classification of 
catechumens, 342. Bishop Dupanloup s Treatise, 342. Catechetics 
among the Lutherans, 349. Among other American Christians, 351. 
The Church Porch. 353. Children s Day, 355. The baptized children, 
355. The children in the Sunday service, 356. The Boys Brigade, 



The universality of Christianity, 302. < )ur debt to men in other lands, 
363. The expansion of Christendom, 365. The new era of missions, 366. 
Informing the church, 367. Woman s Mission Boards, 368. Methods 
of awakening missionary interest, 370. Who shall present the work? 
370. The development of benevolence, 371. Proportionate giving, 
374. The mites of the many, 375. Methods of gathering the offerings, 



Hebrew " revivals," 378. Was Pentecost a revival ? 379. The two 
modes of extending the Kingdom, 381. The implications of revival 
ism, 382. Chills and fever, 384. Christian nurture, 387. Christianity 
as organic, 388. Converting agencies not superseded, 389. The omni 
presence of the Spirit, 390. Seasons of refreshing, 392. Special evan 
gelistic measures, 394. Professional evangelists, 397. How to secure 
decision, 398. Lenten services, 399. 



Definition of the term, 401. Some Institutional Churches, 402. 
Churches doing similar work, 405. Criticism of these methods, 407. 
The fundamental principle all life is sacred, 409. Fruits of such 
labors, 410. The ChurcK and the Social Settlement, 412. Coopera 
tion of churches in this work, 413. 




ENLISTING THE MEMBERSHIP ............. 415-427 

The church as a haven of rest, 415. The church as the servant of 
Christ, 416. A ministering laity, 417. Informing the church about its 
work, 419. The annual meeting of the church, 420. The church prob 
lem of the unemployed, 422. Departments of work, 423. Ejilisting 
the whole membership, 424. Conferences of leaders, 425. Unused 
power iii the church, 426. 



Christian unity, 428. Destructive competitions, 429. Endeavors 
after Cooperation, 431. The basis of cooperation, 434. The division of 
the field, 436. Canvassing the districts, 437. Difficulties of the work 
in large cities, 439. Nature of cooperative work, 439. Provision of 
safe places of resort, 440. Closing the drinking places on Sunday, 441. 
Upholding the sacredness of law, 442. Unity found in local coopera 
tion, 444. But one church in any community, 446. 


THE CARE OF THE POOR ............... 448-475 

Christian Charity in the Early Church, 448. Decay of this function, 
449. Its assumption by the State, 451. The poor within the church, 
452. Public charities, 455. The new charity, 458. Three classes of 
charities, 460. The duty of the church as to public institutions, 461. 
The duty of the church as to private charities, 462. The duty of the 
church as to outside relief, 462. The stimulation of the State, 463. 
Shall the churches undertake this work ? 467. The Buffalo experi 
ment, 468. Difficulties of such cooperation, 472. The ministry of 
discipline, 473. 





THE Christian Church and its Pastor form the subject of 
tliis study. l>v the Church is meant the local congregation 
of Christian believers. To the organization and work of 
this congregation, under the leadership of its minister, our 
inquiry will be addressed. 

The field to be explored is that which is covered by the 
branch of study commonly known as Pastoral Theology. 
Pastoral Theology is a department of Practical Theology, 
which Cave describes as "the science of the functions of 
the Christian Church," 1 and which in the words of Ilagen- 
bach, "embraces the theory of the ecclesiastical activities 
(functions) as they proceed either from the church as a 
whole, or from its individual members and representatives in 
the name of the church." * Practical Theology is variously 
divided. It includes : 1. Church Polity. 2. Theory of 
Worship (Liturgies). 3. Theory of Preaching (Homi- 
letics). 4. Theory of Teaching the Young (Catechetics). 
5. Theory of the Care of Souls (Poimenics). G. Theory 
of Pastoral Training (Pedagogics). 7. Theory of Missions 

It is evident that all these topics are related more or less 
closely to the life of the local church, and that most of them 
are likely to come under consideration; but several of 

1 Introduction to Tlieology, by Alfred Cave, p. 547. 

2 Encykloi>iidie, 11" Aujt. s/421. 



them will be treated incidentally, while others will form 
the substance of our study. 

The question of church polity, for example, is not before 
us, except as its deeper spiritual implications may appear. 
Whether there ought to be two or three orders of the min 
istry, and whether the church should be presbyterially or 
congregationally governed we shall not inquire. We are 
interested rather in learning how existing organizations, 
of all varieties, are employed, and may be more effectively 
employed in extending the Kingdom of God. Certain 
principles of church organization will, indeed, be assumed 
in the discussion. Those theories of the church which at 
tribute to the clergy a sacerdotal character are not accepted ; 
all our reasonings about the relation of pastor and people 
will proceed upon a different assumption. It is not pos 
sible to discuss these relations without having some clear 
idea of the powers and prerogatives of the Christian min 
istry; but, for the purposes of this work, the Protestant 
theory of the pastoral office will be taken for granted. We 
may gather from the practice of the hierarchical churches 
many useful hints respecting the administration of the par 
ish ; but we do not consent to their claims for their clergy 
of superhuman dignity and power. 

In precisely the same way Liturgies will come under our 
view, in its practical relation to the life of the church. The 
question between written and extempore prayers we do not 
raise ; we rather seek to know how worship is made helpf ul to 
life. That view of the sacraments which regards them as 
possessing an inherent and magical efficacy we shall not 
follow ; but we have no controversy respecting the mode of 
their administration ; we wish to know what is their true re 
lation to the faith and the love of those who employ them. 

The art of sermon making we do not specially study, 
nor are we concerned with the preparatory disci})! ine by 
which the minister is made ready for his work ; but we 
find him at work in the parish, and discover that preach 
ing is an essential part of his work ; the relation of this 
work to the growth and fruitf ulness of the church we must 
carefully consider. 


The theory and practice of foreign missions are also re 
lated to our study but incidentally. The foreign mission 
work is one of the channels through which the energies of 
the church How out into the world ; and it is needful that 
the church should comprehend the importance of this 
work, and contribute money and men for its maintenance. 
The local church is not fulfilling its function until its in 
terest and co-operation in this work has been secured. 

Two of the departments of Practical Theology named 
above Catechetics and Poimenics come wholly within 
the field of Pastoral Theology proper, and constitute the 
larger portion of this field, as hitherto defined. The teach 
ing and training of the young, and the care of souls, take 
up most of the space in the standard books devoted to this 
subject, after the chapters which treat of Ilomiletics 
and Liturgies. The work of shepherding and training is 
of the essence of Pastoral Theology, and will receive due 
attention in the following pages. 

It will be seen that the scope of this treatise is at some 
points more restricted than that of most of the standard 
works 011 Pastoral Theology. By a necessary specialization, 
Homiletics and Liturgies have been excluded for separate 
treatment in other volumes of the present series of text 
books. Yet it is to these topics that the chief attention of 
writers on Pastoral Theology has been given. In turning 
from these great interests, to which Vinet l and Palmer 2 
and Van Oosterzee 3 and Fairbairn 4 and Cannon 5 and 
P>laikie J and Rothc " and Harms 8 and Cave !) and Shedd, 10 
and many other great teachers, have devoted much pains- 

1 Knj*. Trans., Ilomiletics, by A. Vinet. 
- Pasloral-Tkeologie, by C. Palmer. 

3 Practical Theology, a Manual fur Stmlcnts, by J. J. Van 

4 Pastoral Theology, a Treatise on the Oj/ia untl Duties of the Christian 
Pastor, by Patrick Fairbairn. 

6 Lectures on Pastoral Theology, by James S. Cannon. 

6 For the Gosjiei Ministry, by W. ( ,. Blaikie. 

7 Theologische Encyclopadie, by II. Rothe. 

8 Pastor al-TTieologie, by Clans Harms. 

9 An Introduction to Theology : its Principles, its Branches, its Results, and 
its Literature, by Alfred Cave. 

10 Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, by W. G. T. Shedd. 


taking thought, we leave behind us a most fruitful and at 
tractive study. We are constrained to omit these subjects 
by two considerations; first, that there seems to be less 
need of dwelling upon topics which have been handled 
with learning and skill by so many great teachers, and, 
secondly, that other phases of the life of the church have 
lately come into prominence, to which much less attention 
has hitherto been given. 

The theme of our investigation is the working church. 
And it is evident that the working church as we now meet 
with it in every considerable community of English speak 
ing people, is a comparatively new thing under the sun. 
For long periods and over wide spaces of Christendom the 
ruling idea has been that Christian work is the function of 
the ministry ; that the laity are the subjects of its gracious 
operation. There is a text of Paul s which has been quite 
too literally interpreted: " We are fellow workers with 
God ; ye are God s husbandry, God s building." 1 It is 
not indeed difficult to find evidence that in the Apostolic 
churches the laity wrought actively with their leaders ; in 
the Epistles to the Romans and to the Philippians there is 
clear proof of this. But a day came when the church was 
the clergy, and the function of the laity shrank into insig 
nificance. And even after the Reformation, although in 
Protestant churches the ministry was shorn of sacerdotal 
functions, it still largely monopolized the work of the 
church. For proof of this examine any of the classical 
treatises on Practical or Pastoral Theology. The monu 
mental work of Van Oosterzee, above cited, witli six hun 
dred and twent} compactly printed octavo pages, gives to 
the minister s call and Homiletics three hundred and forty- 
two pages, to Liturgies one hundred pages, to Catechetics 
sixty pages, to Poimenics fifty-seven pages. But Poi- 
menics, as here treated, means only the work of the pastor 
among his people. The only suggestion that the people 
may be actively employed in the work of the church is 
contained in a brief reference to the Sunday school, which 

1 1 Cor. iii. 9. 


occupies half a page. It is a book of marvellous learning 
and admirable wisdom ; the extent of the author s reading 
on this great theme is notable ; but the fact that it is a 
large part of the pastors business to find work for the 
members of his church, and to secure their general and 
hearty co-operation with himself in teaching and shepherd 
ing and saving men an,d women and children, does not 
seem to have been brought home- to him. Van Oosterzee s 
definition of Practical Theology is, " the science of labor 
for the Kingdom of (Jod conceived of in its whole extent, 
d.s f/ti$ /.s culled into t:.i-c i-citc />// the pastur and teacher of the 
Christum Church in particular." 1 Dr. Philip Schal f - 
divides Practical Theology into the following branches: 
u l. Theory of the Christian Ministry -- The Minister an 
Ambassador of Christ (prophet, priest, and king) ; 2. Ec- 
clesiology or Ecclesiastic (Church Law and Church Pol 
ity) The Minister as Ruler; 3. Liturgic -The Minister 
in Worship (as priest); 4. Ilomiletic The Minister 
as Preacher; 5. Catechetic The Minister as Teacher; 
6. Poimenic The Minister as Pastor ; 7. Evangelistic 
The Minister as Evangelist and Missionary/ lie adds: 
u The duties of the laity should be considered in each 
department." 3 This sentence recognizes the new condi 
tions; but the fact remains that the whole study is con 
ducted from the point of view of the minister. All these 
branches of practical theology revolve about him. The 
duties of tin; laity are incidental and secondarv. The need 
of a readjustment is, however, admitted: " Heretofore this 
department has been exclusively confined to clerical duties 
and functions. But the recent development of the lav 
energies in Protestant churches, especially in England and 
America, requires an additional branch or a corresponding 
enlargement of other branches. The Protestant doctrine 
of the general priesthood of believers implies the co-oper 
ation of the members of the congregation with the pastor 

1 Practical Theology, p. 1. 

2 Theological Propwdeutic : a General Introduction to the Study of Theology, 
by Philip Scliaff. 

8 Ibid., pp. 449, 450. 


in all departments of Christian activity, especially in 
church government, in the Sunday school, and in mission 
work." ! 

The judicious and admirable treatise of Dr. Patrick 
Fairbairn on Pastoral Theology cited above opens with 
a statement which agrees with the new conditions. He 
says : - 

" The office of a Christian pastor obviously proceeds on 
the assumption of a Christian membership or community as 
the parties in respect to whom and among whom it is to be 
exercised. It assumes that the flock of Christ are not a 
mere aggregation of units, but have by divine ordination 
a corporate existence, with interconnecting relationships, 
mutual responsibilities, and common interests. It assumes, 
further, that the church in this associated or corporate 
respect has a distinct organization for the management of 
its own affairs, in which the office of pastor occupies a 
prominent place, having for its specific object the over 
sight of particular communities, and the increase or mul 
tiplication of these, according to the circumstances of 
particular times and places." 2 

Yet I do not find in this elaborate treatise any evi 
dence that Dr. Fairbairn seriously contemplated any ex 
tensive co-operation of the people with the pastor in the 
work of the church. The concluding chapter, compris 
ing five pages upon " Subsidiary Means and Agencies," 
just mentions the Sunday school as one of the interests 
which should " receive the considerate attention, and, 
when formed, the watchful superintendence of the pastor." 
Prayer meetings meetings for prayer only the learned 
author encourages the pastor to establish, " if he can only 
find persons who have the requisite zeal and gifts for con 
ducting them." As to fellowship meetings, known in 
America as Prayer and Conference Meetings, "formed 
with a view, not merely to engage in exercises of worship, 
but also to interchange thoughts among the members on 
matters pertaining to divine truth or religious experience," 

1 Ibid., p. 449. 

a Pastoral Theoloyy, p. 1. 


he remarks that they are " safe enough, probably, and im 
proving, if the membership is small, and composed of 
such as have much confidence and fellow feeling one with 
another, so that they can really speak heart to heart ; but 
when it is otherwise they are extremely apt to become 
loquacious, disputative, and even to gender strifes. A 
prudent pastor will therefore rarely intermeddle with 
meetings of this description, and neither directly encourage 
nor discountenance them." The care of the poor, Dr. 
Fairbairn suggests, is now in the hands of agencies outside 
the church; and the Christian pastor does not therefore 
iind the Held which once he found for organized work 
among the poor in his parish. But, he continues, "in the 
present circumstances of our country it belongs more to the 
province of a minister of the (iospel to concert, or lend 
his countenance and support to those who may be con 
certing, measures which have; for their object the reduc 
tion of pauperism and other social evils; in particular the 
repression of prostitution, and the diminution of that in 
temperance which is a fountain of immeasurable disorders. 
For this purpose he will readily co-operate in the efforts 
made to curtail, in particular localities, the number of 
public houses, to establish coffee rooms and places of 
healthful refreshment and innocent resort, and to form 
when they are obviously needed temperance societies. 
For things of this description, lying outside, in a manner, 
the pastoral sphere, yet pressing closely on its border, no 
general rule can be prescribed, or any uniform practice 
recommended. l It is not clear that Dr. Fairbairn ex 
pected the pastor to enlist his people in any of these 
outside activities ; if not, his scheme appears to make 
very little provision of work of any kind for them. This 
volume has been published since the deatli of its author, 
in 1874, and presents undoubtedly the view of church 
activities prevailing in Scotland during his lifetime. 

A later volume, by Dr. W. (i. Blaikie, gives some clear 
indications of the recent rapid development of the Chris 
tian Church along these lines. It contains a chapter upon 

l Ibid., pp. 348-350. 


the " Organization of Work," in which the importance of 
securing the co-operation, not merely of the officers, but 
of the entire membership of the church, in its proper work, 
is strongly argued. He says : 

" It is evident from the New Testament that elders and 
deacons, though the only persons who are said to have 
been formally ordained, were not the only persons who 
were allowed to labor in the church. The sixteenth 
chapter of Romans contains the Apostles greeting to 
many men and women who were laboring in the church 
at Koine. There is no reason to suppose that all these 
were expressly ordained. At the top of the list is Phebe, 
a servant or deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, but of 
whom we have no reason to believe that she was ordained. 
Priscilla and Aquila, a married couple, come next, the 
wife s name preceding the husband s. It is extremely 
improbable that the long list of active men and women 
that follows were persons who had all been ordained to 
office. But all of them were actively using their abilities 
for the advancement of the Kingdom, and in so doing 
they were not only recognized but commended by the 
Apostle. It follows that in every well equipped congre 
gation, in addition to those expressly ordained, but under 
their sanction and superintendence, there ought to be a 
body of active workers engaged in the various operations 
of Christian love and zeal which the circumstances call 
for. In many such congregations we find a body of Sun 
day school teachers, or of helpers in a children s church ; 
a body of district visitors, a young men s association, a 
missionary association, a school committee, and a mothers 
meeting. It is right that all these should be recognized 
and superintended by the office bearers. Their work 
ought to be embraced in the prayers of the congregation, 
and it ought to be made plain that they are not mere free 
lances but that they labor under the warm wing and pa 
ternal guidance of the church." 1 

This brings clearly before us the newer conception of 

1 For the Work of the Ministry, p. 219. 


the church as a working body, 1 and of the minister as 
the organizer and leader of its work. " In this matter," 
says Professor Willcox, "as in other features of church 
life, there has been within the century an immense change. 
The minister among the fathers, being superior in edu 
cation to most of his flock, was accounted, as to church 
work, their proxy. He was less like (Jeneral (Jrant, 
directing the army, than like David, with sling and stone, 
fighting the battle for them. The midweek meeting was 
occupied with a lecture from the pastor. Sunday school 
there was none. With no women s colleges or higher 
seminaries, the sisters were not thought capable of giving 
instruction. Societies of Christian Kndeavor and juvenile 
mission bands are among later inventions and discoveries. 
There were no young Christians in any considerable 
numbers. When a young man joined the church of 
Dr. Lyman Beecher, in Litchfield, Connecticut, early in 
the century, so strange an event astonished all the western 
section of that State." 2 

Pastoral Theology, therefore, whether we consider it 
as art or as science. 3 has greatly extended its Held within 
the past generation. New occasions are constantly teach 
ing the minister of Christ new duties ; his position in the 
church has greatly changed, and the functions which he 
is called to perform are quite unlike those which were 
assigned to ministers in the first half of this ceiiturv. 
The American college president of lifty years ago was 
the principal teacher of his college ; to-day lie rarely en 
gages in the work of teaching; his work is mainly that 
of organization and administration. The change which 
has taken place in the functions of the pastor is not so 
radical, but it is considerable. The largest and most 
difficult part of his work to-day consists in enlisting and 

1 Abundant evidence, to which we shall have fre<|iieiit occasion to refer, 
will lie found in the recent Year l>ooks of the Scott i.-h churches, to show 
that these churches have fully comprehended the extent of their calling us 
working organizations. 

- Tin l ) <istor and Itis Flock, p. 77. 

" ("eat 1 art apres la science, ou la science se rc solvant en art." Viiiet, 
Th&logie I ustwale, p. 1. 


directing the activities of his people. In all wise teaching 
on this subject, the emphasis must now rest, not upon the 
pastor, but upon the church. 

We may perhaps assume that the conception which to 
day prevails is the higher and truer conception of the life 
of the church. Not in the primordial germ, but in the per 
fected organism, do we seek for the true idea of any Chris 
tian institution. Belief in the constant presence of the 
Holy Spirit, who is guiding the church into all truth, who 
is taking the things of Christ and making them plain unto 
us, should assure us that the later phases of ecclesiastical 
life are higher and more near to the divine purpose than 
those of primitive days. The church, in its organic life, 
must leave behind the rudiments and go on toward per 
fection. 1 We do not, therefore, go back to the Apostolic 
Church, nor to any of the past ages for our types ; but a 
glance at the history of what we now know as Pastoral 
Theology may indicate the lines upon which the church 
has been moving forward. 

The theocratic and sacerdotal conceptions of the Old 
Testament left little room for that peculiar relation be 
tween pastor and people which Pastoral Theology assumes. 
The political heads of communities, such as the elders of 
the congregation, or the judges said to have been appointed 
by Moses at the suggestion of Jethro, 2 exercised more of 
the true pastoral functions, probably, than did the priests 
or the Levites. The conception of the ministers of religion 
as sustaining a kind of pastoral relation occurs, however, 
in some of the later prophets, in the Deutero-Isaiah, 3 
and notably in Ezekiel. 4 Similar references in Jeremiah 
apply perhaps indiscriminately to political and religious 
leaders. 5 But the application by our Lord to himself, in 
John xii., of the figure of the Good Shepherd, gave to the 
Apostolic Church a conception which speedily bore fruit. 
In Paul s beautiful address to the Ephesian elders, 6 and 
notably in the Pastoral Epistles, are laid the foundations 

1 Heb. vi. 1-3. 2 x xv jj; 

3 Ch. Ivi. 11. * Ch. xxiv. 

5 Ch. xxiii. 1-4. 6 Acts xx. 


of Pastoral Theology. In most of the Epistles, indeed, 
useful counsels are found concerning the proper consti 
tution of the church, concerning the duties of pastors to 
their Hocks, and of the members of the churches to their 
leaders and to one another. Especially instructive are 
those illustrations which Paul has given us in 1 Cor. xii. 
and in Eph. iv., the full meaning of which is only be 
ginning to dawn upon the churches. 

Immediately following the times of the Apostles come 
certain manuals and directories of worship, most complete 
and authentic of which is the recently discovered Tcach- 
iinj of the Tm:/ re A/w^tJi-x. The Apostolical Canons 
and the A i>xlu] icul Constitutions undoubtedly embody 
material which originated in that early period, and give 
us, in some of their regulations, the conceptions of church 
order and activity entertained by the successors of the 

It was in this period that the sacerdotal view of the 
clerical office began to be emphasized, and the hierarchical 
organization of the church began to take definite form. 
The term Pastor was first given to the chief officer of a 
local congregation; then the name was applied to the 
chief officer of a district or diocese including many con 
gregations: and finally, in a still more comprehensive sense, 
to the occupant of the See of Rome, who was styled Pastor 
Pastorum. To these gradually enlarging conceptions of 
the pastorate, the theories of pastoral care necessarily 
adjusted themselves. To a primitive Congregational ist 
Pastoral Theology was one thing; to a believer in the 
Diocesan Episcopate it meant something more; and to the 
believer in the Papacy it had still another meaning. 

Accordingly the treatises dealing with this subject which 
have appeared during the centuries have not been uniform 
in scope and signification. The subject matter varies. 

The treatise of Chrysostom, On. tjic Priesthood, 1 written 
in the last year of the fourth century, rests on the sacer 
dotal conception of the clerical office, and magnifies the 

1 Tlfpl Itptaavv-ns, De Sacrrdotio, translated by W. R. W. Stephens, in 
Schaff s edition of Chrysostom s Works. 


pastoral function in accordance with that high theory. 
About the same time appeared the treatise of Ambrose, 
DC Ojficiis Clcricorum, and that of Ephraem Syrus, De 
Sacerdotio. In the middle of the next century appeared 
the book DC Pastorali Cura, the authorship of which was 
ascribed to Leo the Great, and at the end of the sixth 
century the Liber Pastor alls of Gregory the Great. All 
these books take a high view of the pastoral functions. 
The last named, which held the place of eminence as a 
pastor s handbook for many centuries, which was trans 
lated during its author s lifetime into the Greek, and later 
into I^nglish, and which was enjoined upon the clergy of 
the ancient church for constant use, speaks of the priest 
as " ruler," and of his parishioners as " subjects." First, 
it discusses the qualifications of a priest; then treats of 
his manner of life in his pastorate, and finally gives spe 
cific directions respecting the methods of instruction to be 
followed in dealing with different classes. 

The Middle Ages furnished comparatively few treatises 
of this nature ; as the emphasis upon the sacramental func 
tions of the church grew stronger, the need of the pastoral 
function was minimized. Two notable treatises appeared, 
however, in the middle centuries ; the first is that of the 
illustrious Bernard of Clairvaux, Tractatus de Moribus et 
Officiis Clericorum. It presents a glowing picture of the 
true minister of Christ, and a stern denunciation of the 
scandalous conduct of the unfaithful clerics of his time. 
The second, which is like unto it, is by John Wiclif, 
Tractatus dc Ojjicio Pastorali. The first part of this dis 
courses of purity of life, and the second part of wholesome- 
ness of doctrine. 

For the most part, however, the care of souls through 
out this period is largely identified with the administra 
tion of the sacraments, including, of course, confession and 
absolution. The manuals of the period lay great stress 
upon celibacy, ecclesiastical vestments, and the recitation 
of the divine offices. 

The Protestant Reformation must needs have given a 
great impulse to studies of this character. Luther wrote 


no consecutive treatise upon Pastoral Theology ; but some 
of his counsels were gathered by Conrad Porta in his 
Pastorale, Luthcri. Zwingle s Vom Predigtamte and Der 
Hirt, and portions of the fourth book of Calvin s Tnstitutio, 
deal with various aspects of pastoral relation. From this 
time forward the stream of this literature widens so rapidly 
that we can only note a few of the more important treatises. 
The Par cencsis ad Ecclesice Ministros of Joh. Val. Andrea, 
the Pia Desideria of Spener, the Monita Pastor alia of A. 
H. Francke are German treatises of the seventeenth cen 
tury ; while the quaint Country Parson of George Herbert, 
and the Reformed Pastor of Richard Baxter, appearing in 
the same century in England, are among the most precious 
gifts that the church has received since the days of the 

In the eighteenth century we have the treatise in French 
of P. Roques, Le Pasteur Evangelique, and in German the 
Pastoral-theoloyie of J. F. von Mosheim, and the Bcitriiye 
zur Pastor al-theologie of J. F. Jacobi ; along with one valu 
able handbook, presenting the subject from the Roman 
Catholic point of view, the Vorlesungen aus der Pastoral- 
tlieologie of J. M. Sailer. The rationalism of the eighteenth 
century tended to cheapen the estimate of the minister s 
calling, and some of the treatises which appeared toward 
the end of that century reduced pastoral theology to its 
lowest terms. Against the unspiritual conceptions then 
current, the passionate protest of J. G. Herder, in his 
Zivfjlf Provincial-blatter an Predigcr, and his Brief c iilicr 
das Studium der Theologie, was not altogether in vain. 
Bishop Burnet s Discourse of the Pastoral Care, and 
Girard s treatise entitled Pastoral Care, belong also to 
this century ; and with them may be numbered Cotton 
Mather s quaint Manuductio ad Ministerium, or The Angels 
Preparing to Sound the Trumpets, which was republished 
in England, with an equally quaint -introduction by John 
Ryland, addressed "To the Gentlemen and other several 
Christians in London and the Country who have the Cause 
of Christ and the Honour of the Christian Ministry at 


At the beginning of the present century, Friedrich 
Schleiermacher gave to the general subject of Practical 
Theology its first scientific exposition. In his Outlines 
of Theological Study, he treated this branch of theology as 
the culmination and crown of the theologic encyclopaedia. 
The advent of the nineteenth century strikes the hour 
of the utilities ; and the studies which bear directly upon 
the activities of the church are exalted to a rank which has 
not before been given them. Of this tendency of thought 
Schleiermacher, who is pastor as well as professor, is the 
protagonist. It is not, however, to be wholly a question 
of utility, for Philip Marheinecke in his Entwurf dcr 
praktische/i Theologie will have us consider it from the stand 
point of speculative philosophy, and Glaus Harms in his 
Pastorcd-theologie will enforce it upon us with the warmth 
of a most fervid piety. Other German works of this cen 
tury are Karl Immanuel Nitzsch s Praktische Theologie, 
F. L. Steinmeyer s Beitrdge zur Praktischen Theologie, Theo- 
dosius Harnack s Praktische Theologie, and Johann Tobias 
Beck s Pastorallehren. 

The French writer whose work on this subject has be 
come a classic is Alexandre Rodolphe Vinet, the Lausanne 
professor, whose Theologie pastorale, ou theorie du ministere 
evangelique, has been translated into English and German. 
The perspicuous style, the just discrimination and the evan 
gelical spirit of Vinet are worthy of all praise. Vinet is at 
the farthest remove from sacerdotalism ; the minister in his 
view is a priest only as all believers are priests ; his author 
ity is only that of knowledge and character. Supplemented 
by his HomiUtique ou theorie de la predication, and his Hi s- 
toire de la predication parmi les re formes de France au dix- 
septiemc siecle, Viiiet s treatise covers the field of practical 

Perhaps the most complete treatise on Practical Theology 
which the present century has produced is that of Jan Ja 
kob Van Oosterzee, Professor in the University of Utrecht. 
Under the four divisions of Homiletics, Liturgies, Cate- 
chetics, and Poimenics, this writer discusses exhaustively 
the whole subject of pastoral activity. Van Oosterzee, as 


the leader of the Evangelical party in the Church of Hol 
land, occupies the standpoint of the conservative reformers, 
investing the pastoral ollice with large dignity and author 
ity, and yet emphasizing, at every point, the bond of a 
common humanity which binds together pastor and people. 

Of English treatises appearing during the nineteenth 
century may be mentioned Tlie Bishopric of Souls, by R. W. 
Evans; A Treatise on the Pastoral Office, by J. W. Burgon; 
The Parish Pried, by J. J. Blunt; Pastor in I roc/tin, by 
W. Walsham How; An Earnest Ministry the Want of the 
Times, by John Angell James ; The Christian Ministry, by 
Charles Bridges; Pastoral Theology, by Patrick Fairbairn ; 
Fur the ll orl- of tin- Miiiixtri/* by \V . G. Blaikie; Homilctienl 
and Po stored L> etc. res, by C. J . Ellicott ; Christus Co/isolator : 
the Pulpit in Relation to Social Life, by Alexander McLeod; 
The J lixfnrnl Oj/(>-c, by Ashton Oxendeii; and Letters to a 
Young l. lcr<ji/in<i n. by J. C. Miller. An excellent volume, 
compiled in England about the middle of the century and 
entitled The Christ in n Instructor contains Herbert s Country 
Parson; Jeremy Taylor s Advices to his Clergy; Bishop 
Biirnet s Jiixroiirxc of the J <>stritl Care ; Bishop Sprat s 
Discourse to his Clergy; Bishop Ball s Companion for Can 
didates of Holy Onli fs ; Bisliop Gibson s Directions to his 
clergy; Bishop Hort s Instructions; Bishop Wilson s J aro- 
chalia ; a Pastoral Letter by Archbishop Ilowley, and a 
Charge to the Clergy, by Bishop Kuye. One could hardly 
desire a more comprehensive exhibition of the subject from 
the point of view of the Anglican Church. 

The vigorous development of the voluntary system of 
church maintenance in the I nitcd States has naturally 
resulted in a diligent cultivation of the whole Held of 
practical religion and the literature of Pastoral Theology 
is abundant. Especially during the present century have 
the treatises upon the work of the ministry been greatly 
multiplied. The Lectures o/i Homiletics and Preaching, and 
on Paolir Prayer, by Ebenezer Porter, and the Lectures on 
Pastoral Thcoloijy, by James S. Cannon, belong to the earlier 
part of the century ; and to the latter half of it, the Pas 
toral Theoloejy of Thomas Murphy, which presents the 


subject from a Presbyterian point of view ; the Christian 
Pastorate, by Daniel P. Kidder, which represents the con 
ditions prevailing in the Methodist Episcopal Church, The 
Pastor, by Gregory Thurston Bedell, which is calculated 
for the latitude of the Protestant Episcopalians, The Office 
and Work of the Christian Ministry, by James M. Iloppin, 
in which a teacher in a Congregational Theological Semi 
nary gives his view of the pastor s work. Familiar and 
pithy counsels to young ministers are found in Samuel 
Miller s Letters to a Student on Clerical Manners and Habits, 
in Humphrey s Letters to a Son in the Ministry, and in 
Francis Wayland s Letters on the Ministry of the Grospel. 
TJic Homiletics and Pastoral Theology of W. G. T. Shedd 
is a dignified treatise ; Enoch Pond s Lectures on Past 
oral Theology are plain and practical ; Austin Phelps s The 
Theory of Preaching is the fruitage of a fine nature ; 
Franklin W. Fisk s Homiletics contains the harvest of a rich 
experience, and G. B. Willcox s The Pastor in the Parish 
presents its topic in the form of a conversation between 
a teacher and his pupils. A foundation established in 
the Theological Seminary at New Haven, in memory of 
Lyman Beecher, has been built upon by successive lec 
turers ; the first three volumes of this series, entitled 
Yale Lectures on Preaching, are by Henry Ward Beecher; 
other lectures have followed by Robert William Dale, 
Nine Lectures on Preaching ; by John Hall, God s Word 
TJirough Preaching; by Richard Salter Storrs, Preaching 
without Notes; by William M. Taylor, The Ministry of the 
Word; by Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching; by 
Howard Crosby, The Christian Preacher ; by Ezekiel G. 
Robinson, Yale Lectures on Preaching ; by Matthew Samp 
son, Lectures on Preaching ; by Nathaniel J. Burton, Yale 
Lectures, Sermons, and Other Writings ; by James Stalker, 
The Preacher and His Models; by R. F. Horton, Verbum 
Dei; by John Watson, The Cure of Souls ; and by A. J. F. 
Behrends, The Philosophy of Preaching. Most of these 
volumes seem to put the emphasis upon homiletics ; but 
the pastoral care is also considered in many of them. One 
course of lectures on this foundation, by Washington 


Gladden, entitled Tools and the Man; Property and In 
dustry under the Christian Law, deals Avith the duty of 
the pulpit with reference to industrial and social problems. 
A compilation of Essays entitled Parish Problems, by the 
writer last named, exhibits the field of pastoral theology 
from the point of view of the co-operating church. 

General Poimenics is sufficiently covered by the above 
survey ; a little space may be given to the history of 
Catechetics. The teaching to which this name is given 
is alluded to, but not defined, in the New Testament; l oral 
instruction seems to be implied; but there is no clear 
discrimination between preaching and private teaching. 
Apollos had been instructed " (/car^^/ieVo?) in the way 
of the Lord,- before he came under the tuition of Aquila 
and Priscilla : and Theophilus had received the same kind 
of " instruction." 3 Naturally, all who sought to connect 
themselves with the groups of disciples must have re 
ceived, from intelligent and competent leaders, some such 
tuition. There is, however, no clear trace of classes or 
methods until the third or fourth century ; then we find 
the converts organized for instruction ; and two classes 
distinctly appear. First are the "Audientes," who are 
receiving instruction in the rudiments of religious truth, 
and who are permitted to be present in the church when 
the Scriptures are read and the sermon is preached, but 
who are excluded when the liturgical worship is in pro 
gress. It is not in order for them to hear the Creed or 
the Lord s Prayer in the church, or to witness the adminis 
tration of the Lord s Supper. 4 After they have received 
a proper amount of instruction they advance into the class 
of " Competentes," and the Creed, the nature of the sacra 
ments, and the penitential rites of the church, are ex 
plained to them. This was the stage of preparation which 
immediately preceded baptism ; it continued forty days, 
during which a severely ascetic regimen was prescribed. 

1 1 Cur. xiv. 19 ; Gal. vi. 6. 

2 Acts xviii. 25. 

3 Luke i. 4. 

4 Const. Apost., viii. 5. 



At the end of this time those who endured the ordeal 
were admitted to baptism. 

No distinct order of catechists appears during this pe 
riod ; each pastor was charged with this function. It is 
evident that the teaching was progressive, beginning with 
the simplest truths of natural theology, and leading up to 
Christian mysteries. It was, however, mainly intended 
for adult converts, who sought preparation for admission 
to the church ; the character which it has chiefly borne 
in modern times, as that of instruction imparted to the 
children of Christian families, was not then impressed 
upon it. 

The first writings which bear this name are the Cata- 


chescs of Cyril of Jerusalem (/carT^^cret? <amb/i4eWz/), 
which consist of addresses delivered during Lent to the 
Catechumens. The Christian doctrines are carefully ex 
pounded in these discourses, and much emphasis is laid 
upon relics, exorcism, unction, and the adoration of the 
cross. Discourses with a similar purpose are the ratio 
Catechetica of Gregory Nyssen, and the Catecheses ad 
Illuminandos of Chrysostom. The first treatise on theo 
retical catechetics is that of Augustine, De Catechizandis 
Itudibus, which begins with sacred history and proceeds 
to the Christian doctrines. It is addressed to his friend 
the Deacon Deogratias of Carthage. All these treatises 
are intended for the instruction of adult candidates for 

As infant baptism became more and more prevalent, the 
catechetical preparation for baptism necessarily fell into 
desuetude ; the catachete was superseded by the priest. 
" After the church had become established, and its increase 
was obtained by the birth and baptism of children rather 
than by conversions from heathendom, the idea of catechet 
ical instruction passed from being that of a preparation 
for baptism to being that of a culture of baptized children. 
When confirmation became general, catechetical instruc 
tion began to bear the same relation to it that it had 
formerly done to baptism. In the missions to heathens 
in the Middle Ages, it became usual to baptize converts 


at once, and the ancient catechumenate fell into disuse. 
Nor was great attention given to the catechising of bap 
tized children in the Roman Church up to the time of 
the Reformation: the confessional took the place of the 
Catechism." 1 Nevertheless something was done through 
all this period for the systematic instruction of the young; 
Charlemagne, in one of his Capitularies, admonishes the 
bishops that their priests must be required to attend to 
this duty; and the names of Bruno, Bishop of Wiirzburg, 
and Hugo of St. Victor, are to be mentioned as those who 
were zealous for the restoration of catechetical instruction. 
Chancellor John Gerson, of the University of Paris, was 
the author of a tract DC Parcuiis od Cliristum TrultciuUs ; 
but the subjects for which this instruction was intended 
were young men rather than young children. 

The Reformation brought about a great revival in the 
religious training of children. The appeal to private; 
judgment demanded an instructed judgment. Luther was 
the leader in this enterprise; his Catechisms, Larger and 
Smaller, which appeared in 1529, are still the standards of 
the Lutheran Church in all parts of the world. The title 
of the latter in 3rd edition is Enchiridion: Dcr Kli ine 
Catechismus //</ die gcmeinc Pfi.irhcr u/id Pi cdi<j<-i\ 152!). 
The Decalogue, the Creed, the Lord s Prayer, and 
the Sacraments are the principal themes of Luther s 

Calvin also prepared a Catechism for the Church of 
Geneva, which was published in 1537 under the title, 
Instruction & Confession de Foy dont on use en rfiylise de 
Geneve, in 1538 in Latin, revised 1545, and translated into 
English in 1508. The themes of this Catechism are the 
Decalogue, the Apostles Creed, and the Lord s Prayer; 
after which follow brief chapters on the Bible and the 

One of the most influential of the Catechisms is that 
known as the Heidelberg Catechism, which was published 
in the city whose name it bears in 15G3. Its original Ger 
man title is Catechismus, oder Christlicher Underricht wie 

1 McCliutock aud Strong s Cyclopicdia, Art. Catechetics. 


der in Kirchen und Schulen der Churfurstlichen Pfalz 
getricbcn ivirdt, Gedruckt in der Churfurstlichen Stad 
Heydclbery. The Catechism was mainly the work of the 
famous Zachary Ursinus, aided by Caspar Olevianus, who 
was then court preacher to the Elector of the Palatinate, 
Frederick III. It was under the patronage of this Protes 
tant prince that the work was undertaken ; a synod of the 
superintendents of the Palatinate approved it in 15G2, and 
it was at once by command of the Elector made the doc 
trinal standard of the Reformed Church in his dominions. 
The Synod of Dort adopted it in 1618 ; for the German 
and Dutch Reformed Churches it has always been the 
authoritative confession. The three parts into which the 
instruction is divided are : 1. The Misery of Man ; 2. The 
Redemption of Man ; 3. The Gratitude due from Man 
to God, under which are included our moral obligations. 

The Catechism of the English Church appears in the 
Prayer Book of 1549 under the title Confirmation wherein 
is contained a Catechism for Children. In its final revision 
in 1661 it is entitled A Catechism. The language is evi 
dently adapted to the use of young children. The fifty- 
ninth canon of the English Church requires every parson, 
vicar, or curate, upon every Sunday and holiday, before 
evening prayer, for half an hour or more, to examine and 
instruct the youth and ignorant persons of his parish in 
this Catechism, commanding all fathers, mothers, masters, 
and mistresses to bring their children or wards to this 
service, and prescribing heavy penalties for the neglect 
of this injunction, whether by priests or parishioners. The 
letter of this law is not generally obeyed. The American 
Episcopal Church also expressly requires of its ministers 
regular and diligent instruction of the children of their 
parishes in the truths of this Catechism. 

The Presbyterian Catechisms are of later date ; the 
Larger Catechism, prepared by the Westminster Assem 
bly of Divines, was presented to the House of Commons 
and printed by authority in October, 1647, and the Shorter 
Catechism in November of the same year. These symbols 
are fruits of the later Reformation. The Shorter Catechism 


has been in universal use among Presbyterian churches, 
and was formerly employed very largely for purposes of 
instruction by Independents and Congregationalists in 
England and America. Many volumes have been pub 
lished in exposition of it ; those of Ashbel Green, Pater- 
son, Vincent, Boyd, and Whyte are among the most 
noted. 1 

The revival of catechetical teaching in the Churches 
of the Reformation reacted powerfully upon the Roman 
Catholic Church. What may be regarded as one of the 
first fruits of this activity is a little book published at 
Mayence in 1550 with the imprint of John Schoeffer, son 
of the partner of Gutenberg, entitled Brcvis Iiistitutio ad 
Christianam Pietatem, sccundum Doctriii un Catholicam con- 
tiiicns Explicationem Symboli Apostulici, Orationis Dominicce, 
Salutationis Angelicce, Dcccm Preceptorum, Scptem Sacramcn- 
toru/n. It was compiled for the use of the "* noble youth " 
who were receiving instruction under Sebastian, Arch 
bishop of Mayence. It is profusely illustrated with wood 
cuts of the period, exhibiting the Creation of Eve, the 
Salutation of Mary, the Birth of Jesus, the Crucifixion, 
the Resurrection, the Ascension, and other Scriptural 
events. It is written in Latin, and presents the chief 
points of Catholic doctrine in a succinct and interesting 
manner. The Catechisms of Canisius, the Jesuit, issued 
in 1554 and 1550, exerted great influence throughout the 
Roman Catholic Church as well as in Germany until 
quite recent times. The Catechism of Bellarmine, pub 
lished in 1003, was also much used. The Catechism of 
the Diocese of Meaux, published by Bossuet in 101)8, and 
addressed by him " Aux Cum, Vicuircs, aux Peres et aux 
Mercs, ct a tons Ics Fiddles dc son Diocese," is one of the 
most careful and systematic manuals of the Catholic 

The standard Catechism of the Roman Church is the 
Tridentlne Catechism, published in 1500, under the au 
thority of Pius V. Each bishop is, however, allowed to pre 
pare such manuals of instruction as he may deem necessary ; 

1 See Catechisms of the Scottish Reformation, by Iloratius Bonar. 


and in 1885, the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore 
compiled a new Catechism of Christian Doctrine, which has 
been commended to the faithful by the highest authorities 
of the Church in the United States. 

Many of the Protestant bodies have provided their 
children with manuals of instruction. The Methodist 
Episcopal Church in the United States has a series of these 
catechisms, embodying the same questions and answers, 
but extending the exposition so as to provide for a graded 
system of teaching. The subjects of this threefold cate 
chism are : God ; Creation ; The Fall ; Salvation ; The Means 
of Grace ; God s Law ; Death, Judgment, and Eternity. 

Socinian Catechisms were prepared by Schomann in 
1574, by Faustus Socinus in 1618, and by Moscorovius 
in 1609. The last named, known as the Racovian Cate 
chism, was translated into English by Rees, and published 
in London in 1818. 

Christian bodies which adopt no theological symbols have 
been furnished with catechisms by independent teachers. 
The Baptist denomination was thus served by Benjamin 
Beddome, whose Scriptural Exposition of the Baptist Cate 
chism was issued in 1752 ; and even the Quakers have A 
Catechism and Confession of Faith, which .was prepared 
by Robert Barclay in 1673, and which declares upon its 
title-page that it has been " Approved of and Agreed 
unto by the General Assembly of the Patriarchs, Prophets, 
and Apostles, CHRIST himself Chief Speaker in and among 
them." The questions of this Catechism are in the words 
of Mr. Barclay, but the answers are in the words of the 



ALL Protestant denominations unite in giving to the 
local congregation of Christian believers those who 
worship in one place, and have an organization under 
which the sacraments are administered to them by their 
own olh ceis the name of church. I>y some of these 
denominations the word is used also to designate larger 
organizations, provincial or national ; but the Episcopalian, 
the Presbyterian, the Methodist, and the Lutheran, as well 
as the Congregationalist and the IJaptist, speak of the 
permanent local assembly of disciples as a church. This 
is the sense in which the word is always used in these 

Into the question of the form of this organization we do 
not go. The church may be organized with a vestry, a 
session, a classis, an official board, a diaconate and pru 
dential committee, or in any other manner which seems 
good unto itself. Certain questions are, however, pertinent 
and practical when we are considering the church as a 
working body. 

1. How large mav a church In; wisely permitted to 
become? Is there any judicious limit to he placed upon 
the membership of a church ? ( )bviously, much will depend 
upon the nature of its pastorate. If the pastor is provided 
with a large staff of assistants, the membership of the 
church may be more safely multiplied. The work of 
organization and supervision mav thus be extended to 
large numbers, and a large body accumulates influence and 
moves with power. Yet these gains are offset by serious 
losses. The worshipping congregation cannot exceed a 
certain limited number without putting upon the preacher 


a strain which few are able to bear. Not many speakers 
can effectively address more than two thousand people in 
the best auditorium. Indeed the church audiences in 
America which are regularly more numerous than this can 
probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. Nothing 
is more uniformly exaggerated than the size of church 
audiences. And even if a larger audience could be 
brought within the range of the preacher s voice, the 
wisdom of attempting to care for so large a body of 
communicants is not beyond disputation. A regular audi 
ence of two thousand persons would imply a membership 
of about the same number. The communicants who are 
necessarily absent are usually about equal in number to 
the non-communicants in attendance ; and a working 
force of two thousand would be handled with considerable 
difficulty by the most efficient pastoral staff. The per 
centage of the unemployed in such a mass is likely to be 
very large. 

If a church employs but a single pastor, the policy of 
gathering a huge membership is still more questionable. 
A leader with even exceptional ability as an organizer 
finds himself burdened by the care of more than a thousand 
church members. The impossibility of maintaining any real 
pastoral supervision of a larger number is obvious ; and 
the difficulty of developing the social life of a congregation 
which exceeds this limit is almost insuperable. There may 
be circumstances under which a larger number can be 
effectively employed in Christian service ; there may be 
leaders to whom such a task is not impossible ; but as a 
rule it may be questioned whether it is good economy to 
gather churches of more than a thousand members. Gen 
erally it will be expedient to colonize before the number 
reaches that limit. The policy of concentration, which is 
so successful in commercial enterprises, does not work so 
well in ecclesiastical enterprises. Two churches of six or 
seven hundred members each will generally accomplish 
far more than one church of twelve or fourteen hundred 

in short, it may be said that the church membership 


should not be so large but that some good measure of 
acquaintance and friendship may be maintained among its 
members, and between its members and their minister ; 
nor so large but that they may be effeetively employed in 
the work of the church. " When we are commanded, 
says Baxter, "to take heed to all the flock, it is plainly 
implied that flocks must be no greater, regularly and ordi 
narily, than we are capable of overseeing or taking heed 
of; that particular churches should be no greater, or 
ministers no fewer, than may consist with taking heed to 
till ; for (iod will not lay upon us natural impossibilities. 
lie will not bind men on so strict account as we are bound, 
to leap up to the moon, to touch the stars, to number the 
sands of the sea. If it be the pastoral work to oversee 
and take heed to all the flock, then surely there must be 
such a proportion of pastors assigned to each flock, or 
such a number of souls in the care of each pastor, as he is 
able to take such heed to as is here required." l 

The fellowship of the brotherhood is never to be lost 
sight of. The organi/.ing principle of the Christian church 
is such a union with Christ, the Head, as brings the mem 
bers into vital relation with one another. "For even as we 
have many members in one body, and all the members have 
not the same otlice : so we, who are many, are one bodv in 
Christ, and severally members one of another. - This surely 
implies acquaintance and friendship. It is absurd to talk 
of such relations as these among people who have not even 
a speaking acquaintance with one another. The church 
must not be so large as to defeat the very purpose of its 
organization. And it is equally clear that it must not be 
so large that no effective use can be made of its forces in 
Christian work. It will be found that by far the greater 
proportion of many large churches are merely "honorary 
members," having no part in the activities of the church. 

In the great cathedral churches, to each of which is 
attached a large clerical staff, much good work is done: 
and it is probable that large classes are reached and bene 
fited by such services who would not be brought into close 

1 Reformed Pastor, p. 103. 2 Horn. xii. 4, 5. 


affiliation with smaller churches. So, too, in the great 
institutional churches which will be discussed in a later 
chapter, a certain kind of shepherding is effectively done. 
For all such methods there is room in the Kingdom of God. 
Yet it may still be maintained that the ideal Christian 
church is a " household of faith," the members of which 
are bound together by personal affection ; and that it is also 
a working body whose function is best fulfilled when its 
members are all actively enlisted in some kind of helpful 
ministry ; and for this mutual fellowship and co-operation 
the body must not be too large. It is a serious question 
whether the passion for bigness which characterizes our 
time has not increased the bulk of many of our churches 
at the expense of their vitality. 

2. Closely connected with this question of the extent of 
the membership is the question of the nature of the edifice 
which the church must provide for itself. There is no rea 
son why the church building should not be a noble and at 
tractive structure, if those who worship within it are able to 
provide such an edifice, and pay for it. It is not seemly 
that those who themselves dwell in palaces should offer to 
the Lord a barn for his sanctuary. And yet it is easy to err 
in this direction. The church may be solidly and beauti 
fully built ; it ought to be comfortable and commodious 
and bright and attractive ; but it ought not to have the 
look of elegance or luxury. It should never be a building 
whose exterior or interior would make upon any working 
man the impression that the people worshipping in it were 
too fine to associate with him. A dignified simplicity 
should characterize all its features and appointments. 
Many churches are as ostentatious of splendor, without 
and within, as are the turnouts in which their worshippers 
display themselves in the park. To every passer-by they 
loudly proclaim, "It is not the elect, it is the elite, Avho 
congregate here : Procul, procul este profani ! " Such 
churches, and their entire administration, are a hideous 
travesty of the religion of the Nazauene. A pastor who 
had for several years been ministering to the flock that 
worshipped in one of these splendid churches, once said to 


the writer : " It would have been far better for the cause 
of Christ if one hundred thousand dollars of the money 
expended upon this church had been thrown into the 
river ; there it would have done no harm, at least ; here it 
is a positive hindrance to the progress of the Kingdom." 
Money which is expended in such gorgeousness and show 
is worse than wasted. 

The ethics of church architecture needs to be studied 
by Christian disciples everywhere. There is no virtue in 
deformity and discomfort ; the ugliness of some of the old 
meeting-houses is an abomination. lie who hath made 
everything beautiful in its season is not honored by offer 
ing him a building which offends the taste that bears wit 
ness for him. But on the other hand, every Christian 
congregation must bear in mind who is its Master, and 

O O 

who are his friends. the people in its neighborhood with 
whom he is most closely identilird, and must seek to 
administer all its affairs in such a way that they shall not 
be repelled from its assemblies. 

In churches whose chief function is that of teaching, it 
would also seem to be reasonable to expect that much 
regard would he paid to the properties of the church as an 
auditorium. "How shall they hear without a preacher? " 
is a question not much more pertinent than "How shall 
they hear the preacher? It would be well if architects 
could be impressed with the truth that all architectural 
effects must be subordinated to the uses of the church as a 
place of worship. The first problem to be solved is that 
of bringing the whole congregation undo 1 the leader s eye, 
and within easy range of his voice. 

The newer conception of the church as a working body 
calls also for an adaptation of the church building to the 
purposes of work. In some portion of the edifice place 
must be found for class rooms, social rooms, committee 
rooms, and the other conveniences of a working organiza 
tion. The arrangement of the structure will be determined 
by the plans of the church ; in some places it would be 
wise to undertake many more kinds of work than in others ; 
and in every case the edifice should be built with an intel- 


ligent regard for the future requirements of the church. 
It is not sufficient to commission an architect to furnish 
the design of a church edifice ; as well tell him to build 
a factory without letting him know whether it was pro 
posed to manufacture cotton goods or mowing machines or 
writing paper. The church must carefully study its field, 
and determine what kind of work it can wisely undertake ; 
and must then adapt its building, as well as it can, to the 
requirements of its work. 

The location of the church is also a matter of great 
importance. Many churches are wellnigh ruined by 
placing them on noisy streets where the voice of the 
preacher is often drowned by the din. It is well that the 
church should be near some principal thoroughfare, near 
enough to attract some portion of the throng ; it ought to 
be easily accessible from all directions ; but it is not good 
policy to push the church into the midst of the market 
place. " Wisdom," according to the wise man, " crieth 
aloud in the street ; she uttereth her voice in the broad 
places ; she crieth at the head of the noisy streets ; " l 
and there may be occasions for Wisdom to deport herself 
after this manner ; but when she seeks to gather worship 
pers into the sanctuary, she may well betake herself to 
quieter regions. There is reason to believe that Wisdom 
has often failed to make herself heard by reason of the 
clatter of carts and the din of electric cars, and the clamor 
of bands of Sabbath-breakers inarching by. 

The question of economy must also be considered in this 
connection. It is a question whether any church has a right 
to expend hundreds of thousands of dollars upon a site for 
its edifice, simply in order that it may occupy land upon 
which fashion has put an exorbitant price, when land 
equally serviceable can be obtained only one or two 
squares away for one half or one quarter of the money. 
The people who will worship on the most fashionable 
avenue and will not worship on a street where the resi 
dences are humbler, are people for whom we have no right 
to spend the Lord s money. The more of them there are in 

1 Prov. i. 20, 21, Marg. 


any church, the poorer it will be in all the elements that go 
to make up a true church of Christ. 

In short, it needs to be said that this question of the 
local habitation of the church is one that needs to be 
treated with much more intelligence and conscience than 
has sometimes been expended upon it. The life of the 
church is powerfully affected for good or ill by the envi 
ronment which it thus provides for itself: the question 
whether pride shall be fostered or repressed ; whether the 
church shall be brought near to the people who need it 
most or separated from them; whether the standards to 
which its life shall be conformed shall be the standards of 
the world and the Mesh or the standards of the spirit; 
whether the demands of style or the law of service shall 
rule in its assemblies, will be answered in part, at least, 
in the one sense or the other, by the joint efforts of the 
architect and the building committee. 

3. What has already been said respecting the size of 
the membership and the construction of the ediiice has 
suggested, in part, the answer to the question, What kind 
of people should be gathered into the fellowship of any 
given church? The answer is that the people who live in 
the neighborhood should, ordinarily, form the membership 
of the church ; and that they should be impartially gath 
ered in. rich and poor, learned and unlearned, with no dis 
tinction of caste or color. It is true that in large cities, with 
present facilities of transportation, families and individuals 
often travel considerable distances to worship in the 
churches which they prefer. Sometimes thev are constrained 
to do this by their attachment to old associations : thev have 
changed their residence, but they cannot bear to separate 
themselves from the fellowship in which they were reared, 
or with which they have long been happilv connected. 
Sometimes the pastor is one whose ministry is to them es 
pecially stimulating and helpful, and thev are willing to 
make large sacrifices for the sake of what he gives them. 
It is not prudent, perhaps it is not desirable, to antagonize 
such preferences. Doubtless the principle of spiritual 
selection will determine, to a considerable extent, the mem- 


bership of churches in all our larger communities. Proba 
bly they will be more efficient and fruitful, if, as a rule, 
those whose opinions and tastes are similar are united in 
the same communion. Most city churches will be made up, 
not only of those who are near, but of some also who are 
afar off. But when the church itself considers the ques 
tion of its own membership, and sends out its invitations, 
it can have but one message : " Ho, every one that thirst- 
eth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; 
come ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and milk with 
out money and without price." 1 " And the Spirit and the 
bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. 
And he that is athirst, let him come ; he that will, .let him 
take of the water of life freely." 2 If those from afar 
choose to come to its solemn feasts they must be hospitably 
treated ; but those who are near must not be left in any 
doubt as to the warmth of their welcome. The very first 
problem for any church to solve is how to make the people 
of its own neighborhood all the people understand 
that its services are for them ; that its bell rings for them ; 
that its doors open to them ; that its ushers are waiting 
for them ; that its seats are for them to occupy ; that it 
stands, as the representative of Christ, repeating to all 
the people, with such powers of persuasion as it can com 
mand, his gracious call : " Come unto me, all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 3 That 
there should be any mistake about this, any possibility of 
misconception, any misgiving in anybody s mind that this 
church does not really mean this, that it wishes only for 
the adhesion of those who belong to a certain social class, 
or who can bring contributions to its coffers and social in 
fluence to its assemblies, this is a thought not for one 
moment to be entertained. What ! Can it be true that 
there are churches bearing the name of Jesus Christ which 
are understood to be churches for the " upper class," or 
churches for the " lower class " ; churches in which con 
siderations of wealth or rank or culture largely determine 
the membership ? The sooner such churches are blotted 

1 Isa. lv. 1. 2 Kev. xxii. 17. 8 Matt. xi. 28. 


from existence, the sooner the Kingdom of God will 

It is true that in some neighborhoods the majority of 
the residents belong to one class, and in others the majority 
belong to another class ; such a geographical distribution 
of wealth and poverty may be unfortunate, but it exists, 
and we must make the best of it. It is therefore probable 
that the social standing of the membership of some churches 
will be different from that of others. But there are few 
neighborhoods in which many poor people may not be 
found, and few which are not accessible to some well to do 
people ; and wherever the sentiment of the church heartily 
favors it, the rich and the poor will be worshipping together. 
The pastor of a church which lias lately moved to a rather 
fashionable residence district in one of our fairest Western 
cities, told the writer that his congregation contained a large 
working-class element. These were serving-men and serving- 
women in the households of the neighborhood, poor clerks 
and shop girls living near, and others of the same social 
class. Ordinarily these persons, if in church at all, would 
be found worshipping in some small mission chapel on a side 
stivct, probably at a distance from their place of residence : 
but this church had somehow convinced them that there 
was room for them in its assemblies. This is bv no means 
an impossible task for men and women of good will ; and 
no church has justilied its existence until it lias exhausted 
its ingenuity and patience in seeking to accomplish it. 

Not only will many working people be found scattered 
through the districts where the more favored classes dwell, 
but it is not seldom the case that sections inhabited by the 
poor are closely contiguous to churches now frequented 
by the rich. In multitudes of instances the most aristo 
cratic churches are within easy reach of thousands of the 
humblest people. If the worshippers in these churches 
are all of one social class, the reasons for this are not topo 
graphical, but purely moral. The only reason why the 
poor are not there is that they are not wanted. If these 
were Roman Catholic churches the poor would be found 
in them. There is no cathedral on the continent of Europe 


so splendid that the poor are not perfectly at home in it. 
To say that the same thing cannot exist in Protestant 
churches is to proclaim that Protestantism is a failure. 

We often hear it said that persons of this class are offen 
sive to the more refined by reason of their uncleanliness. 
But a fastidiousness which cannot endure some discomfort 
of this sort for an hour or two, once a week, for the sake 
of the Kingdom of God, is not likely to achieve any im 
portant victories in the Christian warfare. And nothing 
would be more effective in improving the personal habits 
of these people than bringing them into association every 
week with those to whom such matters were a care. An 
object lesson like this is the best way of teaching them 
the important truth that cleanliness is next to godliness. 

It is sometimes said that the poor prefer plainer churches ; 
that they are more at home in them ; that they enjoy asso 
ciation with those of their own class. Doubtless they 
would not feel at home in churches that were ostentatiously 
luxurious ; but we have already assumed that the Christian 
church will not be built upon that plan. They can have 
no distaste for a beautiful and comfortable interior. It 
would not be pleasant for them to worship in churches 
where most of the worshippers were richly and gaudily 
dressed ; but few people of refinement are in the habit of 
dressing for display when they go to church. The ordi 
nary laws of good breeding require plain and inconspicuous 
attire in the house of God. And as to the preference for 
association with those of their own class, it is to be said 
that very few working people would fail to respond to the 
overtures of a genuine Christian courtesy. Condescension 
or patronage the best of them do not want and will not 
endure ; but a sincere interest in them and a real friend 
ship for them will win their confidence, no matter how 
large may be the possessions or how fine the culture of 
those who proffer it. The Christian church is on trial 
before this generation upon this very issue, whether there 
exists within it a genuine brotherhood by which the bar 
riers of social caste can be broken down. The separation 
of classes threatens the disruption of existing society, and 


the overturn of all our institutions. There appears to be 
no agency by which this separation can be averted except 
the Christian church. If the church is true to the prin 
ciples of its Founder we may escape revolution, and go 
forward with the processes of a healthy social evolution. 
If the church, faithless to its trust, becomes the embodi 
ment of that pride and exclusiveness which its Master 
came to rebuke and destroy, the church, with the state, 
will be revolutionized ; the ecclesiastical structures now 
existing will be demolished, and the Kingdom of (iod 
will be rebuilt on sure foundations. The question of the 
social structure of the existing churches is one of great 
moment to the churches themselves, and to society at 
large. If the principle of Christian fraternity means any 
thing, it is high time that we were beginning to compre 
hend its meaning, and to give it full scope in our church 
organizations. The questions about which we are forever 
squabbling, whether our churches shall be governed by 
bishops or elders, or committees of their own choosing; 
whether the clergy shall be robed in one color or another ; 
whether prayer shall be oral or written ; whether baptism 
shall be with little water or with much ; whether we shall 
sing psalms or hymns ; whether Moses wrote all the Penta 
teuch or not, are of very small consequence compared 
witli the question whether we are the disciples of the 
Master who is shown us in the first seventeen verses of the 
thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. If we arc. in 
deed and in truth, learners in his school, followers of his 
divine example, we shall find some way of administering 
our churches so that those to whom he came to bring the 
glad tidings shall feel at home in them. 

The unitv of the church of Christ is something more 

c/ O 

than a voluntary association ; it is a vital, an organic unity. 
"For in one Spirit," says Paul, "were we all baptized 
into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or 
free, and were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the 
body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, 
Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body, it is 
not therefore not of the body. And if the ear shall say, 



Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body, it is not 
therefore not of the body. If the whole body were an eye, 
where were the hearing ? If the whole were hearing, where 
were the smelling ? But now hath God set the members 
each one of them in the body even as it pleased him. 
And if they were all one member, where were the body ? 
But now they are many members, but one body. And 
the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee ; 
or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 
Nay, much rather, those members of the body which seem 
to be more feeble are necessary ; and those parts of the 
body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we 
bestow more abundant honor, and our uncomely parts 
have more abundant comeliness ; whereas our comely parts 
have no need; but God tempered the body together, 
giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked ; 
that there should be no schism in the body, but that the 
members should have the same care one for another. 
And whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer 
with it, or one member is honored, all the members rejoice 
with it." 1 Here is the constitution of the Christian church ; 
and a right understanding of this, and a hearty acceptance 
of it, are a thousand times more important than all that is 
involved in our disputes about polities and liturgies and 
doctrines. The one damning heresy is the rejection of 
this organic law of the church ; the one intolerable schism 
is that by which Christ s poor are practically cut off from 
the fellowship of their more prosperous neighbors. 

It is true that it is becoming increasingly difficult to 
realize the fellowship on which the Christian church is 
founded. In all our larger cities the conventionalities of 
society are so multiplied, and there are so many outside 
interests that engross the time and thought of church 
members, that it is hard to maintain any general acquaint 
ance, even among those of the same class. But it must 
not be admitted that this is impossible ; the maintenance 
of this relation is essential to the development of the 
Christian character. The kind of association which is 

1 1 Cor. xii. 13-26. 


furnished by a Christian church in which the rich and the 
poor, the cultured and the uncultured, the old and the 
young, meet together on a perfect equality, is a little dif 
ferent from any other that we enjoy in this world ; and it is 
the only environment in which some of the best fruits of 
the spirit are likely to be cultivated. We do not find in 
our philanthropic work, in our condescension to those who 
are content to be our beneficiaries, still less in the super 
ficial amenities of general society, the opportunity for the 
kind of social commerce which the church affords to those 
who intelligently accept its covenant and heartily endeavor 
to realize the life which it implies. There is pertinence 
in the counsel which bids us do good to all men as we 
have opportunity, " especially toward them that are of the 
household of the faith." l The absolute mutuality which 
lies at the basis of that relation calls for the cultivation of 
some of the highest Christian qualities. 

All classes in the congregation need this discipline. 
The capitalistic elements need to be brought, through the 
church, into fraternal relations with the laboring classes, 
and the laboring classes need it not less. The church 
ought to be a constant and unfaltering witness to the 
people of both these classes that they are members one 
of another. The learning of this lesson is the beginning 
and end of wisdom in the solution of what is known as 
the social question; and where is this lesson to be learned 
if not in the fellowship of the Christian church ? Neither 
of these classes, it is to be feared, wishes to learn it ; both 
of them shrink from association with each other; both of 
them often seem to prefer to cherish the alienations and 
animosities by which the bond of society is sorely strained 
and often sundered. There are bright exceptions on both 
sides, but this is the prevailing temper. It is here, if any 
where, that the true priestly function comes into play, 
the function of mediation. If we, as Christian disciples, 
are made priests to God, it is for such work as this. The 
church which does not see that this is its high calling at 
this hour sadly fails to discern this time. 

1 Gal. \i. 10. 


Between the educated and the uneducated classes the 
same work of reconciliation is called for. The conceit of 
culture is often about as virulent and anti-social as the 
pride of wealth. The fact that he can pronounce the 
English language a little more accurately than his neigh 
bor, or that he can interpret some literary allusion which 
to the other has no meaning is, to many a man, good reason 
why he should treat that other with indifference, if not 
with contempt. The tendency is strong to erect these 
barriers of caste and exclusiveness between those who 
know a little more about certain things and those who 
know a little less. Such tempers are fatal to the best 
social construction. There will be diversities of knowl 
edge in society ; the Christian theory is that men should 
be united and not divided by these diversities. 

" And what delights can equal those 
That stir the spirit s inner deeps, 
When one that loves, but knows not, reaps 
A truth from one that loves and knows ? " x 

If these precious fruits of the Christian discipline are 
to be gathered in the church, it would seem clear that the 
church must have all these classes in its membership. 
No church should therefore be content for a day to be a 
church of the rich or of the poor, of the educated or of 
the uneducated. It is hard, no doubt, to prevent these 
social stratifications ; the tendency is strong to bring the 
church under the domination of aesthetic rather than of 
ethical standards. The notion that we are to seek, in our 
church relations, that which will minister to our culture 
and gratify our tastes, and surround us with congenial 
associations, is far too prevalent, even among our most 
orthodox Christians. How many are there who do not 
make these or similar considerations paramount when 
they are selecting their places of worship? 

It is not true, however, that the obstacles which hinder 
the realization of the ideal of the church are all interposed 
by the more fortunate classes. However the fact may be 
explained, it is the fact that the spirit of exclusiveness and 

1 Tennyson, In Memoriam, XLI. 


alienation exists among the poorer classes, and is keep 
ing a great many of them out of the church. The families 
that tend to pauperism can usually be reached without 
much difficulty; their children can be brought into the 
Sunday school ; they themselves are willing, for reasons 
that are usually too apparent, to maintain some sort of 
connection with a charitable church. But among the self- 
supporting working people the notion seems to be growing 
that the churches are for the rich and cultivated people ; that 
they are not in sympathy with the working classes ; that 
they are the apologists and beneficiaries of monopoly. 
This is by no means the universal fact; there are many 
churches which are largely composed of working-men ; 
and the sweeping condemnation of the churches as aristo 
cratic and exclusive which we sometimes hear from work 
ing people need not be admitted, though we may recognize 
certain ominous tendencies in this direction. It is plain 
that the alienation of the working people from the churches 
is in part the result of a systematic and energetic effort to 
separate them from the rest of the community and compact 
them in a class by themselves in the warfare with capital, 
or rather with the employing class. Industrial society is 
at present on something like a war basis, and the leaders of 
the labor army do not like to have their forces fraternize in 
any way with the enemy. It appears to them, therefore, 
good tactics to keep the working people out of all associa 
tions in which kindlier relations might be cultivated ; and 
many of the denunciations of the churches are prompted 
by this policy. The aristocratic temper of the church is 
not the real objection ; the more of real fraternity there 
was in it, the less they would like it. It would not be true 
to say that all labor leaders are governed by this purpose ; 
perhaps it is not often consciously cherished ; but the obvi 
ous logic of the maintenance of industrial society on a war 
basis must lead them in this direction. Such, then, are ob 
stacles to the fraternization of classes which are found in the 
tempers of the less fortunate classes. There is just as much 
human nature in the under crust of society as in the upper 
crust. But it is the business of the Christian church to 


break down all these obstacles, to bring these suspicious 
and antipathetic people all together in one fellowship, and 
teach them to respect one another and care for one another. 
To this separation, quite as truly as to that of an older 
day, we may apply Paul s words : " For he is our peace, 
who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of 
partition, . . . that he might create in himself of the twain 
one new man, so making peace ; and might reconcile them 
both in one body unto God through the cross, having slain 
the enmity thereby." : The church that wrought this 
reconciliation in the olden time between Jews and Gentiles 
can do it to-day for capitalists and laborers, if it will only 
hold fast by the truth on which it is founded. And in or 
der that it may do the work for which it exists, it must 
place itself firmly on this foundation. 

It may thus be evident that the question of the consti 
tution of the local church at the present day goes a great 
deal deeper than our disputes about polity and dogma and 
ceremonial. It is a question which strikes at the very 
heart of the social order ; which challenges the principles 
of our conduct as social beings. The first question for 
any church to ask is, " Who is my neighbor ? " That 
question must be answered in the Christian sense, and the 
whole regimen of the church s life must be conformed to the 
answer. If Christianity has a law for society, the church 
must first of all learn that law and obey it. 

The relation of the church to the Kingdom of God is a 
matter concerning which it is necessary to have clear ideas. 
To a considerable extent it is a question of words, but 
there are, after all, important distinctions which we must 
learn to make. In one of the most inspiring books 2 of this 
generation, Dean Fremantle urges that the church is the 
inclusive word ; that all departments of what is known as 
secular life are in reality departments of church life ; that 
" the church ( the fulness of Him that filleth all in all ) is 
the whole community of Christian people in the whole range 
of their life, and tends to embrace the whole world ; and 
therefore that it cannot be adequately represented by com- 

1 Eph. ii. 14-16. 2 The World as the Subject of Redemption. 


nmnities organized for public worship and its accessories. 
Why, then," he demands, " do we hear the words The 
Church, or The Churches, applied solely to bodies or 
ganized for public worship, doctrinal teaching, and a few 
adjuncts of beneficence ? Why do historical writers con 
stantly speak of acts that are those of the clergy alone as 
acts of the Church ? Why do we find that, in nine cases 
out of ten, when The Church is named, the clergy and 
the worshipping body (most commonly the clergy alone) are 
meant ? . . . Each of the rings or circles of human society, 
the family, the communities which exist for the further 
ance of science, of art, of social intercourse, of commerce, 
as well as for public worship, are essentially religious so 
cieties, and the Nation most of all. Why, then, are those 
societies still spoken of as secular or worldly, instead of 
the attempt being made to raise their spheres of action to 
the dignity of church functions, and their leaders to that 
of church ministers?" 1 

The central idea for which this book contends the 
sacredness of all life, the essential religiousness of every 
kind of useful work is not to be gainsaid; it is indeed 
part of the great constructive idea which is giving us all 
our new departures in theology as well as in practical 
Christian work. But it is a question whether the word 
church has not become so thoroughly fixed in its mean 
ing that it cannot be stretched to cover all that Dean 
Fremantle tries to include under it. Will the old wine 
skin hold the new wine ? Is it not better to keep the word 
church for the "communities organized for public wor 
ship and its accessories," and to apply to " the whole 
community of Christian people, in all the range of their 
life," Christ s own phrase, the Kingdom of (iod, or the 
Kingdom of Heaven. It will be necessary, then, to show 
that it is possible and greatly desirable to widen the scope 
of the church, and make it touch the life of the people at 
many more points than it has hitherto done; and it will 
also be necessary to show that the church, so defined, 
even when so enlarged, is subordinate, in all respects, to 

1 Preface to the new edition, 1895. 


the Kingdom of God ; that it is a part, and not the whole, of 
that Kingdom. 

It might be possible, following the suggestion of Dean 
Fremaiitle, to include under the term church all the 
spiritual and ethical interests of the community, and to 
conceive of charity and education, and even of art, as 
proper functions of the church ; but the function of civil 
government involves methods and agencies that cannot 
well be identified with the church in fact or in name. 
Civil government must employ force, and the weapons of 
the church are not carnal. The state does not lose its 
divine character when it employs force ; the powers that 
be are ordained of God, and they bear not the sword in 
vain, 1 but the work to which the state is called is a differ 
ent kind of work from that to which the church is ap 
pointed, and it is essential to the effectiveness of each that 
the two functions be separated. The state with its politi 
cal and retributive functions is an integral part of the 
Kingdom of God ; and the duties to which it summons us 
are not less sacred than those to which the church calls us, 
but they are duties of a different nature, and must not be 
confused. So, at least, it seems to those of us who do not 
live under religious establishments. The Kingdom of God 
includes both state and church ; it is, indeed, " the whole 
community of Christian people in the whole range of their 
life " ; every part of that life is sacred, but there are some 
parts of it which are not wisely considered as functions 
of the church. 

The church and its ministry are, then, a part, a vital part 
of the Kingdom of God, but they do not constitute that 
Kingdom. It is not the church and its righteousness that 
we are bidden to seek first, but the Kingdom of God and 
his righteousness. The church is auxiliary to the King 
dom, it is one of the means by which the Kingdom is 
brought in; but every Christian s first loyalty is to the 
Kingdom, and not to the church. The church, in its best 
estate, holds much the same relation to the Kingdom that 
the political party, at its best estate, holds to the govern- 

1 TJom. xiii. 1-6. 


ment of the country ; it is an instrument which men em 
ploy to secure the progress and the permanence of the 
Kingdom. Better, perhaps, we may say that it is the 
training school, ordained by God, in which men are fitted 
for the life of the Kingdom. The usefulness of the church 
is tested by observing the condition of the community in 
which it stands. If the life of the community is healthily 
affected by its presence its life is vindicated, otherwise it 
lacks credentials. By its fruits in the civic community 
its character must be judged. It is never an end in itself, 
it is a means to an end. The city which John saw in his 
vision, the New Jerusalem, which represents the perfected 
society that is to fill the earth at the latter day, was a city 
without a temple. All its life was sacred ; its home life, 
its business life, its education, its art, its work, its play, were 
all consecrated. Men had learned the meaning of that hard 
saying, " Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do 
all to the glory of God." l All work was done in the 
spirit of prayer; all callings were sacred. That city is 
coming down out of heaven from God even now; but it 
comes without observation ; of its enduring temples one 
living stone after another is silently descending to its 
place, but long years are yet to pass before this process 
will be consummated ; it is only in its idea, its promise, 
its elemental forces, and in certain beautiful beginnings, 
that this city is now here upon the earth ; the actual 
society of the municipality or the commonwealth is yet a 
long way from the millennial perfection. And yet this 
promise, this ideal, is always before the mind of every 
well instructed servant of Christ. What he is chiefly 
working for and praying for is not the success of his 
church, or his denomination, or any ecclesiasticism what 
ever; it is the upbuilding of this Kingdom. 

To this end the church is a divinely appointed means. 
As things now are, the spiritual interests must, to a certain 
extent, be specialized. In our northern climates the green 
house and the nursery are important adjuncts of the garden 
and the orchard. Yet it is not by what is grown in the 
1 i Cor. x. 31. 


greenhouse and the nursery that life is nourished, so much 
as by that which is planted out in the open air and in the 
broad fields. And the church, while the spiritual climate 
remains what it is, serves the Kingdom of Heaven in the 
same way; it affords a care and a culture in which the 
beautiful growths of the Kingdom may be made ready for 
planting out in the field of the world. 1 

It is necessary that religion should be specialized in in 
stitutions which are devoted to its interests. The problem 
is to make all life religious ; but in order that it may be 
come so, associations are needed whose function it shall 
be to cultivate religious ideas and feelings. 

Electricity, we are told, pervades the whole earth and 
the whole atmosphere. It is everywhere about us ; per 
haps the time may come when we can make this diffused 
electricity do our chores and run our errands ; but for 
the present we must have the power-house with the dyna 
mos, where it is collected and concentrated and distributed 
to the places where it is wanted. And, in like manner, 
although the spirit of Christianity ought to pervade and to 
some extent does pervade the whole of the society in which 
we live, though the Kingdom of Heaven, like the hidden 
leaven, is here, living and working upon the earth, yet 
there is need that this influence be gathered up and con 
centrated in institutions formed for this special purpose, 
that its nature may be more distinctly seen, and its power 
more wisely directed. 

As we study the laws of life, we find the higher orders 
of being distinguished by what the physiologists call an 
increasing specialization of function. " In the progress 
from the lower to the higher organisms," says Mr. Huxley, 
" there is a gradual differentiation of organs and of func 
tions. Each function is separated into many parts, which 
are severally intrusted to distinct organs. To use the 
striking phrase of Milne-Edwards, In passing from low 
to high organisms there is a division of physiological 
labor. " 2 

1 I take the liberty of quoting here a few paragraphs from a small book of 
my own, obscurely published, entitled The Church and the Kingdom. 

2 Encyc. Brit., Art. 


Thus in the lower orders of sentient creatures the ner 
vous system is diffused through the living mass, or dis 
tributed over its surface ; but as the creatures rise in the 
scale, the nerves are gathered into knots or ganglions, and 
their function is gradually separated until in the vertebrates, 
and especially in man, you lind the brain, a great central 
organ, safely housed in a strong cavity made for its pro 
tection, whence it moves and directs the whole body. The 
separation and specialization of the nervous function does 
not make the human body as a whole less sensitive or less 
responsive to nervous action than the bodies of the snails 
and the worms : the contrary is the fact. By concentra 
tion the nervous force is increased and intensified. 

In the same manner, as society advances, the different 
social functions are specialized; this is likely to be more 
and more the case. And although religion ought to per 
vade and govern the whole of society, just as the nervous 
system pervades and governs the human body, yet religion, 
for this very reason, needs to be specialized in institu 
tions of its own, as the brain is specialized and localized 
in the human body. It is thus that it gains power to move 
and direct human society. 

This illustration may suggest to us the relation between 
the church and the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom 

o o 

of Heaven is the entire social organism in its ideal perfec 
tion ; the church is one of the organs, the most central 
and important of them all, having much the same rela 
tion to Christian society that the brain lias to the body. 
The body is not all brain, but the brain is the seat of 
thought and feeling and motion. A body without a brain 
could not be a very effective instrument of the mind ; 
society, without those specialized religious functions which 
are gathered up in the church, would not very readily re 
ceive and incarnate and distribute the gifts of the Spirit 
of God. 

And yet the brain is of use only as it furnishes to all 
the other organs and parts of the body feeling and motion. 
It must make the eye sensitive to light, the tongue to 
flavors, the ear to sound, the hands and feet to the volitions 


of the will which set them in motion. The brain is in one 
sense the master, in another sense the servant of the whole 
body. It helps to co-ordinate all the physical powers, and 
it supplies them all with the conditions by means of which 
their work is done. Suppose that the brain undertook to 
set up housekeeping on its own account ; to look out for it 
self, and have little relation to the other parts of the body ; 
to assume that the brain was the man, and that, so long as 
the brain was well developed, it mattered little about the 
other parts of the human economy. Is it not evident that 
any separation of the brain from the rest of the body 
would kill the brain as well as the rest of the body ? The 
life and health of the brain are found only in ministering 
to the whole body. 

In the same way is the church related to all the other 
parts of human society. Its life is in their life ; it cannot 
live apart from them ; it lives by what it gives to them ; it 
has neither meaning nor justification, except in what it 
does to vitalize and spiritualize business and politics and 
amusement and art and literature and education and 
every other interest of society. The moment it draws 
apart and tries to set up a snug little ecclesiasticism with 
interests of its own, and a cultus all its own, and stan 
dards and sentiments of its own, and enjoyments of its 
own, the moment it begins to teach men to be religious 
just for the sake of being religious, that moment it 
becomes dead and accursed ; it is worse than useless ; it is a 
bane and a blight to all the society in which it stands. 

These illustrations may enable us to see what are the 
true relations of the church to the Kingdom of God. And 
they will point out two errors, of an exactly opposite 
nature, both of which are too prevalent. 

The first error is that of those to whom Christianity is 
ehurchism ; those who separate the church from the rest 
of the world, and give their whole time and strength to 
exalting it, and building it up, caring little or nothing for 
the other departments of life ; not wishing, or at any rate 
not trying, to establish any vital relations between it and 
those interests which men call secular. To these persons 


the church is not a means to an end, but it is an end 
in itself. The church is not the channel through which 
the life of God flows into the world ; it is the reservoir 
into which the tribute of the world is to How for the 
honor of (Jod. Humanity exists for the church, not the 
church for humanity. The great object is to make men 
into good churchmen, not to train churchmen to be good 

The other error is that of those who think that, because; 
it is the oilice of religion to mingle with and sanctify 
every department of human life, therefore there is no 
need that we should have any separate institutions of 
religion. This is much as if one should say, " Because 
we want the nervous influence diffused through every part 
of the human body, therefore we do not want any brain." 
Tliis does not appeal 1 to be good philosophy. Is there not 
the same need of separate organs for the development and 
manifestation of the spiritual life in the social organism, 
that there is for the concentration and diffusion of nervous 
influence in the physical organism? They are not wise 
who disparage the function of the church, or imagine that 
we are likely to outgrow it, as we go on toward social per 
fection. We are just as likely to do without it as we are 
likely, in our ascent toward intellectual perfection, to dis 
pense with brains, and return to the condition of the oys 
ter, with the nervous system diffused through the whole 
molluscous mass. 

This relation of the church to the Kingdom of God, as 
that of a vital part of the whole, is often but dimly com 
prehended. The stanch ecclesiastic- often maintains to 
ward his church preciselv the same attitude that the 
partisan maintains toward his partv. As the politician is 
often willing to sacrifice the interests of the nation to the 
success of his party, so the churchman often shows him 
self more than willing to put the interests of the Kingdom 
of Heaven in jeopardy for the aggrandizement of his sect. 
Not until the idea more widelv prevails that every Chris 
tian s first loyalty is due, not to the church, not to any 
or all churches, but to the Kingdom of Heaven, and that 


the churches are simply helps in the building of that King 
dom, shall we see any rapid progress in the Christianiza- 
tion of the world. 

Those who have the care of churches find themselves, 
therefore, included in a larger organism which claims their 
constant interest. This is the community in which they 
live, and the commonwealth of which they are citizens. 
This larger society, with its government, its political 
machinery, its industrial and commercial organizations, 
its educational and charitable institutions, its groups of 
artists and writers, its manifold social life, all this is the 
field of their labor. What they are there, as a church, to 
think of and work for, is nothing less than this, that 
all this complex, highly organized life may be redeemed, 
regenerated, sanctified. That is the ideal always before 
their thought. Whatever kind of work will help toward 
this consummation is lawful : that which does not clearly 
tend in this direction is of small account. They pray, 
every day, " Thy Kingdom come," and their labors must 
tally with their prayers. What they do in and through 
the church will be done with the Christianization of this 
society constantly in view. If they should succeed in 
building up their church in numbers, in wealth, in social 
position ; if its individuals maintained a good degree of 
personal integrity, and its families were nurtured in do 
mestic purity, and if, at the same time, the community 
round about them were steadily deteriorating ; if its poli 
tics were becoming more corrupt ; if its laws were more 
and more disregarded ; if its business methods were in 
creasingly tricky ; if the chasm between employers and em- 
plo} r ed were widening and deepening ; if its society were 
sinking into profounder depths of vanity and frivolity; 
if its amusements were degenerating from recreation to 
ward dissipation, then the satisfaction with which these 
churchmen recounted the details of their church work 
should, it would seem, be greatly chastened by the spec 
tacle of the sinking civilization round about them. It may 
be questioned whether they ought to be very comfortable 
in their own little sheepfold, with the flock ever so well 


shepherded, if evil were raging and triumphing in the 
community round about them. 

In truth, however, it is hardly possible that they should 
be able, by the most strenuous exertions, to maintain such 
a contrast between their religious society and the rest of 
the community. The ethical standards, the social senti 
ments of the outride world will surely affect the congre 
gation ; no separation between those within and those 
without the fold can be secured which will prevent the 
church life from being constantly and profoundly influ 
enced by the thought and the life of the political and the 
commercial and the industrial world round about. They 
cannot save the church from decadence unless they can 
save the community from deterioration. The churches 
are, indeed, the salt of the earth ; but the salt is for the 
preservation of society. The church is not in the world 
to save itself, but to save the world ; and when it ex 
hibits no power to regenerate the community in which it 
stands, it is clear that the salt has lost its savor, and is 
good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under 
foot of men. " Ye are the light of the world," said the 
Master to his disciples. But when no radiance streams out 
through the windows of the church, lighting up the spaces 
round about, it is to be feared that the light which is in it 
is darkness. And how great is that darkness ! 

It is impossible, therefore, to segregate the church from 
the community. The very function of the church is found 
in its organic relation to the communitv. It is no more 
possible to have a sound church in a decaying community 
than it is to have pure air within our garden walls while 
the surrounding region is infested with malaria. The 
church must either be pouring a steady stream of saving 
power into the community, or it will be receiving a steady 
stream of poisonous and debilitating influences from the 
community. The current will go one way or the other. 
If the church is not to the community a savor of life unto 
life, the community will be to the church a savor of death 
unto death. Indeed, in spite of our best exertions, our 
most vigorous churches do feel continually these deadly 


influences from the materialism of the outside world. It is 
hard to hold up the standards of fidelity and honor before 
the thought of the young men, when the methods of poli 
tics and of business are generally disreputable ; when great 
fortunes are made, if not by downright dishonesty, at least 
by a cynical disregard of the rights of the weak; when 
honor and humanity are sacrificed to greed ; when the 
spoils of office are selfishly sought and corruptly distri 
buted ; when the oath of office is lightly taken and appar 
ently forgotten, when the sense of public duty is obscured 
by party passion or personal ambition. Such methods are 
by no means universal, but where they are more or less 
common, and there is no effective public opinion to de 
nounce and resist them, and those who practise them lose 
no credit among their neighbors, but are pointed to as 
the successful men of the community, the efforts of the 
teacher and the preacher to make the young believe in 
things honorable and true and of good report will be 
laborious and often ineffectual. 

If the church wishes to save itself from extinction, then, 
it must send out its light and its truth into the community. 
If it does not wish to be pulled down into the mire itself 
it must lift up the community to a higher plane of thought 
and action. It is childish to suppose that we can shut 
ourselves within our little conventicles and sing and pray 
and have a happy time all by ourselves, saving our own 
souls, and letting the great roaring world outside go on its 
way to destruction. Nor is it enough to go out now and 
then, and pull a few of the passers-by into our conventicles 
to save them. Such evangelism is utterly inadequate. 
It misses the true function of the church by as much as 
the sanitary engineer would miss the problem of curing a 
malarious district, if he should try to catch the air in bas- 
ketfuls and treat it with disinfectants. 

If this truth is many times repeated, it is because it is 
one of the things that most need to be said, and one of the 
things most easily misconceived and most constantly forgot 
ten. It is to be feared that the idea of the Church still gen 
erally prevailing is that of an institution into which men 


are withdrawn, as much as possible, from knowledge of or 
contact with the world outside. ** Come out from among 1 
them and be separate," is still the classical text. In many 
churches there is a strong sentiment requiring the minister 
to make but little reference in his teaching to the a if airs 
of daily life. \Ve have enough of that," say these pious 
folk, in our week-days ; when we come to church, we 
want to stop thinking about this world and think about 
heaven ; we want to sing hymns and pray, and be soothed 
and comforted by purely spiritual ministrations." Whether 
such people have been born again we may not venture to 
judge, but it is certain that they have not seen the King 
dom of (iod : that they would not know it if they should 
see it ; that they do not even know where to look for it. 
Of that great realm to which their superior loyalty is 
due, which their Master bids them seek tirst, they in their 
unctuous sentimentalism are utterly oblivious. 

It scarcely needs to be said that the whole theory of 
Pastoral Theology is revolutionized by this conception of 
the relation of the church to the Kingdom. If the church 


is an instrument, and not an end, a great many of the 
theories and practices now prevailing will need to be 



THE names by which the minister is known among his 
parishioners are somewhat significant. Rector and Domi 
nie describe him as a ruler of his congregation j Parson 
points him out as the Person, by eminence, of the com 
munity; Elder represents him as proving a maturity 
which in the primitive church may have belonged to 
him ; Preacher, which appears to be the official title in the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, misses that part of the min 
ister s function with which we are concerned ; Father, the 
familiar designation by which Roman Catholics address 
their minister is affectionate, but somewhat lacking in 
fitness when applied to one who knows only by observa 
tion or by hearsay what the word means ; " Priest " they 
used sometimes to call the New England minister ; but 
that term was a stigma, invented by those who hated the 
standing order ; the hiss of the sibilant with which it 
closes is distinctly audible. 

" St. Paul," says Bishop Burnet, " does also call church 
men by the name of builders, and gives to the Apostles the 
title of master-builders. This imports both hard and 
patient labor, and likewise great care and exactness in it, 
for want of which the building will be not only exposed to 
the injuries of weather, but will quickly tumble down ; 
and it gives us to understand that those who carry this 
title ought to study well the great rule by which they 
must carry on the interest of religion, so that they may 
build up their people in their most holy faith so as to be 
a building fitly framed together. They are also called 
laborers in God s husbandry, laborers in his vineyard and 
harvest, who are to sow, plant, and water, and cultivate 


the soil of the church. This imports a continual return 
of daily and hard labor, which requires both pain and dili 
gence. They are also called soldiers, men that did war 
and fight against the powers of darkness. The fatigue, the 
dangers and difficulties, of that state of life are so well 
understood that no application is necessary to make them 
more sensible. 1 " 

The name by which the New England minister wished 
to be known, the official title by which he has always 
been known, is, perhaps, the best name of all, the 
Pastor. This is the name by which our Lord loved to 
describe himself. " I am the Good Shepherd," he said ; 
and in the new version we find a statement about his rela 
tion to his flock which startles us by its boldness : " I am 
the Good Shepherd; and 1 know mine own, and mine own 
know me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know 
the Father."- The intimacy between Christ and his peo 
ple, on the one hand, is the same kind of intimacy as that 
between Christ and the Father, on the other. All that 
this means we may not try to tell, but it must signify a 
veiy near and dear relation between the shepherd and the 
flock. If this term may be adopted by an under shepherd, 
it must have a deep and tender signification. 

" He calleth his own slice}) by name, and leadeth them 
out. When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth 
before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his 
voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee 
from him, for they know not the voice of strangers." 3 
This is the parable which Jesus spake unto his disciples. 
It is said that they did not understand it. It is to be 
feared that it has been very imperfectly understood by 
many who have come after them. The Master s words 
suggest a close and sacred friendship between the shep 
herd and his flock. He calls them, and they know his 
voice. His relation to them is not merely that of teacher 
with pupil nor of master with servant, but of friend with 
friend. A large part of his work among them is to be 

1 Of the Pastoral Care, in The Clergymen s Instructor, p. 92. 
2 John x. 14, 15. 8 John x. 3-5. 


wrought through familiar association and personal influ 
ence. His chief function is that of teacher; but their 
love for him becomes the solvent and the medium of the 
truth which he imparts. " We can sum up the fundamen 
tal idea of the ministry of the church at the present day in 
the conception of the scriptural TTOL^IJV. Shepherd brings 
out the idea of pre-eminence above the rest of the church, 
the dignity of the position, but at the same time it brings 
out also its aspect of duty, the obligation which he owes 
to the church, and his responsibility to the Lord of the 
Church ; moreover, both aspects, that of dignity and that 
of duty, are seen united in the shepherd by the tenderest 
bond, the bond of love or of mutual attachment. The 
shepherd s dignity is not one of lordly command, but of 
benevolent guidance ; the shepherd s duty is not one of 
servile herding and hireling labor, but of cherishing and 
tending." l 

It has just been said that the title of priest was ill- 
naturedly applied to the pastors of New England by those 
who did not love them. The word imputed to them the 
habit of assuming sacerdotal functions, the tendency to be 
lords over God s heritage. Doubtless the imputation bore 
some color of truth. The New England ministers at one 
time had more power than was good for them, and they 
were only men. There is no better opening for a pope 
than the Congregational sj stem offers to a strong man in 
a church composed of weak or ignorant members. Never 
theless, the sacerdotal assumptions of these pastors were 
openly at war with their own theory of the ministry. By 
that theory the minister is the servant of his people ; from 
them his office is derived ; he has no spiritual rights and 
powers that are not shared by the humblest member of his 
flock. Whatever of clerical authority or extra-human 
agency the word " priest " connotes is foreign to that 
conception of the ministry upon which the New England 
churches were founded. 

It is true, however, that some Christian ministers con- 

1 Pastoral Theology of the New Testament, by J. T. Beck, D. D., Edin 
burgh ed., Traus. 


sider and describe themselves as priests ; it is the official 
title of the second order of the Anglican Church ; Charles 
Kingsley called himself a priest, and so do multitudes of 
the best men in the same communion. The term implies 
a distinction of functions and powers between the clergy 
and the laity ; it involves questions with which we cannot 
adequately deal. 

Some of those who call themselves priests maintain, to 
use the language of one of them, that "within the Apos 
tolic Church all are priests. There is no sacerdotal caste, 
as some opponents of Catholic doctrine have imagined the 
church to create, performing religious offices for a secu 
lar laity. The contrast between clergy and laity is that 
between a higher and a lower degree in the priesthood. 
This is implied in the ancient title of Ordination, and 
of Holy Orders, which bear witness to the fact that the 
difference between clergy and laity is one of function and 
arrangement and mutual relations, not a difference of 
fundamental opposites. If wilfully severed from the faith 
ful laity, the clergy would have no right to act in the name 
of Christ. Their priestly ministries are those of the whole 
body, performed through them as its natural organs." l 
This view differs widely from that which regards the 
Christian minister as belonging to a separate caste. On 
the other hand it differs not less widely from the theory 
that the minister has no powers that do not belong to 
his brethren, and that he owes his official function and 
leadership to their choice. For the higher and lower 
degree in the priesthood, to which this writer calls atten 
tion, marks an indelible distinction between clergy and 
laity, and supposes the former to be- invested with powers 
which the latter may not exercise. This is a conception 
which does not seem to have prevailed in the early church ; 
as Dr. Hatch has shown, preaching, the exercise of disci 
pline, and the administration of baptism and the Eucharist. 
were all practised by laymen in the first two centuries. 2 
These duties were usually performed by the president or 

1 The. Faith of the Gospel, by Arthur .T:unos Mason, pp. 255, 256. 

2 The Organization of the Early Churches, Lect. V. 


leader of the congregation ; but when occasion demanded, 
laymen also performed them. The assumption of the 
priestly prerogative was a later development. Dr. Fair- 
bairn points out this change : - 

" In all that is said concerning the office, in the words 
either of our Lord or of his apostles, not a hint is dropped 
which would bespeak for the ministers of the Gospel the 
character of a secret^loving, wonder-working priesthood. 
And when, a few centuries after the gospel era, we light 
upon descriptions which present them in such a character, 
one cannot but be sensible of a huge discrepance between 
them and the representations of Scripture. It seems as 
if an essentially new office had come into being, rather than 
the original office perpetuated with certain slight modifica 
tions. Listen, for example, to Chrysostom s description of 
what he calls the glory of the Christian priesthood : The 
priesthood, indeed, is discharged upon earth, but it takes 
rank with heavenly appointments, and deservedly does 
so. For this office has been ordained not by a man, nor 
by an angel, nor by an archangel, nor by any created 
power, but by the Paraclete himself, who has laid hold on 
men still abiding in the flesh to perpetuate the ministry 
of angels. And therefore should the priest, as standing 
in the heavenly regions amid those higher intelligences, 
be as pure as they are. Terrible, indeed, yea, most awful, 
were even the things which preceded the Gospel, such as 
the bells, the pomegranates, the stones in the breastplate, 
the mitre, etc., the holy of holies, the profound silence that 
reigned within. But when the things belonging to the 
gospel are considered, those others will be found little, 
and so also what is said concerning the law, however truly 
it may be spoken : " That which was glorious has no glory 
by reason of that which excelleth." And when you see 
the Lord that lias been slain, and now lies before you, 
and the priest bending over the victim, and interceding, 
and all dyed with that precious blood, do you still reckon 
yourself to be with men and still standing on the earth? 
Do you not rather feel transplanted into heaven, and, 
casting aside all fleshly thoughts and feelings, dost thou 


not with thy naked soul and thy pure mind behold the 
things of heaven ? O the marvel ! O the philanthropy 
of God! He who is seated above with the Father is at 
that moment held by the hands of all, and to those that 
are willing gives himself to be clasped and received; all 
which they do through the eves <if faith ! He then refers 
to the action of Klias on t arinel, dec-hiring that of the 
Christian priest to be much greater, and he asks: k Who 
that is not absolutely mad or beside himself could slight 
so dreadful a mystery? Are yon ignorant that the soul 
of man could never have borne the lire of such a sacrifice, 
and that all should have utterly perished had there not 
been the mighty help of the grace of (Jod? Such was 
what constituted, in Chrvsostom s view, the peculiar glory 
of the Christian ministry: and he proceeds in the same 
magniloquent style to enlarge on the pre-eminent dignity 
and power connected with it in its prerogative; to bind 
and to loose souls, to forgive or retain sins, to purge men 
through baptism and other rites from all stains of pollution 
and send them pure and holv into the heavenly mansions. 
All that is, of course, priestly work; work in which the 
ot liciating minister has something to offer for the people, 
and something bv virtue of his office to procure for them ; 
benefits, indeed, so great, so wonderful, so incomparably pre 
cious, that the typical ministrations of the old priesthood, and 
the benefits accruing from them to the people, were com 
pletely thrown into the shade. Now this is a view of pas 
toral work on which New Testament Scripture is not only 
silent, but against which it virtuallv protests. The ser 
vice which it associates with the ministry of the gospel is 
one that employs itself not with presenting a sacrifice for 
men, but in persuading them to believe in a sacrifice already 
offered, and through that promoting in them a work of 
personal reconciliation with (iod, and growing meetness 
for his presence and glory." 1 

This extract clearly presents the contrast between the 
sacerdotal theory of the ministry and the theory generally 
accepted by the reformed Churches. Yet even in these 

1 Pastoral Theology, pp. 47-49. 


churches there are survivals of the sacerdotal principle, in the 
belief that none but an ordained clergyman can administer 
the sacraments or pronounce the benediction. Thus one 
of the stanchest of the Puritans, Professor Austin Phelps, 
in his lectures on the Theory of Preaching, recognizes 
the benediction as a sacerdotal act, and urges its retention 
on this ground. He says : 

" It is the only act of clerical prerogative except the ad 
ministration of the ordinances, in which the idea of clerical 
mediatorship is retained. The sact rdotal theory of it does 
no harm to either preacher or people. . . . Often the final 
effect of song and sermon and rehearsal of God s word is 
to excite a profound feeling of dependence, of which a 
craving for the blessing of a man of God is the natural 
sequence. The intervention of a solitary human voice 
between the silent assembly and God, speaking in his 
name, and pronouncing his blessing upon them, becomes a 
relief to their wrought-up emotions. They feel the natural 
ness of it. They volunteer to clothe it with the authority 
of their own devotional desires. It is an act in which the 
preacher is not as other men. He is invested by the wants 
of the people with a mediatorial office. He is an intercessor 
by divine appointment and by popular choice. The peo 
ple will have it so. ... Time has indeed wrought revolu 
tionary changes in the ancient theory of worship. We 
will not ignore them. But it has not destro} T ed, nor essen 
tially impaired that instinct of human nature which exalts 
a teacher of religion above other men, and often invests his 
service with a mediatorial significance. The one thing in 
which our Congregational society recognizes that instinct 
and in which the people, if left alone to follow their own 
religious intuitions, will certainly obey it, is this act of 
pastoral l>enediction. We are in no danger of an abuse 
of it in the direction of sacerdotal arrogance. We cannot 
afford to spare it. It is not wise to sacrifice it to eccle 
siastical theory. Human nature craves it, and in some 
form will have it. For the want of it and some things 
kindred to it, Congregational and Presbyterian churches 
are losing their hold upon certain materials in the con- 


stituenev of churches which by hereditary affinities belong 
to them." 1 

This plea for a slight infusion of the sacerdotal element 
coming out of the heart of independency, may be regarded 
as significant. Some of the facts which it adduces are- indu 
bitable, whatever may be the interpretation put upon them. 
The craving of men for the intervention of some person 
or power between themselves and (rod cannot be denied. 
Just how far this craving is to be encouraged is a question 
which the hierarchical churches commonly answer in one 
way, and the reformed churches in another wav. The 
fact that men want some kind of human mediatorship may 
not be a conclusive reason for offering it to them. Is it 
a natural or an artificial want? Does it grow out of a 
true conception of the Father in heaven, or out of a 
heathen conception of him? 

Still, if it be true that the minister possesses anv media 
torial function, even the slightest, lie ought to exercise it 
to the fullest extent. J I his oil ice- empower him to bless 
his parishioners, or to forgive their sins, or to offer sacri 
fices for them, let him discharge, with all fidelity, the 
duties of his office. If his ollice confer upon him no such 
exclusive power, it is better not to go through the forms 
of it, no matter how much the people may crave it, nor 
how many of them mav go over to the hierarchical com 
munions in search of it. An assumption, whether open or 
covert, of powers that do not belong to him will not be 
found, in the long run, to promote the influence of any 

So far as the form of the benediction is concerned, it 
seems to be a slight matter, and yet it is not difficult to 
preserve the dignified and beautiful ceremony without 
employing language which implies sacerdotal functions. 
The benediction may be a prayer, in which the preacher 
identifies himself with the congregation. "The grace of 
the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all " is a form of 
words no less impressive or significant than that which 
implies equality with the Apostles. It appears to answer 

1 Op. cit., pp. 50i-:")04. 


all the ends of reverence for which Professor Phelps is 
pleading, while it avoids an assumption which, though it is 
a little one, is repugnant to the feelings of some of the 
ministers of Christ. 

It will be said that the minister, in these acts which 
have a sacerdotal color, is not speaking for himself ; that 
he is the mouthpiece of the church ; that he is conveying 
the grace which is committed to the whole church ; that 
he should recognize himself only as the instrument or 
channel through whom that grace is imparted. 1 That this 
is the view taken by multitudes of devout men cannot be 
denied. There are many who call themselves priests who 
are as humble and self-distrustful as any men on earth. 
It is not assumed, in this discussion, that the sacerdotal 
theory is inconsistent with devoted and heroic Christian 
service. The whole history of the Christian Church con 
tradicts such an assumption. But it is important that 
every pastor should have a clear understanding with him 
self about the matter ; that he should know exactly what 
his functions are, and that he should make his conduct con 
form to his theory. And those of us who do accept the 
reformed doctrine 2 can do no better than frankly and 
fully to accept the logic of our theory and utterly to refuse 
to take upon ourselves any prerogatives or privileges by 
which we may seem to be separated from our brethren 
in the churches. We are ministers of the churches, and 
we are supposed to have enough knowledge of Latin to 
know what the word " minister " means. For those who 
adopt this theory, it is well to avoid, so far as they can 

1 " Wo die Kirche aber ein solches Wort hat, da ist auch ihr Thim niclit 
ein blosses Wiinschen und Beten, nicht ein Wunschsegen bloss, wie Luther 
sagt, tsondern ein Thatsegen, sicli fruchtbar erweisend aii Jedem, der in sol 
ches gottgeordnetes Verhliltniss tritt und den Segen desselben von Hertzen 
ergreift." Harnack, d eschii-hte und Theorie der Predict und der Seel- 
sorge, 512. 

- " Le ministers ecclesiastique serait la consecration, faite sous certaines 
conditions, de quelques membres du troupeau chretien a s occuper speciale- 
ment, mais non a 1 exclusion d aucuns autres, de I administration du culte, 
et de la conduite des ames. Une societc religieuse peut d ailleurs regler que 
les solennite s qui la reunissent, seront preside es exclusivement par ces 
hommes speciaux qu on appelle miuistres ou pasteurs." Vinet, The ologie 
Pastorale, p. 41. 


do so without rudeness, everything which implies minis 
terial privilege. " Christianity," says a great authority, 
"allows no place to a tribe of priests, ordained to direct 
other men, as under religious pupilage, having exclusive 
charge to supply men s needs, in respect to (rod and divine 
things. While the Gospel removes whatever separates 
men from God, it also calls men to fellowship with God 
through Christ: it takes away, moreover, every barrier 
which separates men from one another in respect of their 
highest interests. All have the same High Priest and Me 
diator through whom all, as reconciled and united to God, 
have themselves become a sacerdotal and spiritual race ; 
the same King, the same celestial .Master and readier, 
through whom all have become wise unto God; the same 
faith, the same hope, the same spirit, by which all are ani 
mated ; the same oracle in the heart of all, the voice of 
the Spirit proceeding from the Father, all citi/.ens of the 
same celestial kingdom. There were here neither laics nor 
ecclesiastics; but all, so far as they were Christians, were, 
in their interior life and state, dead to whatever there was 
in the world that was contrary to God, and were animated 
bv the Spirit of God. \Vho might arrogate to himself, 
what an inspired apostle durst not, to domineer over the 
faith of Christians? The ot tice of teaching was not ex- 
clusivelv conferred on one man or many ; but every believer 
who might feel himself called might speak a word in the 
assembled church for the common edification." 

By our theory sacerdotal authority does not belong to us 
as pastors. The kind of power to forgive sins which is 
claimed by the priest under the Roman or the High Angli 
can rite is not ours, nor anything akin to it. Nevertheless, 
there is a certain priesthood which is shared bv all be 
lievers. We are a kingdom of priests. The author of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews shows that there is a higher priest 
hood than that which is ol ticial or ecclesiastical ; a priest 
hood like that of Melchisedec ; a priesthood whose basis is 
high and benign character. Then: are priests who are made, 

1 Xoander, AUgemeine Geschichte der christltchen lirliyion itnd Kirche, Vol. 
I. p. 177. 


" not after the law of a carnal commandment " (for so the 
sacred writer characterizes the Levitical ecclesiasticism), 
" but after the power of an endless life," the eternal life, 
whose elements are righteousness and peace and joy in the 
Holy Ghost. Every good man, in whom the life of God is 
dwelling, through whom the love of God is manifested, is 
in the Christian sense of the word a priest ; he has a work 
of reconciliation to do; he is called to reconcile men to 
themselves and to one another, and to God. Men are 
often at war with themselves ; the law in the members 
fights against the law in the mind ; there is need of the 
communication to them of a larger life in which these con 
tradictions and conflicts shall be reconciled. So also are 
they at strife with one another, and the good offices of a days 
man are needed to bring them together. So also are they 
estranged from their Father in heaven, and in deepest need 
of being led back to him in the ways of trustful reverence 
and obedience. Here, now, is a work of mediation in 
which men can help one another. It is for this work that 
Christians are made priests unto God. But this is no 
official function ; it is wrought by influences which are 
purely spiritual ; it is the love of God, shed abroad in the 
good man s heart, incarnated in his life, which gives him 
the power to do this work. 

There is also a Christian priesthood of sympathy. We 
are permitted to bear one another s burdens both of sin and 
of sorrow. The guilt of my sin no man can share, but the 
misery of it, the shame of it, my brother may share. And 
in all our cares and conflicts and woes the sympathy of 
those in whom we love and confide is often a great allevia 
tion. The best offices of the Roman confessional have 
been wrought through this power of sympathy. When 
the priest is a wise and large-hearted man, his words of 
gentle consideration and firm counsel are often the very 
words of life. But it is not the officialism of his counsel 
that makes it efficacious : it is the truth and love of God 
that are in it. 

To this spiritual priesthood, this priesthood of Christly 
character, the pastor is certainly called. The ministry of 


reconciliation, the ministry of sympathy, will enlist his 
highest powers. No matter what view he may take of his 
ofHce, the real value of his service to his people will be 
found in his personal and spiritual, rather than in his 
formal and ecclesiastical relations to them. His usefulness 
among them will be due not to any powers by which he is 
elevated above them or separated from them, but to a char 
acter which in the fullest sense he shares with them. Ib 
is the servant of a Master whose work for his disciples 
is done, not by being made unlike his brethren, but by 
becoming identified with them. If the mind of C hrist 
is in him, his word will be with power, no matter how 
little claim lie may make to superior dignity. If that 
character is wanting to him, the attribution of priestly 
rank will not add anything essential to his influence. It 
was said of our Master, that when he had finished his 
Sermon on the Mount, the multitudes were astonished at 
his teaching, for he taught them as one having author 
ity, and not as the scribes." 1 The one thing that the 
people knew about him was that he did not speak officially 
there was no ecclesiastieism behind him to give weigh to 
his words, and yet there was an authority in them which 
they had never felt before. His ministry, in all its phases, 
derived its elficacy, not from the law of a carnal command 
ment, but from the power of an endless life. And the 
ministry of every true pastor will draw its power from the 
same souree. 

This brings us to the consideration of the question of the 
pastoral rule over the flock. What shall be said of his 
governmental prerogatives? If he has no sacerdotal func 
tions, can we affirm that he has no power as a ruler to 
direct the conduct of those under his charge? Words of 
the apostles are supposed to imply pastoral authority: 
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to 
them; for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that 
shall give account." 2 " Likewise, ye younger, be subject 
unto the elder." 3 Passages from the early Fathers bear 

1 Matt. vii. 28, 2i>. - Ileh. xiii. 17. 

3 1 1 et. v. 5. 


the same significance. 1 But this does not necessarily im 
ply anything more than that wholesome subordination 
which is the condition of all concerted action. It does not 
argue any hierarchical powers, pertaining to the ministry 
as a separate and permanent order. The members of any 
association owe to the officers, whom they have chosen to 
take the direction of their affairs, respect and co-operation. 
The subjection and submission enjoined in the passages 
quoted above may mean no more than this. The words 
of Jesus are not to be forgotten : " But be not ye called 
Rabbi ; for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. 
And call no man your father on the earth ; for one is your 
Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters ; 
for one is your Master, even the Christ. But he that is 
greatest among you shall be your servant." 2 This seems 
to point to a genuine democracy as the social foundation 
of the church. But democracy is not anarchy ; it implies 
order and subordination and leadership. And most of the 
New Testament passages which refer to the government 
of the church u agree in connoting primarily the idea of 
presidency or leadership." 3 This is the very conception 
of the pastorate which the present conditions are tending 
to emphasize. For as a learning church needs a teacher, 
and a feeding church needs a pastor, so a working church 
needs a leader. It is not as a lord over God s heritage, but 
as a wise organizer and guide of the working body that 
the pastor is appointed to rule the church. The eiria-K OTTO? 
was the superintendent or overseer of the early church ; 
the same term had been employed by the Greeks to de 
scribe officers of private associations and also of munici 
palities ; the eViWoTrcH were persons to whom authority 
had been delegated by the bodies over which they pre 
sided. That the church must be to this extent an orderly 
association ; that those who are called to the leadership 
should be loyally followed by those who call them ; that 
their administration should be firm and consistent and 
fearless, and that the spirit and traditions of the organi- 

1 Hatch s Organization of the Early Christian Churches, p. 113, note. 
2 Matt, xxiii. 8-11. 3 Hatch, cit. sup. 


zation should conspire to maintain this order, such is 
the logic of all human co-operation. The pastor of a work 
ing church is the leader, and he should take the lead, and 
steadily maintain it. The initiative belongs t> him, and 
the support of the church is due to him. If he is not 
capable of such leadership, the church should not have 
chosen him, and should now, as soon as it can salVlv and 
kindly do so, replace him by one who can lead. 15 nt, 
having chosen such a leader, the church owes him a prompt 
and In-arty following. This is not to say that nothing 
which he proposes is ever to be questioned or criticised ; 
if lie is a wise pastor, he will welcome any ingenuous 
criticisms ; but the fact remains that in any working or 
ganization there must be trusted leadership and willing co 
operation ; and those who are chosen as leaders must be able 
to count on the harmonious co-working of all the rest. 

Taking the lowest conception of the pastor s rank and 
dignity, he is entitled, therefore, to a certain deference as 
the one to whose hands the administration o.f the church 
has in an especial degree been conlided. Jf his authority 
is delegated, still it is delegated authority, and as such 
ought to be respected. 

Other theories of the office impute to the pastor a larger 
power. Those who find in the Christian minister a sacer 
dotal character are compelled, of course, to ascribe to him 
a kind of authority altogether different from that of which 
we have been speaking. Those who suppose that the 
sacraments are necessarv to salvation, and that the minis 
ter has the power to give or withhold the sacraments, 
clothe him with a power which he is able to wield witli irre 
sistible effect in the government of the church. To such 
a priesthood the rule of the church must exclusively be 
long; the laity are there not to rule, but to be ruled. 

Hut even when sacerdotal powers are denied, there is 
sometimes a conception of pastoral power which separates 
the minister from his flock, and clothes him with essential 
governmental rights and dignities. In all such cases, 
however, the assumption of superiority may well be de 
clined. The wise pastor will not, whatever may be his 


theory of his office, undertake to overbear the judgment of 
his parishioners by force of his prerogative. Even if he 
suppose himself to belong to a different order from theirs, 
his wisdom will be shown in understating that fact, and 
in putting himself on a basis of equality with them. His 
problem is to secure their co-operation with himself in 
Christian labor. An arbitrary assertion of authority is not 
the best method of accomplishing this. He must convince 
their reason and get the consent of their judgment. His 
authority must be confirmed by the methods of influence. 

A familiar maxim declares that " governments derive 
their just powers from the consent of the governed." The 
accuracy of this proposition may be challenged. "Just 
powers " are not the creation of majorities. But this much is 
true that governments derive their effective powers from 
the consent of the governed. Even the despotisms reign 
by consent of their subjects. And it can be no otherwise 
with the pastoral authority. It is only effective when it is 
" broad based upon the people s will." 

The day of absolutism in government has gone by. One 
or two European rulers still continue to assert an unlim 
ited prerogative, but the whole world listens with a smile 
to their presumption, and knows that they will keep well 
within the limit of the popular approval. Representative 
legislatures, in almost all states, have assumed the chief 
control of the national exchequer. The power of the purse 
is in the hands of the people. 

Even the papal government shows many signs of sen 
sitiveness to popular opinion. The Pope is infallible 
and supreme, by decree of the Vatican Council ; but the 
present Pope, with these vastly reinforced prerogatives, 
shows himself to be far more closely identified with the 
people than any of his predecessors. Even to him it is 
apparent that persuasion is stronger than coercion ; that 
if he would keep his place at the head of the church he 
must lead his flock, not drive them. That indeed would 
seern to be the pastoral method. " He called his own sheep 
by name, and leadeth them out. " There is a whip for the 
horse, and a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool s 


back, but sheep are not well shepherded by any of these 

Considerations of this nature are urged, with consider 
able force, by one who lately adorned the episcopal office. 
"We have no question," says Bishop Bedell, "of t/tc trutli of 
the Divine appointment of our ministry, and that Christ li tin- 
self dire eted the liK ilc i if its perpetuation l>y a tactual succes 
sion unbroken from apostolic days. And inasmuch as it is 
true it is to be inculcated. Judiciously taught it will ben 
efit a congregation; and a right appreciation of it will also 
increase our solemn sense of responsibility to God, and of 
obligation to be faithful to souls whom he has committed to 
our care. But, injudiciously obtruded, tenaciously insisted 
on, forced upon unwilling ears, and presented in such a 
manner as to lead our people to think that we feel our 
selves elevated by divine intention beyond their reach 
and beyond their sympathies, and, more especially, if the 
cherishing of such an idea should separate us in the least 
degree from perfect unity of feeling with the people of 
our charge, this idea of clerical authority will annihilate 
our power. While, then, theoretically, our divine appoint 
ment is an element of power ; practically under prevailing 
sentiments it will not be an element of influence. . . . Noth 
ing remains from the conflicts of the clergy witli past 
generations but clerical character. The clergy have no 
spiritual power apart from their moral influence ; that 
idea, although once maintained, has disappeared. They 
have no sacramental miracle by which to enforce a tyranny 
over conscience. That idea, once held, has been exploded. 
Even their divine Ordination, their right as heavenly am 
bassadors by virtue of office divinely bestowed (as I have 
said) has been thrust out of sight by the hurry of new 
and false ideas. So that, practically, nothing remains to 
be a source of clerical influence in this age, except indi 
vidual clerical character. Nor need we desire any other 
influence." l Whatever may be said of the logic of this 
argument, the practical wisdom of the conclusion cannot 
be disputed. 

1 The Pastor, pp. 24, 25. 



THE call to the work of the ministry, and the training 
of the minister for his work, are subjects which do not 
come within the scope of this treatise. It is necessary, 
however, to refer in a general way to the nature of the 
minister s call, because of the conceptions of his work 
which grow out of it. 

We have found reasons for denying to the pastor sacerdo 
tal or hierarchical functions ; we regard him in one aspect 
as the servant, and in another as the leader of the church, 
as one who ministers to the people in holy things, and 
who superintends and guides them in their work. There 
is, however, a higher relation which must never be ob 
scured. The pastor is not only the minister of the Church, 
he is also, and first of all, the minister of Christ. In some 
important sense he must derive his authority and power 
from the Head of the church. Between these conceptions 
confusion is apt to arise. 

It may help us to solve this difficulty if we remember 
that every man is called of God to holy and Christly ser 
vice. Let us hear the judicious Fairbairn : 

" It is a fundamental principle in Christianity that there 
is nothing absolutely peculiar to any one who has a place 
in the true church. Among its members there is room 
only for relative distinctions, or for differences in degree, 
not in kind. It is a consequence of the vital union of 
true believers to Christ by virtue of which there belongs 
to all the same spiritual standing, the same privileges 
and prospects, and, as a matter of course, the same general 
obligations of duty. If every sincere Christian can say, 


I am one with Christ and have a personal interest in 
all that is his, there can manifestly be no essential differ 
ence between him and other believers ; and whatever may 
distinguish any one in particular, either as regards the 
call to work, or the capacity for work, in the Lord s ser 
vice, it must in kind belong to the whole community of 
the faithful, or else form but a subordinate characteristic. 
The ministry itself in its distinctive prerogatives and func 
tions is but the special embodiment and exhibition of those 
which pertain inherently to the church as Christ s spirit 
ual body. And the moment any one recognizes himself 
to be a living member of this body, it thenceforth becomes, 
not his right merely, but his bounden duty, to consider 
what part of its collective responsibilities lies at his door, 
or what part of its common vocation he should apply him 
self in some specific manner to fulfil. . . . The church 
collectively is the habitation of the Spirit ; so is the indi 
vidual believer. The works, which, as a believer, he is 
called to do in order to make his calling and election sure 
must be works of God ; and for one and all of them he 
needs the illuminating and strengthening agency of the 
Holy Spirit. Xo Christian parent within the private 
walks of domestic life can fulfil his obligations in regard 
to the godly upbringing of his children ; no Christian 
philanthropist, yearning over the miserable and degraded 
multitudes around him, can discharge the labors of love 
which the mercies of God in Christ impel him to under 
take in tlieir behalf ; no solitary individual, even, warring 
in his personal experiences with the solicitations of the 
flesh and of the power of evil in the world, can resist, 
and stand fast, and do the will of God, except by re 
ceiving gifts of grace to qualify him for the work, and 
to render the work itself serviceable to the end toward 
which it is directed. In short, all who would serve their 
generation according to the will of God must stand in 
living connection with the heavenly world. Their call 
ing as the Lord s servants warrants them to expect, and, 
if they succeed in that calling, their success proves them 
to have received, grace for spiritual work ; in which re- 


spect, therefore, they are vessels of honor fitted for the 
Master s use, and partakers of the blessing." 1 

Is it not possible to go further than this, and say that 
men are called of God not only to work which is dis 
tinctively religious, but to all other kinds of honest and 
beneficent work ? Is not every man who helps to increase 
the sum total of human welfare a co-worker with God? 
Has any man a right to engage in any kind of labor in any 
other than a consecrated spirit ? Is the work of the min 
istry distinguished in this respect from the work of the 
teacher, or the artist, or the mechanic? "Whatsoever 
ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto 
men, for ye serve the Lord Christ." This is the apostolic 
conception. That every good man s work is a divine vo 
cation is what he ought to believe. But the evidence that 
God has called him to this work must be gathered from 
various sources. It will not do for him to depend on 
supposed intimations and impressions ; these are often mis 
leading. A strong inclination to undertake the work is, 
indeed, the primary indication of a divine call. Where 
such an inclination to the work does not exist in the man s 
heart, there is no evidence that God has called him to the 

But an inclination is not enough. There must be a 
love of the work itself, not a hankering after its per 
quisites, the position it offers, the gains and emoluments 
it promises. In the case of the ministry there must be a 
genuine passion for righteousness, and a strong desire to 
lead men into the knowledge and the joy of the Lord, 
and an unconquerable faith in the Kingdom that cannot 
be moved. 

There must also be a reasonable assurance on the part 
of the candidate that lie possesses the qualifications of 
body and mind and heart for which this work specially 
calls. It is manifest that the mental and social equipment 
for a salesman or a banker or a draughtsman would be dif 
ferent from that required in a minister ; and a man ought 
to be able to judge his own abilities, and to determine 

1 Pastoral Theology, pp. 62-66. 


whether he possesses a natural fitness for the work of the 

When any man can answer these questions satisfactorily, 
what is sometimes described as the inward call may be 
regarded as sufficient. l>ut in every vocation the inward 
call must be corrected or confirmed by the outward call. 
If a man thinks himself called to the vocation of a teacher 
or an engineer, and, after his best exertions in this direc 
tion, can get no one to employ him in his chosen work, it 
is rational for him to conclude that he is mistaken in re 
gard to the call. So if a man thinks himself called to 
preach, and can find no one who wishes to hear him preach, 
he ought to decide that the inward call was misunderstood. 


Thus it is plain that, whatever a man s inward impulses 
may be, he is compelled to test his inspirations by the 
judgment of his fellow men. And the Christian Church 
has wisely provided that this double test shall be applied. 
No minister ought to undertake the work unless he be 
lieves that he has a divine vocation; but he ought to sub 
mit this conviction of his to the approval of his brethren. 
Whether this approval is given by the church that calls 
him, or by the presbytery, or by the conference, or by the 
bishop, is a secondary matter ; it is well that other clear 
and judicious minds should confirm his choice and send 
him forth with their blessing into the work of the ministry. 
Thus it is (dear that the minister is both the servant of 
the church and the ambassador of Christ. This twofold 
relation he must always recognize. He must preach the 
preaching that (rod bids him, yet lie must wait upon the 
church to do the work to which it has called him. It is 
evident that, as the truth which he is to teach is divine 
truth, he should expect to receive his message direct from 
God, through prayer and meditation and the study of 
eveiy word that proceedeth out of the month of God. 
The prophets of all the ages have been men who spoke; the 
word given them by God, whether men would hear or for 
bear. The preacher who inquires only what his people 
wish to hear, and adjusts his message to their demand, may 
often prove a blind leader of the blind. The truth which 


they need is often the very truth which they do not de 
sire. As preacher, the final responsibility rests with him. 
They have called him to be their teacher because they 
credited him with ability to teach; if he does not bring 
them a message from God, he is not faithful to the trust 
which they have reposed in him. The physician who in 
quires what is agreeable to his patient, rather than what 
is good for him, is false to his profession. So the pastor 
who is loyal to his flock will hearken most diligently for 
the word that God may give him. 

Still, the wise pastor will listen also to the voice of his 
people. They, too, are the people of God ; many of them, 
no doubt, are serious and consecrated men and women; 
it is by their godly judgment that he has been put into the 
pastorate ; God is speaking to them as well as to him ; and 
sometimes they, or some of them, may hear the word not less 
distinctly than he hears it. If those among them whom 
he believes to be intelligent and devout should question his 
message, it would not be a sufficient reason why he should 
recall it, but it would be a good reason why lie should 
carefully reconsider it. After all objections have been duly 
weighed, he may still find that he cannot modify it, and 
he must be faithful to the truth that God has given him. 
But it will often be the case that the pastor will learn 
much from those to whom he ministers. " Let him that is 
taught," says Paul, " communicate unto him that teacheth 
in all good things." 1 

Such, then, is the nature of the relation between the 
pastor and his people. He ought to be regarded by them 
neither as a mere employee, nor yet as a master, but as 
their spiritual guide and fellow helper in the Gospel. He 
is their minister, but in a sense which they must never dis 
regard he is the bond-servant of Another; it is because 
they believed and wished him to be such that they laid 
their hands upon him. This character they must respect 
in him, so long as they believe him to possess it. If he is 
not to them the mouthpiece of the Divine Wisdom, he is 
not the man they want for their pastor ; if this is his high 

1 Gal. vi. 6. 


calling, they should listen to the truth he brings them, and 
the demands lie makes upon them, never with abject and 
unreasoning submission, always with wakeful and discrim 
inating minds, but with docile tempers and readiness to 
know and follow the truth. 

The ideal relation between the pastor and his flock will 
thus be seen to be founded upon their common relation to 
the Head of the church. The minister and those to whom 
he ministers all are called with a heavenly calling. All 
of them are about their Father s business. The minister is 
a servant of (rod ; so is the man who walks in the furrow 
or pushes the plane : so is the woman u who sweeps a room 
as for (rod s laws." All are in some true measure in 
spired, but none is infallible ; each has need to correct, 
by comparison with the truth given to others, his own 
inspirations : 

For all \ve have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool." : 

The refractions of our human imperfection make but 
broken lights of our best intuitions. And therefore pastor 
and people will dwell together in mutual confidence and 
expectation, each waiting for any word that the other may 
receive, all remembering that God is the author, not of 
confusion, but of peace in all the churches of the saints; 
and that all the messages which he has inspired must agree 
with one another. 

But how shall this relation between minister and people 
be formed? Every chureh needs a pastor, and every min 
ister wants a church. Sometimes the two are long sepa 
rated. How can they wisely be brought together? How 
shall the church find a minister, and the minister a church? 
In most established churches this is not a practical ques 
tion. As there are social systems under which a maiden 
has little to say in the choice of her husband, so there are 
ecclesiastical systems under which the church is furnished 
with a pastor without asking its consent. Doubtless some 
thing can be said in defence of both these dispensations ; 

1 Tennyson, The Hit/her Pantheism. 


we are not here disputing the validity of either. The 
Anglican Church numbers more than eleven thousand par 
ishes; for about a thousand of these the Crown provides 
pastors ; twelve hundred or more look to bishops or arch 
bishops for their leaders ; deans and chapters have the 
choice in about eight hundred cases ; other dignitaries in 
about eighteen hundred, colleges in seven hundred, and 
private patrons in about six thousand. This last category 
includes all parishes in which the owners of estates are 
charged with the payment of the salaries of incumbents ; 
to the proprietor belongs the right of nomination. Neither 
the church, nor the bishop of the diocese, has much voice 
in the matter ; the patron has it all his own way. 

For a long time patronage prevailed also in the Church 
of Scotland, though here some form of consulting the 
people must be gone through with ; it was a dispute about 
the force which should be allowed to the popular veto upon 
the choice of the patron that led to the Disruption of 1843, 
and the establishment of the Free Church. In 1874, pat 
ronage was abolished in the Church of Scotland ; the people 
now choose their own ministers under certain conditions. 

In the Protestant Churches of Germany, Sweden, and 
Denmark this right of patronage exists, subject to some 
important modifications ; the consistory is generally allowed 
some voice in the selection of the pastor. 

In some of the Protestant churches of America provision 
is made, by the polity of the church, for furnishing every 
congregation with a minister. The Methodist Episcopal 
Church puts the whole power into the hands of its bishops. 
But even when the ecclesiastical rules are definite, the 
principle of natural selection often proves too strong for 
the church machinery, and the best pulpits are apt to be 
filled by the choice of the congregation. It is a rule almost 
universal in American Protestant churches that the local 
church has the virtual control of its own pastorate. The 
selection of a pastor then becomes an important practical 
question, the most important question with which any 
church has to deal. How shall the church find its pastor ? 

It would seem reasonable, to begin with, that the church 


should come to a good understanding with itself as to what 
kind of man it wants for a pastor. Too much is generally 
left, in such cases, to mere instinctive impressions and 

The first qualification commonly demanded is preaching 
ability. And this, when rightly conceived, is indeed a 
capital qualification. The church is yet, and probably will 
always be, a teaching body; efficient and adequate pulpit 
power is therefore always to be considered in calling a 
pastor. It is only to be remembered that the main tiling 
in a religious teacher is not elegance of manner or elocu 
tionary brilliancy, but the power of conveying spiritual 
truth to the minds and hearts of his hearers. The tempta 
tion is strong to choose the man whose discourses cause his 
hearers to exclaim, * k How fine! how eloquent!" instead of 
the man whose sober words lead them to search their own 
hearts, and stir them to new efforts and larger sacrifices. 
The preacher who promises to (ill the pews and swell the 
revenues is too apt to be chosen, without much reference 
to his spiritual thoroughness. There is need of much seri 
ous thought and prayer when the church is looking for 
a preacher. 

The social gifts of a pastor are also to be considered. 
He ought to be a courteous and kindly man, with some 
genius for friendship, with the power of drawing to him 
self the old and the young, and the strangers within and 
without the gates. The qualities which inspire not only 
respect, but confidence and affection, are greatly to be 
desired in a pastor. 

It will be well also, if lie possess some good knowledge 
of human nature, and something of that saving sense of 
humor which serves as a lubricant of life s frictions. 

It is involved in what has been said alrcadv. that, before 
all things else, he must be a genuine Christian man. who 
believes from his heart the word that he will preach, who 
knows by heart the Master whom he seeks to commend, 
and whose deepest purpose it is to seek first the Kingdom 
of God and his righteousness. 

But if this is a working church, one of the prime quali- 


fications of the pastor will be leadership. The question 
whether he is a man who possesses the gift of organization, 
and the power of enlisting others in the work of the church, 
would seem to be very important. The relation of the 
superintendent of a factory to the work of the factory is 
not in all respects similar to the relation of a pastor to a 
church ; but there is, after all, an important analogy. So 
far as the church is to be considered as a working body, 
the question about the pastor is simply, not how much nor 
how good work he will do himself, but how much he will 
get the church to do. And we have seen that the new and 
higher conception of the church is that it is primarily a 
working body ; that it is formed not mainly of those who 
seek to be fed and ministered unto, but of those who are 
working together to extend the Kingdom of God. The 
church which has attained unto this conception of its own 
vocation will emphasize in its choice of a pastor the func 
tion of leadership. 

Having determined what manner of man it would have 
for its pastor, the church sets forth in search of him. In 
some of our American communions at the present time, 
there is no need that the church shall go far from its own 
doors after a candidate. As soon as the vacancy in its 
pastorate becomes known sometimes long before it is 
known, even when it is first anticipated, the candidates 
come flying as a cloud, and as the doves to its windows. 
It is soon suffering from an embarrassment of riches. 
And the need of a sober judgment and a firm will in 
dealing with this problem must soon be manifest. 

In independent churches a committee is generally formed 
to whom the matter of procuring a candidate is intrusted ; 
in other churches the permanent officers the session, or 
the vestry, or the consistory, or the official board may 
act for the church. It would seem to be wise, whenever 
the rules of the church permit, that a special committee 
for this purpose be carefully selected, representing all the 
different elements of which the church is composed and 
embodying in itself the best wisdom of the organization. 

To the candidates brought to its notice the committee 


should faithfully apply such standards as we have, just 
been considering, and when the minister is found who 
seems to promise a fair measure of conformity to them, 
Ills name, with the facts which the committee has learned 
about him, should be reported to the chuivh. It would 
In; well, of course, if some or all of the committee could 
first see him in some pulpit, and become acquainted with 
him, that they may testify concerning him not from hear 
say merely, but from personal knowledge. 

The question whether the candidate should be invited 
to preach in the church before the invitation is extended 
to him is one to which it is not possible to give a positive 
answer. If the candidate is a man well known in all the 
churches, such an exhibition of himself seems quite super 
fluous. Kven if he is not well known, the practice of 
requiring him to preach before the church is often of doubt 
ful expediency. The test is apt to be unfair. The better 
preacher lie is, the less likely is he to be quite himself in 
such an ordeal. The consciousness that he is on exhibi 
tion is not conducive to the highest spiritual frame in the 
best preacher. The knowledge that his own personal for 
tunes are in any way affected by the work that he is doing 
needs to be put far away from him. The church that 
insists on hearing a candidate has, therefore, adopted a 
method by which its own ends are apt to be defeated. 
Still, it is possible for a good man to forget himself in 
such an emergency, and there can be no doubt that many 
happy pastorates have been initiated by this method. 
"When one is professedly preaching to do good," says 
Professor "NVillcox, "it must be an awkward matter to 
preach for a position. But there are alleviations. You 
are not mercenary in seeking a pulpit. You can honestly 
say, I seek not yours, but you/ Then, too, it is as much 
in the line of (iod s ordering that you should pi-each on 
trial as that you should afterward preach as a pastor. 
Therefore thoroughly prepare for the service, commend 
yourself to God for his presence and his grace, and then, 
as far as possible forgetting yourself, aim to benefit your 
hearers. The best of them will be looking for a man who 


hides behind his Master and throws his heart into his 
message." 1 But it is safe to say that, on the whole, it is 
not only less embarrassing for the minister, but wiser for 
the church, if the whole matter be intrusted to a large and 
judicious committee, upon whose report, without further 
investigation, the church consents to act. 

Should a vacant church, in any case, make overtures 
to the minister of another church ? Here, also, it is not 
wise to lay down hard and fast rules. Ordinarily, it is 
not best to disturb with suggestions of removal a pastor 
who is happily at work. Yet this cannot be erected into 
a maxim. It may happen that a church in search of a 
pastor will find in some comparatively obscure and unim 
portant place a man to whom it can offer a far larger op 
portunity ; and it cannot be wrong for the church to make 
this offer. Paul may have been contentedly working at 
Troas, but the vision of the man from Macedonia who 
said, " Come over and help us," constrained him to arise 
and depart. In such a case the voice of the people may 
be the voice of God. When the Church of the Pilgrims 
in Brooklyn found its present pastor comfortably settled 
in his Massachusetts parish, it ought not to have been pre 
cluded, by any notion of the exclusive right of a church 
to its pastor, from calling him to the position which he 
has filled for so many years with honor. No church pos 
sesses any exclusive right to any minister. The interests 
of the Kingdom of Heaven are paramount. Every man 
ought to be in the place where, on the whole, his service 
can be most effective. A vacant church may act, consci 
entiously, on this principle, in calling to its service the 
pastor of another church ; and it is fair to presume, when 
such a call is given, that this motive has entered into the 
transaction. It is true that churches, like individuals, 
may act selfishly, that the main consideration may be the 
social aggrandizement of the local church making the call ; 
but that ought not to be assumed, nor charged without 
abundant evidence. 

Churches thus dispossessed of their pastors are apt to 

1 The Pastor amidst his Flock, p. 24. 


make complaints which imply a sweeping accusation against 
all churches and all ministers. They say that the pastor 
has been tolled away by the offer of a higher salary and 
a more conspicuous position ; they resent this trespass on 
their demesne, and denounce the perpetrators of it. All 
this indicates not merely a bad temper, but a sad estimate 
of the motives governing Christian people in their work. 
If, indeed, their pastor is a man who can be induced to 
to abandon the post of duty by sordid or selfish consider 
ations, why should they wish to retain him? lias not 
the church that drew away from them a false and fickle 
shepherd done them the greatest possible service ? Their 
pastor has gone from them either for selfish or for unself 
ish reasons. If his reasons are unselfish, the} have no 
right to complain ; if they are selfish, it is absurd for them 
to complain. 

It must, however, be said that the vacant church, which 
thus seeks to remove from his field of labor a pastor in 
active service, ought to be sure that it is acting consci 
entiously in the matter. It must not assume that, because 
its congregation is large and its position is more conspicu 
ous, it offers necessarily a more important post of duty. 
The work which this minister is performing may be so 
fruitful, and his adaptation to it so peculiar, that any at 
tempt to draw him away from it would be manifestly 
wrong. Every church must proceed in this business with 
a deep and prayerful sense of its responsibility, not for 
its own welfare alone, but for the interests of its sister 
church and of the Kingdom of I leaven. To build it 
self up by pulling down other churches is not the prin 
ciple on which it is founded. It is surely possible for a 
Christian church to understand and observe, in its rela 
tions with its sister churches, the law of Christ the Lord. 

The question whether, in the formation of the pastoral 
relation, the initiative should be taken by the church or 
by the minister is one of some practical interest. Ordi 
narily, it would appear, the church should be first to 
act. Although to the church the feminine pronoun is 
applied, custom seems to require that the proposition 


should come from her and not from him. There is a 
seeming indelicacy in the direct approach by a minister 
to a church. The decisive action must be taken by the 
church, and for this reason the overture should, ordinarily, 
come from the church. 

The normal condition of the minister s mind in this 
matter would seem to be one of passivity. It is natural, 
under the law of the Kingdom, for him to say, "I am 
where I am, because God has placed me here ; I would 
not have come hither unless there had seemed to be provi 
dential leadings ; I ought to stay here until Providence 
makes it clear that he wants me somewhere else. When 
I am sure that he has called me to a more important or 
more difficult work I will go." This is not always the 
proper attitude of the minister s mind, for Providence may 
have made it plain to him that he might probably do 
better work elsewhere, before Providence has shown him 
the opening. And therefore it may sometimes be his duty 
to seek a change. The conditions of his health, or of that 
of his family, may indicate the wisdom of such a change ; 
he may have discovered that the peculiar kind of work 
required in his present parish is work to which he is im 
perfectly adapted ; he may know, by a careful study of his 
own capabilities, that he could do more effective work in 
a different field ; he may feel that the opportunity to 
employ elsewhere the intellectual capital which he has 
accumulated here, would set him free for other highly 
important services which here he cannot render. And 
therefore he may wisely desire a change, although he feels 
that it would be unwise for him to abandon his present 
work, and indelicate for him to offer his services to any 
vacant church. It is this state of things which makes it 
lawful and expedient to give to the vacant church the 
right to open negotiations with the pastor in active ser 
vice. Often it finds a man in precisely this state of mind, 
and its inquiry opens to him a clear path of duty. But it 
need not be laid down as a universal rule that the minister 
must always wait until the church has spoken. " Should 
one seek for a pulpit, or passively wait till Providence 


opens the way for it?" is a question which Professor Will- 
cox puts into the mouth of a theological student. And 
his answer is : " Faith is not inactive. Faith and works 
belong together. But do not apply in person to a vacant 
church. Commonly it would prejudice your case. Some 
pastor or theological teacher can be found to introduce 
you." l The customs of the churches being what they are, 
this would seem to be the proper principle of action. The 
minister who has determined that a change of parish would 
be wise for him can usually, without any indelicacy, make 
that decision known to a judicious friend, who will see 
that his name is properly presented to vacant churches. 

One rule is to be always observed, both by the vacant 
church and by the ministerial candidate. No church 
should enter into negotiations with a second candidate 
while it has one before it whose case is not yet determined; 
and no minister should permit himself to be considered as 
a candidate by a church until he is positively assured that 
that church is negotiating with no candidate with respect 
to whom it has not reached a decision. The plainest dic 
tates of good sense and Christian decency should enforce 
upon every church the rule of one candidate at a time, and 
should require every minister to see to it that the church 
lives up to this rule. Nothing is more scandalous than that 
a church should pass through its pulpit a line of candidates, 
suspending judgment upon them until it lias heard a con 
siderable number, and then picking and choosing among 
them. Into such a competition no self-respecting minister 
will consent to go. Out of such conflicts over candidates, 
the bitterest and most disgraceful church quarrels often 
arise. The church should permit but one name at a time to 
be presented to it ; not until it has determined that it does 
not want this man, should it open negotiations with any 
other man, or permit him to appear in its pulpit as a pos 
sible candidate. The condition into which churches are 
sometimes thrown by long periods of candidating, and of 
disputation over candidates is melancholy in the extreme. 
The whole attitude of the congregation becomes critical 

1 The Pastor amidst his Flock, p. 24. 


and captious ; the people come to listen, not with devout 
and receptive minds, but with itching ears ; sesthetical 
standards replace spiritual standards ; the question, " How 
much good can I find in this message ? " is overlaid by the 
question, "How do I like this messenger?" Add to this 
the disagreements and alienations which such strife in 
volves, and a state of things is revealed which offers an 
unpromising field to the wisest and most devoted pastor. 

Yet it is quite possible that the experience of seeking a 
minister should bind the church together in a closer fellow 
ship, and deepen the sources of its spiritual power. Cases 
are not unknown in which the church left vacant has come 
together in a prayerful spirit, and has sought so earnestly 
to be divinely guided in its search for a pastor that a new 
baptism of love and gentle consideration has descended 
upon it; all its deliberations have been full of harmony 
and sweet reasonableness ; each has sought to conform his 
choice to the will of the others, and to make the general 
good rather than his personal preference the standard of 
his judgment, and when the new pastor has come, he has 
found a warm welcome from a united and happy church. 

One word of caution is not superfluous. No church 
should admit to its pulpit, no, not for a single service, a 
man who does not come with the clearest and amplest and 
most recent credentials of ministerial standing. However 
it may be in other lands, it is true that in the United States 
not a few ministerial vagrants are abroad, and many of 
them are plausible villains, with smooth tongues and tak 
ing ways, who are able to do incalculable injury to those 
churches which harbor them even for a day. " These are 
they that creep into houses and lead captive silly women," 
and no less silly men ; and the church that unwittingly 
gives them a footing is apt to repent, at its leisure, of its 
unwise hospitality. The pains that are taken by most 
Christian communions to keep the lists of their ministers 
clean, and to allow no discredited name upon them, are 
not needless ; the purpose is to protect the churches against 
adventurers. It is easy for any man who has a right to 
the confidence of his brethren to bring clear and ample 


evidence of the fact. The papers should be recent, .and 
explicit; it would be better if testimony as to their genuine 
ness should be furnished by some neighboring minister of 
the same communion. Simple carelessness about this on 
the part of church officials has resulted, not seldom, in the 
blighting of characters, the blasting of lives, and the rend 
ing of the church in twain. For it is a melancholy fact 
that the most obvious scoundrel, if he be a fluent and in 
sinuating person, is generally able to attach to himself 
and to lead away a considerable portion of almost any 
congregation. Important churches in the United States 
have been divided by men whose proper place was the 
penitentiary. It is a grave responsibility which is taken 
by church officers who admit an unknown or doubtful 
candidate to the pulpit of their church. 

One or two other matters of practical interest should 
be referred to. The question may arise whether a call 
which is not unanimous should be accepted. The answer 
of Professor Willcox is, on the whole, judicious : - That 
depends. Ask several questions. How large is the mi 
nority? Are they persons of weight or influence? Are 
they obstinate or reasonable? Is their opposition based 
on reasons that you can probably remove ? Seek candid 
answers to these questions. Seek them not only from 
your friends, but directly from the objectors themselves. 
But avoid implying that you submit to the objectors the 
decision of the matter. If you conclude to accept the 
call, give your first attention, after settlement, to the mi 
nority. As the foremost duty conciliate them. Many a 
pastor soon has a united church split into factions. Muny 
a pastor who begins his work with a divided church soon 
lias them harmoniously united." l The only qualification 
needful here is that the efforts at conciliation of the mi 
nority, after settlement, should not be too demonstrative. 
It is rather better to assume that there is no minority, and 
to treat those who were supposed to constitute it with 
the same consideration and courtesy that are offered to the 

1 The Pastor amidst his Flock, p. 27. 


Another question concerns the temporalities. The min 
ister is a man amongst men, with what are known as secu 
lar obligations and responsibilities, with physical needs, with 
a family, presumably, to provide for, and it is one of the 
prime necessities of his position that he meet all the just 
demands of his neighbors, promptly and honestly. One 
thing that cannot be tolerated in any minister of Christ 
is financial looseness or irregularity. The minister who 
is always in debt, and who leaves a legacy of unpaid 
claims behind him in every parish is never able, by the elo 
quence of the pulpit, to counteract the damage done by 
his example. Therefore, as a matter of course, the min 
ister must be enabled, by his people, to provide things 
honest in the sight of all men. It is not necessary that 
the stipend should be large, for the actual necessaries of 
life cost but little ; but it is necessary on the part of the 
minister that he should live within his income, be it larsre 


or small, and it is necessary on the part of the people that 
it be promptly paid. A fair and explicit understanding 
on this matter between minister and people is advisable, 
at the outset. The minister may wisely say, "I propose, 
with the favor of God, to owe no man anything but love ; 
therefore I hope that my people will not permit themselves 
to be in any other kind of debt to me." It is generally 
far easier for the church to meet engagements of this na 
ture promptly than to bring up large arrearages ; to insist 
upon a business-like policy is to lighten the burden of the 
church. There is often a woful lack of common honesty 
in the administration of church finances, and the influence 
of the church is greatly impaired thereby. It is not well 
that the minister should be burdened with the financial 
administration ; the less he needs to know about it, the 
better ; but, on the other hand, there are certain princi 
ples of punctuality and probity which the church ought 
to observe in all its business relations, and it is not to the 
credit of the minister if these principles are violated. He 
is bound to see that the administration of church affairs 
conforms to the highest principles of morality. 



THE Christian minister is first of all a student. This 
is, indeed, the primary designation of all followers of 
Christ. Before they were called Christians at Antioch 
they were called disciples in Jerusalem, in Capernaum, and 
along the hanks of the Jordan. The great name of the 
Founder of Christianity is Master, that is, Teacher ; and 
the generic description of those who hear his name is dis 
ciple, that is, student. "To this end have I been born," 
said the Christ, " and to this end have I come into the 
world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every 
one that is of the truth heareth my voice." 

When we are told by the Lord himself that the disciple 
must le as his Master, it is involved in that saying that 
the student must become a teacher ; it is for this that he 
studies, that he may be qualified to teach. The Master 
himself was a learner before he was a Teacher. As a 
child he advanced in wisdom and in stature : " They found 
him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, 
both hearing them and asking them questions." l And 
his method throughout his earthly ministry was that of 
the teacher. He "went about in all Galilee, teaching in 
their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the King 
dom/ 2 And his great discourse was delivered after the 
manner of an instructor rather than an orator; "when he 
had sat down," - the posture of the teacher, "his dis 
ciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth and 
taught them." And to those who had been sitting at his 
feet lie said when he sent them forth, " Freely ye received, 
freely give." 3 He who teaches must tirst be a student, 
and he studies that he may teach. 

1 Luke ii. 4G. 2 Mutt. iv. 23. 8 Matt. x. 8. 


We need not forget that the Christian minister has 
other functions than that of the didactic instructor. He 
is, to begin with, to be a living illustration of the truth 
which he teaches. Unless it can be said, with some good 
measure of verity, of him as of his Master, " He is the 
truth," his teaching will not be influential. He must 
have digested and assimilated the vital word which he tries 
to utter ; it must have become bone of his bone and 
flesh of his flesh, else it will have but little power on his 

There is also that great work of evangelism which is 
sometimes distinguished from the work of teaching, and 
there is a sense in which the distinction may be main 
tained. Christ said, " Go ye therefore and make disciples 
of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost ; teach 
ing them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded 
you." 1 Men were to be made disciples, and then to be 
taught ; that is to say, they were first to be enlisted and 
enrolled, and then instructed. In a certain large sense 
this ought always to be true. The greater part of the in 
struction which men receive follows rather than precedes 
the date of their discipleship. They become disciples not 
because they are fully instructed, but because they desire 
instruction. The preaching which awakens in their minds 
this desire is what we rightly call evangelistic preaching. 
And yet there is, in these days, a great deal of the element 
of teaching in the best of the evangelistic preaching. It 
is difficult to separate, in fact, the function of the teacher 
from that of the evangelist. It is unfortunate for both of 
them when they are separated. The evangelist who does 
not care to teach is apt to become a bad kind of sentimen 
talist ; and the teacher who has no evangelistic fervor is 
apt to degenerate into a critic or an essayist. 

The minister, as we have seen, and shall further see, 
is also a leader of men, an organizer and inspirer of spir 
itual activities. And yet this is all to come as the result 
of his teaching, because the truth which he has im- 

1 Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. 


parted to his hearers has awakened in them the desire of 
service, and has pointed out to them the work that needs 
to be done. In order that this desire of theirs may be 
sane and healthful, and in order that his leadership may 
be wise and effective, there is need that he should be a 
patient and faithful .student. The man of God who is 
" furnished completely unto every good work " must be 
a patient and thorough student. He must not only know 
his books, he must know men; he must be familiar with 
the experience of the world; he must be able to avoid, 
in his leadership, the rocks and shoals on which many 
generous enterprises have been wrecked. Thus it becomes 
evident that before he can be a good leader he must be a 
patient learner. 

It may be said, however, that the function of the Chris 
tian minister is mainly that of the prophet ; that his equip 
ment for his task must come, not through study but through 
inspiration ; that the truth which lie is to teach and the 
wisdom by which lie is to guide will be given him directly 
from heaven ; that the true Word of God which it is his 
vocation to declare and incarnate is immediately communi 
cated to those who have the spirit of faith; that there 
fore study is superfluous ; that meditation and prayer are 
the only true methods of preparation for the minister s 
work. It is scarcely needful to confute this crude con 
ception, but it may be well to give a little thought to the 
necessary relation between study and inspiration. That 
the relation has long been recognized among rational men 
may be suggested by the fact that in the days when the 
prophetic function was most exalted among the Hebrews 
there were schools of the prophets. Even then some study 
was deemed necessary to (it a man to be a prophet. If 
it is the breath within the flute that makes the melody, 
there is still need of much careful fashioning of the flute 
before it receives the breath. 

The fact of inspiration the immediate communication 
of the truth and life of God to the soul of the preacher 
is indeed the one great fact that none must miss. For 
every preacher there is access to the very heart of the 


spiritual reality. Prophets we must be, and not mere 
reciters of traditions learned by rote. It is only when 

" The finger of God, a flash of the Will that can, 
Existent behind all laws," J 

touches our lips that we speak with authority. A strong 
statement of this need is found in Mr. Robert F. Morton s 
Vcrbum Dei. The possibility of inspiration, the truth that 
even in these days the Word of God is nigh to the mouth 
and the heart of every devout man, the fact that the 
preacher is not called merely to report what he has been 
taught that some one once knew about God and his King 
dom, but what he himself knows about it, all this is here 
set forth most impressively. Whatever reservations one 
may wish to make concerning some of these statements, 
he will feel, as he reads these burning pages, that the 
prophetic function is not wholly obsolete. And yet it will 
also be clear that this mystic has not disregarded the in 
tellectual discipline by which the prophet is prepared to 
receive the message. Every page gives evidence of patient 
and profound study. Language, philosophy, history, lit 
erature, all have helped to furnish the transparent medium 
through which the winged word flies to its mark. The 
vivid metaphor, the felicitous phrase, the just discrimina 
tion, the vital analogy, could not have been given to an 
untrained mind. So it must always be. If the message 
comes from God, the form which the message takes must 
be largely determined by the dimensions and the furniture 
of the mind through which it is communicated. 

Language is the instrument by which the greater part 
of the minister s work is done. If he has a message to 
deliver, it will be conveyed in the forms of human speech. 
The Word of God must reach the minds of men through 
the language of men. All revelation, all inspiration, is 
conditioned by this fact. There can be no more revela 
tion than there is language to convey. A truth for which 
no word-mould has been prepared is a truth that can 
not be directly communicated. Every written or spoken 
revelation consists of words ; and the words are manu- 

1 Browning, Abt Vogler. 


factured by men. The relation of this fact to the theory 
of an inerrant revelation ought to be well considered. 
That a revelation absolutely without flaw could be given 
through a medium so cloudy, by an instrument so inexact, 
so full of imperfection, so constantly undergoing repair, as 
human lan<mage is and must be, could be maintained by 

o o / 

no one who has the slightest acquaintance with philology. 
The revelation may be sufficient for all the purposes of 
the spiritual life, its very imperfection may adapt it to 
our needs, but infallible it cannot be. 

Nevertheless, this instrument of human language, intri 
cate and complex in its structure, constantly changing in 
its forms, growing as human experience grows, always ap 
proaching that perfection which it can never reach, this 
is the instrument by which the truth of God is conveyed 
to the mind of man ; and it is also the instrument by 
m -ans of which men communicate with one another. It 
goes without saying that the better a man understands the 
instrument, the more familiar he is with its structure and 
its possibilities, the more perfectly he can convey his own 
conceptions to the minds of other men. And it is not less 
true that the Spirit of all truth can use the mind thus 
trained and equipped to convey messages which could not 
be given to minds less perfectly furnished. One of the first 
tilings that Paul found to thank God for, when he began 
to write his first letter to the Corinthians, was that they 
had been enriched in ( hrist Jesus " in all utterance, and in 
all knowledge." The enrichment of our utterance, the 
improvement of all those faculties by which thought finds 
expression, this must ever be a large part of the duty of 
all who desire to be the messengers of (rod to men. 

The fact of inspiration is, therefore, and must always be, 
a very homely, familiar fact. It was so in the days of the 
prophets and apostles, it Avill be so in the millennium, it 
ought to be so now. The primary reason why more of the 
Word of God has come to us through Isaiah and Paul than 
through other men is that the minds of Isaiah and Paul 
were better fitted to receive these sublime truths than the 
minds of other men. This fitness may have been due in 


part to providential causes, but it must have been largely 
explained by the thoroughness with which they had pre 
pared themselves for such mediumship. 

The laws which govern the inspiration of the prophet 
must be in many respects similar to those which govern 
the inspiration of the artist. The artist must become 
familiar with the forms by which beauty, the beauty of 
which his art is the vehicle, finds its best expression. 
Long and painful courses of discipline are needful in order 
that he may gain the power of utterance. There is a lan 
guage for him to learn, and the task is difficult and tedious. 
We have been told that poets are born, not made ; but if 
this implies that all their powers are the gift of nature, 
and that none of them is due to training, it is far from the 
truth. The poet, for his part, was first compelled to learn 
the language in which he writes ; a great deal of patient 
training was expended on him by his mother, and his nurse, 
and all the household, before he was able to articulate the 
simplest words of our common speech. Later he was led 
by many tutors through the mysteries of alphabet and 
spelling-book and grammar; there is no royal road even 
for poets through these mysteries ; the knowledge must be 
gained by toil. After the rudiments of the language have 
been mastered, there is a great deal more for him to learn 
of the idioms and forms by means of which the spirit of 
beauty finds expression in language. And after the tech 
nique of his art, so to speak, has thus been acquired, if he 
is to be an interpreter of nature and of life and this, as 
we are taught, is the poet s function there will be room 
for long years of patient study of nature and of life before 
he will be able to interpret them to any clear purpose. 
Some men get this preliminary training more easily than 
others do, get it, indeed, almost unconsciously, but 
they must get it, before they can do genuine poetic work. 
And it is when, with faculties thus trained, with tastes 
thus purified, with vision thus sharpened, the poet stands 
in the presence of nature or of life that his inspiration be 
comes productive. The delight in beauty, the swift insight 
into truth, have found a voice. 


True it is that all this study and discipline would be 
worthless if through the forms thus furnished the spirit of 
life did not breathe. The inspiration is the essential thing. 
Life is diviner than form. Yet life is never formless. The 
poet s power is not all the gift of nature. The old adage 
is one of those vicious antitheses in which the tiling denied 


is not less true than the tiling affirmed. The poet is horn 
and made. His faculty is from nature, his facility is from 
art. The tuneful breath is divine, but the instrument 
through which it speaks is fashioned for its work by the 
care and skill of man. 

Of every kind of art this principle holds true. The 
musician must prepare himself by the same kind of disci 
pline. There is a certain manual facility which can be 
gained only by the most patient toil. Abt Vogler is right 
when he tells us by the lips of IJobert Browning that the 
melodies and harmonies that flood his thought as he sits 
improvising at the organ are not products of art; but if 
art had not had the training of his fingers they would 
never have found expression. 

The principle is not different in the case of the minister, 
even when we are thinking of his prophetic function. 
Prophecy is the divine Word spoken by the human voice, 
and the voice must be trained for speaking. Surely it 
must be to him who has most carefully disciplined both 
heart and mind by patient and long study of the truth 
within his reach, that the larger truth, the unifying truth, 
will be given, that the spirit of prophecy will be imparted 
in largest measure. Inspiration is not caprice: it must 
follow the law which conditions all divine intervention in 
behalf of men. The gods help those who help themselves. 
The grace of God is not given to relieve us from effort or 
to discharge us from responsibility, but to supplement our 
powers, and to stimulate our activity. Luther said that 
prayer is study, and it is true, Irnc orrissc est bcnc stu- 
duissc ; but it is not less true that study is prayer. The 
diligent preparation of the mind for the heavenly gifts 
is the indispensable condition of the bestowment of these 


The minister who has spent many years in the University 
and the Theological School has evinced his conviction that 
study is an essential part of the preparation for the work 
of the ministry. Possibly, however, there may lurk in the 
corner of some mind the notion that the period of prepara 
tion is the period of study, and that the pastorate will be 
devoted to other kinds of activity in which study will not 
be an essential part. The conception was once quite preva 
lent that when a man had passed through the professional 
school his education was substantially finished. That, in 
deed, has been, so far as the ministry is concerned, a pretty 
general understanding. It has often been supposed that 
the minister is taught in the theological school all that it 
is needful or proper for him to know ; that it is rather 
dangerous and even disloyal for him to venture beyond 
the boundaries there prescribed for his thought; that one 
of the chief functions of the theological seminary is to lead 
the student all round the field of investigation, and show 
him authoritatively the limitations thereof, and to say to 
him, " Thus far shalt tliou. go and no farther." But this 
phase of thought is becoming antiquated. Most of the 
younger ministers know that the teachings of the theologi 
cal institution are no more final than those of the academic 
department ; that the function of the divinity school, like 
that of every other school, is best fulfilled when it has 
taught us how to study. In the theological college the 
minister learns the use of the tools that he will be handling 
all his life. lie is not to spend his life in rehearsing the 
lessons that he learned there ; things new and old will 
come forth every week from his treasury. 

But if the divinity school is a place where we learn to 
study, it would seem that the subjects of study, after the 
work of the ministry is entered upon, would be likely to 
be, to a considerable extent, the same as those which oc 
cupied us in the preparatory period. We have not mas 
tered those subjects ; we have been fairly introduced to 
them ; we go on from the point at which the teachers 
leave us in the paths into which they have led us ; we 
proceed to build on the foundation which they have helped 


us to lay. Whatever it was worth our while to study in 
the days of preparation it will be worth our while to keep on 
studying after our work is begun. If Hebrew and Greek 
were wisely placed in the curriculum, the minister in his 
study cannot afford to drop them. Of course his manner 
of using these languages will be modified; he will not 
necessarily continue to study them philologically, there 
should, at any rate, be little need of studying them in this 
way ; he will employ them rather as the instruments of 
investigation; he will not study the ancient languages; 
he will study history and archaeology and sacred litera 
ture and theology by means of the ancient languages. 

Other studies of the professional school will be treated 
in the same manner. The author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews counsels those to whom he is writing to u leave 
the word of the beginning of Christ behind them, and 
press on to perfection. not laving over and over the 
foundations, but going on to build on the foundations. 1 This 
is the true method for the studious minister. The history 
of doctrine, the history of philosophv, are full of instruc 
tion; the light which they throw upon the evolution of 
belief is profitable for guidance: some general knowledge 
of the course which religious thought has followed, every 
Christian teacher ought to have. Hut it may be ques 
tioned whether the effort to trace the speculations of the 
church through all their vagaries is altogether worth 
while ; whether we have not expended upon the eluci 
dation of these erratic and fruitless efforts after religious 
certainty time that might have been more productively 
employed. A great deal of wood, hav, stubble, has been 
heaped together in past ages on the true foundation, and 
the lire of criticism has alreadv consumed the larger part 
of it : to what extent it is worth while for the working 
pastor to reconstruct, from their ashes, these vanished 
systems, is an open question. The thinking which has 
advanced to some sure conclusion may be profitably stud 
ied ; the thinking that conducts us into a ml <h sac or a 
bottomless bog may be safely neglected. Even in the divin- 
1 Heb. vi. 1, 2. K. V. Manj. 


ity school these studies of morbid theology and abortive 
philosophy might be wisely abbreviated ; outside the semi 
nary, the busy pastor is not likely to pursue them. It 
may sometimes be useful to know what not to believe, but 
the proper nutriment of faith is not negations. The value 
of contrast and comparison in elucidating truth is not to 
be denied, yet in our efforts to reach certainty we may 
easily spend too much time in the contemplation of what 
we know to be uncertainties. A sermon by a profound 
scholar was once preached in a New England church, 
from the text, " Where sin abounded grace did much more 
abound," and the preacher spent so much time in showing 
how sin had abounded, through the centuries, and made 
such an appalling picture of it, that he was by no means 
able, in the few minutes devoted to the other phrase, to 
counteract the impression ; so that his discourse, without 
his intending it, exactly contradicted his text, and left his 
hearers with the feeling that though grace had somewhat 
abounded, sin did always and everywhere exceedingly 
superabound. The laws of proportion must not be dis 
obeyed ; they should govern our studies as well as our 
speech; and they require that the great affirmations should 
always prevail ; that life and not death should evidently 
have the mastery ; that the things which cannot be shaken 
should occupy the uppermost place in all our thinking. 

Perhaps the same maxim will relegate studies of an 
apologetic nature to a secondary place. If it is not wise 
to fill our minds with the futile speculations of past centu 
ries, it may not be wise to spend a great deal of time on 
the doubts and denials of the present century. Too much 
stress must not be laid on this admonition, for the present 
difficulties of many minds in every intelligent congrega 
tion must be met by the preacher, and if the preacher is 
to meet them he must understand them. But when a man 
begins to preach the Gospel the great underlying verities 
of the Kingdom of Heaven ought to be settled in his mind 
beyond questioning ; it should not be necessary for him to 
keep convincing himself that they are true. That will 
not be a fruitful ministry which is continually digging up 
the germinal truth to see if it is alive. 


As to the directions which the minister s study should 
take, it is possible to speak only in a general way. But 
there are two main lines which he may profitably follow 
in his studies. The problems about which his thought 
will chiefly revolve are the problems of the soul and the 
problems of society. 

By problems of the soul are intended those which relate 
to the fundamental facts of character, ethical and spir 
itual, rather than ontological questions. The existence of 
the spiritual realm and the main facts of that realm are 
the postulates of the pastor s problems. That love and 
not law is the heart of the universe ; that there is a con 
scious God, our Father, who loves men and seeks their 
welfare ; that between the spirit of man and the Spirit of 
God there may be fellowship and communion, so that 
light and help and peace and power can How from the 
grace that abounds to the need that implores ; that man 
is a free spirit whose choices determine his own destiny, 
all this is assumed. Any man who is in doubt on any of 
these propositions stultities himself by accepting the ollice 
of a Christian pastor. His problem is not to assure him 
self of these things, but to bring them home to the lives 
of men. 

This involves, first, a patient study of the facts of human 
nature. The men and women and children of his parish 
and his vicinage will be the principal objects of his study. 
He is likely to find a great variety of types among them 
and all sorts of tendencies; the laws of character are work 
ing themselves out before his eyes ; he will see some sowing 
to the flesh and reaping corruption, and others sowing to 
the spirit and reaping life everlasting; retribution will 
not be an obscure fact to a minister who keeps his eves 
open; redemption should not he. A most fascinating 
study is this to which his vocation calls him ; it uncov 
ers many painful facts ; it raises many hard questions ; 
but it is more interesting and more significant than any 
other subject which can engage the human intellect. And 
every minister can be and must be an original investiga 
tor. Genuine laboratory work is demanded of him. He 


must not get his knowledge of human nature wholly or 
mainly from books, though books may greatly aid him in 
interpreting his phenomena. What other careful observ 
ers have seen will guide him in his search. But first-hand 
knowledge is imperative. The people with whom he is 
dealing will be apt to know whether he is speaking from 
tradition or from observation ; he must be able to say, 
" We speak that we do know, and testify that we have 

The power of the teaching of Jesus lay, as a recent 
writer has told us, in the appeal to life. Jesus taught 
with authority, and not as the scribes, because he adhered 
closely to the facts of nature and of human nature. More 
than one hearer, like the woman at the well, cried out in 
wonder, " He told me all that ever I did." It is not for 
any of us to know as perfectly as he knew what was in 
man, but it is possible for all of us to follow his method. 

One large division of Christian theology is Anthropol 
ogy, the doctrine of man. What is the ideal man ? What 
are the elements of his constitution? What are the normal 
and the abnormal tendencies of his nature? Has he any 
verifiable relations to other powers above or beneath him? 
If there are evidences of disease and disorder, what is the 
probable outcome of these? Such are the primary ques 
tions of the Christian thinker. Now it is obvious that the 
truth about all this must be gathered by the study of human 
nature. There is no other source of knowledge. If the 
Bible gives us any information about this, it must be 
simply a repetition of what is before our eyes, every day, 
in living examples. The Bible may have something to 
tell us about the remedy for the ills of human nature, 
which we could not learn from the study of human nature 
itself; but these ills themselves are part of our own ex 
perience, and no other statement about man can possibly 
outweigh in authority that which is based upon a broad 
and careful induction of the facts of human nature. The 
right way to study the geography of Bible lands is to ex 
plore the lands themselves, and explain the references of 
the Bible to them ; the right way to study the condition 


of the human race upon the earth is to investigate the 
facts, and compare with them the statements of the Bible. 
We shall liiul many statements in the Bible that will 
throw miK-h light upon our investigations; but our doc 
trine of man must rest, after all, oil facts which we ourselves 
can verify. 

It will be found, indeed, that the more careful our in 
vestigations are, and the more complete our induction, the 
more perfectly will the doctrine of Jesus respecting the 
nature and needs of man be verified. The better we know 
the facts of human nature as they are displayed before our 
eyes, and as they report themselves in our own conscious 
nesses, the more sure we shall be that He did indeed know 
what was in man; that he spake as one having authority 

the authority of perfect knowledge when he dis 
coursed of the human soul and its problems. But it is 
better, in our treatment of all this matter, to appeal as he 
constantly did to life, and to bring confirmation for his 
words from the experience of men. 

It has been said that books may greatly help the min 
ister in his study of anthropological and spiritual problems. 
Books contain a record, more or less complete, of human 
experience, a report upon the facts of life. Patrick Henry 
said that experience was the only light by which his feet 
were guided ; it may be doubted whether his words were 
true of himself, and whether they have been true of any 
great leader of men. There are other and diviner guides 

pillars of fire by night, and of cloud by day. The ideals 
that transcend experience, the intuitions that throw light 
forward on our path are also to be trusted. But if experi 
ence is not the only guide, it is a safe guide in many paths, 
and the record of it which we tind in books is of the great 
est value. Is it not true that for the minister more help is 
to be found in literature proper than in science or philoso 
phy? Matthew Arnold s familiar saying is to be remem 
bered, that our understanding of life is enlarged and 
purified by means of u getting to know on all the subjects 
which most concern us, the l>est which has been thought 
and said in the world, and through this knowledge turn- 


ing a stream of fresh and free thought on all our stock 
notions and habits." 1 The best that has been thought and 
said in the world is to be found in books, in sermons and 
essays, in history and biography, in fiction arid poetry. 
Much of this literature is, of course, worthless ; all of it 
must be studied with a discriminating mind ; but it should 
not be difficult for the scribe instructed unto the kingdom 
of heaven to select out of all that has been said in the world 
something of the best, that it may turn " a stream of fresh 
and free thought " upon the facts collected in his own 
investigations. The great poets, the great novelists are 
always dealing with these very facts and tendencies of 
character; the essayists have left us the results of their 
thinking on the same themes, and the preachers of many 
generations are ready to show us how they have grappled 
with the problems that are confronting us. 

Best of all books for the pastor are the good biogra 
phies. The good ones, mark ; there is nothing worse than 
a bad one. Many successful pastors bear testimony that 
they have found more stimulus in books of this class than 
in any other kind of literature. Now, as always, life is 
the light of men. The life of Christ, incarnated in the 
lives of his bravest and best servants, is full of inspiration. 
The lives of Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, Savonarola, 
Colet, Thomas More, Luther, Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas 
Arnold, Thomas Chalmers, Frederick Robertson, Charles 
Kingsley, Norman McLeod, Frederick Denisoii Maurice, 
Dorothy Pattison, Horace Bushnell, will always be found 
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness. 

That studies of this nature will be most useful to the 
working pastor is obvious enough. An artist perfects 
himself in his art by making himself familiar with nature, 
and with the best that has been done in his own depart 
ment of art. The painter studies nature and the best 
paintings ; the poet studies nature and the masterpieces 
of literature ; the musician studies forms of natural melody 
and the works of the best musicians. What they all crave 

1 Culture and Anarchy. Preface, p. xi. 


is the power to convey the beauty of the world to other 
minds, and they study the works and the words in which 
this beauty has been expressed. Beneath all these arts 
there are deep questions of philosophy, of metaphysics ; 
the artist may be interested in these questions, but his 
power and success as an artist depend in no great degree 
upon his ability to answer them. Poetry rests on meta 
physics, painting on perspective, music on mathematics, 
but it is not by digging among these roots that a man be 
comes an artist. Art is one tiling, philosophy is another 
and perhaps a higher thing; but it is rather diilicult for 
a man to excel in both. 

Is there not, in this analogy, some instruction for min 
isters ? Might not the minister have too much ambition 
to be a philosopher, and too little care for the equipment 
which shall lit him for his calling? It is not so much the 
solution of the fundamental problems of existence as the 
shaping of human character that is his proper task ; and 
therefore the actual working of the spiritual laws in the 
lives of men will be his chief concern, rather than the 
ontological problems which underlie all existence. If this 
is true, then literature, which deals directly with life, will 
give him more practical help than philosophy, which deals 
with origins. 

All that has been said about the studies of the minister 
has been intended to throw light upon the question re 
specting his use of the Bible. That this book, above all 
others, will be the subject of his study, needs scarcely to 
be urged upon these pages. Anthropology does not depend 
on it, but Soteriology does. No revelation was needed to 
show that man is a sinner ; but a revelation is needed to 
tell him of a Saviour. And no other book but the Bible 
brings to him this clear knowledge. All that the min 
ister knows about that Christ whose name lie bears, whose 
gospel he proclaims, whose life he tries to exemplify, is 
contained in this precious book. The Life whose appear 
ance in the world nineteen centuries ago has revolution 
ized history, and given us the date by which we reckon 
the things of time, is described for us upon the pages of 


this Book ; we read the record of the long ages of prepara 
tion for him ; we are made familiar with the transcendent 
facts of his birth and death and resurrection ; we hear the 
very word of him who spake as never man spake ; we see 
the marvellous growth, in the first century, of that King 
dom of his which, in two more centuries, had overspread 
a good part of the then known world. To kno\v all that 
human language can tell him of this divine Life is the 
minister s first task. The Book which puts this knowledge 
within his reach is the one book of the world for him. 
His reason, his imagination will be always under its spell. 
What Lamartine says of the young Bossuet should be true 
of every minister : - 

" The Bible, and above all, the poetical portions of Holy 
Writ, struck as if with lightning and dazzled the eyes of 
the child ; he fancied he saw the living fire of Sinai, and 
heard the voice of omnipotence reechoed by the rocks of 
Horeb. His God was Jehovah ; his law-giver, Moses ; 
his high priest, Aaron ; his poet, Isaiah, his country, Ju- 
dea. The vivacity of his imagination, the poetical bent 
of his genius, the analogy of his disposition to that of the 
Orientals, the fervid nature of the people and ages de 
scribed, the sublimity of the language, the everlasting 
novelty of the history, the grandeur of the laws, the pierc 
ing eloquence of the hymns, and, finally, the ancient, con 
secrated, and traditionally reverential character of the Book, 
transformed Bossuet at once into a biblical enthusiast. 
The metal was malleable, the impression was received and 
remained indelibly stamped. This child became a prophet ; 
such he was born, such he was as he grew to manhood, 
lived and died, the Bible transfused into a man." 1 

The devotional reading of the Bible is, of course, the 
first and most important use of it ; after this some critical 
knowledge of it is needed ; but its use as the sword of the 
Spirit is the great thing for the pastor to learn. " To be 
able," says Dr. Blaikie, " to grasp the great purposes of 
Divine revelation as a whole ; to see at the same time the 
drift and bearing of its several parts ; to apprehend the 

1 Quoted by Blaikie in For the Work of the Ministry, p. 77. 


great lessons of the various histories, biographies, and epis 
tles, the parables, the sermons, the doctrinal statements, 
the allegories, the lyrical allusions that make up Holy 
Scripture ; to know where to find the most striking state 
ments on any subject which Scripture embraces ; to make 
one part throw light on another, and bring out the chief 
lessons of the whole are attainments of inestimable value 
to the preacher of the Word." 1 

All this falls in with Matthew Arnold s true contention 
that the Bible is literature and not science nor philosophy. 
When it is so regarded and treated we get the best results 
of our study. The questions of criticism, now so both- 
debated, are of temporary interest; it is necessary for the 
minister to have some knowledge of the matters in dis 
pute ; but the staple truths with which he deals are not 
touched by these discussions. The Bible, intelligently 
studied, will throw just as much light on questions of 
conduct, on the laws of the spiritual life, under the new 
hypothesis as it has ever given us under the old hypothe 
sis perhaps a little more. Some moral confusion may 
be avoided by recognizing as altogether human certain 
elements which were formerly supposed to be divine. It 
is a great gain to be discharged from the task of defend 
ing the historicity of certain narratives, and to be able 
to give our whole attention to their moral and spiritual 
values. The question whether Jonah was swallowed by a 
fish or not can have no possible relation to the life of any 
living man ; but the moral and spiritual questions which 
the story so vividly brings before us are well worthy of 
our attention. The date of the Book of Daniel is a matter 
of curious interest; the character of Daniel is a theme 
of profitable study. "The importance of Abraham and 
Daniel does not lie," says a recent writer. " in their being 
unique personages, but in their representing Hebrew ideals, 
the highest life of Israel. Of the reality in this sense of 
the patriarchal narratives there can be no doubt whatever. 
They embody profoundly real experiences ; they were re 
ceived into the traditions and literature of Israel because 

l Fur t/tt \Vurk of the Ministry, ]>. 7 J. 


they appealed to, influenced, and inspired generation after 
generation of pious .Israelites. They maintained their 
place through successive revisions of the Hebrew Bible ; 
they have passed into the sacred literature of Christianity 
and of Islam, because they have been recognized by men 
of many races and of many periods as representative of 
spiritual experience and fruitful of spiritual instruction. 
Whatever view may be held as to the origin of Genesis, 
its narratives are no longer mere histories of Bedouin 
sheiks ; they stand as symbols and embodiment of what 
is most permanent and universal in human nature." l 

Such is the merest hint of the direction which the stud 
ies of the minister may profitably take when he seeks to 
comprehend the facts of the spiritual life. It is all summed 
up by saying that the pastor s main interest is in charac 
ter, and that the studies which fix his attention upon 
character, the laws by which it is conditioned, the influ 
ences by which it is affected, the motives by which it is 
governed, the approaches by which it is brought into vital 
communication with the unseen Helper are for him the 
studies of supreme importance. 

To the other great department of pastoral study, that 
which relates to the problems of society, less space can 
here be given. But it should be evident that no man can 
be understood when he is studied by himself, because " no 
man liveth unto himself." The individual can no more 
be separated from his kind in our study of his spiritual 
problems than a stamen can be separated from the rest of 
the flower in our study of its nature, than a hand can 
be separated from the rest of the body in our study of its 
uses. It is in his social relations that the spiritual activi 
ties of the man find exercise. 

The individual and the society in which he lives are as 
inseparable as the inside and the outside of a curve. But 
it is necessary for us to study the areas on both sides of 
the curve. The individual finds his perfection by seek 
ing first the Kingdom of God. And the one sublime con- 

1 Rev. W. II. Bennett, iu Faith and Criticism ; Essays by Congregation- 
alists, p. 29. 


ception which must never depart from the mind of the 
minister is the thought of the Kingdom of God, for whose 
coining he daily prays. To comprehend this Kingdom; 
to gain that anointing of the vision by which he shall be 
able to discern it; to become sure that it is a present 
reality; to understand the nature of the laws bv which it 
is governed ; to trace the movements of those unseen 
Powers that are working to establish it; to learn how to 
help in extending its boundaries and in confirming its 
dominion, this is a large part of the life work of the 
Christian minister. 

The question is sometimes raised whether the minister 
should devote much time to the study of sociology. If 
the relation of the individual to society is what we have 
represented it to be, it would appear that studies of this 
nature involve the very substance of the learning which 
he must acquire. If the Kingdom of God is here in the 
world, if it is not a remote possibility, but a present 
fact, and if it is every man s iirst business to seek it, then 
those studies which are called sociological must put the 
minister in possession of the facts and laws of this king 
dom. Here, as in the case of the individual soul, he will 
find his induction confirming the teachings of Christ; 
he will find obedience to the law of Christ bringing health 
and peace and contentment and social welfare, and diso 
bedience producing poverty and anarchy and social dis 
integration. The kingdom of God is discerned not only 
in the blessings which it brings, but in the woes which 
are inherited by those who depart from its precepts. 
And these are the facts which confront the minister on 
every side. He ought to be familiar with them. They 
are the voices with which God is speaking directly to him 
and to the people of his generation. A thoroughly scien 
tific sociology, a sociology which takes in all the facts 
of the existing social order, which recogni/.es the fact of 
human freedom, which includes the facts of historical 
Christianity and studies the actual working in the world 
of the Christian morality, will furnish a proof of the 
truth of Christianity which no caviller can gainsay. Such 


studies have a great apologetic value. They show that 
Christianity has never yet been fairly tried anywhere in 
the world; but they indicate by cumulative evidence 
that the partial trials which have been made of it prove 
it to be the only social rule that will bring peace and 
good-will, with happiness and plenty. The minister who 
does not know this is not thoroughly furnished for 
his work as a Christian teacher. The fact is one that 
vitally concerns his people ; it is the one fact which they 
ought to recognize in all their conduct. The work of 
the church, in its largest sense, is the enforcement of 
this truth. The Christianization of society, in all its parts 
and organs, is the high calling of the church. How any 
minister can properly guide his people in this work with 
out faithfully studying the conditions of the society in 
the midst of which he is living it would be difficult to 

Of course this study will involve some familiarity with 
political and economic science, for the kingdom of heaven 
rules in every department of society. But so far as politi 
cal science is divorced from ethics and becomes a mere 
consideration of expediencies, and so far as economics 
confines itself merely to material interests, and leaves 
out of sight the larger interests of humanity, the minister 
of the Gospel has no concern with either of them. It is 
a question whether sciences which undertake such a frac 
tional investigation of human life have value for any one ; 
but if any one can find profit in studying them let him 
do so ; the Christian minister has other and more im 
portant business. When he studies social questions, his 
sole interest in them is found in their relation to the 
facts of the spiritual realm. What he seeks to know 
is the effect of social conditions upon character the 
character of individuals and of the social organism. That 
the character of every man is deeply and constantly af 
fected by the society in the midst of which he lives, we 
have seen already ; how can the minister of Christ, whose 
high calling respects only the values of character, be 
unmindful of those social forces which so powerfully 


tend to shape the characters of the men and women to 
whom he ministers? 

So long as the old individualistic philosophy prevails it 
is possible to think of saving men as separate souls, with 
out paying any regard to the social order. Hut as soon 
as the conception of society as an organism enters the 
mind, as soon as it becomes evident that we are indeed 
members one of another, then the attempt to fence 
off religion into a department by itself becomes manifestly 
absurd. The question whether any individual is living 
rightly, whether he is saved, in fact, can be an 
swered only by considering how his life affects the society 
in which he lives. If his life is a savor of death unto 
death to those with whom he associates, it is idle to talk 
of him as a "saved man. The distinctive quality of 
the saved is their power of saving the society in which 
they live. They are the salt of the earth. But in order 
to know whether his life rightly affects the society in 
which lie lives, we must have some clear conception of 
what that society ought to be. The separation of spiritual 
problems from social problems is, therefore, a most mis 
chievous business ; it rends asunder what God has joined 
together: it can only result in sterilizing religion and 
in demoralizing society. That is a painful story which 
tells us of the rise in the early church of those purely 
theological distinctions by which this separation was 
effected. A failure to comprehend the true doctrine of 
the Incarnation lies at the root of it all. The faith for 
which Athanasius stood against the world would never 
have given room to this deadly heresy. We have no 
time to study the origin of that " principle of dualism 
which sanctioned the divorce between the human and 
the divine, the secular and the religious, the body and 
the spirit." But we shall find, if we look into the matter, 
that, in the language of another, it u runs through all the 
institutions of the Middle Ages, affecting not only the 
religious experience, but the political and social life of 
Christendom. As a theological principle it underlies as 
ceticism in all its forms ; it creates and enforces the 


distinction between sacred and profane things, holy days 
and common days, between the clergy and the people, 
the church and the world, the pope and the emperor, the 
city of God and the city of man. As a theological princi 
ple it reigned supreme from the time of Augustine till 
the age of the Reformation." 1 If, since the Reformation, 
its reign has not been unchallenged, it is still able to 
affect very powerfully the thought and the conduct of 
many of the stanchest of the Reformers. And it is not 
difficult to see that the whole evangelistic work of the 
church has been paralyzed by this unnatural bisection 
of human life. No valuable work can be done for the 
individual which does not keep constantly in mind his 
social relations. 

It may be said that the minister should study sociology, 
indeed, but only Christian Sociology ; that he has no use 
for merely scientific sociology. Here, again, the old dual 
ism crops out. It is assumed that there is a sociology 
which is scientific, which is anti-Christian or non-Christian.- 
But sociology is the science of society. As such it ought 
to be able to formulate for us the law of the best human 
society. But it does so simply by collecting and com 
paring all the facts and tendencies, and drawing from them 
the proper inferences. Much social science, so-called, fails, 
like many other attempts at science, of being truly scien 
tific, because it either overlooks, or does not properly esti 
mate some of the facts of the social order. Thus Mr. Kidd, 
in his stimulating book on " Social Evolution " has pointed 
out to the sociologists that they have wholly failed to make 
due account of the one capital fact in the development of 
Western Civilization. There may therefore be works treat 
ing of social science which would not be profitable read 
ing for any minister of the Gospel, because they either 
carelessly or dogmatically exclude some of the ruling ideas 
or elements of modern society. But the true objection 
to these books is not that they are not Christian, but that 
they are not scientific. The genuinely scientific sociology, 
which includes all the ideas, influences, movements, by 

1 77(e Continuity of Christian Thvwjht, by A. V. G. Allen, p. 145. 


which society is formed, and gives to each its proper 
weight, must be the true sociology. If what is called 
"Christian sociology" does less or more than this it is not 
worth studying. The Christian student may, indeed, start 
with the hypothesis that a complete induction will verifv 
the Christian law, "Thou shall love the Lord thy <Jod 
with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself." Hut his 
study ought to be pursued in a purely scientific spirit, with 
a determination to observe all the facts and to give them 
their proper weight. Let us not be afraid to subject Chris 
tianity to this test. It is simply the test of reality. If a 
careful and thorough investigation of the facts of existing 
society does not prove that the Kingdom of (Jod is here 
in the world, does not clearly indicate that the law which 
Christ has given us is the true law of human society, then 
there is no good reason why any man should be a Christian. 
But if these things are so, then there is a reason fur being 
a Christian that no sane man can gainsay. 

The minister s study is also his oratory. It is the secret 
place where he communes, not only with those whom (Jod 
has taught, but vs ith their Teacher. It is not neeessarv, 
it is even a kind of impertinence, to dwell upon the im 
portance of this secret communion. lie who is not 1 ullv 
aware of it, not only has no right to preach the gospel, but 
he is not likely to be convinced of its value bv anv word 
of man. "It may, however," says Dr. Fairbairn, "be laid 
down as a general principle, that the whole of a minister s 
labors should be intermingled with meditation and prayer. 
He should never be simplv a man of learning and study, 
for this itself may become a snare to him: it may even 
serve to stand between his soul and (Jod and nurse a spirit 
of worldliness in one of its most refined and subtle forms. 
If he be really a man of (Jod, experience will teach him 
how much, even for success in study, he needs to be under 
the habitual direction of (Jod s presence, and to have the 
direction of his spirit. It will also teach him how little 
he can prevail, with the most careful preparations and ac 
tive diligence, in regard to the great ends of the ministry, 


without the special aid of the Holy Spirit ; how, when left 
to themselves, his most zealous efforts and best premeditated 
discourses fall to the ground ; yea, and how often, amid 
the comparatively great and orderly events of ministerial 
employment, he will himself err in counsel and do that 
which he shall have occasion to regret, unless he is guided 
by a higher wisdom and sustained by a stronger arm than 
his own. Continually, therefore, has the true pastor to 
give himself to prayer ; his study should also be his pros- 
euche in which he daily holds communion, not only with 
the better spirits of the past and present through the 
written page, but with the Father of Spirits in the secret 
communications of his grace and love." 1 

" La priere," says the French apostle, " est necessaire 
pour nous maintenir au vrai point de vue des choses qui 
nous echappe toujours ; pour gudrir les blessures de 1 a- 
mour-propre et de la sensibilitd ; pour retremper le cou 
rage ; pour preVenir 1 invasion toujours imminente de la 
paresse, de la frivolite*, du relfichement, de 1 orgueil spirituel 
ou eccle siastique, de la vanite* de pre dicateur, de la ja 
lousie de metier. La priere ressemble a cet air si pur de 
certaines iles de I oce an, oil aucune vermine ne peut vivre. 
Nous devons nous entourer de cette atmosphere, comme le 
plongeur s entoure de sa cloche avant de descendre dans 
la mer." 2 

1 Pastoral Theology, p. 101. 

2 Vinet, The ologie Pastorale, p. 123. 



NOTHING which has been said in the preceding chapters 
should be interpreted as a disparagement of the teaching 
function of the Christian minister. This teaching, as we 
have seen, differs from some other kinds of teaching in 
being largely prophetic ; nevertheless it is teaching, the 
impartation of vitalized truth. The minister has other 
functions, as we have already seen, and shall hereafter 
more clearly see. Some of these functions were but 
slightly emphasized in the earlier treatises on Pastoral 
Theology; the newer conception of the church in its rela 
tion to the Kingdom brings them out in clearer light. 
Nevertheless the first and highest function of the Christian 
minister is that of preacher. 

The minister s throne is his pulpit ; when he abdicates 
that, to become an organizer of charities, or a purveyor 
of amusements, or a gossip in parlors and street-cars, the 
clerical profession will cease to hold the place which be 
longs to it in the respect of men. A great many kinds of 
work are now expected of the minister, and some of them 
are of great importance ; but the minister makes a great 
mistake who permits his pulpit work to take a secondary 
place. Christ said that the one supreme purpose of his 
mission to the world was that he might bear witness to 
the truth ; and the same must always be the high calling 
of the servant of Christ. To pour unto the minds of men 
a steady stream of the truth which reveals the Kingdom of 
God; to keep the realities of the moral order always be 
fore their thought, this is his one great business. Men 
are saved from being conformed to this world only when 
they are transformed b// tin- rcnnvin;/ <>/ //"// />iin</*; and 
it is the minister s chief business to keep their minds well 


supplied with the truth by which this transformation is 

In pointing out the main lines which the minister will 
follow in his studies, we have indicated the scope of his 
work as a preacher. If the problems of the soul and the 
problems of the social order are the themes of his study, 
the interests of character, and the interests of the Kingdom 
of God will be the topics of his discourse. Let all things, 
said Paul, be done with a view to building. A symmet 
rical and beautiful character is the temple of the Holy 
Ghost ; a Christianized society is the city of God, the New 
Jerusalem, which is to stand in the latter day upon the 
earth. This temple and this city are the structures which 
the minister of Christ is called to build. 

Let us think, first, of his preaching as a message to the 
individual. It used to be said that the chief end of preach 
ing is the salvation of souls. If these terms are rightly 
understood no fault can be found with them. A soul is a 
man ; and there can be no question that a great many men 
are in danger of being lost, and that all men are worth 
saving. The preaching that saves manhood, that saves 
it from being frittered awav in the frivolities of life ; from 


being consumed by the canker of avarice ; from being 
blasted by the mildew of idleness; from being wrecked on 
the breakers of passion ; from being enervated by luxury ; 
from being crippled by the creeping paralysis of doubt, is 
a kind of preaching which the world will always need. 
The meaning which we put into the phrase is thus a little 
larger than that which once it carried ; for once it signi 
fied very little more than getting men to a place of safety 
after death. It is now pretty generally believed that if a 
man is saved in this word from selfishness and animalism, 
and hate, and pride, and all the other evils that are de 
stroying his manhood, there is no need to be anxious about 
his future welfare ; while any assurance of salvation in 
another world that has no perceptible influence upon his 
life in this world is probably delusive. The minister is 
preaching, then, to save men, to save them from sin and 
sorrow and shame ; to save them from losses that are 


irreparable ; to save them for lives of honor and nobil 
ity, and for the service of humanity. The longer any 
earnest minister lives, the more deeply he will feel the 
need of such preaching as this, the more earnestly he 
will long for the power to speak the persuasive word which 
shall turn men from the ways of death into the paths of 

No fault can be found, therefore, with the statement 
that a large part of the preacher s work is the conversion 
of men. That lias been the mission of preachers and 
prophets from the beginning. In all the ages they have 
been crying to purblind and deluded men, tk Turn ye, turn 
ye, for why will ye die?" That many of the men whom 
the preacher addresses from week to week are going in 
wrong directions is a palpable fact; it is his business to 
show them whither their steps are tending, and to persuade 
them to turn. There are a great many people in all our 
congregations for whom there is no salvation but in a 
complete reversal of their general course of life ; and the 
squeamishness which withholds from them this salutary 
truth is worthy of the severest censure. 

The value of what is called evangelistic preaching 1 is 

O A O 

therefore clear: and it would seem that any preacher, 
whether he call himself orthodox or liberal, who expects 
to serve the ends of character in the most effective way 
will find that he must do a large amount of this kind of 
preaching. The question of life or death with many a 
man is simply whether he will break with his past life arid 
take a fresh start; whether he will take steps which he 
himself recognizes as revolutionary ; whether he will burn 
his bridges, and so openly and manfully commit himself to 
another way of life that there shall be no line of retreat 
left open to him. No matter what the minister s theology 
may be, he must face just such problems as this ; and he 
will do well to make his preaching conform to obvious 
psychological facts. 

The old preachers used to make a distinction between 
preaching the law and preaching the gospel. By the law 
they generally meant the penalties of the law ; and by the 


gospel the promises of escape from these penalties. The 
matter does not shape itself in our minds exactly as it did 
in theirs, for we have come to see that the spiritual laws 
are natural laws ; that they are self-enforcing, and that 
the only way to get their penalties remitted is to stop dis 
obeying them. But Christianity is, as it has always been, 
a law as well as a gospel ; and the importance of preaching 
the law is not fully comprehended by some of our most 
orthodox preachers. 

Law connotes both precept and penalty. The Christian 
precept, which is grounded in the nature of things, which 
is, indeed, a clear induction from the facts of human ex 
perience, is summed up in this sublime generalization : 
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and 
soul and mind and strength, and thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself." 

Thou shalt love thyself with a rational love ; with a love 
that prompts thee to seek the completion and fulfilment of 
the nature with which thy Maker has endowed thee ; with 
a love that restrains thee from degrading and imbruting 

Thou shalt love thy neighbor with an equal love ; be 
holding and honoring in him the same divine humanity 
which is thine own birthright ; interfering in no way with 
the development of his manhood, but helping him, with 
all wise ministries, to become what God meant him to be. 

Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, who is the Life of 
all that lives, the Source of all love, and the Archetype of 
all perfect ideals, with a supreme and perfect love. 

This is the Christian law which the minister is to preach 
with all good fidelity and patience, whether men will hear 
or forbear. He is to apply this law intelligently and un 
compromisingly to all the interests of life ; he is to show 
men that this is indeed the way of life, and that there is 
no other safe way. He will find that it is a very compre 
hensive law ; he will slowly come to understand what the 
Psalmist meant when he said, " Thy commandment is 
exceeding broad." 

The penalty of the law as well as its precept he is also 


to declare. As the law is grounded in the nature of things, 
its penalties are natural. They are simply the fruit of our 
own doings, the effects of causes which we ourselves 
have set in motion. This is the fact which the preacher 
has to emphasize. The old forensic conceptions still hold 
sway over the majority of minds; the notion that penalty 
is an arbitrary infliction which waits to be visited upon the 
transgressor at some future assize, and that the judge who 
inflicts it is clement, and may easily be persuaded to remit 
it, this is the popular idea with respect to the punish 
ment of sin. One great part of the duty of the Christian 
teacher is to show men how immediate and inevitable are 
the consequences of evil doing; how sure is the law of the 
spiritual harvest, that he who sows to the flesh will reap 

Hut there is a gospel as well as a law to preach, a gospel 
of forgiveness and salvation. That gospel is that there is 
love as well as law in the universe, and that love is the 
deepest fact in the universe, the foundation, indeed, of all 
law. For while the retributions of natural law can never 
be set aside, the infinite love is always seeking to restrain 
the sinner from the ways of disobedience, to lead him into 
the ways of life and peace, to re-enforce him in every struggle 
to overcome the evil, to redeem him from the bondage of 
corruption and to lead him into the glorious liberty of the 
children of (iod. And there are also remedial forces which 
the divine love knows how to use, by which the damage 
wrought in our natures by sin may be repaired : a blessed 
vis mrdicatrix, for the spiritual nature, as well as for the 
physical, by which wounds may be healed and wasted 
powers restored. How it is that this saving influence of 
the divine love finds its way into human hearts and lives 
is a mystery; all life is a mystery. Hut this is the one 
fact that Jesus came into the world to bear witness to and 
to make men believe, that their Father in heaven loves 
them and knows how to help them in overcoming the evil ; 
that he can help them when they have lost the power to 
help themselves ; that where their sin has abounded his 
grace can much more abound ; that there is hope for the 


degraded, succor for the tempted, life for the dying. This 
gospel has been told in a great many ways ; it has often 
been encumbered with all sorts of theological impedimenta ; 
but the substance of it has been the message of all the great 
preachers of all the ages, and the world needs it to-day 
as much as ever it did. It is the men who have a gos 
pel to preach, and who know how to strip it of its glosses 
and its excrescences, and to bring the light and the joy and 
the hope of it home to human hearts, whom the hungry 
world hears to-day most gladly. A literary man of the 
present day bears a striking testimony to this truth. " Much 
Christian symbolism," he says, "is doubtless entirely fanci 
ful; but the great central symbols are as exactly records of 
fact as any proven scientific proposition. The dogma of 
Conversion, the New Birth, for example, is no mere figure 
of Mysticism, but a psychological fact daily illustrated in 
the lives of thousands of persons. The change is not ne 
cessarily brought about by confessedly religious agencies ; 
most frequently it comes of the mysterious workings of 
natural love, but by whatever chance influence it is set 
in motion, the fact of its daily occurrence is undeniable. A 
man is a brute to-day, and in a week s time, without any 
apparent cause, he is seen to be undergoing a mystical 
change ; a new light is in his face, and he is every way a 
new creature. This is no invention of Christianity, but 
simply a natural process which Christianity has included 
in its body of spiritual doctrine. . . . What also is the 
dogma that man cannot be saved of himself but a 


recognition of the obvious fact that he did not make him 
self, and the resulting doctrine of Grace but a more im 
pressive way of stating man s entire dependence for his gifts 
and his fortunes on a power beyond his own control?" 

But the preacher has a message, not only for the individ 
ual, but for the society in which he lives. The Gospel of 
the Kingdom is also committed to him. The Gospel of 
the Kingdom ! The breadth and length and depth and 
height of it are yet but imperfectly measured. A glorious 
gospel it is, though some have never heard it, that God is 

1 The Religion of a Literary Man, by Richard Le Gallieniie, pp. 75-77. 


organizing on earth a divine society ; that the New Jerusa 
lem, whose walls are salvation and whose gates are praise, 
is rising here upon sure foundations ; that there is no need 
to say Lo here, or Lo there, because the Kingdom of God 
is among us ! The power to discern this Kingdom ; to 
recognize the silent forces which are building it ; to inter 
pret its legislation ; to identify himself with it, heart and 
soul, is one of the characteristics of the scribe instructed 
unto the Kingdom. One of the facts that he needs to get 
most clearly fixed in his mind is that the Christ is rightly 
named, that he is the King; that lie does give to human 
society its law ; that it is only when men learn to conform 
their political and industrial order to his teachings that 
they find peace and welfare. Christianity is not merely 
for Sundays and prayer-meetings, for closet and death-bed ; 
it is for shop and office, for counting-room and factory, 
for kitchen and drawing-room, for forum and council- 
chamber. Unless it has the power to rule all these multi 
farious affairs of men it is less than nothing and vanity; 
the sooner the world is done with it, the better. The main 
reason why it has failed, thus far, to gain the allegiance of 
the whole world is that its adherents have contented them 
selves with claiming for it only a secondary and remote 
relation to human affairs. Grievously is Christianity dis 
paraged when it is represented merely as a scheme for 
getting human beings safely out of this world. When men 
begin to comprehend that the law of love is not a senti 
mental-maxim, but that it is what the apostle .lames has 
named it, the Royal Law, the supreme regulative principle 
of human society, and when they begin to make their 
business and their politics conform to this law, they will 
discover that Christianity is not a failure. 

It is the business of the ministers and witnesses of Christ 
in the world to lift np his law into its rightful regnancy, 
and to preach the Gospel of his Kingdom. It is a Gospel, 
the good news that the world needs to hear. The whole 
creation groans and travails together until now, under the 
burden of strife and confusion which it has heaped up for 
itself through the long ages of greed and force and compe- 



tition, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, 
for the day when it shall appear that men are of divine 
origin, made to be ruled by a heavenly law ; and to this 
groaning world the tidings of one who is able to compose 
its strife and to hush its tumult ought to be welcome. 
Doubtless it may be hard to make the multitude believe 
the message, but that is no reason why the messenger 
should hesitate to speak it. And no man can tell how soon 
the day Avill come, when the meaning of it and the joy and 
glory of it shall burst upon the world with convincing 
power. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, 
and is seen even unto the west, so shall be the coming of 
the Son of man. 

Such is the substance of the twofold message which the 
ministers of Christ are commissioned to deliver, the word 
of salvation for the man, the gospel of the Kingdom of 

It would not be difficult to find, in the treatises upon 
Pastoral Theology, statements of the relation of the pastor 
and his message to the world outside the church which 
would not agree with the foregoing. It may be well to 
consider some of these statements. Vinet, in his classical 
treatise, puts the question thus : - 

" It remains to ask what, apart from his pastoral rela 
tions, the pastor should be in his relations to general so 
ciety. Does he belong only to his parish ? Does he belong 
only to religion ? " In the light of all that has been con 
tended for in this discussion we might answer at once, 
that the pastor does not need to go outside of his pastoral 
relations in order that he should be a very active force in 
general society. If the church is one of the organs of the 
social organism, vitally related to every part of it, then the 
pastoral relations to general society are of the very closest 
and most influential character. The question " Does he 
belong only to his parish?" is much like the question, 
" Does the finger belong only to the hand, and not to the 
whole body?" Vinet is not wholly oblivious of this fact, 
for he goes on : " It appears at first that, as religion adopts 
the whole of human life in order to elevate it, the pastor 


who is the most perfect representative of religion ought, 
in the same degree, to be representative of human life. . . . 
We agree to all this, and we acknowledge that duties may 
vary with times, but we must make the following reserva 
tions. Religion is a specialty. It embraces everything, 
but it is not everything; it is itself. To connect itself 
usefully with the things of life it must separate itself from 
them. Christianity has been in no haste to mix itself with 
the leaven of the people, or, when it has done so, it lias 
been dynamically, as a spirit. It should be the same with 
every individual. He must be well rooted at the centre 
to spread his shade over the circumference. Let the min 
ister be first of all occupied with his own affairs ; let him 
be solely a Christian, and a minister , as a consequence 
his branches will spread out and his beneficent shade ex 
tend itself over all the affairs of society." 1 

In a later paragraph Vinet makes his meaning a little 
clearer. " The minister may extend his ministry by con 
ferring external advantages ; still when there are others 
to do this, let him confine himself to his calling. He may 
employ himself in agriculture when it is necessary, also 
in schools and in religious music ; but before everything 
he should be about his ministry. Nevertheless, when it 
is his duty to act, as did Oberlin and Felix Neff, by all 
means let him do it without hesitation. : 

With this compare the quaint words of old George Her 
bert: "The Country Parson is full of all knowledge. 
They say it is an ill mason that refuseth any stone; and 
there is no knowledge but in a skilful hand serves either 


positively as it is, or else to illustrate some oilier knowl 
edge. He condescends even to the knowledge of tillage 
and pasturage, and makes great use of them in teaching, 
because people by what they understand are best led to 
what they understand not." 3 

Two questions are here suggested. Whether a min 
ister should make himself familiar witli j (radical affairs, 
so that he may instruct his people and set them a good 

1 The ulotjie Pastorale., pp. 169, 170. " //>/</., 170. 

3 The Country Parson, chap. iii. 


example in their trades and their domestic life, as Ober- 
lin and Felix Neff did, is one question. Doubtless this 
is one of the duties of many a missionary; and it may 
easily be that practical skill of this kind would often add 
to the influence of ministers on the frontiers, and in the 
rural parishes. Nevertheless, the counsel of Vinet is sound, 
as a general rule, that the minister had better not try to 
be a jack at all trades ; his function is that of the spiritual 
leader, and not the business counsellor. 

What Herbert says respecting the value of such prac 
tical knowledge for purposes of illustration is obvious 
enough. Analogies are not always proofs, but they help 
wonderfully to let in the light. None who sit at the feet 
of the great Teacher will fail to understand this. The 
common men who listened to Jesus were astonished at his 
doctrine, because he showed them the truth of the spirit 
mirrored in the life with which they were familiar. But 
the minister s business is not only to find proofs of spiritual 
law in the natural world, it is also his business to make 
the spiritual law regnant in the natural world; to show 
how all the realms of life must be brought under the domi 
nation of the principles of Christianity ; and if this is his 
task the kind of separation for which Vinet, in some of the 
sentences above, seems to be pleading is not possible. And 
yet what Vinet has said about specialization contains a 
truth, as we have seen. 1 The confusion of the thought 
arises from the failure to distinguish between specializa 
tion and separation, in the inability to see that the special 
ization of functions does not imply any separation of life, 
but rather a vital union with each other of the parts thus 
specialized. The organic conception of society clears up 
all these confusions. One cannot, in these days, be " solely 
a Christian and a minister," any more than the hand can 
be solely a hand, or the eye solely an eye. The life of the 
body is in all the organs of the body ; and each of them 
ministers to all the rest, and finds its life and its health in 
the life and health of the whole. All this, Vinet him 
self did not fail to see, for in other sentences following 

1 Chap. ii. 


those quoted he states with much clearness the essential 
truths for which we are here contending. " In short," he 
says, "let us not condemn beforehand all extension of the 
ministry, nor undertake to define its limit; we think that, 
when the times call for it, it is capable of an indefinite 
extension; but these times have their signs which it is 
necessary to attend to and understand." J And again, in a 
student s report of a later lecture of Vinet appended to 
Skinner s translation of the T/ti olot/ie J / xtom/c, is this 
weighty counsel : "In a wider sense we may say that the 
ology attracts all to itself, that it subordinates to itself all 
the sciences, and receives from them their tribute 1 . And 
without disputing as to the word theology/ consider that 
there is not a development of the human mind which does 
not either benefit or injure religion. As it borders on every 
thing so everything borders on it. It must embrace all 
life, under penalty, if it does not, of being banished from it. 
This is true now more than ever. Our time, notwithstand 
ing its chaotic aspects, is still a time of organization. 
Piety only can ory/anze the world, taut to lie nr</<i nizt d the 
world must be knov:n. Preaching, accordingly, that of the 
world and of books, must undergo some modification. The 
minister must know many things, not to be cumbered by 
them, but to serve himself of them with reference to the 
one thing needful. The more we sift evervthing. the more 


we shall be able to bring into captivity every thought to 
the obedience of Christ. The great awakenings have all 
been promoted by science. The Reformers were the learned 
men of their age. Unenlightened men have never suc 
ceeded in anything. 2 

Here, surely, is the gist of the whole matter. We need 
ask for the pulpit no wider scope than that which Vinet 
here concedes to it. We must not say that all truth comes 
within the proper purview of the preacher. Then are 
whole realms of science and art and industry and finance 
with which he is not called directly to deal ; he is not 
commissioned to investigate the properties and laws ol 

1 Chap. ii. p. 173. 

- Theoloqie Pastorale, Skinner s tr;iii>l;itiuii, p. 122. 


matter, nor to teach men how to plough or weave or build; 
it is only when these interests and occupations come into 
direct relation to the interests of character that he has any 
concern with them. He has no call to instruct the manu 
facturer as to what kind of machinery he shall put into his 
mill ; but he has a very loud call to study the human rela 
tions which exist between the manufacturer and his men, 
because in these relations character is deeply affected on 
both sides, and the interests of the Kingdom are vitally 

As emphasizing the prophetic remark of the French 
teacher quoted above, respecting the extension of the min 
istry for which the times may call, take these serious words 
of one who lately fell, greatly lamented, upon the threshold 
of his work as a teacher of teachers : " Industrial changes, 
added to the change of population, have modified our social 
customs, individual habits, ways of thought. The frame 
work of society is subtly altered. Interests are isolated, 
men have grown apart, a common feeling is lost, mutual 
indifference succeeds, classes are strongly marked and 
separated. The simple conditions of the past are gone; 
relations grow strained ; new social problems arise ; ethical 
questions become multiplied and complex. Differences in 
thought and life growing out of differences of inheritance, 
birth, training, and association are not lightly overcome. 
Men misunderstand one another, and a common standard 
is lost. . . . The church cannot remain untouched by these 
changes all around her ; she must hear and heed the call 
of each neAV occasion. If her members grow lethargic, it is 
the pastor s task to awaken them, and set more clearly be 
fore their eyes the duties of to-day. In each community, 
along all lines of modern movement, in society, business, 
politics, the highest Christian principle, as already under 
stood, needs to be made effective and paramount by the 
influence of an aroused, united church. Religious prob 
lems, also more complex than in other days, demand for 
their solution larger intelligence and charity, sympathy 
and patience. The diverse elements in every church, all 
ages and all classes, must be not simply harmonized, but 

I ULI IT AM) AI/l AIi 110 

iftod into some broader union, knit together as members 
of one body, by diverse yet mutual service. Organization, 
so potent a factor in all our work to-day, must be extended 
here, and informed with life, until the church has brought 
her special blessing near the whole community and home 
to every heart. 1 

Having thus determined what the general trend of the 
minister s teaching must be, we may attend to certain prac 
tical questions concerning his administration of the truth. 

Whether and to what extent questions of casuistry 
should be discussed in the pulpit is an interesting inquiry. 
That the pulpit should clearly inculcate the principles of 
good conduct is unquestioned. Let the business of your 
sermons be," says Jeremy Taylor, "to preach holy life, 
obedience, peace, love among neighbors, heart v love, to 
love as the old Christians did and the new should; to do 
hurt to no man, to do good to every man : for in these 
things the honor of (iod consists, and the Kingdom of the 
Lord .Jesus. "- But George Herbert counsels an applica 
tion of the Christian law to life which is much more specific. 
In his description of the Cot /if/ // J ni xou he savs : "He 
greatly esteems also cases of conscience, wherein he is 
much versed. And, indeed, herein is the greatest ability 
of a parson, to lead his people exactly in the ways of truth, 
so that they neither decline to the right hand nor to the 
left. Neither, indeed, does he think these a slight thing. 
For every one hath not digested when it is a sin to take 
something for money lent, or when not; when it is fault to 
discover another s fault, and when not ; when the affection 
of the soul in desiring and procuring increase of means or 
honor be a sin of covetousness, and when not ; when the 
appetites of the body in eating, drinking, sleep and the 
pleasure that comes from sleep lie sins of gluttony, drunk 
enness, sloth, lust, and when not; and so in many cir 
cumstances of action. Now if a shepherd know not which 
grass will bane, and which not. how is he lit to be a shep 
herd? Wherefore the parson hath thoroughly canvassed 

1 Tlir t liristirtn Minixtri/, by Theodore C. IY:i-r, pp. :>l-34. 

2 "Advice to Clergy," in The L /eryyman s Instructor, p. !t2. 


all the particulars of human actions, at least all those 
which he observe th are most incident to the parish." 1 

Such a statement seems forcible, and yet it may be ques 
tioned whether the Christian teacher would wisely under 
take to discuss, with much fulness, the details of human 
conduct. The New Testament method seems to be the 
enforcement of general principles, rather than practical 
rules. The Book of Leviticus in the New Testament, so 
strongly desiderated by one strenuous character, does not 
appear to have been written. It is, however, difficult to 
enforce principles without giving some illustrations of their 
working. The preacher must not be so abstract that no 
body shall understand him. Sometimes it is clearly neces 
sary to make a definite application of Christian principles 
to the affairs of common life. Especially in these days, 
when a new system of industry has completely revolu 
tionized human relations, the bearing of the Christian law 
upon the new conditions needs to be carefully explained. 

The question as to the right division of the word of 
truth between the interests that are more personal and 
spiritual and those that are more public and social is some 
times difficult. The pulpit that becomes nothing but a 
platform for the discussion of sociological questions soon 
loses its power ; the pulpit which reflects only a cloistered 
piety is of little use in this generation. The problem is to 
fuse a genuine faith with a broad philanthropy ; to keep 
the people in the closest fellowship with God and with 
their neighbors ; to fill the hours of the life that now is 
with the power of an endless life. He who seeks to spirit 
ualize the whole of life must have the power to bring 
home to men the things of the spirit; and his ministry 
must be one that shall make real to his people the power 
of prayer, the reality of faith. How he shall order his 
ministrations so that neither of these interests shall be 
neglected is a serious problem for every minister. There 
can be no hard and fast rule for this matter, but it may 
sometimes be well to devote the morning services to themes 
more closely relating to the personal life, and the even- 

1 Country Parson, chap. v. 


ing to a wider application of Christian principles, or to 
the discussion of subjects germane to the progress of the 
kingdom of heaven. 

In America, at least, the problem of the evening service 
is one of considerable difficulty. In England and Scot 
land the embarrassments seem to IK- less : the churches 
there are fairly well attended at the second service. ( )n 
the continent of Europe, many of the Protestant churches 
appear to have abandoned the evening service: and the 
tendency is strongly in this direction in America. In 
most of our churches the service is thinly attended, and 
the question of its maintenance weighs heavily on the 
minds of the pastors. Where it has not been abandoned, 
various devices have been resorted to for increasing the 
congregation, praise services, musical services, spectacu 
lar services with lanterns, and such like. ( hie despairing 
pastor, of one of the larger cities, has lately grasped at tin- 
device of employing young lady ushers as bait to catch the 
young men. It would not be dilHcult to hit upon a less 
objectionable method. If the great concern is to get the 
young men into the church, a free luncheon with liquid 
refreshments would be more effectual and less indecent. 

It must be admitted that all the plans for increasing the 
evening congregation which have the tendency to turn 
the church into a place of amusement are of doubtful 
utility. The churches cannot compete in the amusement 
line with the Sunday theatres: and when the churches 
admit that Sunday evening mav lie properlv devoted to 
amusement, their congregations will resort to the theatres. 
In all conscience it must be allowed that the people of our 
cities the Christian people even have amusement 
enough on the other six days, and are in no manifest need 
of amusement on Sunday evenings. The attempt to make 
the services attractive, therefore, in the sense of making 
them amusing or diverting, is. to sav the least, a mistaken 
policy. Nor is the plan of making them ^ ///*/ /"///// at 
tractive anv more legitimate. The service ol the church 
ought to be decorous and beautiful. " Ket the beauty ol 
the Lord our God be upon us," is always an appropriate 


prayer for the Lord s house. But the element of beauty is 
always to be kept in strict subordination to the ethical and 
spiritual elements ; it is not to the aesthetic nature that the 
services of the church make their appeal ; and the moment 
it becomes evident that pleasure, no matter of how refined 
a sort, has been exalted in these services above serious 
thought, the power and the glory of the church are gone. 

It must be said, therefore, that the minister makes a 
serious mistake who seeks to furnish men diversion on any 
part of the Lord s day. The church may, under certain 
circumstances, be called on other days of the week to be a 
purveyor of amusement ; but the use of its Sunday ser 
vices for this purpose is nothing less than the prostitution 
of a high office. 

There is no reason, however, why the evening service 
may not be made deeply interesting, and, in a strong sense 
of the word, attractive, without appealing to the love of 
diversion. There are plenty of themes which the minis 
ter, in his public teaching, can make interesting. Most 
men are thoroughly interested in the social questions of 
the day ; they are, indeed, the burning questions ; and all 
these questions have, as we have seen, a spiritual side ; 
character is profoundly affected by them ; the coming of 
the kingdom of God depends upon the answer we give to 
them. The discussion of these questions from this point 
of view is, therefore, the minister s business. The applica 
tion of the Christian law to the solution of these ques 
tions is good work for Sunday evening ; and such work as 
this will be found legitimately attractive, especially to 
men, who are apt to be in a small minority in our Sunday 
congregations. The labor question, in all its moral as 
pects ; the questions of poverty and pauperism ; the treat 
ment of the criminal classes ; the question of the public 
health, especially as it relates to the welfare of the people 
living in neglected districts ; the question of education, 
with particular reference to its effects upon character ; the 
relation of municipal government to public morality; the 
ethical bearings of political measures and methods, all 
such topics as these, if they are intelligently and temper- 


ately treated, will appeal strongly to thoughtful men and 

Objection is sometimes made to the discussion of these 
topics in the pulpit on the ground that they are men; 
secularities. Two classes of people make these objections, 
those who hold the old notion that religion is mainlv 
concerned with another world, and those who do not wish 
to know what are the applications of the Christian law to 
the business of this life, because they fear that it would 
interfere with their gains or pleasures. Such objections 
constitute the strongest justification of this kind of preach 
ing. The pulpit mav, indeed, be secularized; but it is 
not secularized so much by the kind of topics treated as 
by the manner of their treatment. Jesus dealt, in his 
teaching, with many common things, seed-sowing, fish 
ing, bread-making, but his teaching was not secularized 
thereby. One can treat the doctrine of justification by 
faith in such a way as thoroughly to secularize it ; it has 
been so treated thousands of times in the pulpit; it has 
been represented primarily as a commercial transaction; 
the spiritual element has been virtually eliminated from it. 
On the other hand, one can preach upon the wages ques 
tion in such a way as thoroughly to spiritualize it ; the 
divine elements entering into this relation may be so pre 
sented that masters and men may see in it something sac 
ramental. "The discussion of doctrine, the determining 
of duty," says Dr. (ieorge Hodges, "mav be no more relig 
ious than the transactions of the Stock Kxchange;the 
distinction between the sacred and the secular does not 
depend on the subjects that men talk about, nor on the 
places where men meet to talk about them, nor on the 
profession or the position of the debaters. An election is 
not made sacred bv the fact that the people are voting for 
a bishop, nor is it made secular bv the fact that the people 
are voting for a congressman. A good many political 
speeches have been really more religious than a good 
many sermons." 1 It is of course the spiritual side of 
all these questions that the minister is to present; he is 

1 Christianity betiran Sundm/a, p. 174. 


to show how the Christian law bears upon these problems; 
he is to indicate the way in which a Christian man will 
act when confronted by them. The idea that the Chris 
tian pulpit is secularized by such uses of it is a singular 
misconception. " There is a social psychology," says 
Vinet, as there is a social physiology. It forms part of 
the domain which we have just opened to the preacher. 
Nothing is more natural and more easy than to connect 
all providential institutions with the idea of God; to 
show, for example, that from the beginning of the Bible 
and of the world, God was the Founder of society and of 
civilization by the almost simultaneous institution of the 
family, of the Word of law and of labor. These objects, 
which are very much neglected, and which at the same 
time give a sort of religious shock to the hearers, are 
comprehended in the preceding one. In truth, institu 
tions, manners, and, with them, industry, arts, civilization, 
multiform developments, flow from human nature. All 
truth leads to truth. Christ, without doubt, is the centre 
of all truth ; but to show that Christ is the centre, 
we must speak of the circle, and of the most remote 
circumference." : 

It is quite true that preaching of this kind makes some 
unusual demands upon the intelligence of the minister. 
To speak instructively upon topics of this nature requires 
careful study and close observation. A minister may 
easily lose the respect of thoughtful men by his treat 
ment of such themes. There is good reason, therefore, 
why much time should be given, in studies prepara 
tory for the ministry, to subjects of this class. In many 
of the theological seminaries they have recently been in 
troduced, and the proportion of time given to them might 
profitably be increased. 

The relation of such discourses to the problem of the 
evening service is the special point now under discussion ; 
and the sum of what is to be said about it is this : that 
the minister who deals with these themes wisely and intel 
ligently, never forgetting his divine commission, always 

1 TIomilcticK. part i., section i., chap. ii. 


keeping the spiritual values and the laws of the Kingdom 
of God clearly in view, will be obeying, in this, the com 
mand to make good proof of his ministrv. 

Events are frequently occurring the significance of 
which may be profitably impressed upon the hearer. If 
God is now in his world every day, the things that are 
happening here should be of some importance to those 
who witness them. There may easily lie a straining after 
the novel and the sensational in such presentations, but 
there; can be no worse sensationalism than that which is 
often exhibited in the treatment of Scripture texts. The 
sensationalism is not in the subject, it is in the mind of 
the preacher. Regeneration may be treated in a perfectly 
sensational fashion, and the financial panic mav furnish 
the theme of a reverential and earnest sermon. 

" Connecting general truths, savs \ inet, kk with certain 
and well known facts is doubtless a means of reanimating 
general truth, and, on the other hand, it is giving to parti 
cular facts, which are, often misjudged or unobserved, the 
form of instruction. If the preacher mav say God in 
structs us bv events (God also preaches occasional ser 
mons) why should he adopt the absurd inference that he 
ought never to speak of events? Undoubtedly, indeed, 
the substance of preaching is not that which is transient, 
it is that which does not pass away; but this does not 
imply that we deprive it of this character by using it to 
connect with passing events truths which do not pass 
away. The hearer brings into the temple all the small 
money of his particular impressions that it may become 
history. He who preaches in this manner, that is to say, 
in the spirit which generalizes the particular, which eter 
nizes the temporary, may discourse of circumstances. A\ e 
forbid it to the man who only regards it as a means of 
stimulating our dull curiosity." 

Other lines of pulpit work may be found useful for 
this purpose. History has fruitful lessons for the wise 
preacher. The great events which have signalized the 
presence in the world of that Power, not ourselves, that 

1 Humili-tirs, p. S."> ; Skinner s translation. 


makes for righteousness," may furnish good themes of 
Sunday evening discourses. It is of great importance to 
present, now and then, such careful pictures of the life of 
those "good old times" to which pessimists are always 
harking back, and of the people then called saints, as shall 
make evident the progress of God s kingdom in the world. 
The best course of lectures upon the Evidences of Chris 
tianity that any minister could preach would be a course 
which traced in outline the history of law and govern 
ment, of family life, of social life, of industry and trade, 
of language and literature, of philosophy and religion, 
through the Christian era, showing, by representative 
facts, picked up all along the ages, how the ethical stand 
ards have been steadily but surely rising in all these 
departments, and how very inferior, morally, were those 
" good old times " to the times in which we live. 

The preacher should lay hold on the help of the great 
poets. It may be plausibly asserted .that the best theolo 
gian of the nineteenth century is Alfred Tennyson. Brown 
ing is a more subtle analyst of the soul, but his ethical 
intuitions are less sure. Wordsworth may almost be called 
the leader in this age of the intellectual movement which 
has banished a dismal deism, and restored the living 
God to his world. Lowell and Longfellow and Whittier 
have all expressed, in words that will not die, many of the 
deepest truths of the spiritual realm. Studies of these 
and other poets who have made these greatest themes 
their own, bringing out the testimony which they have 
borne to the spiritual laws, and pointing out what may 
appear to be marks of disproportion and defect in their 
message as preachers may, with skilful handling, be very 
instructive. A more impressive statement of the sublime 
probability of the Incarnation it would be difficult to 
find than some passages in Browning s " Saul," or the 
closing words of " The Epistle of Karshish." The best 
that man can say about immortality is said in Tennyson s 
" Wages," while his poem " The Higher Pantheism " puts 
into words that cannot be forgotten that truth of the 
immanence of God which is leading in the new era. 


Most fruitful of all these lines of study, as \ve have 
seen already, is Biography. It is the living epistle that 
has in it the power of God and the wisdom of (iod. Life 
is the light of men ; it was in the beginning, is now, and 
ever shall be. Careful studies of the great characters of 
the Bible, male and female, putting each of them into his 
environment and illustrating through them the laws <l 
conduct and the rise of the ethical standards, will be 
found profitable. Great historical personages, like Con- 
stantiue and Ilildebrand and Savonarola and \Viclif and 
lluss and Luther and Cromwell and Wesley and ( ban 
ning, offer luminous lessons. 

The legitimacy of such topics will be made manifest by 
their proper treatment. If the ethical and spiritual pur 
pose do but control the preacher, they will commend 
themselves to the most devout of his hearers. A minister 
whose main purpose is to amuse his audience would, of 
course, make very unprofitable use of themes like these. 
So would he make an unprofitable use of any proposition 
of dogmatic theology. A man whose strongest motives 
are artistic or literary might also present such subjects in 
a way that would do little good. But the true preacher, 
the man who is seeking in these events, these characters, 
these testimonies of the spirit, for some word of (iod which 
he can bring home to the hearts of his hearers, may make 
them serve the highest purposes in a very effective way. 
If all life is to be sanctified, such an ethical and spiritual 
criticism of events, characters, creations of art, would 
seem to be imperative. Discourses of this character dis 
cover these essential spiritual truths in regions of life 
where their presence had not been suspected by the aver 
age hearer, and help him to understand how pervasive 
and universal are the principles of Christianity. 

These suggestions are offered, primarily, as bearing 
upon the problem of the Sunday evening service. They 
are not, indeed, limited in their application, but inasmuch 
as the maintenance of this service has been found dilli- 
cult, there may be more willingness to consider methods 
of this nature in connection with it. In short, it may be 


said that the modern minister, who will put his mind into 
his work, can make his Sunday evening ministrations 
interesting and attractive in the highest sense, without 
worshipping the idols of the theatre, or pandering in the 
least degree to the craving for diversion. It will take 
work, hard work, to treat effectively such themes, but 
such work greatly strengthens the preacher s influence 
among thinking men. The only way to maintain the 
pulpit in the rank and dignity that belong to it is to hold 
it steadily to its own highest purpose. 

A question of some practical importance relates to the 
uniform use of a text from the Bible in pulpit discourse. 
If the subject is some current event, or some modern 
personality, shall a text of Scripture always be taken as 
the foundation of the discourse ? 

Most of the authorities in homiletics are emphatic in 
saying that no minister should ever speak in the pulpit 
without founding his remarks upon some passage of Holy 
Writ. It is the minister s function, they say, to explain 
and enforce the truth of the Bible ; the word which he 
speaks has authority over men because it is not his word, 
but the word of God; it is therefore a tactical blunder, 
to say nothing worse, for him to divorce his message from 
this source of authority, and give it in his own name. 
" Preach the Word," it is said, is the minister s commis 
sion ; and there is nothing for him to do as a public 
teacher but to expound the truth of the Bible. There is 
no need that he should exceed his commission. There is 
truth enough in the Bible to cover every part of the realm 
of human conduct; and the minister will never be at a 
loss to find a text to fit any message which he is called 
to deliver. 

There is much force in these suggestions, and yet they 
come a little short of the entire truth. The minister is 
called to preach the Word of God, but we have no 
warrant for identifying the Word of God with the Scrip 
tures of the Old and New Testaments. These contain 
a most precious portion of the Word of God, but by no 
means the whole of it. Other words of God, of the very 


last importance, are found outside the Bible. Through 
the whole course of history God has been revealing him 
self to men ; he has never left himself without a witness 
in the world ; and we do not well to ignore all these 
manifold revelations. It is doubtless true that we can 
generally find some passage of Scripture which we can 
connect with the present revelation ; and a great deal 
of ingenuity lias been exercised in making such adapta 
tions. But it is a question whether this straining 
after accommodations of biblical words to the events of 
to-day adds any impressiveness to the teaching of Provi 
dence, or any sanctity to the old Revelation. It is often 
painfully evident that a text has been dragged in by the 
hair of the head; that its relation to the discourse is of 
the most artificial nature. The Bible is not honored 
when it is treated in this way. Professor Phelps gives 
several illustrations of this manner of using texts, some 
of which he mildly approves. "Professor Park," lie tells 
us, " once preached a sermon on the value of theological 
seminaries upon the text, That the soul be without 
knowledge, it is not good. .... From the text, Prove 
all things, hold fast that which is good, the late Pro 
fessor Edwards once preached a discourse on the state 
of the Roman Catholic religion in Italy. On the follow 
ing Sabbath, in the same pulpit, a sermon from the same 
text was preached on education societies. Some years 
ago, on the occasion of a famine in Ireland, a charitv 
sermon was preached in Boston from the text, I saw 
the tents of Cushan in affliction/ A Sabbath-school mis 
sionary preached a discourse in Richmond, some years 
ago, on the text, The field is the world. The object 
of the sermon was to give some information respecting 
the establishment of Sabbath-schools in Minnesota. The 
result was the request for the sum of twenty-five dollars 
for a Sabbath-school library." 1 Homiletical acrobatics of 
this sort are at least of doubtful propriety. Nor does there 
appear to be any good reason why. if there is a famine in 
Ireland, and the minister thinks it good to speak about it, 

1 The Tlieory of Preaching, lent. Lx. 


he should not do so, without hunting up some Scripture 
text, more or less pertinent, to tack his remarks upon. 
The event is the proper text ; his business is to draw the 
Word of God out of that, and bring it home to the hearts 
of men. 

If the examples of biblical preaching are consulted, they 
will afford very little warrant for the modern theory that 
a minister must always speak from a text of Scripture. 
Several of Christ s discourses are reported, and not one of 
them is founded on a text. In the most considerable and 
formal of them he mentions several texts only to repeal 
and set aside the maxims they contain. The teachings of 
Christ were almost always founded on events which were 
happening before his eyes ; on similitudes drawn from 
facts and laws of nature ; on the circumstances of daily 
life. The same thing is true of the preaching of the 
apostles. Stephen s address before the Sanhedriii is a 
re sume of Hebrew history, but it is not the exposition of 
a text. Peter s sermon on the day of Pentecost is a recita 
tion of current history, into which Scripture is woven for 
illustrative purposes, but it is neither an expository nor 
a topical sermon. We have several of Paul s discourses, 
and none of them was preached from a biblical text. On 
the Areopagus, before the Athenian philosophers, he took 
for his text an inscription which he had just found on a 
heathen altar. The modern homiletical rules are not 
drawn from biblical models. 

That the minister should speak God s word, and not 
his own, seems to some persons to be an end of contro 
versy on this question. But what minister, let us ask, for 
a moment imagines that he has any word of his own to 
speak ? Any teacher who should intimate that his doc 
trine was his own peculiar possession, a nostrum of his 
own concoction, would at once write himself down a char 
latan. All truth is of God, and should be spoken rever 
ently by those who fear him, and boldly by those who trust 
in him. The fact that a preacher does not take a text 
must not be considered as a sign that he does not wish and 
intend to declare the truth of God. 


The homiletical teachers are not all agreed upon the 
proposition that the Scripture text is indispensable. " I 
do not," says the prince of them all, -regard the use 
of a text as essential to pulpit discourse. What gives a 
Christian character to a sermon is not the use of a text, 
but the spirit of the preacher. A sermon inav be Chris 
tian, edifying, instructing, without containing even one 
passage of Holy Scripture. It maybe very biblical with 
out a text, and with a text not biblical at all. A passage 
of Scripture has a thousand times served as a passport for 
ideas that were not in it; and we have seen preachers 
amusing themselves, as it were, by prefixing to their com 
position very strong biblical texts for the sake of the pleas 
ure of emasculating them. We have witnessed a formal 
immolation of the Divine Word. When the text is only 
a deceptive signal, when a steeple surmounts a playhouse. 
it would doubtless be better to remove the signal and 
throw down the steeple." 1 And one of the great (ierman 
writers. Klaus Harms, is even more positive: May we be 
permitted to ask if preaching on texts is founded as much 
in reason as on custom? May we venture to express the 
opinion that the theme and the text approach each other 
only in order to their mutual exclusion of each other; 
that a theme docs not need a text, and that a text does 
not need a theme? May we dare even to say that tin- 
usage of preaching from a text has done injury, not only 
to the perfection of preaching as an art, but to Christian 
knowledge also, and what is yet more serious, to the 
Christian life?" 2 Vinet, in commenting upon this passage 
of Harms, is inclined to admit its truth. But such a 
sweeping condemnation of the practice is quite as tar 
from the truth as is the insistence upon it as in all cases 
indispensable. For, after all is said, the Bible must In 
to every preacher the Book of religion. All the central 
facts and principles with which he deals are there, and 
some of the most central of them are nowhere else. He 
who is himself The Word is there revealed. His life and 

1 Vinct s Homilftics, part i., sect, i., chap. iii. 

2 Pastoraltheoloyie, vol. i., p. 65. 


his words must be the one great theme of the preacher. 
The exposition and enforcement of the truth as it is in 
Jesus is his high calling. Most sermons of a devout and 
studious minister are apt to grow directly out of some 
portion of this written revelation. There need be no hard 
and fast rule about it ; but this will be the natural con 
sequence of the kind of stud}- and devotion required of 
every faithful minister of Christ. 

A practical question for the busy pastor of this genera 
tion is whether or not sermons may be repeated. It has 
been the custom of the great preachers to repeat the same 
sermon very of ten. AVhitefield had comparatively few ser 
mons ; Mr. Moody repeats the same wherever he goes ; 
the same has been true of all the great evangelists ; and 
when the polity provides for an itinerant ministry this is 
undoubtedly the general rule. But the repetition of the 
sermon to the same congregation presents a somewhat 
different question. Even here, however, some great ex 
amples warrant a judicious repetition, at sufficient intervals, 
of sermons carefully prepared. " Dr. Chalmers," says 
Bishop Carpenter, " was fond of preaching his old sermons. 
He did so openly, giving notice of his intention ; but the 
crowds still came to hear from his lips even sermons which 
were in print." 1 Bishop Phillips Brooks often preached 
old sermons, and the piles of manuscript and notes in the 
closets of most of the great preachers would be found 
bearing inscriptions of numerous dates and places. There 
seems to be no good reason why a sermon, which embodies 
important thought, which has cost the preacher many hours 
of painful labor, and which embodies, perhaps, the reflec 
tion and experience of a lifetime, should not be given 
more than once to the same congregation. Congregations 
are constantly changing, and many will hear it on the 
second delivery who did not hear it on the first. And it 
is safe to say that, after an interval of five years, not one 
in one hundred of the regular congregation would clearly 
recall even such sermons as those of Phillips Brooks. A 
stranger hearing the preacher once would be more apt to 

1 Lectures on Preaching, p. 9. 


remember the text and some portions of the sermon ; those 
who hear him regularly, and who are accustomed to his 
modes of presentation, would be much less likely to retain 
the form of the presentation definitely in their memory. 
But it seems rather absurd to suppose that, even if the 
sermon were remembered, no good could be derived from 
it by the auditor who heard it the second time. Those 
of us who possess the printed sermons of Robertson or 
Brooks or Mo/.ley or Buslmell, are not, probably, con 
tented with reading them once. Such sermons as Hrooks s 
"The Light of the World," or "The Bread of Lite," as 


Mozley s "The Unspoken Judgment of Mankind." or 
"Our Duty to Equals," as Buslmell s " Unconscious Influ 
ence," or "Every Man s Life a Plan of God," as Robert 
son s "God s Revelation of Heaven, or " Elijah," -have 
been read over by many of us, not once, but scores of 
times; we have gone back to them, not because we had 
forgotten them, but because we remembered them, and 
desired to bring the truth which they contained once more 
into vital relations to our own souls. If printed sermons 
may be read many times over with profit by the most intel 
ligent Christians, it is probable that a good sermon might 
be preached more than once with no detriment to the 
same congregation. The young woman \vho had " read 
Browning once," and therefore did not care to read him 
any more, is the type of a class who would be troubled 
by hearing a second time a good sermon. It is often 
true that a sermon live or ten years old contains a truth 
which is specially pertinent to the congregation in its 
present condition, more pertinent, perhaps, than when it 
was first written. There are circumstances which make 
it specially applicable at the present juncture. Possibly, 
also, it is a truth which was given out at first with some 
misgiving, but experience has strengthened the preacher s 
hold upon it, and he will utter it the second time with far 
more vigor and conviction than he was able to put into it 
at the first delivery. It is also possible, very often, to 
bring an old sermon down to date, as it were, by added 
illustrations drawn from current events. While, therefore, 


the repetition of sermons may become the excuse of lazi 
ness, yet it is not to be forbidden to the diligent and con 
scientious pastor ; and in these days, when his burdens of 
administration are so greatly increased, it may furnish him 
at times a great and needed relief. 

The pastor in the pulpit is the leader of the worship of 
the congregation. Even when the worship is liturgical 
the proper conduct of it largely depends upon his judg 
ment and spirit. " If the officiating minister should go 
through this department of his work in a dull and spirit 
less style, like one treading the round of a prescribed 
formalism, the performance is sure to repress and deaden 
the devotional feelings of the people, rather than stir and 
quicken them into lively exercise. Let the mode of con 
ducting worship be what it may, if it is to be for a congre 
gation of believers a worship in spirit and in truth, the 
person who conducts it must himself enter into the spirit 
of the service, uttering from his own heart what he would 
have re-echoed from the hearts of others. And, obviously, 
the more beaten the track that is to be followed, the more 
familiar to all the specific forms of devotion, the greater 
at once must be the need of a lively devotional sentiment 
to inspirit them with life, and the difficulty also of express 
ing it through the appointed channels." * 

The need of entering the chancel or the pulpit in a 
proper devotional temper must, then, be apparent to every 
thoughtful minister. The people are there for worship; 
this is the primary object of the assembly. He must keep 
this truth steadily before their minds. They are some 
times in the habit of calling themselves an " audience ; " 
that is a word which he will not use in describing them. 
They are not there to "hear" him, but to worship the 
Father of spirits. Unless the service brings them into 
this attitude it fails of its proper effect upon them. To 
this end there is need, whatever the form of worship may 
be, that the leader of the worship prepare his own mind 
and heart for the service before him. The reading in 

1 Fairbairn s Pustural Thcoluyij, pp. 307, . 508. 


the last hour before the worship begins of some stirring 
book of devotion, of some presentation of truth that 
shall awaken the mind and quicken the pulses of the 
heart, is a wholesome practice. It is not the hortatory 
books that arc best, but those which kindle the emotions 
by stimulating the thought. .V sermon of Phillips Brooks 
or of Horace Bushnell is often better than any manual of 
devotion. Nor is it needful to protract the reading. 
When the spark kindles the mind, lay down the book, 
and muse while the lire burns. 

If the service is not liturgical, the question will arise 
whether verbal preparation should be made for public 
prayer. That some careful thought should be given to 
tli is part of the service is evident. Vet it is dillicult to 
lav down any rule of conduct. To some minds anv formal 
preparation would be a fetter: to be in a praying frame is 
enough. Others are undoubtedly helped by reflection 
upon the substance if not the form of the petition. "For, 
as the pastor, when going to conduct the services of the 
sanctuary has to bear on his heart various interests and 
relations, none of which should be overlooked or passed 
lightly over, he both may and should have in his eve dis 
tinct topics for notice in ] raver and [(articular trains of 
thought to be pursued. Not otherwise will he be able to 
give sufficient freshness and point to his supplications, or 
present them in a form altogether appropriate to the occa 
sion. Entirely unpremeditated prayers will usually par 
take much of the character of unpremeditated discourses ; 
they will consist chiefly of commonplaces which float much 
upon the memory rather than of thoughts and feelings that 
well up from the hidden man of the heart : and as they 
have stirred no depths in the bosom of the speaker, so 
they naturally awaken but a feeble response in the hearts 
of the hearers. . . . Probably the more advisable course 
for ministers of settled congregations will be to meditate, 
rather than formally commit to writing, the chief prayers 
they are going to offer in the public meetings for worship; 
to think carefully over, occasionally also to note down, the 
train of thought, or the special topics and petitions they 


mean to introduce, with such passages of Scripture as are 
appropriate to the occasion. The mind will thus be kept 
from wandering at large in the exercise, and yet will move 
with more freedom than if it were trammelled by the for 
mality of a written form ; will be able more readily to sur 
render itself to the hallowed influence of the moment." 1 

The minister must never forget that in the public wor 
ship he is exercising, in a special manner, the priestly 
function which belongs to all believers. He must be able, 
by the exercise of a true sympathy, to put himself in the 
places of those whom he is leading in worship, and to give 
voice to their needs and their desires. Perhaps he knows 
the real needs of some of those before him better than 
they themselves know them ; perhaps he may be able, in 
his prayer, to utter the word that shall reveal to them the 
condition in which they are, the good which they ought 
to crave. The words which follow, from the pen of a wise 
and faithful pastor, show the nature of that priesthood of 
sympathy exercised by the pastor in his prayers : 

" We may derive materials for prayer from the lives of 
our congregations, materials of inexhaustible variety. 
There is always sin to be confessed, sorrow which God 
alone can soothe and comfort, weakness that needs divine 
support; and there is always happiness for which we 
should offer thanksgiving. But we must be very indolent 
or else we must be cursed with a dull and unsympathetic 
nature if we are satisfied with a vague and general remem 
brance of the sin, the sorrow, the weakness, the joy which 
cloud or brighten the lives of our people. In our prepara 
tion for our public prayers we should think of the people 
one by one, and make all their trouble and their gladness 
our own. There are the children, children whose faces 
are pale from recent sickness or accident, or whose forms 
are never robust, and whose spirits are never high ; chil 
dren that are strong and healthy, with pure blood in their 
veins, with sound limbs, and who an; always as happy as 
birds in summer-time ; children that are wretched because 
they have no kindness at home ; children that want to do 

1 Fairhairn s I ustoml 7 lieolui/i/, pp. . 519, 320. 


well, but who have inherited from their parents a tempera 
ment which makes it hard for them to he gentle, obedi 
ent, industrious, courageous, and kindly; and children to 
whom with the earliest dawn of reason there came a purer 
light from the presence of (Jod, and to whom it seems 
natural and easy to he good. 

" We should think of the young men and women, with 
their ardor, their ambition, their vanity; their dreams of 
the joy and glory that the opening years are to bring them ; 
their generous impulses; the inconstancy in right-doing 
which troubles and perplexes them; the disappointments 
which have already imbittered the hearts of some and 
made them imagine that for them life has no gladness left : 
the consciousness of guilt which already rankles in the 
hearts of others ; the frivolity, the sellishness, of which 
some are the early victims; the hard light which some are 
carrying on with temptations which are conquered but 
not crushed; the doubts which are assaulting the faith of 
others; the bright heaven of happiness in which some are 
living, happiness which comes from the complete satisfac 
tion of the strongest human affections: the still brighter 
heaven which is shining around others who an- already 
living in the light of (Jod. 

-The enumeration, if I attempted to go through with 
it, would occupv hours. We have to think oi aged people 
who have outlived their generation, and whose strength is 
gradually decaying, in lonely and desolate houses, un- 
cheered by the presence of living affection and sanctified 
by memories of the dead. We have to think of the men 
and women whose children arc growing up about them, 
and on whom the cares of life are resting heavily. \\ e 
have to think of places which are vacant in sonic seats 
because a boy is at college or has gone to sea. or has just 
entered a house of business in a distant city, or because a 
girl has been sent away to recover health under some 
kindlier sky. There a;-e other places vacant for other 
reasons. Those who once tilled them have forsaken and 
forgotten the (4od of their fathers. We have to think of 
families in the congregation whose fortunes have been 


ruined, and of orphans and widows; and of the young 
bride whose orange-flowers have hardly faded ; and of 
the young mother whose heart is rilled all church time 
with happy thoughts about her first-born at home." : 

The pastor who can identify himself with the life of his 
people after this manner, who can bear upon his heart 
their burdens, and enter into their joys, will have no lack 
of themes for his pastoral prayers. Only, this must be 
handled with the utmost delicacy. Any definite allusions 
to individuals in public prayer is of doubtful wisdom; 
the petition must be one in which the persons prayed for 
can heartily join, because it expresses the sense of their 
need, but which does not embarrass them by calling the 
attention of the congregation to them." 

Above all we must remember, as taught by Van 
Oosterzee, that "even the best precepts with regard to 
liturgical matters and liturgical actions run the risk of 
failing of their object, unless powerfully supported by the 
liturgical personality. ... In the words of Goethe, say 
what one will, everything turns in the long run upon the 
person. The liturgist, too, not less than the homilete, 
must be not merely a something, but also a some one ; no 
speaking-trumpet merely of the Holy Ghost, but his in 
spired mouth-piece and living organ. The claim of the per 
sonality is just as little unlimited in the liturgical as in the 
homiletic domain, but nevertheless real, and precisely from 
the Evangelical-Reformed standpoint to be emphatically 
maintained, in connection with the principle of freedom. 
The one prays and thanks, consecrates and blesses in a 
wholly different manner from another, and he is free to do 
so, inasmuch as he is really a different man from his more 
highly or less highly endowed brother. Here, too, the diver 
sity of charism is unmistakable, harmless, yes even of 
advantage to the unity, beauty, and growth of the whole 
spiritual organism. In order to be a good liturgist the 
first requisite is not brilliant talent, but the spiritual bent of 
the heart, and the presence of a radically moral character." 2 

1 Dale s Lectures on Prenr/timf, pp. 267-269. 

2 Pmctii-cil Thfnlofi/i, p. 443. 


The pastor in his pulpit is the director of the worship of 
the congregation, including its song. This part of the ser 
vice should never be surrendered by him to the control of 
irresponsible choirs and untutored music committees. The 
service of song in the house of the Lord is an integral part 
of the worship ; it should harmonize with all the other parts 
of the service ; it should be made tributary to the general 
effect of prayer and Scripture and sermon. The indepen 
dent conduct of the music by organist or choirmaster, who, 
in many cases, is utterly devoid of the sentiment or spirit of 
worship, is a shocking anomaly. It is not too much to say 
that the musical portion of the service in manv American 
Protestant churches verges close on blasphemy. In many 
congregations it is the first duty of the minister to instruct 
his people in the first principles of Christian worship ; to 
make it entirely clear to their minds that the church is no 
place for the exhibition of vocal gymnastics; that Chris 
tian song must never degenerate into a show, and that art 
must always be subordinated to reverence. 

There is need, no doubt, of judicious and considerate 
treatment of this matter on the part of the minister, for in 
many cases the tastes of the congregation have become so 
vitiated and their standards so debased that it will be hard 
for them to receive the truth. But if the minister will 
begin with the oilicial members of his congregation, and 
will seriously and kindly consider the whole subject with 
them, pointing out the principles which must rule in all 
worship, and the sacred and priestly character of those who 
lead in every act of worship, lie will generally be able to 
carrv them with him in his efforts to reform this portion of 
the service. 

The choice of the hymns rests with the pastor. It is a 
matter of great importance. It is not to be assumed that 
all the hymns in the best hymnal are fit to be sung; some of 
them express a mawkish sentiment, and others a bad the 
ology ; the minister must not ask his people to tell lies in 
their songs. It is a question also whether the old style of 
didactic hymns should be used in public worship. As a 
rule the hymns should be worshipful ; praise, adoration, 


aspiration, trust, contrition, supplication are the proper 
voices of Christian song. Yet hymns of a meditative sort 
may sometimes be used, and there are spirited work-songs 
and battle-songs of the Church which are full of lyrical fire, 
and readily lend themselves to the best purposes of congre 
gational song. 

The hymnals now in use are, as a rule, far better than 
those of a former day ; most of the objectionable hymns 
have been eliminated, and the tunes are, as a rule, dignified 
and worshipful. But it must be admitted that many con 
gregations of our American churches have become addicted 
to a style of hymnody which is an offence against good 
taste and good sense. Verbal jingles which are destitute 
of all poetic character, and which often express an effusive 
sentimentalism, are joined to melodic jingles which are 
equally destitute of musical meaning ; and the result is a 
series of combinations that tend to debilitate the mind and 
pervert the sensibilities of those who use them. Such com 
binations do not long endure ; the prattle of the rhymes 
soon palls upon the sense, and the catchy melody becomes 
dull and stale, and a new batch is soon called for, to give 
place, in its turn, to something lighter and more worthless 
still. But it is with hymnody of this sort precisely as it is 
with flashy literature ; those who get a taste for it are apt 
to think that anything of a higher order is stupid and un 
profitable. The consequence is that when the hymnals 
which try to confine themselves to hymns which are really 
poetic, and to music which is not suitable for opera ~bouffe 
or a cafe chantant, are introduced into the congregation, it 
is difficult to secure for them a general and hearty accept 
ance. There is much patient educational work to be done 
along this line by intelligent pastors, in seeking to correct 
the perversions of taste, and to elevate the standards of 
psalmody in their congregations. The best hymns, when 
they become familiar, will never grow stale or old, and the 
best tunes are those that can no more be antiquated than 
daisies or daily bread. 

The pastor should know enough about music to be able 
to select tunes which his congregation can and will sing. 


It is sometimes difficult to find in the liymnal provided for 
him tlie hymn which he wants, adapted to a tune which the 
congregation can use; hut such a combination justifies and 
will reward a careful search. The adaptation of the hvmns 
to the sermon and the other parts of the service should al 
ways he carefully considered. The hymns which are sung 
in the earlier portions of the service may he simplv wor 
shipful ; but if any hymn follows the sermon, it ought, to 
be in closest harmony with the thought which lias been 

As a rule our church hymnals are far too large. It is 
quite impossible that a congregation should become famil 
iar with twelve hundred or fifteen hundred hymns; it is 
probable that the minister will use, out of such a book, not 
more than one hundred and fifty hvmns. A carefully 
sifted collection of three or four hundred hymns would be 
better for any church than the hymnological libraries which 
burden the hands and oppress the minds of most worship 
pers. In the use of such a small collection the congrega 
tion is more apt to become thoroughly familial 1 with some 
of the best of the hymns and tunes, so as to sing them with 
spirit and heartiness. The ideal church hymn-book is yet 
to appear. 

As to the tunes, that canon of judgment which tends to 
prevail among recent scholarly writers upon psalmody, to 
the effect that the church tune should always be a choral, 
in common time, and with a plain and even movement, 
leads in the ri< - ht direction, but o-oes too far. Such an 

O O 

excess of conservatism would not be salutary. The choral 
is a good form of church tune, and may be used in America 
much more freely than it has yet been; but other rhyth 
mical forms are admissible ; and it is indeed desirable that 
there should be a good degree of variety in the musical 
service of the Lord s house. Such a spirited movement as 
Lowell Mason s "Duke Street." such a flowing melody as 
Mr. Bradbury s " Woodworth," such a ringing praise-song 
as Giardini s " Italian Hymn." or even such an elaborate 
composition as the setting which Mr. Dykes has given, in 
Lux Benigna," to Newman s immortal hymn, may be 


sung, under good leadership, with the greatest enjoyment, 
by the average congregation. 

The leadership of the congregation is, of course, the 
main thing. If this leadership is intelligent, reverent, 
and enthusiastic, the congregation can be made to render 
the best music in the best manner. How to secure such 
leadership in the service of song is the principal question. 

Not indispensable, but highly important to the best 
rendering of sacred song, is that " king of musical instru 
ments, the organ." " There are not wanting," says Van 
Oosterzee, " instances here and there of such harmonious 
congregational singing that the absence of the organ, in 
that case at least, is not felt ; while it is equally undeni 
able that a defective, tasteless style of playing proves 
more of a hindrance than a help to edification. Yet in by 
far the larger number of places the singing is of such a 
character that, in default of something better, a mediocre 
leading with the organ is preferable to that which only 
improperly bears the name of church song. . . . The 
religious value of the organ in church depends mainly on 
the hand to which it is intrusted. This remark will not 
be without its value, if it only impresses on the liturgist 
his duty of using every endeavor to secure that the organ 
ist to be chosen for this purpose is in the fullest sense of 
the word a Christian artist, who feels and understands 
what he is playing, and shows that he is penetrated with 
the desire to serve the Holy by means of the truly Beau 
tiful. Sacred art must support the sacred Word, and 
place its great power entirely and exclusively at the 
service of the Most High; while the artist feels himself 
not only the priest of art, but also the servant of the con 
gregation. When the opposite is the case, the Puritan 
polemic against the organ is still to a great extent justi 
fied. It is what is too often forgotten not neces 
sary that the organ should always be heard, and still 
less that it should always be heard equally loud. Rather 
would now and then, with sufficient vocal strength of 
itself, a temporary silence of the instrument be desirable. 
When, however, the organ is heard in the church, let 


it never give forth the note of false taste or of mere 
worldly art." l 

With the organist, or the choirmaster, or whoever is 
employed to conduct the musical part of the service, the 
minister should he in constant co-operation; there should 
lx.% nt the outset, a clear understanding that all parts of 
the worship are under the minister s direction, and that all 
must he made to harmonize. When it is understood that 
the ends of worship, rather than of art, are always to IK; 
kept uppermost, many of the causes of contention among 
church musicians will he eliminated. Among artists jeal 
ousies are natural, for the a-sthetic judgment rules, and 
the fundamental question is one of pleasure. I>ut among 
worshippers such contentions at once appear to he gro 
tesque. To strive for the privilege of prayer, or to 
dispute ahout the highest seats at the altar of sacrifice 
would he so manifestly incongruous that the dullest minds 
would revolt from it. Make the singers understand that 
they are there, not to exhibit their voices or to display the 
results of their musical training, but to worship (iod, and 
they will he ashamed to quarrel. 

What the vocal leadership of the congregation shall he 
is a question of some seriousness. The perfection of con 
gregational worship is perhaps attained in those Knglish 
Dissenting churches where the organ is the sole leader of 
the voices, so far as can he seen by the casual visitor, and 
where the whole congregation forms a great chorus, render 
ing, with heartiness and precision, anthem and chant and 
hymn. In these churches, however, a nucleus of trained 
voices is usually clustered about the organ, who form an 
invisible choir, and whose strong initiative carries the 
congregation steadily along. In one of these churches we 
are told that the Hallelujah Chorus," from "The Messiah" 
is sometimes sung with line effect by the whole congrega 
tion. In many of them, anthems of considerable intricacy 
are rendered with no hesitation; voices all over the church 
are heard joining in them. The use of the chant in these 
congregations is almost universal ; the people have been 

1 Practical T/tevloyy, p. 379. 


accustomed to it from their childhood, and the musical 
declamation is as natural to them as reading. 

In most of the English Congregational churches there is, 
however, a large choir in plain sight of the congregation, 
and the leadership of the church song is committed to them. 
In few cases do they undertake any performance of their 
own; the anthems and the chants as well as the hymns 
are all sung by the congregation, the choir serving only as 
leaders of the song. This full, strong chorus, with such 
other members of the congregation as wish to attend, meets 
once a week for practice under the direction of the organ 
ist. The ability to render the music of the church so accept 
ably is in almost all cases the result of some painstaking 
effort. In one church in London the regular choir, of fifty 
or sixty members, is supported by a substitute choir of 
about the same number. To one person in each part is 
assigned the duty of filling up the ranks, at every service. 
If, at five minutes before the beginning of the service, the 
seats of the bass singers are not full, the gentleman in 
charge of that part makes an immediate levy upon the 
substitute bass singers already in the house, to fill the seats, 
and so with each of the other parts ; thus each part is 
always full of trained singers. Very little in the way of 
fine artistic effects is attempted by these English choirs, 
but they sing with great heartiness, and the congregation 
is admirably led. English organists are also, as a rule, 
expert leaders of congregational singing, and the congre 
gation is made to feel the meaning of the words of the 
hymn and to respond to the sentiment expressed. 

In many of the state churches of England the vested 
choirs, with boys upon the upper parts, perform the high 
est style of music in a very admirable manner. So large 
is the number of the English boys who thus receive a 
thorough training in sacred music that male singers of 
cultivation appear to be more numerous in that country 
than female singers. At one of the triennial Hiindel 
festivals at the Sydenham Palace, when nearly four thou 
sand singers were present, the basses and tenors quite 
outnumbered the sopranos and altos. This may be one 


reason why the men in any English congregation generally 
join in the song, while in an American congregation the 
reverse is the rule. The vested choirs, in the cathedrals, 
and in the larger churches are, however, left to perform 
most of the service. What is called a choral service is 
not congregational worship; we find that, in far greater 
perfection, in the Dissenting churches. 

In America, however, the choir is often permitted to 
have matters all its own way. In the majority of Ameri 
can churches the choir is a quartette, and the congregation 
takes but little part in the singing. Even the hymns are 
sung by the people in the gallery, without much aid from 
the pews. Quartette choirs, as a rule, disapprove of con 
gregational singing, and make it difficult, if not impossible, 
for the congregation to follow them in the hymns. And 
the hymns are rendered in a manner so unintelligent and 
perfunctory that no one cares to join in them. It would 
be far better if churches employing choirs of this character 
would abandon wholly the congregational hymns. 

The purpose of the quartette choir is, almost always, 
the artistic rendition of some highly elaborate and florid 
musical composition. It is rare that a performance of this 
nature awakens in any auditor a worshipful feeling. Pre 
cisely the same emotions are excited as those which are 
appealed to in the concert-room. Those who enjoy the 
performance will be seen nodding one to another, at its 
conclusion, as if to say: "Was not that a splendid exhibi 
tion?" To any reverential person such a perversion of 
the act of worship is little less than horrible. It is a 
grave question whether the musical service, in very many 
American churches, is not a savor of death unto death, 
rather than of life unto life. 

This must not be understood as a condemnation of the 
employment of single voices or any combinations of voices 
in worship. It is quite possible that a song or a prayer 
should be rendered in church by one or more persons with 
the true spirit of devotion, in such a manner that the 
thought of the listeners should be iixed upon the theme, 
and not upon the art of the performance. If many voices 



may worship God in song, so may a single voice. If the 
pastor may lead the worship in prayer, so may the singer. 
But in such case the singer must be a real worshipper. 
The art of the rendition must be hidden in the sincerity of 
the worship. 

These elementary truths are well-nigh forgotten in many 
of our fashionable churches. Music should be an aid to 
devotion ; but many of those who most keenly enjoy it in 
the concert-room or the drawing-room listen to the same 
thing in church with pain. 

The first thing to be desired in the church song is that 
the whole congregation should heartily participate in it. 
The full choral song admits of no efforts at display. The 
vanity of the individual is merged in the voice of the mul 
titude. When all the people thus praise God in the sanc 
tuary it is possible that each should join with some real 
uplifting of the heart. Yet even this service may be ren 
dered with regard for beauty and fitness ; the congrega 
tion may be taught to observe the sentiment of the hymn, 
and properly to express it. The people will learn, if they 
are taught, to sing with the spirit and with the understand 
ing also. The organ and the leading choir can easily sug 
gest to the people the subdued and tender expression of 
the plaintive lines, and the accelerated time and accumu 
lated power of the triumphant strains. Congregational 
singing must not be considered good when everybody sings 
all the time with all his might; there must be evidence 
that the congregation is thinking of the words of the song 
and is touched with their meaning. It is beautiful to see 
how a congregation will learn to follow such intelligent 
leadership, and will come, after a little, to make the words 
of the hymn their own. The spiritual value of this part 
of the service is thus indefinitely increased. 

The chief use of the choir must be to lead the worship 
of the congregation. It should be diligently impressed 
upon the singers when they are called into this service, 
that this is their main business. If they help the people 
to praise God in song they will do well ; if they fail of 
that they are worse than useless, no matter how artistic 


may be their own performance. To this end the hymns 
must be studied and their meaning understood and felt by 
the singeis in the gallery. The choir will sometimes say, 
" Oh, that is Federal Street, or * Hursley, surely we 
do not need to practise that old tune." But the question, 
is not Avhether " that old tune " can be sung, it is whether the 
hymn now set to the tune can be intelligently and feelingly 
sung; whether its meaning can be conveyed in the use of 
this old tune. The intelligent and reverential leadership 
of the congregation is the first business of the choir. To 
this end they ought to be intelligent and reverential per 
sons, and the spirit of their leader ought to be so full of 
intelligent reverence that the true nature of their work 
should be constantly kept before them. 

The best kind of choir to lead a congregation is, mani 
festly, a large chorus. There maybe quartettes which can 
lead congregations, but they are not numerous. There is 
difficulty, however, in maintaining large choruses, because 
members of the congregation who can sing are often, un 
fortunately, slow to lend their services for the promotion 
of the good of the church. Those who can sing or play 
upon an instrument are apt to feel that if they render any 
help in public worship they must be paid for it. The 
prevalence of this feeling shows how this whole depart 
ment of church life has been seculari/.ed. When music 
touches the life of the church the standard suddenly falls. 
Those who possess some little musical abilitv or training 
are wont to say that they have paid much money for their 
musical education, and that therefore they ought to receive 
compensation for their services. But it is equally true 
that the people who teach in the Sunday-schools, and \\lio 
speak in the prayer-meetings have paid much money for 
the education which qualities them to assist so efficiently 
in the work of the church. In many of our congrega 
tions there are many college graduates and professional 
people whose education has cost them live times as much 
as that of the singers and the players on instruments, and 
who are yet rendering to the church, weekly, many hours 
of uncompensated labor. There seems to be no good leu- 


son why the musicians should make themselves exceptions 
to the rule of willing service, which binds all the members 
of the church together in unity. It is true, of course, that 
some musicians recognize this principle, and give to the 
churches to which they belong, a great deal of the most 
valuable assistance. But the failure 011 the part of many 
to comprehend the fact that musical gifts, like other gifts, 
are subject to the law of consecration, makes it difficult, 
in many congregations, to gather the singers in chorus 

The maintenance of artistic standards of judgment upon 
the singing of choirs also strengthens the mercenary claim. 
If the service is really a performance for the delectation 
of an audience, perhaps the audience ought to pay the 
performers. If the service is recognized as having another 
and higher function, perhaps those who recognize their 
Christian obligation would be more willing to assist in it. 

The question whether the choir, however organized, 
should be expected to render any music of their own, apart 
from the leadership of the congregation, is answered in 
one way, as has been said, by most of the Nonconformist 
churches of England, and in another way by most of the 
Anglican churches, and by the great majority of Protestant 
churches in America. There is danger, no doubt, that 
choirs, and especially quartettes, if they are permitted to 
sing anthems or set pieces of their own, will embrace the 
opportunity to make a great display of their own musical 
powers, thus turning worship into mockery. But, on the 
other hand, it is quite possible that the choir should be so 
instructed and led as that it shall keep steadily in view its 
true function as the leader of worship; and so that it shall 
render dignified and inspiring music, not only with pro 
priety, but with excellent effect. Choruses like Costa s 
" The Lord is Good," or Mendelssohn s " He Watching over 
Israel," or Sullivan s " O Taste and See," could not well 
be sung by the ordinary American congregation ; but they 
may be rendered by large choirs in such a way as to stir 
the hearts of the worshippers, and to kindle the flame of 
sacred love. Smaller combinations of voices, or single 


voices may serve in the same way. It is not true that the 
singing of the congregation is the only kind of music to 
be tolerated in church; the congregation may worship by 
silently joining in the prayer or the thanksgiving or the 
aspiration to which their leaders give voice in song. The 
only thing to be insisted on is that the congregation shall 
be able to recognize this as worship, and to feel that it is 

If the choir is permitted to provide music of its own, 
the leader of the worship should see that the anthems or 
solos sung are of a character appropriate to public worship. 
Much of the music printed for American choirs is too florid 
and showy for the sanctuary. But it is possible to find 
dignified and serious music for this purpose, and much 
care should be exercised in this selection. Especially 
should the minister take care that the service be not 
marred by the introduction of choir pieces which, however 
unobjectionable in themselves, are wholly out of harmony 
with the occasion. The most grotesquely inappropriate 
selections are often thrust into religious services by ambi 
tious choir-leaders. Not one in ten of these worthies 
exhibits the slightest sense of the fitness of things. Ib 
is quite apt to sing a morning hymn at an evening service, 
or to introduce, just before the sermon, such words as 
these : 

Saviour, again to thy dear name we raise 
With one accord our parting hymn of praise ; 
We to bless tliee, ere our worship cease. 
And now departing, wait thy word oi peace." 

Such a delicate suggestion to the minister that the congre 
gation has finished its business and is going home that it 
has no use for his sermon has been listened to by the 
minister with snch equanimity as he could muster. On the 
occasion of the celebration of the hundredth anniversary 
of a church whose life had been especially harmonious, and 
whose ministers, without exception, had been well beloved 
and generously treated, the selection by the choir consisted 
of the folio wine: words: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou 


that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent 
unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children 
together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not. Henceforth your house is left 
unto you desolate." The effect of such words upon intel 
ligent and sensitive listeners may be imagined. 

There are choir-leaders whose taste and judgment can 
always be trusted. Happy is the pastor who has such a 
helper by his side. But it is his duty to guard against 
all such monstrous incongruities, and to see to it that 
the whole service of the Lord s house is appropriate and 

The question as to what is sometimes called "the en 
richment of worship " is now discussed by non-liturgical 
churches. That the forms of worship in some of the Re 
formed churches, notably the Scotch and the Puritan 
churches, both English and American, have been some 
what bare and meagre can scarcely be denied. The reac 
tion against a sacramental ritualism swept away even the 
decencies of public worship. For a long time, in New 
England, even the reading of the Scriptures was under 
the ban ; that seemed, to these sturdy Protestants, a rag 
of popery. In the diary of the Rev. Stephen Williams of 
Longmeadow, Mass., under date of March 30, 1755, he 
writes : " This day I began to read the Scriptures publicly 
in the congregation. Wish and pray it may be service 
able and a means to promote Scripture knowledge among 
us." His biographer adds : " This was an innovation 
which Stephen Williams had some difficulty in sustain 
ing." J Many of the old New England town histories 
record disputes upon this subject. It is a curious fact 
that in their rebellion against the sacerdotal principle, 
which lies at the foundation of the system with which 
they had broken, these reformers gave to their minister, 
under another form, a priestly character ; for the public 
worship was almost wholly committed to him, and tran 
sacted by him for them ; they took no part in it whatever 
1 Longmeadow Centennial, p. 222. 


beyond the singing- of a psalm which ho "lined out" to 
them. The present tendency is toward the restoration to 
the people of the privilege then voluntarily relinquished 
by them. As the Protestant church of to-day is seeking 
to become a working church, so, and for kindred reasons, 
it is seeking to be a worshipping church. It wishes to 
take a larger part, audibly and openly, in the service of 
the Lord s house. The changes in the order of worship 
introduced or advocated are mainly, it not wholly, changes 
in the direction of congregational worship. 

The question whether these additions to the accus 
tomed order shall be made by the ottieiating clergyman, 
or whether the people of each communion, through their 
wisest and most devout representatives, should set forth 
some forms of praise and prayer for the guidance of their 
congregations, has been discussed in some of the ecclesi 
astical assemblies. One of the most distinguished and 
broad-minded of the Congregational clergymen of New 
England, in an address before 1 a church congress, said: 

Here I am constrained to say and confess that worship 
cannot do its whole good work as the vehicle of truth to 
the mind, except as it is formulated and prescribed by 
general authority, and is not left to the genius and piety 
of the officiating minister, according as he may happen to 
have the use of his genius or his piety at the moment. 
As a minister in a non-liturgical communion I can say 
this more easilv, perhaps, than some other ministers could, 
and I do say it. There are extemporizing ministers whose 
study of worship has been so complete, whose good sense 
is so good, and whose natural gifts are so great, that they 
accomplish a pretty complete liturgical sweep in their ser 
vices; and when ministers do not accomplish much of a 
sweep ever, as leaders of worship, but bear down habitu 
ally and only on a few facts and doctrines lying near the 
heart of Christianity, (Jod forbid I should deny them 
access to (Jod, and their use as preachers of truth through 
the worship they conduct. But, taking all things into 
account, it seems to me clear that in the one respect of 
truth conveyed, conveyed in its entirety, and conveyed 


proportionately, a worship prescribed, or substantially pre 
scribed, is not only valuable but indispensable. I contrib 
ute that item towards the reunion of Christendom on the 
point of worship." 1 

There would be much dissent from the proposition to 
formulate a uniform ritual for any of the non-liturgical 
churches. Even if considerable freedom were allowed in 
the use of it, the tendency to a monotonous and lifeless 
repetition would be regarded by many as far outweighing 
the gain that would be realized through a more complete 
and comprehensive presentation of the truths on which 
worship is founded. Christians of different temperament 
and different training will answer this question differently. 
Undoubtedly .a prescribed ritual avoids much irreverence 
and many painfully arid performances ; but on the other 
hand it sacrifices a spontaneity and timeliness which, in the 
service of the preacher who has both the gift and the spirit 
of prayer, are often very inspiring. But if no such com 
plete ritual is furnished, it is surely lawful to add some 
thing to the barrenness of the old Puritan ritual. 

The responsive reading of portions of the Scripture is 
now quite common in American churches, and when prop 
erly conducted it is an excellent feature. The first re 
quisite of success in this service is the selection of a 
suitable manual of responsive readings. Not all Scripture 
is suited to this use ; the historical, philosophical, and 
didactic portions lend themselves but awkwardly to such 
a service ; it is really only the poetry that ought to 
be treated in this way. A few of the New Testament 
passages, like the Beatitudes, and the Proem of John s 
Gospel, and some portions of the epistles which approxi 
mate to lyrical form maybe read responsively, though 
even here the verses should be broken up into phrases 
that are antiphonal or cumulative. But for the most part 
it is the Psalms and the prophetic poems that are best 
suited to responsive reading. These should always be 
put for this purpose into the rhythmic form that belongs 

1 Address of Rev. N. J. Burton, D.I)., Proceedings of the American Con 
gress of Churches, 1885, p. 62. 


to them. It is little less than absurd to adhere to the 
verse divisions in the responsive reading of the Psalms. 
The poetry is constructed for the very purpose of anti- 
phonal expression; our verse divisions simply destroy its 
artistic form. The parallelisms of these old lyrics, as we 
find them arranged in the revised version, are better 
adapted than anything else in literature to the responses 
of a congregation. 

The congregation should stand up to read : and tin- 
leader should read with distinct but rapid enunciation, suf 
fering no long pauses behveen the responses. There is no 
room here for elocutionary effects: anything of that sort is 
grotesque enough; but the reading should be full of spirit 
and feeling, and the responsory character of it should 
be so marked that it shall seem more like a chant than a 
reading. Any painful attempt of the congregation to 
speak in concert should be avoided: but on the other 
hand the helter-skelter reading of many congregations is 
not particularly inspiriting. If the parallelisms arc used, 
and the leader sets the pace with a iirm, rapid, steady 
tempo, the responses will naturally and almost inevitably 
maintain a good measure of unity, and the rhythmic effect 
will be marked and beautiful. In some congregations the 
outpouring of the full heart in these reponsorv voices of 
praise and hope and aspiration is more inspiring than 
any other portion of the service. 

The repetition of one of the ancient creeds the 
Apostles or the Xicene by the congregation is also com 
mon and altogether suitable, while the people of most 
of our churches have learned to join with the minister 
in the audible repetition of the Lord s Praver. Whether 
the Decalogue should be employed liturgically is an open 
question ; our Lord lias translated that law into a differ 
ent language, and his rendering of it should he nearest 
to our thought. The Beatitudes and the Lord s summary 
of the Law might well take the place, in our congregational 
worship, of the Ten Commandments. Some judicious se 
lections might also l>e made from the Anglican P>ook 
of Common Prayer; its General Confession, many of 


its beautiful collects, and sometimes its majestic Litany 
might be introduced into the service of our non-liturgical 
churches. Language like this, which has been hallowed 
by centuries of use, into which many generations of pray 
ing men have poured their hearts, possesses a value which 
no newly formed phrases could possibly contain. If the 
enrichment of the non-liturgical ritual is sought, it is 
in these sources that we shall be most likely to find it. 

It is well to remember that not all the reformers sought 
to banish from the sanctuary the hallowed forms of prayer 
and praise. There was really, at the beginning of the 
Reformation, a decided disposition to enlist the people, 
as they had not before been enlisted, in the public worship 
of the Lord s house. " The spirit of Protestantism," says 
Dr. Samuel M. Hopkins, "requires that the people shall 
take part in the public worship of God, and thus make it 
common worship. The Romish church, during the 
Middle Ages, resolved worship into a spectacle. The 
great cathedrals were built for a dramatic religion, in 
which the people could look on, while the priests went 
through with the service of the mass ; down whose broad 
naves, chanting and cross-bearing processions could move, 
and through whose ogived arches the pealing tones of 
the organ could resound. Throughout the whole the 
people were only a body of spectators. This accorded 
entirely with the spirit and policy of the Romish church. 
Protestantism changed all that. It recognized the Chris 
tian body as something more than a dumb and passive 
laity. It recognized them as a holy priesthood, each 
called to offer spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise 
to God. The great reformers, therefore, all of them, pre 
pared or made use of liturgies for the use of the wor 
shippers. There was the Lord s Prayer and the Creed 
always to be recited aloud by the people. There was the 
general confession, which every one joined in repeat 
ing, making it his own personal confession of sin. There 
was the reading of the Decalogue, to which the people 
responded, Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our 
hearts to keep this law. There was the responsive read- 


ing of the Psalter, an exercise to which it might seem 
the most exaggerated Puritanism could make no objection. 
All these features appear in tin- Xti-nslHir<j Litunji/ of .John 
Calvin, in tlie tinxon Litunji/ drawn by Luther, in the 
Liturgy of the J ulatinatc prepared l>y Melanchthoii and in 
all the other forms of prayer that were the product 
of the Reformation period." 1 The Lutheran Church 
still employs a considerable liturgy; so also does the 
Moravian. It is evident that a desire for the extension of 
congregational worship is making itself felt in many of the 
non-liturgical churches ; and this movement is, in reality, 
very nearly the antithesis of the ritualistic tendency, which 
in effect confines the audible worship to the priest and 
the vested choir. 

With the introduction of responsive readings, chants, and 
creeds, it is evident that some reduction must needs be made 
in other parts of the service; and it is probable that what 
is known in the Reformed churches as the "long prayer" 
might, in many cases, be usefully shortened. One cannot 
have too much of the spirit of prayer, and the habit of 
lingering long at the mercy seat must not be rudely cen 
sured : but the physical and mental demands of the con 
gregation must be considered, and it is doubtless true that 
this prayer does often become a weariness to the flesh. 
No rule as to length can be laid down ; but most of us 
have attended services in which we have felt that a far 
more devotional frame would have been maintained by the 
congregation if the long prayer had not been half as long. 
Whitefield cannot be suspected of undervaluing public 
prayer, and his remark to a good minister, whose prayer 
had been unduly protracted, may well be remembered : 
"You prayed me into a good frame, and you prayed me 
out of it." 

One enrichment of the service is suggested with some 
difhdence. If the song of the reverent singer may lift 
our hearts to God, might not the simple and devout rrml- 
ing of a sacred lyric sometimes have a devotional value? 
The reading would convey the words more perfectly than 

1 Proceedings of the American t ont/rcss of Chun-hex, 1885, pp. 75, 70. 


the singing ordinarily does ; and the confession, the trust, 
the hope, the aspiration expressed in such beautiful words 
might help to kindle a worshipful feeling in the minds 
of listeners. There are many hymns of the highest liter 
ary merit, and the deepest spiritual insight, which cannot 
well be sung ; might not a truly liturgical use be made of 
them ? There are many other excellent hymns which the 
hymnal of the worshipping congregation does not contain, 
and which might be employed in this way. If, just before 
the " long prayer," one or two of these sacred lyrics were 
reverently read, not with elocutionary effect, but as if it 
were a prayer, might this not be, in some cases, an inspir 
ing introduction to the prayer about to follow? Nor 
is it essential that these devotional excerpts should be 
expressed in lyrical form. Words that contain the 
heart of prayer, the spirit of devotion, may be found in 
sermons and in contemplative writings. A beautiful col 
lection of such meditations has been added to the devo 
tional literature of the church by the blind preacher of 
Edinburgh, the Rev. George Matheson, and there is many 
an anthology of devout and uplifting thoughts, from which 
selections might be made. These should always be very 
brief, and should be manifestly joined by vital bonds with 
the prayer which follows. It cannot be too strongly said 
that this part of the service must be as far as possible 
removed from everything that savors of the theatrical ; if 
it is not essentially worship it can have no place in the 

All this matter of the enrichment of public worship 
needs to be wisely and firmly handled. Changes which 
have no merit but novelty, and which are intended chiefly 
as baits to draw auditors should be rigidly excluded ; only 
those should be permitted which promise to assist in mak 
ing the worship of the congregation more general, more 
hearty, and more intelligent. 

The pastor, as the leader of the worship of the congre 
gation, must sometimes descend from the pulpit to the 
altar. For even where nothing resembling that much dis- 


puted piece of ecclesiastical furniture is visible in the 
sanctuary, there are still services whose nature is sacra 
mental, which cannot fitly be performed in the preacher s 
desk. The administration of these sacraments is an 
essential part of the pastor s duty. 

Among the Protestant churches the only rites to which 
the sacramental character attaches are Baptism and the 
Lord s Supper. Respecting the nature of these sacra 
ments, no extended discussion is here called for; we 
assume their practice, and simply seek to know how the 
pastor ought to regard and administer them. It is, how 
ever, necessary to recall the conclusions of the third chap 
ter of this treatise, and to remember that the Christian 
pastor, in Protestant churches, in the administration of 
these sacraments assumes no sacerdotal powers, and that 
the sacraments themselves are not supposed by him to 
possess any intrinsic or magical ef licacy. They are not 
opera operate ; they are symbols of spiritual facts and 
relations, beautiful symbols which may greatly aid in 
impressing upon our minds these spiritual facts and in 
leading us to enter joyfully into these spiritual relations. 

The history of Baptism, beginning with the Day of 
Pentecost and coming down through the first five centu 
ries of the life of the Church is a striking illustration of 
the growth of ritualistic elements. What Matthew Ar 
nold calls the invasion of Aberglaube is here visibly set 
forth. Originally administered in connection with im 
mersion by the Apostles and their fellow-laborers, we see 
Holy Baptism in the ancient Church already indicated by 
names which testify of a high degree of appreciation, but 
at the same time lend [no?] countenance to the supersti 
tious view which we see beginning to make its appearance 
already in the second and third centuries. Baptism was 
very soon termed anointing, seal, illumination, salva 
tion; also the spiritual gift, grace, the garb of immor 
tality. In proportion as infant baptism became more 
general, did also the notion gain ground that in baptism 
one was cleansed from sin, whether hereditary or actual. 
a consideration which led not a few to delay the reception 


of baptism as long as possible. By preference was the 
sacred action administered by the bishop, yet also by 
presbyters and deacons, even, in case of necessity, by lay 
men, a course which, among others, Tertullian and 
Jerome declared to be admissible, provided it was per 
formed in a becoming manner." 1 

In the third century baptism began to be assigned to 
special seasons and places; Easter and Pentecost were 
supposed to be more appropriate than other times ; and 
buildings were erected for this purpose. One by one the 
various ceremonial appendages of the rite were added: 
the eastward posture, the anointing, the consecration of 
the water, the laying aside of the old garments, the impo 
sition of hands, the white vestments of the candidates, the 
burning tapers in their hands, the kiss of peace, the milk 
and honey, the sal sapientice, and finally the administration 
of the first communion. 

All this involves a theory of the nature of baptism which 
is still held in a large part of Christendom. It supposes a 
transaction of great and vital importance ; it connotes a 
belief that in the performance of the rite a spiritual change 
is wrought upon the recipient. The phraseology of some 
of the Protestant rituals expresses this belief, and the rite of 
Exorcism, which is part of the baptismal service, not only 
in the Roman Catholic church, but in some branches of 
the Lutheran church, possesses a significance which cannot 
be ignored. 

The discussion of these questions does not come within 
the scope of this treatise ; it is only necessary to admonish 
the pastor that he must know what baptism means to him, 
and that he must see to it that those who seek it for them 
selves or for their children are instructed as to its mean 
ing. The manner of administering the sacrament will be 
affected by the belief on which it rests. 

The Protestant pastors into whose hands this treatise 
will fall will disagree respecting the mode and the subjects 

1 Van Oosterzee s Practical Theology, p. 419. See also Christian Institu 
tions, by A. V. G. Allen, in this-series, Stanley s Christian Institutions, and 
Smith s Cyclopedia of Christian Antiquities, Art. Baptism. 

1TLIMT AM) ALTAIl l. r >9 

of baptism. By some of them tlie rite is believed to 1x3 
confined to adult believers, and to In- administered to them 
upon the confession of their own faith in Christ. I>\ others 
it is believed to be intended for ehildivn as well as tor 
adults. In either case the administration ought to be 
performed in a reverent spirit, and with a dignified and 
simple ritual. Never should it be disfigured by rude haste 
or indecorous familiarities. A grave solemnity it always 
is; and not only those who participate in it but all who 
witness it should be made to take this view of it. When 
baptism is administered by immersion, whether in the font 
or at the river-side, great care should be taken to make 
the rite impressive and beautiful. It is, in this observance, 
the ratification of the covenant of the soul with God; 
and the nature of the transaction should be kept clearly 
in view. 

In Psedobaptist churches baptism by sprinkling is usu 
ally administered to adults, in the churches, in connection 
with the solemn rite by which they are received into the 
fellowship of the church. It is fitting that the candidate 
should kneel when he receives baptism; women should lay 
aside the covering of the head. 

The administration of the sacrament to children raises 
some questions respecting the significance of the rite, 
which the pastor must settle before he can determine upon 
the form of the observance. Bv most of the Reformers the 
baptism of children is regarded as the seal of the covenant 
made by God with believing parents. It is argued that 
the performance of this rite is the outward fulfilment, on 
the part of the parents, of their part of this covenant, and 
that, if rightly done, it establishes a claim on their pail to 
the bestowment of the grace of God upon their children. 
If such is the nature of the observance, the words in which 
the rite is administered, and the prayer by which it is fol 
lowed will conform to this theory of it. If the church is 
one of those which provides definite forms and rubrics for 
the administration of baptism, the pastor has, indeed, no 
choice respecting the phraseology which he will use; but 
if considerable liberty of liturgical expression is allowed, 


the pastor must have some clear idea of the nature of the 
ordinance, and must make the administration express the 
idea. The parents presenting the children should them 
selves be carefully instructed respecting the meaning of 
the rite, and a brief address to them, at the time of the 
administration, should put this meaning into a form to 
which they should be expected to signify their assent. 
If the doctrine of the covenant is adopted by the liturgist, 
let him express the covenant, in simple words, and call 
upon the parents to accept it for themselves and for their 

There are those, however, by whom this sacrament of 
baptism is not regarded as the seal of a covenant, but 
rather as a solemn declaration of the fatherhood and the 
redeeming love of God. This is the view so impressively 
set forth by Frederick W. Robertson, in his instructions 
to catechumens. 1 Baptism is not, according to this view, 
a ceremony the observance of which entitles the parent 
to claim for the child the saving grace of God ; it is rather 
a solemn affirmation, made by the church, and assented to 
by the parent, that the child belongs to God ; that God is 
his Father, Christ his Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit his 
Teacher and Inspirer. Baptism does not make him God s 
child, any more than coronation makes a prince a king. 
The prince was king the moment his father died ; corona 
tion solemnly witnesses to a fact, but it does not create 
the fact. So baptism testifies to the truth that this child 
has a Father in heaven. Nothing whatever is done in 
baptism by which the child s claim upon God s grace, or 
the parent s claim in the child s behalf is established; 
God s love and care are not conceived as conditioned upon 
the observance of an outward rite ; but the rite expresses 
the fatherly love of Him who said, " All souls are mine," 
and the redeeming grace of Him who said, " Of such is the 
kingdom of heaven." If such is the view of the nature 
of baptism, the words in which it is administered will ex 
press this thought. The parents will understand that 
they are joining in a solemn declaration that this child 

1 Lift and Letters of F. \V. Robertson, vol. ii. p. 341, xc/j. 


belongs to God ; that the beginning of wisdom for him 
must therefore be to know God and trust and serve him ; 
and they should be made to promise that they will teach 
the child, as soon as he can comprehend the meaning of 
the words, whose child he is and what are his duties to his 
Father in heaven. 

The question whether baptism should ever be adminis 
tered to the children of parents who are not members of 
the church is answered, naturally, in different senses, 1>\- 
the holders of these differing theories. Those who regard 
baptism as the seal of a covenant made by believers with 
God can see no propriety in administering it to the chil 
dren of those vvho are not believers. l>v the assumption 
such parents can neither exercise the faith nor make the 
claim which gives the ordinance its validity. Dr. Van 
Oosterzee is inclined to make an exception ; he says that 
"no parents who are not yet members must be received at 
the font, save under the express promise that they will at 
once receive Christian instruction for themselves, in order 
that they may be in a position duly to instruct and set an 
example to their children." 1 Hut most pastors of Reformed 
churches in which the doctrine of the covenant is made 
the basis of infant baptism are inclined to say that the 
parents must publicly accept the covenant for themselves 
before they are permitted to claim it for their children. 

If, however, the other theory is adopted, there seems to 
be no conclusive reason why the children of parents who 
are not believers should not be declared to be the children 
of God, for such they are. If the parents wish this declara 
tion to be made, publicly, in God s house, concerning their 
children, it is not clear that they ought to he refused. 
They ought, however, to be carefully instructed that this 
baptism makes no particle of change in the condition of 
their children ; that they are no more sure to go to heaven 
when they die after than In-fore baptism: that, although 
they are God s children, they may, unless they are properly 
trained, grow up to be prodigal and rebellious children, 
and may wander away into the far country and perish 

1 Practical Theology, p. 422. 


there. And they should be required to listen carefully 
to the promise which the parents must make who present 
their children for baptism, the promise that they will 
teach the children to know their Father in heaven and 
strive to lead them into his service. If they cannot con 
scientiously make this promise, they ought not to offer 
their children in baptism. If they can and will make it, 
the privilege of dedicating their children to God should 
not be denied them. 

All this closely connects the parents with the rite of 
infant baptism, and assumes that the sacrament can have 
no validity unless they take part in it. The presentation 
of the child by sponsors involves the doctrine of sacra 
mental efficacy. If regeneration is effected by baptism, it 
matters little who presents the child. Yet there was, no 
doubt, a reason underlying the institution of sponsors. 
The Church sought to enlarge the circle of those who 
should hold themselves responsible for the training of 
the child. The parental responsibility _ was assumed ; 
the sponsors were called in to supplement the parental 
function ; it was understood that in case of the death of 
the parents the godfathers and godmothers were to assume 
the spiritual care of the children. This obligation has 
come to rest lightly on most of those who now assume it ; 
yet there are conscientious souls to whom it is not desti 
tute of meaning. 

The precise terms of the baptismal formula should be 
considered. Should it be, 4t I baptize thee in the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," - or 
does the preposition "into" better express the real .mean 
ing of the ordinance ? The first form seems to assume on 
the part of the administrator some sacerdotal or ecclesias 
tical authority. He is acting in the name and with the 
power of God. The other form rather appears to comport 
with those views of the ministry to which this treatise 
adheres. The meaning is that baptism introduces the per 
son receiving it into the name and family of God ; cere 
monially confers on him the Christian name ; publicly 
recognizes him as belono-incr to the household of faith. 


Whether baptism should be privately administered or 
not is a question that often confronts the Christian minis 
ter. No inflexible rule can be laid down : but it is evident 
that, if the second theory of the rite is accepted, the public 
administration is far more appropriate. The declaration 
involved in the ordinance is made by the chun.-h: the min 
ister is only the mouth-piece of the church, and it is lining 
that it should be made in the sanctuary and in the presence 
of the congregation. Moreover it is, as \ve shall >ee in a 
later chapter, the formal initiation of the child into the 
fellowship of the church. - Infant baptism," savs Dr. 
Cannon, recognizes that infant church-membership which 
is a great privilege ; its public administration, which con 
nects it with the prayers of the church, for parents and their 
children, shows that it is an invaluable privilege 1 ." 1 

The final words of Dr. van ( )oster/.ee upon this subject 
are full of the wisdom and gentleness of Christ: " Do not 
always baptize at the close, but at least now and then at 
the beginning of the service, while the attention is vet 
fresh. Where local services admit of it, the mothers with 
their little ones should enter only immediately before the 
solemnity, during the reverent singing of the congregation. 
Care should be taken that all the material here necessary 
be in due order, and that the weak women be not kept 
too long standing. . . . Do not delav to speak a word of 
tenderness and love, when this is possible, in the families 
after the baptism, and be on your guard against all that 
may ever give rise to the impression that, in our estimation 
the whole matter is only a less significant appendix to the 
public service of the sanctuary. Accustom the congrega 
tion, on the other hand, to think of baptism in immediate 
connection with the confession later to be made, and con 
stantly seek, above all. for the congregation and yourself, 
the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In this way the fruit of 
baptism will become from time to time more abundant for 
family, congregation, and society, and the baptist be at the 
same time one who prepares the way for the kingdom of 
heaven." 2 

1 Pastoral Theoloyy, p. 440. 2 Practical Theoloyy, p. 423. 


The administration of the Lord s Supper is also a sacred 
duty to which the pastor must give serious thought. Al 
though among the Reformed churches generally neither this 
sacrament nor the other is supposed to call for the service 
of a priest, and although by many Protestants it is be 
lieved that a layman may, with perfect propriety, adminis 
ter the ordinance, when circumstances render it advisable, 
yet the careful and reverent performance of it is esteemed 
by all intelligent Christians to be a matter of great 

The practice of the Reformed churches differs greatly 
with respect to the frequency of this administration. The 
Scotch churches formerly observed the sacrament but twice 
a year; the Dutch churches observe it four times a year; 
most Presbyterian and Congregational churches in America 
six times a year ; some Protestant Episcopal churches cele 
brate it monthly, and others weekly. The theories of the 
sacramentalists naturally require the frequent observance ; 
if the rite has efficacy in itself for the removal of sin and 
the conveyance of grace, it cannot be too often celebrated. 
But those who do not receive this theory must be governed 
by considerations of expediency in determining the times of 
its observance. The Scotch interval seems to be too long, 
but the added seriousness and importance with which it in 
vests the Supper is a great gain. It is certain that increas 
ing the frequency of observance does not proportionately 
enhance its value, and it is a question worth considering 
by the American churches, whether the quarterly observ 
ance of the Dutch would not be better, on the whole, than 
the monthly or bi-monthly celebration. 

Most Protestant churches provide some service of prepa 
ration for the Supper. Sometimes, as among the Baptists, 
it takes the form of a Covenant meeting in which the mem 
bers participate, with confession and testimony and song 
and prayer. Among the Scotch Presbyterians, the prepa 
ration for the Supper is a great solemnity, occupying sev 
eral days. With fasting and prayer, with much solemn 
instruction and meditation, the communicants approach the 
table. Presbyterians in America often devote considerable 


time to services of this nature. Manuals of instruction 
prepared for their ministry lay much emphasis upon this 
work of preparation. In the early part of the week pre 
ceding the communion, the pastor is advised to call a 
meeting of the church for prayer. Toward the end of 
the week, generally on Friday afternoon or evening, a 
more formal service is held, at which a discourse, having 
distinct reference to the sacrament, is preached by the 

This " Preparatory Lecture," or Sermon, is common to 
many of the Reformed churches. The nature of this ad 
dress will be suggested by the circumstances and the pres 
ent condition of the church. The underlying thought must 
be the Lord s gift of himself for us, the revelation of his 
saving love in his great sacrifice. His identification of 
himself with men in his life and death, and our salvation 
through our voluntary identification of ourselves with him, 
will be the central theme of all these services. Paul s words 
convey the thought which should be uppermost: For the 
love of Christ constraineth us : because we thus judge, that 
one died for all, therefore all died ; and that he died for all 
that they which live should no longer live unto themselves. 
but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again." 
But this thought admits of many practical applications to 
the existing life of the church itself; and it is often very 
serviceable when the members of the church are gathered 
for this preparatory service, and few others are present, to 
consider definitely what this principle of identification with 
Christ involves with respect to the work in which the church 
is engaged, and how they may best manifest their gratitude 
for his great love, and show themselves to be identified with 
him in thought and life. If the church is to undertake any 
new service in behalf of the poor or the neglected, the 
proper place to consider it is at the Lord s table, and at the 
service of preparation for it. 

In the Roman Catholic church, confession always pre 
cedes the Eucharist; and the preparation is made in the 
conversation between the penitent and the priest, and in 

i 2 Cor. v. U, l.V 


the discipline enjoined at the confessional. The Lutheran 
church also adheres to private confession, but considerably 
modifies the Roman Catholic practice. Dr. Harnack ad 
mits that confession is not enjoined by the Scriptures, but 
maintains that it is of great practical value, especially 
as a means of safeguarding the Lord s Supper. 1 

The manner of the administration differs in Protestant 
churches. Episcopalians and Methodists receive it kneel 
ing at the altar ; in some churches large tables are sur 
rounded with the communicants, and are cleared and filled 
afresh until all have partaken ; and in many others the 
elements are distributed by the officers of the church to the 
communicants sitting in their pews. The form of the sac 
rament is evidently not essential ; each of these methods 
has a fitness and beauty of its own which endears it to 
those who have become accustomed to it. 

In the Dutch churches it has long been the practice for 
the minister at the table to address a few questions to the 
communicants, reverently standing, to which they make 
audible response. Such a renewal of their confession of 
loyalty to the Lord seems highly appropriate. After these 
questions there were formerly added, in some parts of 
Holland, the following beautiful words by the pastor: 
"Now, beloved, if we are faithful, and will be faithful 
with all our heart, although much weakness and sin still 
cleave to us, contrary to our desire, the Lord is faithful, 
who also will complete his work in us. He will bless and 
strengthen us ; he will lift up his countenance upon us 
and enlighten and sanctify us. He shall preserve our 
whole being, spirit, soul, and body, unblamable unto his 
appearing. Amen." 2 

The address at the Communion service must not be 

1<( Aber in der Absolution handelt der Trager des Amts weder als judex, 
wie der romische Kirche lehrt, noch als frater, wic die Schweitzerischen be- 
haupten, sondern als minister Dei, als Diener, Verwalter des neuestestament- 
liclien Gnadenumts. Darum ist Absolution weder em richterliches Judiceren, 
noch ein bruderliches Berathen ; sondern es ist ein Spenden und specielles 
Applireren der Guade an den Einzelncn im Namen Gottes." (Geschichte und 
Thforic der Predict und der Sfelsorge, p. 481.) 

2 Van Oosterzee, Practical Theology, p. 426. 


extended ; a brief sermon, of not more than fifteen minutes 
in length, may be the best preparation ; but all the exer 
cises should be so ordered that the service shall not be 
fatiguing. To append the Communion to a service of 
ordinary length is not wise. 

In most Protestant churches some form of invitation to 
the table is generally given. Sometimes all members of 
sister churches or of Evangelical churches, in crood and 

o o 

regular standing, are invited; sometimes the broader invi 
tation is given to all disciples and followers of Jesus 
Christ. It is not to be supposed that any form of words 
will serve to bar from the table all unworthy persons; and 
it may be wisest to throw upon the communicant himself 
the entire responsibility of receiving or refusing the 

The pastor will often find among his people some who 
hesitate to come to the table because of a conceived un- 
worthiness. That blunt translation of Paul s words in the 
Old Version, that "he that eateth and drinketh unworthily 
eateth and drinketh damnation to himself," 1 lias terrified 
many timid disciples. The pastor needs carefully to in 
struct his people as to the force of that word unworthily," 
and that other word "damnation; " and should make them 
understand that those who most deeply feel their own 
umvorthiness are those who are most welcome at Christ s 
table, if onlv they come with contrite hearts and sincere 
desire to overcome; the evil. 

The words of Paul just quoted have led, in some 
churches, to a careful guarding of the sacrament from 
unworthy communicants. In Holland the address pre 
ceding communion is called "-fencing the tables," from 
the fact that it is designed to warn away those who are 
unfit to participate. The need of sincerity and seriousness 
in this as in all other acts of worship is too evident to be 
insisted on : and it is not unnatural that some exceptional 
caution be enjoined on those who approach the Lord s 
table; yet it may be questioned whether too much empha 
sis has not been put on these admonitions. A supersti- 

1 Cor. xi. 29. 


tious fear of " eating and drinking condemnation," if not 
damnation, keeps many humble and conscientious Chris 
tians away from the table. The feeling is prevalent that 
the rite is only for those whose sanctity is exceptional ; 
those who most need its comfort often either deprive 
themselves of the ordinance, or else draw near to the table 
with so much doubt and fear that its benefits are lessened, 
if not lost. All such stumbling-blocks the pastor must 
seek to remove. In his preparatory services and in his 
invitations to the Supper he must make it clear that the 
sacrament is not for the sinless, but for all needy souls 
who in true poverty of spirit are seeking to turn from 
their evil ways and to receive the forgiveness of their sins. 
Some churches require intending communicants to be 
provided with tickets of admission to the sacrament. The 
provision springs from the anxiety of the church to prevent 
unworthy communication ; it is not so much the profana 
tion of the Supper that is dreaded as the injury to the 
unworthy communicant. The impossibility of exercising, 
in such a case, any adequate judgment upon the characters 
of communicants might, however, lead the church authori 
ties to question the wisdom of such a course. The most 
vigilant censorship will not shut out all the unworthy; 
and it is at least an open question whether it is not better 
to require every disciple to judge himself. This seems, 
at any rate, to be the clear meaning of the apostolic 
instruction. 1 

One of the most solemn services of the altar to which 
the pastor is called is the reception of new members to the 
church. In some of the churches the rite of Confirmation 
is carefully defined in rules and rubrics ; the minister s 
duty is precisely laid down. The instruction of those who 
are to be received into the communion of the church is 
systematized and enjoined; of this we shall have more to 
say in a subsequent chapter. Even in these churches, 
however, much must be left to the discretion of the 
pastor ; it will be his duty to bring home the obligation 
of publicly confessing their Lord to the minds of many 

1 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29. 


who have been consecrated to his service in their infancy, 
and of many others who have not received such initiation 
into the divine society. 

In many of the Protestant churches the ritual of admis 
sion is not elaborate, and the whole matter largelv depends 
on the wisdom of the pastor. To him is chiefly committed 
the question of the fitness of candidates; even where there 
is a session or a consistory or a committee whose approval 
must be secured, the pastor s recommendations are gener 
ally influential. 

If the form of admission includes the acceptance of a 
creed it is manifestly the duty of the pastor to see that 
the candidate understands the words to which he will give 
his assent. There should be no concealment or evasion 
here; the intellectual dishonesty of repeating phrases 
which do not express the convictions of the candidate 
should never be encouraged by the pastor. The wisdom 
of employing theological creeds in the formularies of ad 
mission to the church may well be questioned: but if his 
church has established this condition, he can do nothing 
other than conform to it. 

Where no such theological expressions are required of 
candidates there is still an important duty for the pastor 
in bringing those who arc without into the communion of 
the church. It is for him to set before them an open door, 
and to speak the invitation so graciously that they shall be 
constrained to come in. And the moment when he meets 
on the threshold of the church these disciples who have 
been won to confession through his ministry will be to 
him and to them a moment of great seriousness. With 
great dignity, with entire simplicity, with deep tendernes.- 
of spirit the service ought to be conducted. The self- 
dedication of the candidates is a solemn act. and its sig 
nificance ought to appear. But it is also a joyful and 
inspiring service to which thevaiv devoting themselves, and 
the note of hope and exaltation must not le absent. Not 
only for the candidates, but for the members of the house 
hold of faith into which they are now entering, such a ser 
vice outdit to be memorable and uplifting. Whether or not 

O I <^ 


it shall be so will depend very largely upon the spirit of 
the pastor. 

One other service of a liturgical character the pastor is 
often called to perform. Marriage is not, in the Protes 
tant churches, a sacrament ; but it is a rite of great sacred- 
ness, and it is entirely fitting that it should be performed 
within the church. Wherever the covenant is conse 
crated, however, its true character should not be lost 
sight of. The State provides for civil marriage by magis 
trates ; the fact that so few persons avail themselves of 
this provision is proof that the sacredness of the act is still 
deeply impressed upon the consciousness of the dwellers 
in Christian lands. The great majority even of those who 
have no connection with the churches desire that the cere 
mony of marriage should be performed by a minister of 
Christ and blessed by prayer. It is a choice which the 
conduct of the officiating minister should abundantly con 
firm. Let him see to it that the sacredness of the rite 
be manifest to those who have thus invoked his service. 1 
Let him make them feel, if they never felt it before, that 
they are standing in the very presence of God, and speak 
ing their vows directly to him ; that no act of their lives 
can ever require deeper humility or greater conscientious 
ness. Not seldom young men and women unknown to 
him will come to him with the authorization of the State 
in their hands, but with a very inadequate conception in 
their minds of the importance of the business in which 
they solicit his offices. It is a pitiful emergency which 
he thus confronts ; it is not ordinarily advisable for him 
to refuse to render the service which they request, nor is 
it judicious for him to offer remonstrance or exhortation. 
All that he can do is to fill the simple rite so full of its 
true meaning that some sense of its vital significance may 
dawn upon them, even in the moments while they are 
standing before him. As he pronounces the solemn words 

1 " Le ministrc doit bien se garder d aocomplir certains rites, tels que 
bapteme et le mariage, d une maniere legere et trop commune. Ce qui 
est nu acte jonrnalier ponr nous est toujours un acte soleiinel pour autres." 
(Vinet, Thtfolofjie Pastorale, p. 211.) 


of the covenant, as he lifts up his voice in prayer, the truth 
may be borne into their minds that the vows which they 
are uttering must not be lightly spoken. 

In all cases the marriage service, as the Christian min 
ister performs it, ought to be one of the most impressive 
and genuinely religious services in which he ever partici 
pates ; the festivities with which it is apt to be surrounded 
should never be permitted to encroach upon its sacred 



IN a previous chapter we have spoken of that priesthood 
of sympathy which the pastor exercises through his iden 
tification with his people. It is evident that the fulfil 
ment of this relation is made possible only by a general 
acquaintance with the community, and a more or less inti 
mate friendship with the families and the individuals to 
whom he is called to minister. 

In the general social life of the neighborhood in which 
he lives the pastor ought to mingle as freely as he can. 
He will not be able to give nearly as much time to this 
part of his work as he would like to give ; for his study 
must not be neglected, and the administrative work, of 
which we have yet to speak, must be carefully attended 
to ; but he will understand the importance of knowing 
his neighbors, and of being fully informed concerning the 
general interests of the community in which he lives. 
This is not to say that he will devote a very large part of 
his time to what is technically known as " society," though 
even into this, with due circumspection, he will find it to 
his account to enter. The fashionable people are his 
neighbors ; some of them may be his parishioners, and 
he needs to know them. Their frivolities and dissipations 
he need not countenance ; but a first-hand acquaintance 
with them is indispensable. These people are not clean 
gone astray ; many of them entertain serious aims ; some 
of them are full of beneficent labors ; not only that he 
may do them good, but that he may enlist them in the 
work of the kingdom it is important that he should main 
tain friendly relations with them. " Take an illustra 
tion," says one writer, "from the society of the second 


century. It is said of St. Ignatius tluit lie longed to know 
more Christians, and to give them an interest in each 
other. This is a natural way in which we can contribute 
our share to the drawing-rooms of our parish. We can 
not collide the conversation if we tried, and it would per 
haps savor of presumption if we could: lint we can often 
throw a kindness into some sharp critic-ism that is going 
on; we can go and talk with some one who seems shv or 
neglected : we must not argue, Imt we mav (juietlv give 
a practical reason for our faith when questions arise about 
it; if \ve cannot conquer people bv the force of our intel 
lect, we mav win them by unaffected humility; we need 
not assert ourselves, our views, or our cause, but we mav 
commend them by their effect on our own character. And 
we shall often gain more than we give: we shall wear oil 
the weariness of our parish work, and we shall humani/.e 
our morning study ; we shall enlarge and enrich our own 
mind by living in contact with those who set things from 
another view-point and from a different training." 1 

But it is more important that the pastor should make 
himself thoroughly familiar with the industrial, the educa 
tional, and the philanthropic circles, and that he should 
have a good acquaintance with the busy life of the com 
munity. He will have much to do with the proper devel 
opment of this life. His task, as we have seen already and 
shall hereafter more distinctly see. is the C liristianization of 
all this manifold and multiform activity. But our thought 
at present concerns only his relation to the individuals of 
which these social groups are composed. He needs to 
know something about the labor question: but most he 
needs to know the men who are wrestling with this ques 
tion. It is important to understand economic theories. 
but it is more important to have some personal acquaint 
ance with the human beings to whom these theories are 
matters of life and death. It is precisely so with all these 
social interests. Each has a theoretic side, and each has 
a human side; and the minister needs to know what he 
can of both. That his preaching will be more intelligent 

l The Parish Priest in Town, pp. 36, ;57. 


and more humane because of this knowledge is evident 
enough ; but the point now before us is that he gains, by 
such a familiarity with every-day affairs, opportunities of 
friendship which will greatly add to the fruitfulness of his 

The minister ought to be one of the best known men in 
his neighborhood; the men of business, the professional 
men, the laboring men, the teachers, the pupils in the 
schools ought to recognize him in the streets and exchange 
with him a cordial greeting ; he ought to be the one man 
in all the vicinage to whom the heart of any one in need 
of a friend would instinctively turn. He is, by virtue of 
his calling, nay, rather, by reason of the life that is in him, 
the friend of all these people. The chief Pastor, when he 
was here, was the people s friend. Everybody seems to 
have known him ; nobody was afraid of him. Faber s 
verses describe what was true of his life in the flesh : 

" O see how Jesus trusts himself 

Unto our childish love ! 
As though by his free ways with us 
Our earnestness to prove. 

" His sacred name a common word 

On earth he loves to hear : 
There is no majesty in him 

That love may not come near." 

He was the Friend of publicans and sinners, but he was 
not less truly the Friend of rich men, and of little children. 

It is the first business of the pastor to establish such 
relations as these between himself and all the people of 
his neighborhood. It is not merely to the members of his 
own congregation that he will manifest this friendliness ; 
if the mind that was in Christ is in him, no such exclusive 
affection will be possible to him. To do good to all men 
as he has opportunity will be the impulse of his love. 

Such free and familiar intercourse with all classes of 
people has not always been expected of the Christian 
minister. Indeed, it has sometimes been supposed that 
a somewhat careful reserve was most becoming in him. 


"The very question," says Van Oosterzee, "whether the 
pastor ought to associate on terms of friendship with the 
members of his congregation, is by no means answered by 
all in the same sense. The Romish church permits this 
only within great limitations. .1. B. Massilon, for instance, 
in his Discours sur la manierc dontles Ecclcsiustiqucs iluicent 
converter (tree Ics jicrxonm * d v iinnuli , would have the 
priest, as a rule, associate only with priests; and cer 
tainly it cannot be denied on the Protestant side that one 
may as greatly err in this respect by the too milch as by 
the too little. ! For priests, who recognize themselves as 
belonging to a separate caste, this may be a good rule; 
but not for those who regard themselves as possessing no 
such dignity. Fven the parish priests of France and 
German v, the best among them, have but lightly regarded 
counsels of this kind, and have kept themselves in closest 
friendship with the people to whom they ministered. 

It is not by withdrawing from familiar intercourse with 
the people that the minister best preserves the sanctity of 
his character. The leaven must be mingled with the meal; 
and the more thoroughly it is worked into it, the better 
the results will be. And this means, among other things, 
a close and familiar intercourse between those lives which 
have received the divine influence in its fulness and those 
which have not. The one task of the minister is to bring 
the active goodness which exists in the hearts and lives of 
his people into vital contact with the needs of the human 
beings round about them. It is 1>\- this personal and prac 
tical friendship of the members of the church with those 
who are without that the work of evangelization is to be 
carried on. And if the pastor wishes his people to do this 
work he must show them how to do it. How the Christian 
minister, in this generation, can hold himself aloof from 
the people of his congregation and of his neighborhood, 
or how he can maintain a kind of social distinction from 
them, does not clearly appear. 

And yet it is very important that his intercourse with 
his neighbors be not of such a character as to undermine 

1 Practical Theoloyy, p. 543. 


his influence. He is not to assume any superiority over 
them, but on the other hand he must beware how he lowers 
his own standards of judgment or conduct in conformity to 
theirs. It may not be necessary for him constantly to 
rebuke the selfishness, the frivolity, the sordidness, the un- 
charity which he encounters in his conversation with those 
whom he meets ; these people are his friends, and it is of 
the utmost importance that he should not forfeit their 
friendship ; but it is possible for him to set forth, affirma 
tively, in his own conversation and conduct, such an ideal 
of character as shall awaken in them a desire for something 
better. When he is in the company of those who are too 
much given to frivolous amusement, he may lead the con 
versation to more serious subjects to the great opportu 
nities for unselfish service ; when he hears a word of 
ungenerous criticism, he can reply to it with a charitable 
judgment ; when he comes in contact with one who is being 
consumed with covetousness or ambition he may gently 
endeavor to turn his thought toward higher interests. One 
may be in the closest friendship with the selfish and the 
worldly and not be overborne by their selfishness and 
worldliness. One must be in close friendship with them 
in order to do them any good. " As thou didst send me 
into the world," said the Master, " even so have I sent 
them into the world." " They are not of the world, even as 
I am not of the world." " I pray not that thou shouldest 
take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep 
them from the evil." 1 

When the pastor has succeeded in establishing between 
himself and his neighbors and parishioners such relations 
of friendship, great opportunities of helpful ministry will 
come to him. As friend and counsellor and guide of 
men, heavy responsibilities will be laid upon him. There 
will be no confessional in which he will sit as the mouth 
piece of God, to hear the word of the penitent and pro 
nounce absolution, but if he is the kind of man that he 
ought to be, a great many stories of doubt and perplexity 
and sorrow and shame and despair are likely to be poured 

1 John xvii. 


into his ears. The cure of souls is his high culling; it 
invokes for him what tenderness, what dignity, what sym 
pathetic insight, what sanity of judgment, what love for 
men, what faith in God! His own personality will deter 
mine very largely the nature of the conlidence reposed 
in him. If he is weak and effusive and credulous, all 
sorts of sentimentalists will burden him with their tales 
of woe and entangle him in their trilling toils. There is 
peril on this side, and he must be on his guard. Hut if 
he is known to be a man of sober sense and tirm character, 
the silly sort will not greatly affect him. He will not, if 
he is as wise as Solomon was reputed to be, wholly escape 
such confidants, but they will not seriously trouble him. 

Above all tilings let him beware how he deals with 
domestic difficulties. To take sides in a quarrel between 
a husband and a wife is generally perilous business. It is 
a good rule to hear nothing from either except in tin; 
other s presence. In mauv cases probably in the great 
majority of cases the right word for the minister to the 
one who brings the complaint is a very linn and ener 
getic injunction to go home, and never speak of it to any 
mortal, but to settle the trouble without anv outside inter 
ference. A minister may often say in such a case, with 
all the authority and solemnity of the everlasting truth in 
his utterance : " You two must live together. Von have 
covenanted to do so before the eternal God, and you must 
keep your covenant. Separation is not to be thought of. 
You took each other for better or worse, and you must not 
desert each other now. The problem for each of you is 
to win and compel the respect, the affection, of the other. 
You can do it if you try. You had better die than fail. 
Go home and begin to-day." Such words as these have 
put an end, more than once, to discords that would have 
destroyed households and left children homeless. 

There is, however, in every congregation, enough of 
real trouble to tax the minister s resources of sympathy 
and wisdom. I low much there is. in every community, 
of anxiety and disappointment and heart-breaking sorrow 
that never comes to the surface, of which the gossiping 


world never knows anything at all ! A great deal of this 
trouble comes to the minister; he must always be the 
sharer of many burdens which are hidden from the public 
gaze. This is just as it ought to be ; the pastor has as 
little reason to complain of it as the doctor has to com 
plain of a multitude of patients. But it is apt to be the 
most exhaustive part of the pastor s work; the drafts 
made upon his nervous energy through the appeal to his 
sympathies are heavier than those which are due to his 
studies. Every pastor must be ready for a great deal of 
this kind of work, work that will make no noise in the 
newspapers, and that will not greatly affect his clerical 
reputation, but that will have its reward in the day when 
he is received into the everlasting habitations. 

Pastoral work rather tends, in these days, to take this 
form, especially in the larger churches. There is less of 
what is known as pastoral visiting ; but there is more of 
demand upon the pastor for counsel and help in all sorts 
of personal troubles. The pastor offers less of personal ser 
vice than once he did, but he is called on for more. This 
is partly because the sacerdotal character of the minister 
is fading out, and the brotherly character is more strongly 
accentuated. Formerly the pastor was expected to go 
regularly to the homes of his parishioners, and there to 
enter into religious conversation with every member of 
the family, seeking to learn the secrets of the spiritual 
history of each one, and offering such admonition as 
seemed wise to him. There is less of this than once 
there was ; some wise men think that there is less of it 
now than there ought to be. The change has resulted 
in part, no doubt, from an enlarged, perhaps an exagger 
ated, sense of the sacredness of personality. Conscien 
tious ministers often have scruples about thrusting their 
counsel upon those who give no sign of desiring it, and 
are more than doubtful about the utility of such a method 
of family visitation as was formerly practised. Some of 
us who were by no means indisposed, in our childhood, 
to religious conversation, under proper conditions, do yet 
vividly recall the repugnance with which the official visit 


of the parson to the family was expected, and the annoy 
ance with which we replied to his inquisition. Dr. Will- 
cox is not far from the truth when he says to young 
ministers: "In your labor with individuals, to draw them 
to Christ, see each of them always alone. It is a griev 
ance to any one to ask him to throw open to a group of 
listeners his inmost life. Commonly he will decline. If 
he does you will talk, not with, but only at him. You 
will preach to him only the general counsel that never 
comes home to us." 1 It is not clear that this can be 
adopted as a universal rule: the pastor mav know of 
familv circles into which he could safelv introduce the 
most intimate conversation on religious themes. IJut it 
is ordinarily far wiser to respect the natural reticence 
which shrinks from the exposure of the secrets of the 
soul. And it is probable that the pastor who \veiit about 
among the homes of his people, questioning husbands and 
wives, parents and children, brothel s and sisters as he 
found them, in the family groups, would not lie so a] it 
to attract to himself the confidence of those Mho really 
need counsel as if he adopted a less aggressive method. 
Pastoral visitation, as we shall presently see, may still 
serve an excellent purpose; but. as affording an oppor 
tunity for serious conversation upon the religious life, it 
does not hold the same place that once it held in the 
estimation of the wise pastor. 

For the personal ministry which we are now considering, 
other opportunities must be sought than those which are 
afforded bv general pastoral visitation. Sometimes the 
man can be found in his ollice or his place of business; 
but care must IK? taken not to encroach upon time which 
is occupied with necessary duties. Sometimes a walk or 
a drive or a railway journey in company will bring the 
opportunity; very often the pastor s study or his parlor 
at home will furnish the place for such an interview. It 
is always far Ix-tter, of course, that the confidence should 
l>o sought by the parishioner; to open the way for this 
and lead up to it is what the skilful pastor will seek to 

1 The I ttstor amidst liis / /<><(, p. 41. 


do. But it may sometimes be wise for him to invite such 
confidences. He may have reason to believe that some 
friend of his in the congregation is in a state of mind in 
which a frank talk with his pastor would be welcome, 
though he would shrink from proposing it. A cordial 
invitation might bring him to the study or the parsonage. 
The wise and faithful pastor is always seeking for such 
opportunities of personal ministry to those who have 
learned to confide in his friendship. 

A confidential note will sometimes open the way for 
sucli a conversation. There may be circumstances in 
which the pastor could more easily and delicately invite 
the confidence in this way. To find the occasion for the 
first serious words is often difficult. But the pastor 
should be sure that he possesses the entire respect and 
confidence of the friend whom he thus addresses. It 
is always better, when possible, that the communication 
should be face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend. 

The needs of the souls to whom the pastor seeks to 
minister are many and various. No two cases are alike ; 
each is a separate study. But one may think of types 
which are always found in all our congregations. 

The pastor is too apt to find among the members of his 
church some who have ceased to take any active part in its 
work, and some who have even lost their interest in spirit 
ual things ; with such persons as these he should seek to 
establish friendship, that he may, if possible, lead them 
back to the ways of discipleship. The first thing is to win 
their confidence ; then he may seek to learn the reasons of 
their lack of service. 

With some of these the chief difficulty will be found to 
be intellectual. The} 7 have become entangled in doubts, 
and either are, or suppose themselves to be, disabled for 
Christian service. The problem of dealing with the doubter 
is thus brought home to the pastor. In these latter days 
it is a problem of large dimensions. The tremendous ad 
vance of the physical sciences, the rise of the philosophy 
of evolution, the prevalence of the methods of historical 
criticism, have made necessary a restatement of many of 


the doctrines of religion, and have swept the foundations 
from beneath the feet of multitudes who have not had time 
to adjust themselves to these rapid movements of mind. 

Many of these doubters, who have withdrawn from active 
work in the church, are not really half so widely separated 
from their brethren as they suppose themselves to be. The 
things which they are inclined to deny are things which no 
one wishes them to aih rm. The pastor finds, when he comes 
to close quarters with their difficulties, that the stumbling- 
blocks from which they have turned back are not really 
there, that they were swept away long ago by the move 
ments of Christian thought. One is often surprised to find 
how ignorant men arc of what is going on around them, 
how little aware they are of the progress of theological 
science. The wise pastor is often able to give great relief 
to burdened minds by showing them that the difficulties 
which had troubled them do not exist. 

Real difficulties there are, however, and they must 1x3 
met with the utmost candor. Not seldom it will be easy 
to show that they rest upon an unsound philosophy; that 
what the doubters deny would lead, if they consistently 
maintained it, to intellectual chaos. And it is generally 
true that there are mysteries quite as profound in the sim 
plest phenomena of life as any which theology presents. 
Tennyson s lines are an adequate reply to many sceptical 
suggestions : 

" Flower in the crannied wall, 
I pluck you out of the crannies , 
Hold you here, root and all. in niv hand. 
Little flower but if I could understand 
What you are, root and all. and all in all, 
I should know what (lod and man is." 

The pastor will often be aide to put into the hands of the 
doubter some book that deals specifically and wisely with 
his difficulties. Familiarity with literature of this kind is 
highly important, and a judicious use of it : for much of 
that which is employed is calculated to aggravate rather 
than to relieve doubt. Certain counsels of Dr. van Oos- 
terzee may well be pondered : 


" The doubter may be led by means of tlie Scripture to 
Christ, but also by faith in Christ to the just estimate of 
the Scriptures ; and according to the apportionment of these 
times, the last-mentioned way appears preferable in the 
case of by far the greater number. From the mult a, there 
fore, direct the attention to the multum ; from the circum 
ference of the circle to its immovable centre. Learn to 
comprehend and explain each of the parts in the light of 
the whole ; the miracles of the prophets, from the idea 
of the theocracy ; those of Jesus and the apostles, from 
the whole divine plan of salvation ; those of creation in 
connection with the idea of God. In the clearing up of 
historic difficulties for persons of intelligence, frankly 
surrender all that you cannot, with a good conscience, 
maintain; but point out at the same time (in connection 
with the details of the resurrection, e.g.) how many a de 
tail less certain, or even for us irreconcilable with other 
statements, detracts nothing whatever from the great fact 
with which we have here exclusively to do. In the treat 
ment of dogmatic questions, withdraw quickly (when 
there is a divergency,) from the province of ecclesiastical 
doctrine to that of the purer doctrine of Scripture, espe 
cially of the New Testament, and show that, even though 
very considerable difficulties attach to the acknowledg 
ment of the truth, its consistent rejection leads to much 
greater difficulties, nay, absurdities. Call attention to 
the limitation of the intellect with regard to the how of 
invisible things, but at the same time to the validity of the 
grounds which compel us to believe in the that. Extol 
the power and glory of faith, even according to the tes 
timony of not a few unbelievers themselves ; and point 
not less to the depths of denial and misery to which the 
path of doubt must in the long run inevitably lead." : 

This whole subject of the treatment of doubt belongs to 
Apologetics, rather than to Pastoral Theology ; yet it is in 
this sphere that the pastor is called to apply what he has 
learned in many departments of study ; and a few simple 
principles may be serviceable in this part of his work. 

1 Practical Theology, pp. 570-571. 


1. Most of the intellectual difficulties which the pastor 
will encounter at the present day arise from the assump 
tion of the antecedent improbability of the miraculous. 
Upon this it is well to say that while what is known as 
the miraculous may be supernatural, it is not anti-nat 
ural. It may be the revelation of a power which works 
upon or within nature in a way that we do not understand; 
it is not a violation of nature. 

2. To one who objects to any religion in which the 
supernatural is implied, it may be useful to put the ques 
tion whether he believes in a supernatural God, and 
whether if there be such a God it is possible for men to 
have any relations with him. If religion consists in fel 
lowship and communion with a supernatural divinity, it is 
difficult to see how the element of the supernatural can be 
wholly eliminated from it. 

3. The proof of religion, so far as it is gained by or 
dinary argumentation, must rest on probabilities; demon 
strative proofs are out of the question. Respecting the 
existence of God or the fact of a future life there can be 
no mathematical certainty. .V preponderance of evidence 
in support of the proposition may be shown nothing 
more. But this is precisely the ground on which we rest 
all our judgments of practical affairs ; we risk our lives, 
our fortunes, our happiness upon such evidence. 

4. The Christian religion is given to us not for specula 
tive, but for practical purposes. There is only one test, 
that is the test of life. It is not much less absurd to try 
to determine its truth by simply arguing about it than it 
would be to try to find out whether a peacli was good 
without tasting it, or whether air would support life with 
out breathing it. If any man willeth to do his will he 
shall know of the doctrine." ! The first condition of intel 
ligent inquiry is readiness to " <h> the truth." The man 
who wishes light upon the deep things of God must put 
himself in the position in which light can come to him. 

This business of dealing with doubt is one of the most 
delicate and difficult to which the minister is called ; it 


requires a large equipment of knowledge, but more than 
this it demands tact and sympathy and loving considera 
tion. Doubtless there is much scepticism which is born 
of ignorance and conceit and headiness, which vaunteth 
itself and is puffed up, and assumes that whatsoever things 
have been believed must be disputed, that this is the 
beginning of wisdom. But even this distemper of mind is 
to be dealt with patiently ; false logic and arrogant as 
sumptions must be mercilessly exposed, yet always with 
kindness. The most of those, however, who will make 
known to the minister their doubts are honest doubters, 
and a generous and patient treatment will lead them into 
the truth. Such doubters must be admonished not to be 
afraid of their doubts, but to face them, and grapple with 
them fearlessly ; never to accept any sophistries for reason 
ings ; and never to try to compel the mind to assent to a 
statement because it is safer or more comfortable to believe 
it. " Have it as a law," says Dr. Bushnell, " never to put 
force upon the mind, or try to make it believe ; because it 
spoils the mind s integrity, and when that is gone, what 
power of advance in the truth is left? " 1 

In short, it may be said that in his treatment of the 
doubters in his congregation the pastor has a great op 
portunity of extending his friendships. No greater service 
can be rendered to any man than an honest and manly 
effort to enable him to find the truth. And those who 
have found their way, under his guidance, out of the wil 
derness of doubt into the green pastures and beside the 
still waters, are likely to cherish a deep and lasting affec 
tion for the shepherd who has led them. 

The pastor will find among his parishioners not a few 
who have fallen out of the ways of active discipleship be 
cause the views of the Christian life with which they set 
out have not been verified in their experience. They 
entertained rather fanciful notions of what it means to fol 
low Christ. At the beginning of .the way there was a cer 
tain exhilaration and fervor of spirit which on the dull 

1 Si-rin<is on fJriny Subjects, p. 181. This whole sermou on "The Dis 
solving of Doubts " is full of the ripest wisdom. 


levels of every day duty it is hard to sustain ; and when 
that exalted mood was lost they thought their religious 
life was gone, and relapsed into careless and undevout 
ways. It is needful to bring these wanderers back into 
the paths of service, and to sho\v them that a religion of 
more sober color is quite as genuine and more serviceable. 
In the last generation and probably in the former genera 
tions, cases of religious despair were very common. Men 
and women were not rare who had settled down upon the 
conviction that they were lost souls : that for them there 
could be no future but a certain fearful looking-for of 
judgment. This state of mind was due in large measure 
to the fatalistic theories with which theology had been 
infested. A thoroughly conscientious person, working 
strenuously upon the problems of personal salvation, and 
failing to enter into those emotional experiences which he 
often hears reported, might easily come to feel that the 
reason of his failure was to be found in those inscrutable 
decrees by which heaven is sealed to all but the elect. 
When such an appalling conviction has been reached, it 
must hold the mind fast in its palsying grasp : and the 
offers of the gospel forever sound like a dismal mockery. 
It is not many years since persons could be found in nearly 
every congregation who had sunk into chronic hopelessness 
through the operation of such causes. These things are 
better understood in our day : the ethical element in the 
ology lias supplanted mere force as a regulative principle ; 
and the belief that the Judge of all the earth will do right 
has quieted most of these despairing cries. Hut there are 
still occasional cases of religious melancholy which require 
to be wisely treated. In most of these cases, the trouble 
is physical, and the sufferer must be gently but iirmly en 
joined to lose no time in consulting a physician. The pas 
tor mav himself have had experiences of depression arising 
from purely physical causes, and may be able to convince 
the victim of melancholia that he knows what he is saying. 
The close relation of the body and the mind, and the fact 
that mental suffering is often caused by physical maladies, 
must always be kept before the thought of him who is 


called to minister to minds diseased. The converse of all 
this is, however, just as true. There are many physical 
ailments whose source is in a troubled conscience or a 
morbid fear. The pastor may often call to his aid the 
medical man in dissolving doubt and despair ; but, on the 
other hand, there are many sicknesses that the doctor with 
his drugs can never cure, but that would be quickly put 
to flight if the load of shame and remorse that are resting 
upon the heart could be removed. The utmost wisdom is 
needed in dealing with such cases ; the true priesthood of 
the pastor is here called into exercise. If by gentle ques 
tioning he can draw forth the rankling secret, and con 
vince the troubled soul, by his own forgivingness, that 
the Infinite Love is able to save to the uttermost all who 
trust in him, he may prove to be the bringer of health and 
peace. The cure of souls is a phrase with a deep and real 

The visitation of the sick is one of the constant labors 
of the Christian pastor. In any considerable congregation 
the weeks are few in which some service of this sort is not 
laid upon him ; and the duty is one which taxes heavily 
his wisdom and his strength. 

It is impossible to give directions concerning this minis 
tration which will be applicable in all cases. The pastor 
of a village church of fifty families will be able to give far 
more time and thought to each family than the pastor of 
a city church with four or five hundred families can 
possibly give. In the great congregations the limitations 
of pastoral service are obvious. Nevertheless the pastor 
will wish to see all members of his flock who are seriously 
ill, and he will make the congregation understand that 
this is his wish. Let him tell them, frequently and 
emphatically, to send for him \vhen they need him ; to 
have no more hesitation in sending for him than in send 
ing for the physician. Let him make his people under 
stand that the responsibility of calling him rests on them ; 
that they must not expect him to know by intuition who 
is sick ; that they must take pains to inform him. Parish- 


ioners are sometimes unreasonable in this matter; it is 
difficult for them to understand that trouble which so 
profoundly affects them should not be known to every 
body; and in the distress and nervous disturbance which 
the sickness brings not only to the invalid but to those 
who are caring for him, it is easy to entertain unjust 
suspicions of pastoral neglect. The pastor must guard 
against this by establishing the rule that those who need 
him must scud for him. Still, he need not refuse to <_;< 


where he knows that there is trouble until he is sent for; 
let him rather say to people : " I shall always try to visit 
you when I know that you need me; but if I do not come 
) ou must assume that 1 do not know, and that it is your 
duty to let me know/ 

Much discretion must be exercised in the visitation of 
the sick. In the iirst place the pastor should be careful 
to co-operate in every possible way with the attending 
physician, to whom belongs the chief responsibility, and 
whose orders should be scrupulously respected. The phy 
sician will know whether the patient should be allowed 
to see any visitors ; and if this has been prohibited, no 
question should be raised. It is not often that a pastor, 
who has shown good sense in his manner of visitation, 
will be forbidden the sick-room ; ordinarily his visit, if 
properly timed, will aid the doctor; but there are times 
when even this must be disallowed. The pastor should 
be very careful about volunteering medical advice ; the 
cases are rare in which he should venture any suggestion 
which would have the effect to weaken the confidence of 
the patient or his friends in the physician in charge. 

In cases of serious illness, the visit should ordinarily be 
very brief. Laving aside outer garments that are damp 
or cold the pastor should quietly enter the room, and 
always with a smile and a cheerful word. Nothing that 
savors of officialism can be tolerated; he is not there as 
a religious functionary, but as a friend. The case may be 
critical, but it is not for him to manifest alarm or con 
sternation even in the presence of Death. An unwonted 
solemnity is never demanded in the sick chamber. If 


serious talk is necessary tlie tone of it should always be 
gentle and unflurried. 

A few pleasant and sympathetic words with the patient, 
that will tend to calm his apprehensions and strengthen 
his courage are generally all that are needed. It is not 
wise, ordinarily, to attempt any keen inquisition into the 
patient s spiritual condition ; the simple counsel to put 
himself wholly into the keeping of the Infinite Care-taker, 
and leave himself there, is generally the best that can be 
said. If he wishes to talk, if he has questions to ask, 
anxieties to confess, it may be wise to meet his wishes ; 
possibly some word of comfort and assurance will be 
spoken that will be more efficacious than much medicine. 
But the conversation should not be protracted ; never let 
the patient weary himself in the interview. 

Whether prayer should be offered will depend on cir 
cumstances. It is far better that it should be asked for 
by the patient himself ; if the conversation opens the way 
for that, it will be well. But often the request is not 
made, more through diffidence or delicacy than unwilling 
ness ; in some cases even when the sufferer is secretly 
desiring it. The wise pastor can generally tell whether 
such a service would be acceptable or not, and will know 
when to propose it. In almost all cases it should be very 
brief. A few verses from the Bible, and a prayer not 
more than two or three minutes in length will generally 
be more useful than any lengthened exercise. 

" What we say to the sick," says Dr. Andrew Bonar, 
"should be brief; and when we pray with the sick we 
should be short in our prayers." 1 

Some of the churches furnish to the pastor a liturgical 
form for use in the sick-room, but the simpler and less 
formal words that come from the heart of a sympathetic 
friend will generally be more welcome than a prescribed 
form of prayer. 

"Any one desirous, as a matter of curiosity, to see a 
complete rubric on the visitation of the sick, should get 
hold of Dr. Stearne s Tractatus dc Visitatione Infirmorum, 

1 Quoted iu Blaikie s For the Work of the Ministry, p. 261. 


as contained in the "Clergyman s Instructor." There he 
will iind instructions, cut and dried, for all sorts of cases, 
including that of criminals sentenced to be hanged. In 

o o 

the coldest and driest manner, he will iind topics sug 
gested for conversation and prayer in such circumstances, 
as if the whole of a clergyman s duty were exhausted in 
saying the proper thing, and no consideration were to he 
given to the tone and spirit in which it is said. The 
visitation of the sick is of all duties that for which the 
spirit of formality is most unsuitable, and where the speak 
ing must be most thoroughly from the heart to the heart. 
Vet a rubric like that to which we have referred might 
not be without its use in the way of suggestion, it might 
show the minister how great a variety of cases he is called 
to deal with, and of what value it is for him to be pro 
vided with manifold Scripture texts and references, sayings 
and anecdotes of suffering Christians, counsels and encour 
agements of well tried value, in order that to every sick 
and sorrowing person he may be able to give his portion 
of meat in due season." l 

Whether the Lord s Supper should be administered at the 
sick bed is a question to which theological controversy has 
sometimes given point. " In itself," says Van Oosterzee, 
" an affirmative answer to this question appears reasonable, 
as also history speaks of blessed observances of the Supper 
upon the bed of sickness and of death (Schleiermaeher, 
Adolph Monod, and others). On the other hand, how 
ever, it can hardly be denied that the desire for the Com 
munion in the case supposed is sometimes connected with 
a not purely evangelical conception with regard to the 
sacramental eihcacy and significance of the sacred emblems, 
and is to be but imperfectly harmonized with the view of 
the Holy Supper as a social mod. Resides, it is difficult 
to make a distinction by virtue of which we deny to some 
what could be granted without much hesitation to others. 
No wonder that in the age of the Reformation a Rullinger 
should deem separate communion undesirable ; and that 
later it should be opposed by those who in other respects 

1 Blaikie s For the Work of the Ministry, p. 259. 


readily acknowledged the beneficial psychological effect of 
the sacred action for sick persons. It might also so easily 
degenerate into a custom, observed even in the case of 
those but little concerned, and lead to the Romish custom 
of a viaticum. For all these reasons we would not will 
ingly see private communion made the rule ; but only 
conceded as a rare exception, when the pastor is convinced 
on good grounds that it is desired without superstition, from 
a right motive. In particular, from those confined to the 
bed of sickness, who with sorrow have already been long 
deprived of the sacred emblems, and earnestly desire them, 
we need not continue arbitrarily to withhold them. In 
that case, however, a little household congregation must be 
assembled round the bed of sickness, and the necessities 
of the poor remembered, while the pastor fulfils with 
dignity and simplicity the task of the liturgist." l 

The difficulties felt by the writer of this paragraph 
would not, probably, occur to many Protestant pastors in 
America. There is practically no danger whatever that 
the Lord s Supper will be regarded superstitiously by our 
sick parishioners ; and there are few cases in which its 
administration is requested by sick persons from any other 
than proper motives. Often it is a great solace to the 
devout believer ; those who are drawing nigh to death find 
their hopes strengthened by it; and it sometimes brings 
to the troubled spirit the peace that passeth knowledge. 
That the sacrament be administered at the sick bed in a 
dignified and appropriate manner is worth some painstaking. 
A few of the sacred vessels should be taken from the church 
to the house ; the bread and wine should be properly pre 
pared, and it will be well if one or more of the officers of 
the church can assist the pastor in the administration. If 
all things connected with the ordinance can be done 
decently and in order, the effect upon the mind of the 
recipient is likely to be more salutary. 2 

1 Practical Theology, p. 558. 

2 " II est legitime et parfaitement legal de dormer la cene aux malades chez 
eux ; mais que ce soit avec solennite et qu il y ait communion, c est-a-dire, 
non settlement des assistants mais des personues qui prennent la cene avec la 
inalude." Viiiet, Theuloyie Pastorale, p. 213. 


Whether the pastor should reveal their true condition 
to those who are drawing nigh to death is often a difficult 
question. In cases not a few the physician s orders to the 
contrary are explicit ; yet the pastor s responsibility in such 
a case may be equal to that of the physician. When the 
physician has distinctly declared that there is no hope of 
recovery, the right of the patient to know that fact would 
seem to be unquestionable. It may not be necessary that 
he should know it; it may be best that he should not; 
but in many cases it is evidently wrong that it should be 
concealed from him. Respecting all this matter the pastor 
is precisely as able to judge as is the physician ; and after 
consultation with the family, he must take the responsi 
bility. There are many kinds of preparation which the 
dying man may wish to make for his departure; that right 
should not be denied him. It is not, indeed, the salvation 
of the soul that chieily calls for such a disclosure ; for the 
repentance which can only be produced by the imminence 
of death is of little avail ; but there are few rational human 
beings who would not feel deeply wronged if a truth of so 
much moment were concealed from them by those in whom 
they had reason to confide. 

What is the duty of the pastor with respect to the visita 
tion of those who are sick with infectious diseases? His 
obligation to his own household and his other parishioners 
must indeed be well considered ; putting his own safety 
out of the question, he must not wantonly expose others. 
Yet there are other virtues besides caution. The Christian 
pastor must not be a coward. He must take all necessary 
precautions on behalf of others,- but he must not be afraid 
to go where he is needed. The physician must go into all 
these dangers, why should the minister be less courageous? 
Indeed, the physician s experience is proof positive that the 
danger of infection is, in many cases, greatly exaggerated. 
"When," says Van Ooster/ee, kt in 1574, the question here 
put was expressly deliberated at the Synod of Dort, the 
answer was given that they should go, being called, and 
even uncalled, insomuch as they know that there will be 
need of them/ With what right shall the physician of souls 


withdraw from a task from which even the unbelieving 
medical man does not too greatly shrink? Das Leben 
ist der G liter hochstens nicht (Life is not the highest of 
possessions), in the words of Schiller; and the propter vitam 
vivendi pcrdere causas is certainly to be desired of no one 
less than of the true shepherd of the flock. Considering 
the brilliant example of believing courage and self-denial 
on the part of Catholic priests, the Protestant clergy must 
not remain taes^amek behind. The risk incurred on that 
occasion finds its abundant compensation in the gratitude 
of the flock, the approval of our own conscience, and the 
ever renewed experience that the Lord supports his ser 
vants in this school of exercise also, and often manifestly 
preserves them. Of course, belief in his power and faith 
fulness can release no one from the duty of taking those 
measures of precaution prescribed under such circumstances 
by experience and science." 1 

No service more delicate or more difficult is required of 
the pastor than that which he is called to render in the 
burial of the dead. The Anglican church and some of the 


other churches furnish a ritual to which the minister is 
expected to adhere ; the solemn and beautiful service of 
the English church leaves little to be desired in the way of 
a dignified ceremonial. But many American pastors have 
no such chart to guide them, and they find themselves 
confronted with conditions and expectations which often 
tax their wisdom. 

Death knocks with equal punctuality at the doors of the 
unchurched and of the devout ; and those who never seek 
the churches, and who often rail at them, are always in 
need, when death invades their dwellings, of the services 
of a minister of the gospel. To this call the Christian 
pastor will never turn a deaf ear ; whenever it is possible 
he will gladly bear to those in trouble the words of conso 
lation. In many of the rural communities a funeral ser 
mon is expected ; and the successful " funeral preacher " 
is the one who can most strongly appeal to the feelings of 

1 Practical Theofaf/y, p. 559. 


the mourners, and elicit the most extravagant demonstra 
tions of .sorrow. Against this tendency the wise pastor 
will quietly set his face. Jle must not too rudely disregard \ 
the feelings of the afflicted, Imt with gentleness and kind- \ 
ness he must seek to lead them into better ways. 

The funeral sermon may well be omitted, and the brief 
address which takes its place should be full of the comfort 
of the gospel. The one central truth that God is love ; 
that even as we draw nearest to our own children and 
yearn over them most tenderly when they are in the deep 
est trouble, so our heavenly Father is nearest to us in the 
day of our affliction; that while many things happen to us 
which we can never explain, nothing can ever happen to 
us that he will not overrule for our good, if we will but 
trust in him, all this the minister must seek to make 
these mourners see and understand. All this is the most 
direct and certain inference from that doctrine of God 
which Jesus has taught us. If we have such a Father in 
heaven as our Lord sought to reveal to us, then there are 
no sorrows that cannot be comforted, and no wounds that 
cannot be healed. 

Either in the sermon, or in the " remarks " which are 
substituted for it, some biographical sketch, more or less 
eulogistic, is generally expected of the minister. This, 
too, is a custom which is best honored in the breach. The 
minister may well make it a tixed rule to eschew all esti 
mates of the character of the deceased. In many cases 
the attempt to do this is embarrassing in the extreme; and 
often the minister, who relies for the materials of such a 
sketch upon the judgments of partial friends, finds after 
wards that he has been whitening a sepulchre. The simple 
annals of the life, the time and place of birth, the family 
record, the date of death, may in all cases be simply stated 
from memoranda furnished by the family; beyond this, 
biography does not need to go at the funeral service. 

Many wise pastors in these days are inclined to coiifine 
themselves on these occasions to the reading of the Scrip 
tures and prayer. It is becoming more and more common 
for men and women of high character and eminent station 



to give direction, before their death, that the burial service 
shall be limited to these exercises. It is greatly to be 
wished that all persons of sound mind would make the 
same request. 

It is, however, possible, to enlarge this simple ritual by 
reading appropriate selections, not only from the Scriptures 
of the Old and New Testaments, but also from the writ 
ings of saints and prophets and psalmists of later times. 
In the book of Scripture selections which the pastor uses 
at funerals lie may insert loose leaves whereon he has 
copied sentences and paragraphs gathered from many 
sources, which are full of the light and hope and comfort 
of the gospel. In the course of years this anthology of 
consolation may become copious and rich ; the pastor has 
become familiar with it ; he can tell by glancing over it 
which of these gracious words will be most appropriate in 
the case before him. Pastors who have followed this prac 
tice for many years bear testimony to its usefulness. Such 
words of life as may thus be gathered together, the utter 
ances of men and women of strongest faith, of deepest 
insight, are far better than any extemporaneous words 
that the preacher would be likely to bring forth. 

The service must not, however, be protracted. Seldom 
should the whole exercise exceed half an hour. It is no 
time for lengthened homilies and long-drawn-out petitions. 

At the grave the service should be brief and simple. 
The short committal service of the Anglican church, 
which is almost identical with that employed in the Ger 
man Lutheran churches, is always appropriate ; or a brief 
prayer may be uttered, closing with the benediction. In 
winter it is well for the minister to admonish the men 
standing about the grave to remain covered during this 
service ; that is not true respect for the dead which endan 
gers the health of the living. 

These times of affliction furnish the true pastor with a 
precious opportunity. His wise and sympathetic friend 
ship at such a time will never be forgotten. He often 
gains, in these days, an influence that he could never 
otherwise have won ; let him use it judiciously. 


The pastor who has proved his friendship for his people 
will be welcome in their homes; and a most important part 
of his pastoral service will be performed in the maintenance 
of a fruitful personal and social relation between his own 
family and the families of his Hock. In many large 
churches the work of the study, the organization of the 
parish, and the multitudinous public engagements make 
it diilicult for the pastor to lind time for such pastoral 
work as he wishes to do. That great change, to which 
reference is made in the introductory chapter, which has 
passed upon the church during the past twenty-five years 
the change by which, in Dr. Parkhurst s happy phrase, 
the church is no longer the pastor s Held, but the pastor s 
force itself largely prevents the pastor from undertaking 
the amount of pastoral visitation which was common in 
former years. Sometimes, says a successful pastor, 
"general parish oversight, through the network of socie 
ties and organizations that fall to the minister to manage, 
is supposed to take the place of visiting and personal 
contact with individuals : but this does not meet the 
necessities of the case. That general superintendency or 
presidency of the parish and pastoral care are not the same 
thing. The former has respect to the general life of the 
community and is busy with the machinery, while the 
latter has to do with internal states, conditions, and ten 
dencies. It is possible and not uncommon to do much with 
the former while doing little with the latter. There are 
parishes where things are well organized, where there are 
all sorts of activities and societies, but where there is no 
proportionate apprehension of, and no proportionate pro 
vision for, the real wants of individual men and women. 
There may be a lively scene on the surface, but not much 
going on beneath it. It is not easy, in the restlessness and 
complexity of his public relations, for a minister to give 
to this part of his work its proper place. Provision must 
be made for this and the pastor must be helped. Demands 
upon his time and attention multiply. In proportion to 
the importance of his parish, to his personal influence, to 
his capacity for business, the calls for public and outside 


service are more frequent and urgent. There are meet 
ings here, committees there, constitutions to be drawn up, 
organizations to be kept running, records to be made ; but 
shall he be absorbed in presiding, organizing, managing? 
The danger is not new in our day. It showed itself in the 
early Church, and the apostles met it by division of labor, 
saying : It is not fit that we should forsake the word of 
God and serve tables; search out suitable men for this 
business, but we will continue steadfastly in prayer and in 
the ministry of the word. As then, so now, much of the 
detail of general parish work can be better devolved on 
others, that the minister may be more free to teach pub 
licly and from house to house, ministering the word in its 
more spiritual application." 1 

The question of finding time for the work of pastoral 
visitation is one that burdens the mind of many a faithful 
pastor. The need of thoroughly organizing his church for 
work, that the powers and capabilities of these disciples 
may be developed, and that his force may occupy and 
cultivate its field, is always pressing upon his conscience ; 
and the amount of administrative work thus required of 
him, when added to the intellectual work which the pul 
pit of this day demands, renders it simply impossible that 
he should find very much time for social calls. Even if 
the pastor has assistance, so that much of the detail of his 
administration can be devolved on others, the general 
superintendence of it, which rests with him, is no slight 
care. In a church of fifty to a hundred families the pas 
tor may easily become intimately acquainted with most of 
his people, but when the number grows to three or four 
hundred families, the task, under existing conditions, be 
comes formidable. 

One consideration must be borne in mind in estimating 
the necessity for this kind of work ; the pastor of a work 
ing church has many opportunities of becoming well ac 
quainted with those of his people who are at work. With 
them there are many conferences and consultations ; he is 
with them every week, in the Sunday-schools, in the mis- 

1 Rev. Lewellyn Pratt, in Parish Problems, p. 180. 


sions, in the Young People s Societies, in the Boys and 
Girls Guilds, in the Sewing Schools, in all the active 
ministries which the church is carrying forward. It is 
not at all as once it was, when the people s only chance of 
meeting their minister was when they confronted him in 
the pews, at the Sunday services ; there is a fellowship of 
work which brings pastor and people into frequent and 
close association. The need of calling upon the people 
in their homes to get acquainted with them is obviously 
not what once it was. This applies, of course, only to 
those members of the church who are at work ; but the 
application should be distinctly brought before the minds 
of all the people. Let them be told, from time to time, 
that the fellowship of the church is largely a fellowship 
of work, and that if they wish to become well acquainted 
with their pastor or with their fellow-members, the best 
way is to find some place in the active work of the 

Nevertheless, when all is said, there remains a large 
opportunity and an urgent call for house to house visita 
tion by the pastor. In some way he ought to arrange 
the administrative work of his parish so that he may tind 
some time to see his people in their homes. In most large 
churches it will not be possible for the minister to make 
his round of pastoral calls more than once in a year: some 
times even this will overtax him ; but as much as this he 
ought to strive for. 

What should be the nature of these pastoral calls ? 
Here, also, it is evident that changed conditions must 
considerably modify our practice. The late Dr. William 
M. Taylor, of New York, in a recital of his early experi 
ence, brings before us the typical pastoral visit of the for 
mer days. u I was first settled," lie says, " over a church 
of about one hundred and eighty members, many of whom 
resided in the village in which the place of worship was 
situated, but a considerable number of whom were farmers, 
scattered over an area of about six miles in length by about 
two in breadth. I made my visits systematically, week by 
week, taking the parish in manageable districts. At first 


I was accompanied on each occasion by an elder. It was 
expected that I should ask a few questions of the children, 
assemble the members of the household, give a formal ad 
dress, and then conclude with prayer. The presence of 
the lay brother was a great embarrassment. I supposed 
that because he was with me I should have a new address 
in every house, and should have a prayer in every instance 
perfectly distinct from any which I had formerly offered. 
... So I went on from house to house, making a new 
address in each, until, when it was toward evening, and I 
had walked perhaps five or six miles and made ten or 
twelve addresses, I was more dead than alive. You can 
not wonder that, in these circumstances, pastoral visitation 
became the bete noir of my life, and I positively hated it. 
Thus prosecuted it was simply and only drudgery, and, so 
far as I know, was not productive of any good result." l 

It is evident that visitation of this type is no longer 
called for in English-speaking parishes. And there is a 
question whether the call of the minister should be re 
garded in any sense as a professional call. Most of the 
writers on pastoral care assume that it should have this 
character ; that it should be well understood that the min 
ister, in seeking the homes of his people, is engaged in his 
professional duty. "The minister," says Dr. Blaikie, 
" has come for the purpose of promoting the spiritual and 
eternal welfare of the family, and therefore the sooner he 
addresses himself to this errand the better. ... It is often 
desirable for a minister, after a brief salutation and kindly 
inquiry after the welfare of the household, to proceed at 
once, like Abraham s servant at Padan Aram, to tell his 
errand, to do what he has come to do. In speaking to the 
household he may find a point of departure by saying why 
he has come, adverting to the exceeding solemnity of 
spiritual things and to the importance, not of a mere gen 
eral, but of a special application of what is said from the 
pulpit, so that no one may suffer the appeal to go past 
him, or think he does right while lie fails personally to re 
ceive the message of God. Something may be said appli- 

1 The Ministry of the Word, p. 272. 


cable to the circumstances of the different portions of the 
family, the parents, the children, older and younger, the 
servants, when there are such. Of the children questions 
may be asked, and are probably expected to be asked ; but 
let this be done in the kindly manner of a friend, not in 
the stern tone of a taskmaster. Generally, too, it will be 
well to bear in mind that there is a tendency on the part 
of people to think of ministers as beings awfully solemn, 
with but little of human sympathy, men to be dreaded 
as stern reprovers, instead of respected and loved as affec 
tionate 1 and sympathetic guides. In pastoral visitation, 
therefore, let there be shown a frankness, a cordiality, a 
humility of spirit, a winning brotherly kindness that shall 
dissipate such an impression and tend to gain the confi 
dence of all." l But it is a serious question whether even 
so much of formality and professionalism as is here de 
scribed would not, in the majority of cases, effectually 
counteract the best results of the pastor s call. Is not the 
primary object of this house-to-house visitation the es 
tablishment of friendly personal relations between himself 
and the members of his flock, old and young? Is it not, 
therefore, far better that the professional business of the 
pastor should be subordinated, in these calls, to the pur 
pose of putting himself on terms of cordial intimacy with 
his people. The minister who is always preaching, who 
never meets his parishioners without the; word of admoni 
tion and exhortation upon his lips, is not certain to know 
them very well, or to have the best influence over them. 
Such unbending professionalism forces them into an un 
natural attitude toward him : he never really knows them. 
There is abundant justification, therefore, for the pas 
toral call, considered simply as the endeavor of the pastor 
to draw closer the bonds of personal friendship between 
himself and the families of his congregation. Meeting 
them thus, in their own homes, the circumstances of their 
lives are better known to him, he more perfectly individu 
alizes them, and every visit gives him a larger knowledge 
of the manifold phases of human experience. If there are 

1 For the Work of the Ministry, pp. 187, 188. 


children in the household, the pastor learns their names 
and fixes them in his memory. He finds them at their 
lessons or their pastimes, and seeks to enter into their life, 
speaking a hearty word of approval of their conduct, when 
he knows that such a word is deserved. In these brief 
social calls the pastor may be able to let the people see 
that he is interested in all that concerns them ; that he 
has been thinking about them, and studying their welfare ; 
that he is rejoicing with them in their prosperity, or bear 
ing their burdens with them ; that his deepest wish is to 
be a trusted and a useful friend. If all this is in his heart, 
they will be apt to find it out. The one thing needful for 
them to know is that he loves them and wants to do them 
good. The pastoral call that conveys this impression to 
their minds is a thoroughly successful call, even though 
there may have been no preaching nor even praying con 
nected with it. 

And yet it must not be inferred that religious conversa 
tion should be avoided. The door will always be open for 
that. The tone of the interview will be such as to make 
that seem natural and fitting. The spirit of the whole 
communication will be such as to invite questions or confi 
dences of this nature. The pastor will be quick to seize 
any intimation or suggestion of a wish to speak of the 
higher themes, and will deftly lead the talk that way if 
such a hint is dropped. The people will easily know that 
if he refrains his lips from pressing these things upon 
them, it is not because there is no interest in their spiritual 
welfare. If such is the posture of his mind, it is altogether 
likely that many opportunities for religious conversation 
will occur in connection with these social calls, and that 
the net spiritual result of the visitation will be far larger 
than if, by a perfunctory professionalism, the subject of 
religion were everywhere introduced by him. 

Many pastors are accustomed to make a systematic divi 
sion of their parish, and to announce, each Sunday, the 
days on which they intend to visit certain streets. Some 
inconvenience may thus be occasioned to parishioners, who 
may wish to be away from home on the day designated, 


but the advantages of such a system are considerable. It 
pledges the pastor to a definite task, which he might other 
wise neglect or defer; and it gives those who wish to see 
him due notice of his coming that they may, if possible, be 
at home to receive him. "Moreover, says Dr. Taylor, 
"the public announcement had this incidental advantage, 
of which at first I had not thought, namely, that it stopped 
at once all grumbling on the part of the unvisited. They 
saw that I was steadily working week by week somewhere ; 
it became a matter of interest to them to watch my prog 
ress, and they looked with a certain strange eagerness for 
the day when I should name the street in which they re 
sided. I do not know that in the long run I actually did 
much more pastoral work than I was doing before ; but I 
accomplished it with more ease to myself and with far 
more satisfaction to my people." 1 

The value to the minister of such contact as this with 
the people cannot be easily overstated. It keeps him in 
vital relations with the people to whom he is sent to min 
ister; it enables him more perfectly to get their point of 
view. Sometimes his mind will be saddened by revela 
tions of the shallowness and selfishness of those from whom 
better things might have been expected ; but more often 
he will be cheered and strengthened by discoveries of 
fidelity and heroism in the lives of commonplace people. 
The tendency of most studious men to a certain subtilty 
and remoteness of discussion upon spiritual themes will 
be arrested by the study of the intellectual processes of 
the people in the pews, and the effect of this intercourse 
will be to give the preaching a greater homeliness and 
directness of presentation. 

Here is a suggestion worth considering: I would make 
one exception about the house-to-house visitation of the 
town parish priest. It is sometimes good to throw himself 
into one of his districts, pitch his cam]) there, and permeate 
it with his presence. For a month lie brings his whole 
influence to bear upon it, both getting hold singly of every 
inhabitant and collecting all together in cottage or mis- 

1 The Ministri/ of tin. Wvnl, ]>. 1^74. 


sionary meetings." l The kind of visitation here contem 
plated is, however, that of the whole population, rather 
than that of the members of the congregation. But there 
may be advantages in concentrating, after this manner, the 
labors of the pastor among his own people. 

It is doubtless well, as things now are, in most of our 
city parishes, that the pastor should " lead about a wife " 
with him in making these pastoral calls. The men of the 
household are seldom at home in the daytime, and not 
only for reasons of propriety, but also for the enhance 
ment of the social value of the call, the minister may 
often wisely claim the companionship of his wife. Her 
tact and sympathy will be a great help to him in many 

The testimony of leading pastors to the importance of 
this kind of work is worth remembering. Dr. William 
M. Taylor, in speaking to the students of the New Haven 
Theological Seminary, said : " You will make a great mis 
take if you undervalue the visitation of your people. The 
pulpit is your throne, no doubt, but then a throne is 
stable as it rests on the affections of the people, and to get 
their affections you must visit them in their dwellings." 2 
Dr. John Hall, addressing a similar audience, said : " Pains 
should be taken that nothing prevents your pastoral visits. 
It is very necessary for you to know the people in their 
homes, and for the people to know you. The little chil 
dren and the young people should know you. The men 
should know you. Do not begrudge the time thus spent. 
In freely conversing with humble people you will get 
side lights or particular testimony that will make you a 
stronger man and a better minister for many a day to 
come." 3 Dr. Francis Wayland, speaking on this subject 
to pastors, said : " If, at last, it be said that all this is 
beneath the dignity of our profession, and that we cannot 
expect an educated man to spend his time in visiting 
mechanics in their shops, and in sitting down with women 

1 The Parish Priest of the Town, p. 44. 

2 The Ministry of the Word, p. 185. 

3 Quoted in Parish Problems, p. 185. 


engaged in their domestic labor to converse with them on 
the subject of religion, to this objection I have no reply 
to offer. Let the objector present his case in its full force 
to Him who on his journey to Galilee sat thus at the well 
and held a memorable conversation with a woman of 
Samaria/ 1 My heart does not upbraid me," said Dod- 
dridge, " with having kept back anything that may be 
profitable to my people. But I fear I have not followed 
them sufficiently with domestic and personal exhorta 
tions." 2 "Acquaint yourselves," said Matthew Henry, 
"with the state of your people s souls, their tempta 
tions, their infirmities. You will then know the better 
how to preach to them." "I am too backward," said 
John Rogers, of Dedham, to private visiting of neigh 
bors at their houses, which neglect is very injurious ; for 
from this cause their love to me cannot be as great as it 
would be, nor am I so well acquainted with their particu 
lar states and cannot therefore speak so fitly to them as I 
might." 3 " The true portrait of a Christian pastor," says 
the Rev. Charles Bridges, "is that of a parent walking 
among his children, maintaining indeed the authority 
and reverence, but carefully securing along with it the 
love and confidence that belongs to this endearing rela 
tion, lie is always to be found in his own house, or met 
with among the folds of his flock, encouraging, warning, 
directing, instructing, as a counsellor, ready to advise, 
as a friend to aid, sympathize and console, with the 
affection of a mother to lift up the weak, with the long- 
suffering of a father to reprove, rebuke, and exhort. Such 
a one. like Bishop Wilson in the Isle of Man, Oberlin in 
the Ban de la Roche, or the Apostolical Pastor of the 
High Alps, gradually bears down all opposition, really 
lives in the hearts of his people, and will do more for 
their temporal and spiritual welfare than men of the 
most splendid talents and commanding eloquence. 4 

1 Quoted in Puriali Problems, p. 1S5. - Orton s Life, p. 124. 

8 Quoted in Bridges, The Christian Ministry, p. 315, n. 
4 The Christian Ministry, p. 322. 


EVERY church is organized. It is not an incoherent 
mass of human beings, it is an orderly association of 
Christian men and women. Organization, in the world 
of mind, is the definition of functions. To organize a 


church is to make definite arrangements for various kinds 
of work, and to assign these to different individuals or 
groups who shall be responsible for their performance. 
Each of the officers of the church is charged with certain 
duties, and these duties pertain to certain definite depart 
ments of church work. There is thus a division of labor, 
and intelligent co-operation among those whose efforts are 
directed to the same result. In the humblest church, 
with the simplest polity, some definition of functions is 
required. There must be a clerk to keep the list of mem 
bers and the record of proceedings, and a treasurer to 
receive and disburse the funds, and a Sunday-school 
superintendent, with his assistants, and generally deacons 
or leaders to take charge of meetings and direct the work 
of the church. Some intelligent arrangement and super 
vision is necessary to the success of all social institutions. 

The church has often a dual organization, one depart 
ment devoted to temporal affairs, and another to spiritual 
activities. Man is a spirit, but he has a body with material 
needs which must be provided for ; and the church, like 
wise, though it is a spiritual organization, has also a tem 
poral side, for which some orderly provision must be 
made. It has been found necessary, in the free commun 
ions, to secure for the church a legal incorporation, that 
the body so incorporated may hold and administer pro 
perty, and receive and disburse funds. In some cases the 
members of the church are members of this corporation, 


and there is but one body, with two sets of functions ; in 
other ciises nil those contributing to the support of the 
church, whether communicants or not, are members of 
the corporation, with power to vote for trustees and to 
take part in all the iinancial work of the society, but not 
to participate in the spiritual government of the church. 
The wisdom of this dual organization is often questioned; 
but it possesses certain obvious advantages. k * Every 
church," says Professor Austin Abbott, " has two very 
different kinds of business to attend to. Difference of 
opinion exists as to whether they may best be administered 
by the same persons, or by different sets of persons. In 
some denominations one organization attends to both; in 
others there is a separate organization for each. Some 
persons think the pastor should have nothing to do with 
the finances; others think it wrong to exclude him from 
them. Without desiring here to discuss the question, it 
is well to say that it appears to me that Providence, who 
is wiser than all our ingenuitv, has so alloted the causes 
of opinion and the dispositions of men that there are, and 
for a long time to come are likely to be, many churches of 
each kind, some of the one form and some of the other, 
and some of a composite form, all engaged in the same 
object, but in different methods, and thus enlisting diverse 
gifts and aptitudes. Whether this be an advantage, as I 
suppose, or not, the fact exists ; and the reader who would 
understand parish business clearly should not fail to 
observe the difference between the principles which govern 
the two classes respectively; and even if his church is a 
single organization, he will be repaid for noticing the 
forms of organization in which these two classes of func 
tions are separated." 1 

If the church has a permanent abiding-place, it must 
possess land on which its edifice shall stand, and the title 
of this land must be secured and held. The building must 
be erected, and kept in repair ; fuel and lights and water 
must be furnished ; if it stands in a city it must bear 
assessments for the paving and maintenance of streets and 

1 Parish Problems, pp. 69, 70. 


sewers ; the sexton who takes care of the building must 
be paid for his services ; the minister and perhaps other 
servants of the church who are spending their time in its 
service must receive some remuneration; it is necessary 
to collect the funds required for all these purposes and to 
disburse them in a just and business-like manner; the 
church, as an organization, is constantly entering into 
contracts which must be intelligently made and faithfully 
kept ; and this part of its work deserves the serious atten 
tion of all its members. There is room here for the exer 
cise of some of the best Christian virtues. The church 
must provide things honest in the sight of all men ; its 
business must be done with system and promptness ; honor, 
fidelity, consideration for the rights of others must charac 
terize all its transactions. 

The men who are chosen to have the care of the tempo 
ralities must be men of the utmost probity. The affairs 
of the church should not be intrusted to men who are sus 
pected of dishonesty or extortion in their own affairs. It 
is a great scandal to put the finances of the church into the 
hands of men w r ho do not possess the confidence of their 
neighbors. They ought also to be men with high stand 
ards of Christian propriety ; men who can feel the special 
unfitness of sharp and shifty financiering in church admin 
istration. They will be called on not merely to disburse 
with care the funds collected, but also to collect the funds 
of the church : the methods of raising the revenues will be 
under their supervision ; and this is a matter concerning 
which the church needs wise and high-minded leadership. 

There is reason to fear that many churches are greatly 
injured by the dubious methods employed in the raising 
of their revenues. Ways and means that are positively 
unchristian are often resorted to ; competition in its most 
offensive forms is sometimes employed in the collection of 
church funds. The annual sale of sittings in the church to 
the highest bidder is a practice which violates the funda 
mental principles of Christian fraternity. It offers place 
and distinction in the church to the longest purses ; it says 
to the man with a gold ring and goodly apparel, " You may 


sit here, in the centre aisle, for you have the money to pay 
for the best ; " but to the poor man in vile raiment it says, 
"Stand out there in the vestibule, or sit here under the 
gallery ; you must wait for your place till your betters 
have chosen their seats." The sale of privilege in the 
church for money is the essence of it; how this differs in 
principle from the simony against which the curse of the 
church has been pronounced from the apostolic days until 
now, it is dillicult to explain. It is undoubtedly true that 
largei 1 revenues can be raised by this method than by any 
other, for there are multitudes who will pay well for con 
spicuous sittings and whose contributions would be small 
if they were compelled to take their chances with all the 
rest. But a church which resorts to such methods for 
raising money is not apt to receive the benedictions of 
Christ s poor. By the very terms of its life they are 
practically excluded; self-respecting people do not wish 
to go where "the rich-man s aisle" and "the poor man s 
corner " are easily pointed out. 

The men who are chosen to manage the finances of the 
church should be those to whom considerations of this 
nature are intelligible, men who are not only capable 
of skilfully conducting business affairs, but who are also 
capable of comprehending the principles on which the 
fellowship of the church is based. There is a loud call 
just now for Christianizing all business relations; there 
are those who believe that every department of human life 
must be brought under the Christian law. It is difficult 
to understand what our gospel means if it does not mean 
all this. But if the business of the mart and the factory 
are to be Christianized, the business of the church must 
first be subdued to the obedience of the law of Christ. It 
must be possible to raise the revenues of the church by 
methods which do not involve any concessions to the pride 
of riches or any false distinctions among men. The one 
place in the world where money can buy no privileges 
should be the place where men meet to worship God. To 
manage the church finances with this end in view is the 
task of those to whom this duty is intrusted. It calls, 


therefore, for men of a lofty purpose and a genuine 

When the business of the church is conducted in this 
manner reverently, conscientiously, and with a sincere 
desire that the mind of Christ shall rule in all the tempo 
ralities of the church, the work of this department is no 
less genuine Christian work than is the conduct of the 
prayer meeting or the teaching of the Sunday-school. It 
is sometimes assumed that the business of the church is a 
profane occupation ; that whatever has to do with money 
must needs be of the earth, earthy ; that the trustees and 
the treasurer, in their service of the church, are not, in 
any proper sense, " Christian workers." But everything 
depends on the spirit in which they do their work. They 
may, indeed, manage these affairs in such a way that their 
own selfishness shall be aggravated, and the life of the 
church demoralized; but they may also put so much of 
the spirit of Christ into the methods of church business 
that it shall be a means of grace to them and to the whole 
brotherhood. There can be no more fruitful Christian 
work than this. A church that organizes its financial 
affairs upon Christian principles, and puts them under 
Christian leadership is doing as effective missionary 
work as the church that plants missions or holds revival 

The assignment of the sittings in the church is part of 
the business that greatly needs to be Christianized. In 
some churches all sittings are absolutely free, and there is 
no need of any distribution. For many reasons this plan 
is to be preferred. To have no individual rights or reser 
vations in the Lord s house, but to open the whole of it, 
each Sabbath day, to all who come, is the simplest of all 
arrangements. But there are many with whom the senti 
ment of locality is strong ; who like to sit week by week 
in the accustomed place, and to have their families with 
them ; and there seems to be no violation of the principles 
of equality and fraternity if temporary assignments of sit 
tings are made to regular worshippers. It is only neces 
sary that the method of selection be something other than 


commercial competition, and that frequent redistributions 
take place, so that the most desirable places be not perma 
nently monopolized. There appears no letter way than a 
distribution of choices by lot at the beginning of each 
year; the name first drawn taking the first choice, and so 
on to the end of the list. Those who are last this year 
may be first next year; and the favors are divided with 
out partiality. When the poor widow who contributes but 
five cents a week to the revenues of the church lias the 
same opportunity of securing the best seat in the middle 
aisle as the rich merchant who contributes ten dollars a 
week, the opprobrium of ecclesiastical finance is practi 
cally wiped out. The point is to bring the rich merchant 
to accept this situation heartily; to be quite willing to take 
his chance of a back seat under the gallery. And this is 
by no means a visionary proposition; churches can be 
found in which the Christian law governs even the dis 
tribution of the pews. There are Christian disciples who 
decline to take advantage, in their church relations, of the 
power which their wealth would give them of securing for 
themselves privilege and honor; who have learned to use 
neither their freedom nor their power as occasions of the 
flesh, but who know how by love to serve one another. 
And when this spirit takes possession of the church and 
rules in all its affairs, the Kingdom seems near at hand. 
No more effectual work of grace could be desired in many 
of our churches than would be signalized by the distribu 
tion of the sittings of the church on Christian principles. 
Such an exercise is nothing short of a means of grace to 
those who enter upon it in the right spirit; and a revival 
of religion, so called, no matter how fervid its manifesta 
tions may be, is of small value unless it does result in 
infusing a larger measure of unselfishness and kind con 
sideration into the social relations of the members of the 
church, and especially into the manner and spirit of their 
association in the house of God. 

The organization of the church on its financial side be 
comes, therefore, a matter of deep and genuine concern to 
the wise pastor. It is not a matter which lie can neglect 



or ignore ; the spiritual life of the church is vitally affected 
by the working out of these problems. The church can 
not afford to intrust these interests to men who are simply 
shrewd financiers, who will adopt in the transaction of 
church business the methods of the street and the mart. 
One large part of the mission of the church in this genera 
tion is to show the world how business can be done on 
Christian principles. 

The records of the church must be kept with care ; the 
register of baptisms, admissions, dismissions, deaths, should 
be accurate; the minutes of all transactions should be 
clear and full; and the history of the work of the church 
should be faithfully preserved. The officer who has the 
charge of this work bears different names in the different 
forms of polity, but his service is always important. 

In most of the larger Protestant churches the fact is 
now recognized that the work of the ministry cannot be 
adequately performed by a single man. The fact has long 
been known in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches; 
the discovery has been tardily made by some of the other 
communions. The preparation of two sermons a week, 
with the wide reading and study which such a task im 
plies, the visitation of the sick and the afflicted, the super 
vision of all the departments of church work, the participa 
tion in the social activities of the community, in all the 
multiform public enterprises of philanthropy and reform 
which demand no small share of his attention, all this is 
more than any single man can do. That part of the cor 
respondence of a pastor which grows out of his pastoral 
relation, which is official rather than personal, is no 
small burden. The number of letters that come to the 
busy pastor of a prominent church asking advice, assist 
ance, or sympathy is always veiy large. Riddles to solve, 
wounds to salve, axes to grind, the postman brings him 
every day. All these letters must be answered, and many 
precious hours of every week are thus consumed. The 
work of the faithful pastor is constantly increasing. His 
congregation is growing, its work is widening, the organi 
zations within the church are multiplying, calling upon 


him for more and more attention ; the longer he lives in 
the community, the more identified does he become with 
all its public and social life, and the heavier are the drafts 
upon him for service growing out of these relations. Add to 
this that the intellectual demand upon his pulpit is heavier 
every year, and the need of bringing a fresh, strong mes 
sage to his people every Sunday increasingly urgent. It 
seems inevitable that the successful pastor s work should 
become more and more laborious and exacting; the very 
sign of his success is the steady increase of his work. And 
the peculiarity of the case is that so little of this burden 
can be shifted to other shoulders. The successful merchant 
or manufacturer or railway manager can relieve himself 
of the larger part of his cares ; his work can be so divided 
and systematized that he shall have only a general super 
vision. Even the most successful professional man hands 
over to subordinates the laborious details of his business, 
and the great sculptor leaves most of the chiselling to 
skilled workmen. But the nature of the pastor s work 
is such that the greater part of it must be done by him 
alone. Nobody can give him the slightest help in the 
preparation of his sermons, and a large proportion of his 
pastoral work is of a nature so personal that no one can 
perform it for him. In spite of all that can be done for 
his relief the faithful and successful pastor will find his 
work growing heavier year by year. 

Something can, however, be done to lighten his burden. 
A competent and well-trained assistant mav take from his 
hands a great many of the small details of administration. 
The care of the Sunday-school; the supervision of the 
young people s societies, and the boys and girls guilds ; 
the preparation of children s concerts and praise services ; 
the clerical work of writing notices and official letters, and 
attending to the necessary printing, as well as considerable 
portions of the pastoral work, can be delegated to a capable 
assistant. The voting man who has been fitted for this 

*/ o 

kind of work may be able to do much that the pastor him 
self could not do; he can give much personal attention to 
the young men of the congregation ; he can develop in 


many ways the activities of the children and the youth. 
In the larger Episcopal churches the pastor s assistant has 
always been a recognized necessity, and partly for this 
reason the parochial work of the average Episcopal church 
is apt to be better organized and more vigorously prose 
cuted than that of other Protestant churches. The other 
churches are, however, learning this wisdom. Any work 
which involves the division and co-ordination of force must 
have adequate superintendence ; it is bad economy to neg 
lect the directing intelligence by which " the working in 
due measure of each several part " shall be secured. The 
first condition of this effective organization of the work of 
a large church is the employment of one or more assist 
ants to whom the pastor may delegate such duties as they 
may be qualified to perform. 

There might be, in many cases, a wise division of labor 
along the line suggested by the early Puritan nomencla 
ture. The English Congregational churches of the seven 
teenth century were served by two ministers, one of whom 
was called the Pastor, and the other the Teacher. This 
division of functions was not very clearly made ; the Pas 
tor was to "attend to exhortation," and the Teacher to 
" attend to doctrine." The maintenance of this distinction 
proved impracticable. 1 But it might be wise in these days 
to commit to one man the responsibility for the pulpit 
w r ork, and leave him free for this service, while intrusting 
to another the chief care of the pastoral administration. 
Neither of these would then be counted as the other s 
assistant ; there would be no subordination, but each 
would have a recognized and well defined office, and could 
devote his whole time to his special work. The preacher, 
with none of the cares of parish business on his hands, and 
none of the burdens of pastoral service on his mind, could 
give far more time and thought to his pulpit work ; and 
the pastor, without the millstone of Sunday preparation 
about his neck, could give to the Sunday-school, and the 
mid-week service, and the young people s organizations, 

1 TJislory of the Congregational Churches in the United States, by Williston 
Walker, p. 220. 


and the missionary societies, and the church charities his 
undivided attention, greatly increasing their efficiency. 
For this pastoral service the church would not be likely to 
choose a young man, hut one of experience and of well- 
matured character. There are ministers who have unusual 
gifts for work of this nature, as there are others whose 
strength is in their pulpit work. If two with such com 
plementary qualities could be brought together, the best 
provision would seem to be made for the service of the 

One or two questions suggest themselves, however, when 
such an arrangement is contemplated. The preacher who 
came into no living contact with the life of his parish 
would be apt to lack some of the elements of the best 
teacher. A mere book-man could not give the people 
what they need. It would be necessary, therefore, if such 
a division of labor were proposed, that the preacher should 
not be entirely withdrawn from association with the peo 
ple. The care of the pastoral administration might be 
lifted from his shoulders, but he should keep himself in 
close touch with the people themselves, understanding 
their problems, and sympathizing with them in their 

It is not improbable, also, that the people would crave 
the presence in their homes, in their times of sickness and 
trouble, of the man whose words in the pulpit had been 
their comfort and inspiration. Whether a large-hearted 
preacher could easily free himself from the burdens of 
pastoral service may be doubted. It must be admitted 
that the division of the minister s work upon this line pre 
sents some serious difficulties. Nevertheless, it is probable 
that two men of fair common-sense and Christian temper 
could divide the work of the church between them upon 
a plan like this, neither being exclusively confined to 
his own field, the pastor sometimes {(reaching, and the 
preacher, in the pastor s absence, assuming the pastoral 
care, but each holding himself responsible for a definite 
part of the work of the church, and neither assuming the 
pre-eminence. By such a plan vacations could be arranged 


so that the church should never be left without a minister, 
and the work might go on without interruption from one 
year s end to another. 

The pertinence of this discussion is seen when the ques 
tion of the organization of the church is considered. For 
such varied and organized activities as most churches now 
propose, trained leadership is indispensable, more of such 
leadership than one man can furnish. In some way the 
executive force must be increased. The volunteer help 
of members of the church is not sufficient; most of the 
church officers are busy men, who cannot give to the tasks of 
organization and leadership the time that they require. 

In most Protestant churches there are, however, officers 
who render valuable service. In Episcopal churches the 
wardens and vestrymen ; in Methodist Episcopal churches 
the stewards and class leaders ; in Presbyterian churches 
the session, composed of the elders and deacons ; in Lu 
theran churches the consistory; in the large group of 
churches congregationally governed the deacons and the 
prudential committee, assist in this work. They are not 
only ecclesiastical officers whose function it is to rule, but 
they are also, by virtue of their office, leaders in the organ 
ized work of the church. The enterprising pastor often 
seeks to assign each of these official members to the over 
sight of some department of the work. Even if he has 
an assistant to supervise the entire organization, it is well 
to have a department chief for each branch of the church 
work. Thus the pastor may wisely request one of his 
staff of helpers to take special interest in the Sunday- 
school work ; another to look after the interests of the 
young people ; another to study the mid-week service with 
a view to suggestions of improvement ; another to give 
attention to the benevolent collections, and so forth. It is 
well if the various church officials, the elders, wardens, 
deacons, and the rest, can be made to feel that their prin 
cipal concern should lie not so much with the government 
of the church as with its labors. 

That the church is an organism can scarcely be disputed. 
Life never exists apart from organization. If the church 


is alive something closely akin to what we see in a living 
body must appear in the relation of its parts and members. 
This is the truth which is put with such marvellous power 
in Paul s epistles. But there is a distinction just here 
which \ve must learn to make. In a late essay are these 
words : 

" As the work of the Spirit is organic in the individual, 
so is it in the Church. The Church is an organic unity. 
It so organizes its individual members that the Church 
becomes a co-operative society. The vision of the wheels 
in the first chapter of the prophecy of Ezekiel may be 
taken as a vision of the Church, the wheels being the 
individual members carefully combined as a divine mech 
anism, and intelligently directed by the living Spirit with 
in. Not simply did the wheels move as he descended 
among them ; they moved together. The idea in the 
vision may be expressed in one word, as the co-operation 
of the wheels with each other, and with the living God, 
to whose power they were so completely submissive, and 
of which they were so perfectly executive. The reason 
for the organization of Christian activity thus stated is the 
divine constitution of Christian life, and of the Christian 
Church. We are under a spiritual constitution whose 
supreme aim is the organization of life." 1 

It is here assumed that the church is both an organism 
and a mechanism. The conceptions are used interchange 
ably. There is reason, doubtless, for this combination of 
the two ideas. It expresses a fundamental fact. But if 
the ideas are combined it is well that they be clearly dis 
criminated, and not amalgamated. The church is an 
organism, and it is also, to some extent, a mechanism; but 
the organic fact is deepest, and to this the mechanical 
process must always adjust itself. Its organization is due 
to the unconscious and spontaneous action of the spiritual 
life within; its mechanism is the result of the application 
of human thought and volition to its processes of work. 
Mechanism is the child of invention, of contrivance ; 

1 Rev. G. R. Leavitt, in Discussions of the. Interdenominational Congress at 
Cincinnati, p. 249. 


organization is the fruit of that Spirit of Life who divid- 
eth to each one severally as he will. 

Now it is evident that we must have a certain amount of 
mechanism in our church work. There must be wheels, 
and wheels within wheels. The prophet saw this in his 
vision long ago ; that was a prediction which reached far 
into the future. The mind must work upon this problem, 
inventing processes, devising methods. The failure to use 
our minds in this way would result in fanaticism. There 
is great need of the use of all the wits we possess in meet 
ing the difficulties that confront us, and in adjusting our 
forces to the work in hand. This is what we see in the 
manifold activities of the modern church. 

Yet there are those who greatly distrust this whole 
tendency. The multiplication of agencies and methods 
seems to them a dubious good. Faith in God is giving 
place, they say, to faith in machinery. In the perfection 
of methods the need of power is forgotten. 

Beyond controversy danger lies in this neighborhood. 
Yet the true wisdom co-ordinates these tendencies, always 
keeping the vital energies supreme, and making the mechan 
ism subservient to life. The problem is to comprehend the 
adaptations which life produces and to shape our methods 
in accordance with these. Methods we must have ; they 
ought to be such methods as " the law of the spirit of life 
in Christ Jesus " would naturally evolve ; and they who 
have "the mind of the spirit" ought to be able to devise 
them. The curse of all ecclesiasticisms has been the 
swallowing up of life in what men call organization, which 
is not truly organization, but mechanism. And this is the 
danger against which, in this day, we must be constantly 
on our guard. Yet we must not neglect to use the ne 
cessary instrumentalities. No matter how numerous are 
our wheels, if the Spirit of the Living Creature is in 

The church must be organized for the development of 
its own life, that it " may grow up in all things unto 
him which is the head, even Christ ; from whom all the 
body, fitly framed and knit together through that which 


every joint supplieth, according to the working in due 
measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the 
body unto the building up of itself in love/ ] And 
it must be organized also for effective ministry to the 
needs of the community, needs that are manifold and 
various and that require many forms of evangelistic and 
philanthropic activity. 

For a clear view of this problem of organization as it 
presents itself to a laborer in a wide and fruitful iield, 
the little book of Dean Gott, entitled The Pnrish Priest in 
Town may be usefully studied. The organization of an 
Anglican parish is here discussed with great particularity, 
and useful hints may be found for pastors in every church. 
As to the nature and extent of the work, his testimony 
is impressive : tk The Parish Priest of the town has to 
lay the Hand of his Lord personally on every man in his 
crowded, ever-changing streets. The minimum population 
of a town parish is fixed by the Ecclesiastical Commis 
sioners at 4,000, but this gives only a shadow of the 
difficulty. J have many streets where no family remains 
a quarter of a year ; in these quarters the population is 
quadrupled for practical purposes, and the unsettled con 
dition of these people produces a like character of the 
inner man. To tix the spiritual impression on so volatile 
a subject needs new resources, of which George Herbert 
never knew the want. To this ebbing and Mowing effect 
of large wells of life in a town, you must add the lodging 
houses where many hundreds spend a few weeks or nights, 
in some of which one thousand men remain a little while 
as straws in an eddy of the river. And you lirst begin 
to l know what you have to do. The first thought is that 
to do it is a sheer impossibilitv. The second thought 
is that inspired couplet of St. Paul s, 

By myself I can do nothing. 

Through Christ I can do all things. 

The third thought is that leading genius of man organi 
zation. Was it not Professor Jardine who said, k The high- 

1 Eph. iv. 16. 


est exertion of genius, the uniting and concentrating 
effort ? Into this teeming multitude, ever coming and 

o o 

going, diffuse yourself that you may concentrate yourself 
through an army of church-workers, and unite them with 
your parishioners and yourself in Christ." 1 

This leader of Christian work counsels the pastor to 
begin by gathering unofficially about him a few kindred 
souls, to whom this work of the church will be, as it was 
to the Master, meat and drink. A few such can be found 
in every parish; and to confer and commune with them 
respecting the work to be done, is the wise beginning. 
The greatness of the task, and its urgency; the desola 
tion and danger of the multitudes that are scattered 
abroad, as sheep having no shepherd ; the call for 
faithful, heroic, self-denying service, let the pastor and 
those that are with him lay the burden of all this on their 
hearts. It is not for him to make the work seem light 
to those whom he calls about him. " The self-sacrifice of 
this active Christianity is only an attraction, never a deter 
rent ; you need not water it down or assure your would- 
be Church worker that the task is easy and the difficulty 
slight. The only helpers this will give you will be a 
limp and sorry crew, like FalstafTs recruits. God s orders 
to Gideon in the selection of his first army was an inspira 
tion for all time : Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him 
return, and depart early. Lay this to heart as a principle 
of your work in this and other matters. True men and 
women love trouble ; they believe in difficulty, for it calls 
out their God-given qualities and prays for them to the 
Almighty. In work they know that they increase their 
talents by use ; and in the armies of heaven as well as of 
earth, the post of danger is the post of honor." 2 

Among the organizations named and described by this 
parish leader are his Sunday-scJwol, which he divides into 
three departments : the Infants, the Middle School, and 
the Communicants, with each of which the pastor is 
closely identified; his District visitors, respecting whom 
he gives careful instruction, each of whom is to keep 

1 The Parish Priest in Town, pp. 38, 39, 2 Ibid. p. 42. 


a strict roll of all her families, and to report to her curate- 
in-charge the names of any whom he ought to visit; and 
all of whom are to meet once a month for prayer and 
consultation with the minister; his T cnn// Think, a 
department of his day-school and Sunday-school, ollicered 
hy wise men and educating the young in honest thrift ; 
his N///y//<// Cl txs, to the care of which he can assign 
some who would not otherwise he church-workers; his 
Athletic Clnls, under the direction of sound-hearted young 
men, into which men and hoys may he gathered for 
wholesome exercise ; his ttirls Friendly Society, and his 
You/if/ Men s Fric/xt/t/ >SVvW//, and his Church of England 
Temperance X^ /<7//. For the management of these various 
organizations, the services of many church-members will 
be required; and the task of the pastor is to get the 
right men and women for each of these places, and to 
keep them steadily and enthusiastically about their work. 
In addition to this lie provides also for the opening of 
Mission Chapels in neglected districts and for outdoor 
preaching. It is a large conception of the work of the 
parish which is thus brought before us; and it is one, 
as we shall see, which underlies the activity of the church 
at the present day. 

The chapters which follow will be devoted to the 
subsidiary organizations no\v existing in most working 
churches. These methods of work are now vcrv numer 
ous ; in the development of the life of the church its 
functions have been highly specialized. Perhaps the 
differentiation of ecclesiastical tissue has gone quite as far 
as is wholesome ; we may be suffering, in some quarters, 
from a surfeit of societies. It is not likely that all of 
them will be mentioned in the pages which follow, but an 
effort will l>e made to bring under consideration those 
which are most important. 



ONE of the most important departments of the modern 
church is the Sunday-school. In most of the excellent 
treatises on practical theology to which reference has been 
made in the preceding pages, the Sunday-school is virtu 
ally an unknown quantity. The learned and admirable 
Van Oosterzee, in his monumental work, devotes barely 
half a page to the consideration of this institution. The 
later Scotch writers on pastoral theology dispose of the 
whole subject with a mere allusion. The Sunday-school 
does not seem to them to constitute any essential part of 
the Christian pastor s care. In the more recent year books 
of the churches of Scotland we find evidence that the Sun 
day-school interest is receiving careful attention. The 
general assembly of the Kirk gives a large place in its 
business arrangements to the Sunday-school reports ; and 
the Free Church is not behind in its devotion to this cause. 
In many of the presbyteries, Sabbath-school unions have 
been formed to quicken and stimulate the interest of the 
church in the spiritual care of the young. Schools have 
in many cases been carefully graded, well-matured schemes 
of Sunday-school lessons have been prepared and pub 
lished, and many practical teachers of eminence are de 
voting their time and thought to the development of this 
work. It is evident that the next volume of pastoral 
theology published in Scotland will need to take account 
of the Sunday-school as one of the departments of church 

Henry Clay Trumbull, in his lectures on the Sunday- 
school, traces this institution to the Jewish Synagogue, 


and follows its history through seventeen centuries of 
varying progress from the time of the rabbins to the time 
of Wesley. But the modern institution known by this 
name originated in Gloucester, England, in 1780. Robert 
Raikes, the founder of the first Sunday-school, was not a 
clergyman, but an active man of business, the editor and 
proprietor of the " Gloucester Journal/ Perhaps his phil 
anthropic efforts at prison reform had convinced him of the 
need of beginning with the children. In the month of 
July, 1780, he gathered into the rooms of a private house 
in a manufacturing quarter of that city a number of the 
poorer children of the neighborhood for instruction in read 
ing and in the elementary truths of religion. " The chil 
dren were to go soon after ten in the morning, and stay 
till twelve. They were then to go home and stay till one, 
and after reading a lesson they were to be conducted to 
church. After church they were to be employed in re 
peating the catechism till half-past five, and then to be 
dismissed with the injunction to go home without making 
a noise, and by no means to play in the street." The 
teachers of this Sunday-school were four women, employed 
by Raikes and paid at the rate of a shilling a day. From 
this humble beginning has grown the modern Sunday- 
school work. 

" The school on Sunday," says Bishop Vincent, " by 
which little children of the neglected English populations 
were, one hundred years ago, taught lessons in spelling, 
reading, and religious truth, has come to be a great and 
powerful factor in our social and Christian life. A meas 
ure of this success must be attributed to other ideas than 
those embraced by Robert Raikes and his co-workers. 
The school on Sunday in America at the present time is 
a very different institution from that opened and sustained 
by the Gloucester printer in 1780. It is more compre 
hensive, and contains elements not dreamed of in the 
scheme of Mr. Raikes. It retains the name and also the 
domestic missionary feature of the Gloucester movement, 
but this feature is only a small part of the modern Ameri 
can Sunday-school. The tiny stream of laic, out-of-church, 


humanitarian effort that trickled from the humble foun 
tain in Gloucester soon joined the swollen and rushing 
flood that had broken loose from fountains of Christian 
and churchly philanthropy in Oxford, nearly half a cen 
tury before Raikes and his assistants began their work. 
The latter effort was in behalf of neglected children. The 
Oxford brotherhood did also teach children in street and 
private dwelling, but they labored as well in behalf of 
men and women in hospitals, prisons, and wretched homes ; 
in behalf of tempted and doubting and godless young men 
in Oxford University ; in behalf of all classes and all ages 
everywhere ; and the key-note of all their work was Bible 
study and holy living. The Oxford idea was broader, 
more comprehensive, more radical, as it was earlier by 
nearly fifty years than the Gloucester idea. Both, how 
ever, developed a form of social, hand-to-hand, church ef 
fort, to the end that children, and youth, and adults of all 
grades of society might know the truth and live for God ; 
and thus both Oxford and Gloucester unite in the best 
Sunday-school thought of the present day. Those who 
study the institution have discovered earlier and similar 
endeavors in the same direction, and it is not difficult to 
trace all the essentials of the best modern Sunday-school 
work to apostolic and pre-Christian times. Whatever re 
lations the Sunday-school may have sustained to the church 
in the days of Charles Borromeo in Italy, of Robert Raikes 
in England, of Francis Asbury or Isabella Graham in 
America, it is a most gratifying fact that to-day it is, 
especially in America, duly recognized as, in some very sig 
nificant sense, a part of the church. It is held in build 
ings provided by the church ; sustained by funds collected, 
in one way or another, from the supporters of the church ; 
organized and officered under the supervision and subject 
to at least the veto of the church ; taught by members of 
the church ; preached about, prayed for, and in many cases 
reviewed and catechised by the pastor of the church ; sup 
plying from its ranks a large proportion of the new con 
verts, ministers, and missionaries of the church ; building 
up by its patronage immense publishing interests, and con- 


tributing to the large benevolences which are controlled 
and directed by the church." 1 

The Sunday-school was, at the beginning, an institution 
separate from the church, and until recently, it has been 
inclined in many places to maintain its independence of 
the church ; but in later years it has become evident that 
this separation could not continue. Nearly all the churches 
have adopted the Sunday-school as a constituent part of 
the church. The relation of the Sunday-school to the 
church is well set forth by Bishop Vincent in the passage 
following : 

" There must be one and not two institutions, and that 
one institution must be the church. And the church must 
make her power a power of grace rather than of govern 
ment felt in all that concerns the school. The pastor 
must be recognized as the highest officer of the school, 
relieved indeed from the responsibility for details of admin 
istration, but present, as pastor, whenever possible ; sus 
taining it, and identifying himself with it, and not merely 
patronizing it with an air of superiority and condescension. 
The superintendent and all other officers should perform 
their duties in the interest of the church, and no thought 
of rivalry, as between two institutions, should ever be al 
lowed to enter the mind of a child in the school. The 
teachers should be members of the church. They should, 
at the time of their appointment, be publicly installed or 
otherwise officially recognized before the whole congrega 
tion. They should be thoroughly trained in the doctrines 
and usages of the church they represent, and seek to pro 
mote an acquaintance with and loyalty to the church on 
the part of their pupils." 2 

A few years ago many of the Sunday-schools in the 
cities of the United States held two sessions, one at nine 
o clock in the morning, and the other at two o clock in 
the afternoon. Officers, teachers, and scholars were the 
same at both sessions. The morning session was devoted 
mainly to the study of the lesson ; the afternoon to more 
general exercises. This double session is now generally 

1 Parish Problems, pp. 361, 362. - Ibid. p. 364. 


abandoned. It would be difficult to secure the attendance 
of the same school twice every Sunday, and experience 
has proved that it is far better to concentrate the effort 
of the school upon a single service. At what hour the 
session should be held is a question not easily answered. 
In some churches the morning hour is best; in others 
the school may fitly follow the forenoon service ; in others 
still a separate session in the afternoon is undoubtedly 
preferable. The morning session has its advantage in the 
freshness with which pupils and teachers come to the 
work ; one of its chief disadvantages is the difficulty 
of securing the attendance of adults. The parents of the 
children are busy in the early morning with household 
cares, and the young men are not given to early rising 
on Sunday morning. Many of the children are accus 
tomed to go directly home after the Sunday-school session, 
and few children are seen in the morning service. 

When the school meets immediately after the morning 
service many of the adults can be induced to remain and 
take part in the Bible study. The children, also, are more 
apt to attend the morning service. . 

The disadvantage of connecting the two services, whether 
the Sunday-school precede or follow the preaching service, 
is the weariness caused by the double session; yet it is 
easy to overstate this disadvantage. A brief intermission 
may refresh those who pass from the one service to the 
other, and the two hours and a half of varied and spirited 
exercises are certainly much less fatiguing than the three 
hours school session to which most of the children are 
daily accustomed. And it is greatly to be desired both 
that the adults should attend the Sunday-school, and that 
the children should be present at the morning service 
of the church. It is to be feared that in many modern 
churches the attendance of children is rapidly diminishing. 
The number of children visible in most American congre 
gations is very small. The children are at Sunday-school 
in the morning, but they never attend any other religious 
service. The habit of church attendance is not formed ; 
the time never comes when they are ready to begin ; as 


soon as they deem themselves too old to .attend Sunday- 
school, they are wholly outside of all religious influence. 
Any adjustment of the Sunday-school session which would 
help to retain the children in the church is greatly to be 

For the Sunday-school itself it is probable that the 
afternoon hour is most favorable. There is time enough, 
and the separation of the school from the other services 
lends to it dignity and importance. But, considering 
the interests of the church, and the future welfare of 
the children, it is probable that the best hour for the 
school is that which follows the morning service. 

The officers of the Sunday-school should be chosen 
by the church, although the privilege of nomination may 
well be left to the teachers of the school. Kvery Sunday- 
school needs one superintendent, from one to three 
assistant superintendents, a secretary, a treasurer, and a 
librarian. The superintendent ought to be a man of 
good organizing ability, with sound judgment and abun 
dant enthusiasm. The most important part of his work 
is the selection of teachers, for the success of the school 
depends almost wholly upon the ability of these teachers 
to attract and hold the pupils committed to their care. 
Here will always be found the pivotal point of the Sunday- 
school work. Interesting general exercises, spirited sing 
ing, a good library are all attractive, but nothing will 
compensate for the lack of a tactful, resourceful, faithful 
teacher. There is no other work within the reach of the 
members of the church of more vital importance than 
this. To gather a little group of IMTVS or girls and hold 
their attention, week by week, to the great themes of 
religion is a task which an angel might covet. No culture 
can be too fine, no mental equipment too perfect for such 
a task, since it is only the best educated minds who can 
make the profoundest truths simple and interesting. It 
will be found that the Sunday-school teachers whose 
general knowledge of the subjects they are teaching is 
already the broadest are those who will spend the most 
time, week by week, in the preparation of their lessons. 



Because they are now so well informed they know the 
value and importance of fresh study. The teacher who 
knows the least is apt to be the one who feels the least 
need of diligent preparation to meet his class. 

The intellectual equipment of the teacher is not, how 
ever, all that he needs. He is the instructor of these 
pupils, but he is also their pastor, the undershepherd by 
whom they are to be led into the green pastures and 
beside the still waters. The one thing needful is that 
he should win the love of these young people. It is well 
for him to remember that there is only one way to win 
love, the way by which the divine Master won the 
hearts of his disciples: "We love him because he first 
loved us." No man or woman to whom a genuine affec 
tion for boys and girls is not possible ought to under 
take the work of a Sunday-school teacher. And this 
affection must find constant expression in many practical 
ways. The teacher will know his pupils in their homes, 
and will often have them in his own home ; he will keep 
a record of their birthda} T s and remember each with a 
kind note or some slight token of remembrance ; he will 
keep himself informed respecting their school work, their 
companions, their occupations out of school ; he will 
encourage them to confide in him, and suffer him to be 
their counsellor and friend. Such a Sunday-school teacher 
supplements in a most effective way the work of the 
wise parent, and supplies in many cases the lack of 
parental wisdom. It scarcely needs to be said that he 
will take good care never to come between the parent 
and the child, but always to reinforce parental authority, 
and emphasize the honor which is the parent s due. 

There is never any difficulty about maintaining the 
numbers and the interest of Sunday-schools whose teachers 
are of this character. The classes of such teachers never 
dwindle ; if some pupils are removed by migration or death, 
their places are quickly filled ; boys and girls are as sure 
to find teachers of this quality as bees are to find sweet 
clover. The great task of the superintendent is there 
fore to secure, for all his classes, teachers of this kind, 


intelligent, studious, apt to teach, and, above all, with 
a genius for friendship, and a power of binding young 
hearts to themselves with the cords of a lifelong affection. 
Such teachers are not so plenty as they might be ; it 
is to be feared that the superintendent will often be 
compelled to accept some who do not answer all these 
requirements. But it is well for him to know what 
lie wants, and to hold steadily before the eyes of all 
his teachers this hio-h ideal. If he knows how to kindle 


in their hearts the love which is the fulfilling of all 
holy law, he possesses the one supreme qualification of 
the perfect superintendent. 

If he can sing well he possesses another. It is not 
essential that the superintendent should be a singer; he 
mav tind some one who can perform this service for him ; 
but if the gift of musical leadership does belong to him 
he can make excellent use of it. The singing of the 
Sunday-school ought to be an inspiring and elevating 
exercise. To this end the words and the tunes sung must 
be poetry and music, not sentimental doggerel and rhyth 
mical ding-dong. The kind of trash which the children 
in many Sunday-schools are condemned to sing can have 
no wholesome effect upon their minds or their hearts. 
The effusive silliness of the verses is often repulsive to 
the mind of an intelligent child, and the manner in which 
words which represent great thoughts, and which should 
always be reverently uttered, are caught up, and tossed 
into the air, and pitched about in the shuttlecock and 
battledore movement of these fantastic Sunday-school 
hymns, is enough to make fools laugh and the judicious 
grieve. Yet so long have our Sunday-schools been fed 
on this kind of musical provender that it is dil licult to 
introduce anything of a higher nature. The boy who 
has been reading penny-dreadfuls for a few years is not 
interested in good books. 

Still more diflicult is it to find leaders of Sunday-school 
music who will try to teach the children the more digni 
fied hymns. Yet when a leader of intelligence and 
enthusiasm for good words and good music takes up this 


task with a hearty good-will, the school will learn the 
nobler songs and will sing them with spirit. It is worth 
something to be able to teach two or three hundred boys 
and girls to sing Cas wall s "When morning gilds the 
skies," to Barnby s beautiful setting, or Bonar s " Upward 
when the stars are burning," to Calkin s lovely melody, 
or Miss Procter s " The shadows of the evening hours," 
to Hiles s noble tune " St. Leonard." These words a 
child may be exhorted to heed and ponder and remember ; 
their beauty will steal into his heart, and abide there ; 
and it will always be linked with music that can never 
grow stale or old. 

All the general services of the Sunday-school ought to 
be spirited and hearty, but they should also be dignified. 
Bishop Vincent rightly protests against calling them pre 
liminary services : they are worship, he insists, and the 
spirit of worship ought to pervade them all. The singing, 
the responsive reading, the prayers in concert should be 
full of genuine praise and devotion. Nor should disorder 
or levity be tolerated by the superintendent during these 
services. It is sometimes supposed that inattention and 
irreverence are unavoidable concomitants of Sunday-school 
exercises ; that the same pupils who on the week-days are 
quiet and decorous in the presence of their teachers, must 
be allowed on Sundays, in the house of God, to behave 
like heathen. It is not possible, it is sometimes said, to 
enforce upon children in the Sunday-schools the discipline 
of the day schools ; if they are disposed to be turbulent 
and disrespectful we must simply endure it. All this is 
a grave mistake. The one thing that should not be 
tolerated in a Sunday-school is disorder. Nor is there any 
difficulty in the case. A superintendent who demands it 
can secure it. There are mission schools, drawn from the 
slums, in which the children s behavior in the hour of 
worship leaves nothing to be desired; and this has been 
secured without any approach to coercion, by simply en 
forcing upon the minds of the children the truth that 
worship is a sacred thing, and that irreverence is an abomi 
nation. Children can understand this, and the rudest of 


them can be made to respect the sacred exercise. Mis 
behavior in the Sunday-school is sometimes tolerated be 
cause superintendents fear that by the enforcement of 
order they will drive children from the school. It is bet 
ter, they say, that the children should come, even if they 
do misbehave ; they may get some good out of the ser 
vice ; we must not drive them into the street. But this is 
sophistry. It is far better that the children should be in 
the street than that they should be behaving riotously in 
the Lord s house. The lesson of irreverence, of disrespect 
for sacred places and sacred services which many of them 
are learning in the Sunday-school, is one of the worst 
lessons they could learn. It is doubtful whether any in 
fluence exerted upon them by rude companions outside 
could be more injurious than the formation of this habit. 
A Sunday-school of one hundred members in which rever 
ence and decorum are secured, is likely to do far more 
good than a Sunday-school of two hundred members in 
which the superintendent is constantly begging for silence, 
and in which the voice of prayer is heard with difficulty 
because of the whispering and tittering of the pupils. 

This is no plea for a stupid and formal Sunday-school 
service, it ought to be as bright and cheery as a June 
day ; and when the conversational and teaching period 
arrives, there is plenty of room for the natural vivacity of 
children, which no wise teacher will try to repress. Hut 
in the public worship of the school, and in all the exercises 
in which the superintendent is leading, reverence and 
respect should be insisted on. 

The usefulness of the Sunday-school may be greatly in 
creased by the provision of proper rooms for its exercises. 
The importance of separating the primary department from 
the rest of the school has long been recognized ; the exer 
cises adapted to the youngest children are such as cannot 
well be carried forward in a room where classes are study 
ing the lesson together. But the modern Sunday-school 
building undertakes to give, so far as possible, to each 
class the same seclusion; and the opportunity of the 
teacher is <_rreatlv enlarged lv this device. One teacher 


can more easily instruct a class of twenty or thirty pupils 
in a small class-room than a class of four or five when the 
groups are huddled together within the same enclosure. A 
great economy of teaching force is thus secured ; and since 
the one difficult thing is the supply of proper teachers, this 
arrangement is highly serviceable to the interests of the 
school. The school should be brought together for the 
opening and closing exercises, but the classes may then be 
permitted to retire to their rooms for the study of the 
lesson. Maps, blackboards, diagrams, and the like can 
there be introduced in class work ; and if the teacher 
wishes to have a serious word with the class, or a few 
moments of prayer with them, the pupils are neither em 
barrassed nor distracted by the observation of others. 

The question concerning the subjects to be taught in the 
Sunday-school has attracted much attention of late. There 
can be no doubt that the Bible must be the central, if not 
the sole subject of Sunday-school study. Various substi 
tutes for it have been sought in the schools of some of the 
churches which claim to be progressive, but it is doubtful 
whether any of them have proved to be satisfactory. To 
one school belonging to an Ethical Society the Bible was 
restored, after a period of banishment, and the pupils were 
told that it had been brought back because it was, above 
all other books in the world, the book of conduct ; that the 
main interest of the book was in righteousness ; and that, 
therefore, although the standards of conduct followed by 
its characters were not always perfect, the study of it must 
be of the highest value to any man who wished to know 
how to live. 

There is not, however, much question among modern 
Protestant Christians as to the place which the Bible 
should occupy in Sunday-school instruction. But there is 
some difference of opinion as to the way in which the 
Bible should be taught. A large proportion of the Evan 
gelical Christians of the United States and the United 
Kingdom have been studying, for many years, the Inter 
national Series of Lessons, prepared by a committee in 
which several denominations are represented. By this 


scheme it is proposed that the entire Bible shall be covered 
about once in seven years, Old Testament and New Testa 
ment lessons alternating. In the preparation of lesson 
helps and commentaries much money has been invested, 
and a vast literature has been created ; the forms and 
appliances of intelligent study have been greatly multi 
plied. The study of the same lesson in all the schools of 
a town or city gives an opportunity for union meetings 
of teachers, and strengthens, to some extent, the bonds of 
Christian fellowship. All these are gains, and it may be 
that they are important enough to outweigh all the losses 
which the system involves. Of these the chief is the de 
sultory and disconnected character of the course. The 
classes that go skipping back and forth from the Old Testa 
ment to the New. and ranging up and down the centuries 
with no sense of the historic continuity of the events 
with which they are dealing, are liable to find themselves 
in a state of intellectual confusion with respect to Bibli 
cal matters out of which it is not easy to extricate them. 
Teachers of general history in the high schools have great 
trouble in disentangling the ideas of Sunday-school pupils 
with respect to the events of Old Testament history. 
It is probable that the worthy gentlemen who prepare 
these courses are not altogether clear in their own minds 
as to the genetic relations of that history. Perhaps it is 
not possible, in the present condition of Biblical science, 
to arrange a satisfactory programme for the study of the 
history of Israel. In that case it would be better to aban 
don the attempt to cover the entire Old Testament with 
this scheme of study, and be content with the selection of 
typical events and characters. 

Another serious objection to the International Lessons 
is in the fact that the school adopting them is likely to be 
hindered from undertaking the gradation of its pupils, and 
the prosecution of a systematic course of study. It would 
seem that the Sunday-school ought to offer to all those 
who attend upon its instruction the chance of accomplish 
ing some definite thing. When a bov has been a member 
of a Sunday-school for ten or tifteen years, he ought to 


have something to show for it. He ought not to be 
compelled to say that he has been present Sunday after 
Sunday, going through the routine of Bible study, and 
receiving more or less of good impressions, but that he 
does not know what he has studied or what he has learned. 
He ought to have some reason for believing that he has 
been making progress ; that in this study, as in every 
other, he has been rising from the primary to the higher 
grades, leaving the rudiments behind and going on 
toward perfection of knowledge. If every Sunday-school 
were graded in such a manner that each grade should be 
studying some definite part of the Bible, with the expec 
tation of being advanced to the grade next higher when it 
had completed this study, an incentive which is now lack 
ing would be offered to intelligent pupils. Thus the 
primary grade should be confined to the simplest record 
of the Life of Christ ; the first intermediate grade might 
complete the story of his life, getting a clear and connected 
notion of the order in which the events follow each other; 
the second intermediate grade might take up his teachings, 
including his parables and his discourses ; the third might 
study the planting and training of the Apostolic Church ; 
the fourth, the epistles ; the fifth, some outline of Old 
Testament history and biography, and the sixth the prophe 
cies and the Psalms. This arrangement is a mere sugges 
tion ; objections to it could, no doubt, be pointed out, and a 
wiser course selected ; it is only given as an illustration 
of what might be attempted in the way of systematic study. 
Many pupils would, of course, do their work very imper 
fectly ; but the faithful teacher would try to secure the 
performance of it by all the pupils, and those who have 
some intellectual seriousness would have the satisfaction 
of knowing that they had accomplished it. It would not 
be wise for the teachers to remain, as in the day schools, 
year after year in the same grades, receiving new pupils 
from time to time and sending them forward when the 
work was finished ; it would be far better for the teacher 
to begin with the class in the first intermediate grade and 
go on with the class through the course ; and the ques- 


tion of promotion should be largely left to the decision of 
the teacher. The personal friendship of teacher and pupil 
is of far more consequence than the diameter of the in 
struction; and while something might be gained in the 
expertness of teaching by having the teachers remain, as 
in the day schools, in the same grade, far more would be 
lost in the way of personal influence. 

Such a scheme could be introduced only with great dif 
ficulty and at considerable expense by a single school ; for 
it would involve an elaborate arrangement of lessons, and 
much expense in the publication of them. But if a num 
ber of schools should unite in the plan the literature could 
be printed without much difficulty. A beginning has been 
made in this direction by one organization : and inductive 
studies in the Life of Christ, the History of the Apostolic 
Church, and the Old Testament History have been pro 
vided. But the studies need to be more carefully sul>- 
divided, and a clear division established between different 
grades, with the lines of promotion open from the one 
grade to the other. 

Connected with the ordinary Sunday-school organization 
it would be well to have a Senior Department, into which 
young men and women should pass on completing the 
lower course, and which in its methods of instruction 
should have the same relation to the Sunday-school that 
the college has to the grammar school. One reason whv 
the young men and women so generally disappear from the 
Sunday-school as they approach maturity, is that the Sun 
day-school is, traditionally and by the terms of our common 
speech concerning it, a child s affair. That character has 
been fastened upon it, and it is impossible to change the 
impression. The attempt has been made to counteract 
this idea by calling it a Bible School "; but the device 
has not been successful. It is true that we have " Bible 
(/lasses " connected with the Sunday-school, hut they are 
still part of the Sunday-school, and the badge of puerility 
somehow attaches to them. The suggestion of Bishop 
Vincent that a separate department be formed, to be called 
"The Assembly or "The Institute." in which the vounir 


men and women should be grouped for work of a some 
what different order from that of the Sunday-school is 
well worth considering. " The High School Department," 
might be an appropriate name. Into this, young people 
of sixteen years of age and over should be admitted on 
their completion of the work in the lower grades. " Lec 
tures and outlines," says Bishop Vincent, " should take 
the place of mere drills ; individual statements by teach 
ers and pupils, instead of simultaneous responses. A 
higher class of music may be rendered, doctrinal discussions 
conducted, responsive readings introduced, and the methods 
of the College rather than those of the primary or inter 
mediate school should control the hour." 1 

Much depends on a name, the adoption of some such 
title as has been suggested would go far to disarm the dis 
like of heady adolescence to the Sunday-school. It might 
not be necessary to separate this u Assembly," or " Insti 
tute " from the rest of the school ; the young men and 
women might be willing to meet with the rest for some 
portion of the opening worship, if they could then go away 
into a room by themselves and prosecute their studies in 
their own way. 

Such a group of students should have its own organiza 
tion, with president, secretary, and executive committee ; 
it might hold social meetings from time to time ; it might 
undertake certain philanthropic or missionary enterprises. 
"Its existence being guaranteed," says Bishop Vincent, 
" it becomes the meeting point for the younger and older 
people of the church. It remains with them as an incen 
tive. It gains a firm grip upon the young people, and 
prevents their early escape from the juvenile and too often 
puerile influences of the so-called Sunday-school." 2 

The need of some such device as this to check the 
hegira of the young men and women from our Sunday- 
schools and from our churches will not be disputed by 
any intelligent pastor. Whether this is the best method 
that can be devised, we need not dispute; the sugges- 

1 The Modern Sunday School, p. 224, seq. 

2 Op. cit. 


tion will have served its purpose if it leads to something 

Bishop Vincent assumes that the Assembly thus consti 
tuted will study the ordinary Sunday-school lesson. Here, 
however, it is impossible to follow him, for we have 
already provided for a graded school in which there is 
to be no uniform lesson. This Assembly should have 
wide range in its course of study. It may take up the 
history of the church, following the Apostolic period; it 
may study the history of doctrine; it may study Christian 
biography, Missions, reforms as promoted by the Gospel, 
any subject which is vitally related to the progress of the 
Kingdom of God, and which the leader can make intelli 
gible and fruitful. Here doubtless we come upon the crux 
of the whole experiment. How to find your leader this 
is the difficulty. Yet it ought not to be impossible to 
secure, in many congregations, a man or a woman to whom 
a task of this nature would not be impossible, who could 
succeed in organizing and directing the work of an assem 
bly of young people in such a way as to make it in the 
highest degree stimulating and profitable to all its mem 
bers. It would be important that the co-operation of the 
members themselves should be enlisted; subjects should 
be assigned at every session for investigation and report 
at subsequent sessions; and freedom of inquiry should be 

It has become evident to many careful observers that 
some important changes must be made in the Sunday- 
school administration, in order that the bovs and girls, 
from the ages of fourteen or fifteen upward, may be kept 
in the school. The great majority of these drop out of it 
just at the time when they most need its invigorating and 
restraining influences. Is not the failure of the school to 
appeal to their higher intelligence and their self-respect 
responsible for this, at least in part? Would not such an 
arrangement as Bishop Vincent has outlined help to hold 
many of them in the places where sanctifying influences 
might reach them, and to lead them, in due season, into 
the active fellowship of the church / 


There is reason to fear that one cause of the somewhat 
diminished influence of the Sunday-school may be found 
in the uncertain handling of the Bible to which recent crit 
icism has given rise. The faith of many in the inerrancy 
of the Scriptures has been shaken ; they may know but 
little of what the critics have proven, but they know, in a 
general way, that the scholars of this generation do not 
use the language respecting the Sacred Book to which, 
from their childhood, they have been accustomed. And 
many of them have shrunk from informing themselves, 
feeling that the admission of such an inquiry to their own 
minds involves a kind of disloyalty. It is not too much 
to say that the majority of Sunday-school teachers are 
uncertain as to what they should say about the Bible. If 
their views are challenged they are likely to re-affirm with 
some heat the old theories, because they know not what 
else to affirm. Now it is manifest that teaching of this 
nature cannot be effective. The first thing that the teacher 
of the Bible needs to do is to get a clear notion of what 
the Bible is. And it should not be feared that the truth 
about the Bible is going to do any harm. That a con 
siderable modification must be made in the theories of 
inspiration and revelation which were current fifty years 
ago is not to be denied; and the sooner Sunday-school 
teachers adjust themselves to the facts of the case, the 
better it will be for them and for all concerned. The 
words of the pastor of an English Congregational church, 
uttered in a recent newspaper discussion, are words of 
wisdom : 

" Are the teachers to go on repeating ideas which the 
progress of scientific research and Biblical criticism have 
rendered untenable, or are they to have their instructions 
in the light of the new knowledge acquired in our own 
generation? The former course can only end in disaster 
to the faith of the children. The latter, as the honest and 
straightforward course, will have, I believe, only happy re 
sults. There are those who would banish Genesis from the 
Sunday-school. But it is just on subjects connected with 
the Genesis records that the faith of young people will be 


soonest and most sorely tried when they mingle with the 
world. It is in Genesis also that some of the most beauti 
ful, su^yestive, and attractive stories for children are con- 

* O ~ 

tained. (treat will be the loss to the Sunday-school that 
displaces (ienesis. Nor do I fear that any damage would 
be caused, I think rather great good would accrue, by a 
faithful and honest interpretation of these sublimely simple 
records. Let the teacher of boys from ten to fourteen 
years of age go over the lirst chapter of Genesis, and give 
side by side with it the geological story of Creation; let 
him show that the earth has been made to tell its own 
story of how it was built up ; let him also show that Gene 
sis has much to tell on the spiritual side of things of which 
the rocks say nothing, and I believe he will make the old 
record live anew to his charges, and will put into their 
minds and hearts ideas by which infidelity will be rendered 
powerless. In the same way let the story of the Tempta 
tion and the Fall be honestly interpreted. Let the chil 
dren know that the serpent was not a literal serpent; that 
the whole record is parabolic and full of intense interest, 
a mirror, indeed, of every child s and of every man s 
experience when he falls into temptation. The treatment 
of these records in the lio-ht of modern knowledge would, 

O O 

I believe, imbue young minds with a deepened sense of 
the preciousness and never-fading interest of the Bible; 
and the impressions received in the Sunday-school would 
not have to be revised in the presence of the sceptic, but 
would victoriously withstand his assaults." 

Indeed it is evident that the Sunday-school is the very 
place where our children ought to be receiving instruction, 
not only out of the Bible but concerning the Bible, which 
would equip them to resist the attacks of a blatant infi 
delity. Instead of this it is to be feared that the Sunday- 
school, in most cases, is giving them ideas about the Bible 
which cannot be defended, and is leaving them in an in 
tellectual position in which they are sure to find, whenever 
they are led to examine the whole question for themselves, 
that they have been either ignorantly or insincerely dealt 
with. It is a grave responsibility which the Sunday-school 


teacher takes, who sends his pupils out into the world with 
such a mental outfit as this. 

The Home Department of the Sunday-school is an in 
stitution which has proved its usefulness in some American 
churches. The plan involves the enlistment of those in 
dividuals and families that are unable to attend the regular 
sessions of the Sunday-school in the systematic and con 
secutive study of the Bible, in connection with the Sunday- 
school. A superintendent of the Home Department is 
appointed, several visitors are chosen, and the congregation 
is canvassed, soliciting the signatures of those who are 
willing to engage in this study, and leaving with them the 
lesson-helps for the month, with blank reports on which 
they may credit themselves with the weekly study of the 
Sunday-school lesson. These reports are collected quarterly, 
and new supplies of the lesson helps are left by the visitors. 
Monthly meetings of the members of this department, for 
the review of the lesson, are also held at the residences of 
the members. Considerable interest in Bible study has 
been awakened by this method ; and it results not seldom 
in bringing recruits into the Bible classes connected with 
the Sunday-school. Those who have undertaken the study 
by themselves have often found the need of assistance, and 
they wish to avail themselves of the light which is always 
thrown upon the study by the conversations and discus 
sions of a class. 

Here, again, much depends upon the services of a com 
petent and faithful superintendent. One who has both tact 
and patience can succeed in securing the co-operation of 
many in this work. But without great thoroughness and 
perseverance the interest is not likely to be maintained. 



MOST of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches 
provide for certain week-day services. In the cathedrals 
and in some of the larger churches morning and evening 
praver is offered every day in the year, and the fasts and 
festival days of the Christian year are also observed. 
"Worshippers have thus an opportunity of meeting in the 
sacred place at stated times during the week for prayer and 
praise. The attendance upon these week-day services is 
often very small ; but no one who has been in the habit of 
attending them can doubt that they are highly valued by 
the faithful few who avail themselves of the opportunity. 

Few Protestant churches, except those of the Episcopal 
communion, undertake to sustain daily public worship, but 
some kind of midweek service is maintained by most of the 
American churches called Evangelical. These services are 
sometimes drearily perfunctory, and sometimes sentimen 
tally effusive, and there are those who counsel their aban 
donment. There is no necessity, however, that they should 
be formal and frigid ; and no necessity that they should be 
emotionally extravagant: it is the pastor s business to see 
that they are not. When they are what they ought to be, 
they serve an important purpose in the life of the church. 
The type to which they ought to conform is that of a free 
and informal conference of the members upon the life of 
the Christian and the work of the church. The demand is 
not supplied by a lecture from the pastor; what is wanted 
is that the people themselves should be trained to think 
and to express their thoughts on the great themes of the 
spiritual life. It is well, also, to connect with these devo 
tional meetings consultations about the various charitable 


enterprises -of the church, so that prayer and study may 
bear fruit in service, and so that work may be informed by 
study and consecrated by prayer. There is no need to 
search history for a warrant for such services ; it is possible 
that nothing closely resembling- the best prayer-meeting of 
the present day can be found in the apostolic churches or 
in the church of the Middle Ages. It may well be that 
social conditions in the earlier days did not warrant this 
kind of conference. If existing social conditions warrant 
it and call for it, that is enough. It is to be hoped that we 
may learn to use many instrumentalities that the early 
Fathers never dreamed of. The life of the church may be 
left to develop the forms which are most serviceable. 

The early prayer-meetings in the Evangelical churches 
of America were simply meetings for prayer. The min 
ister generally presided, and sometimes read and ex 
pounded a portion of Scripture ; one or two hymns were 
sung, and then those laymen offered prayer, and those 
only, who were called on by the minister. Meetings 
substantially of this type have largely prevailed in the 
Presbyterian church, and sometimes they have been full 
of the spirit of devotion. " Of the prayer-meeting proper," 
says Dr. Blaikie, " we have had more characteristic samples 
among us of late years in connection with the revival of 
religion. Such meetings are really for prayer ; many 
Christian friends take part and the prayers are like arrows 
from the bow of the mighty, jets of petition darting up 
to heaven. Intercession is a prominent and very blessed 
feature of such meetings, as it ought to be of all prayer- 
meetings. Intercession revives and expands the heart, 
and tends to deepen the spirit out of which it springs. 
It is a favored congregation that can keep up such a 
meeting, leaving to the minister the duty of simply guid 
ing the proceedings and drawing out the gifts and graces 
of his people." l And yet there is probably much truth 
in these words from the same page of the same book : 
" In many cases the true conception of a prayer-meeting 
has not been realized. The meeting so described is gen- 

1 The Work of the Ministry, p. 210. 


erally little else than a diluted edition of a pulpit service. 
It may be doubted whether the meeting, as it is often 
conducted, has in it the elements of permanent vigor. 
It is a kind of cross between the college lecture, the 
prayer-meeting proper and the pulpit service without 
what is most valuable in any. It is better, if possible, 
to keep these separate and let each possess its character 
istic features." 

In the non-Episcopal churches of America at the present 
time, the " conference has largely supplanted the prayer 
in these services. There is far more of speaking than of 
praying. In the Methodist churches, generally, this speak 
ing takes the form of personal vt testimony." The speaker 
undertakes to give some brief account of his own religious 
experience, of the gains and losses, the victories and 
defeats of his personal life. Such a recital, if modestly 
and honestly made, by persons who are living serious 
lives, might often have great value ; but it is greatly to 
be feared that those whose lives are most serious are 
least inclined to give absolutely truthful reports of their 
own spiritual states ; and of that which is most intimate 
and most vital, it is hardly possible to tell the story. The 
danger is that " experience meetings " will degenerate into 
a recital of well-worn phrases which represent no real 
facts of the inner life. The mischief of such insincerity 
must be very great. When one who has scarcely thought 
of spiritual things during the week his mind having 
been wholly absorbed in the pleasures and strifes of the 
world goes into the weekly meeting and fluently ex 
presses his deep interest in the great things of the 
Kingdom, and testifies that he is making steady progress 
in the religions life, the injury to his own character 
must be deep, and the effect upon the minds of those 
who know him well, most unhappy. To this insincerity 
the cut-and-dried experience-meeting affords a strong 
temptation. Every one is expected to give some account 
of his own spiritual condition, and no one likes to give 
a discouraging report. It is too easy to assume a virtue 

1 Ib ul., p. ill). 


which one does not possess, and to avow an interest which 
is optative rather than actual. 

On the other hand, the speaking in many of the other 
prayer-meeting conferences largely takes the form of dis 
cussion, sometimes of debate, and the pure intellectuality 
of the performance affords little nutriment to the spiritual 
affections. We find the speakers wrestling with subjects 
to which they have not given much attention, and on 
which they are not prepared to throw a great deal of 
light, and the net result of the conference is intellectual 
confusion rather than spiritual refreshment. How to 
escape cant and insincerity on the one side, and the diy 
bones of theological or philosophical argument on the 
other, is the problem of the conduct of the modern prayer- 

To begin with, it may be said that nothing is more 
to be desired than that the modern American prayer- 
meeting should recover something of the character which 
it has lost as a meeting for prayer. It is quite true that 
public prayer, like every kind of public utterance, may 
become insincere and formal ; and as such it is more 
abominable than any other kind of speech. On the other 
hand, it is the highest form of expression of which the 
human mind is capable ; and its exercise may well be 
cultivated in the assemblies of the saints. The sincere 
outpouring of an honest soul before God, in confession, 
supplication, intercession, communion, should, in the very 
nature of the case, have more inspiration in it for those 
who join in the prayer than any other possible communi 
cation between human minds. Such an act of prayer 
brings man at once into fellowship with his Father above 
him and with his brother by his side ; it expresses the 
heart of both the great commandments of the law. 

The utility and even the propriety of social prayer are 
often questioned. What our Lord says in the sixth chap 
ter of Matthew about the hypocrites who pray in the syna 
gogues and on the corners of the streets is quoted in support 
of the position that we ought not to pray in public. But 
when these words of his are compared with his other 


commands, and with his own example, it becomes evident 
that it is not social prayer, but ostentatious praying that 
he is condemning. It is upon those who pray in the pub 
lic places " that they may be seen of men " that he is visit 
ing his censure. " They receive their reward," he says. 
They are seen of men. They get all that they are praying 
for. Their real prayer is not addressed to (iod in heaven 
but to men standing by. Its burden is : " Look at me. 
See h<>\v devoted I am. Listen to the sonorous solemnity 
of my tones and the well-feigned fervor of my utterances. 
And men do look and listen, and the hypocrite gets his 
reward. From such a horrible profanation of prayer our 
Lord bids his disciples to flee. If you are tempted to any 
such display of yourself, then hasten to the inner chamber, 
and shut the door, and pray to your Father in secret. The 
spirit of humility rather than the spirit of ostentation is 
the spirit of prayer. You must keep yourself out of sight 
when you pray. If you cannot do that when you pray in 
public, do not pray in public. If you cannot pray in a 
social meeting without thinking all the while of the figure 
y<>n are making, then by no means pray in a social meeting. 
But if you can forget yourself in your identification with 
your fellows, if your sympathy with man and your fel 
lowship with God, rather than your own egotism, can find 
expression in your prayers, then the act of social prayer 
is the highest act you can perform. When you have thus 
merged your own personality in the large benevolence 
of your wishes, you have, in effect, obeyed the command 
which bids you keep yourself out of sight when you 

It is a singular misconception which leads men to ques 
tion the propriety of social prayer. What are the words 
of the model that our Lord gives us in the same conversa 
tion ? u Our Father which art in heaven." The whole 
prayer is in the plural number. Its primary use must l>e 
social. It is not adapted to the use of a solitary worshipper. 
One man alone can no more rightly pray that prayer than 
one violin alone can play Beethoven s Ninth Symphony. 
As no man could be a Christian alone, or <n> to heaven 


alone, so no man can be always solitary in this greatest of 
all the exercises of human speech. There are uses, indeed, 
for private prayer, and times when we should literally 
enter into the inner chamber and shut the door ; but the 
highest form of prayer is social and not solitaiy. Even in 
the secret place we must perfectly identify ourselves with 
our fellows, else there is no meaning in our petitions. The 
kind of prayer that isolates a man from his kind brings no 
blessing. There is absolutely no spiritual good that we 
ask for that can be ours to have and hold ; if we receive 
any gift it is that we may minister the same one to another 
as good stewards of the manifold gifts of God. And since 
this is so, it is manifest that when two or three are gath 
ered together, and the social bond is clearly emphasized, 
we ought to find the spirit of true prayer more evidently 
present. " Our Father," we say, and the meaning of 
brotherhood becomes more clear; and as we try to put 
ourselves in one another s places, and to covet the best 
gifts for others as well as for ourselves, we are able to 
offer the fervent, energetic prayer of the loving soul. By 
loving our brother whom we do see, we draw nigh to God 
whom we cannot see. If something of the true signifi 
cance of social prayer could only be conveyed into the 
minds of the worshippers in our midweek assemblies, we 
might hope that they would spend more of their time in 
that direct speech with God which brings to all who enter 
into the meaning of it the largest spiritual gains. 

The fashion of " sentence prayers," in which, while the 
whole congregation sits with bowed heads, one after an 
other lifts up a voluntary ejaculation, mentioning some 
one object of desire, has come into use in some of our 
prayer-meetings. It is ungracious to criticise any such 
practice, and doubtless it may sometimes be helpful to de 
votion ; but the impression made by this exercise on many 
minds is not always pleasant. The fragmentary character 
of the petitions, and the lack of reflection that they are 
apt to reveal, often make themselves too evident. It is 
well, indeed, that the prayers should be generally brief, 
and that each petitioner should concentrate his desire upon 


some one thing which seems to him, at that moment, the 
one thing needful. And it is usually far better that the 
prayers should he voluntary than that they should be 
called forth by the leader, so that no man shall pray un 
less some desire is burning in his heart which he wishes to 
pour out before (iod. 

Of the speaking of the conference-meeting what shall 
be said? There are critics of this service who point out 
the fact that the speaking is often the reverse of edifying. 
They say that the time is apt to be monopolized by igno 
rant, effusive, opinionated persons, who have no wisdom to 
impart and no inspiration to convey; that they only suc 
ceed in gratifying their own vanity or in confirming their 
own delusions, while they irritate and disgust the sensible 
people who listen to them. Or, in many cases, the service 
fails of its usefulness by the aridity of its exercises ; no 
body has anything to say; and after a series of long and 
dreary pauses, broken mainly by the vain exhortations of 
the leader who tries to stir up the saints to some utter 
ance of the faith that is in them, the meeting comes to a 
close in a shamefaced way, and the brethren and sisters 
separate with thankfulness that one more midweek ser 
vice is at an end. These complaints and criticisms are 
often too well founded. And there is plausibility in the 
suggestion that only those persons should be expected 
to speak on religious subjects who have qualified them 
selves to speak intelligently, and who have something 
important to say. 

Vet there is another aspect of this question which must 
not be lost sight of. The use of expression in the develop 
ment of the spiritual life must be well considered. There 
is meaning in the many commands of the Master and his 
apostles which place such emphasis upon the confession of 
the lips. It may be said that one does not really know 
anything until he has clearly expressed it. The teacher 
requires the pupil to express what lie is trying to learn, 
not for the teacher s information, but for the confirmation 
of the scholar s own knowledge. It is this principle which 
is involved in the calls to testimony which disciples always 


hear. To afford them an opportunity to speak of what 
they have seen and felt, and to give utterance to those 
conceptions of the Christian life which are shaping them 
selves in their minds is the primary business of the mid 
week conference. It seems to be, indeed, a natural thing 
for one who is enlisted in this discipleship, and is trying to 
learn by heart the word of his Master, to give expression to 
his thoughts and purposes. 

" The evident fact is that a true inward experience, or 
discovery of God in the heart, is itself an impulse also of 
self-manifestation, as all love and gratitude are wants to 
speak and declare itself, and will as naturally do it, when 
it is born, as a child will utter its first cry. And exactly 
this is what David means ; namely, that he had been obliged 
to speak, and was never able to shut up the fire burning in 
his spirit, from the first moment when it was kindled. He 
speaks as one who could not find how to suppress the 
joy that filled his heart, but must needs break loose in a 
testimony for God. And so it is in all cases the instinct 
of a new heart, in its experience of God, to acknowledge 
him. No one ever thinks it a matter of delicacy, or genu 
ine modesty, to entirely suppress any reasonable joy; least 
of all, any fit testimony of gratitude toward a deliverer 
and for a deliverance. In such a case no one ever asks, 
what is the use ? where is the propriety ? for it is the 
simple instinct of his nature to speak, and he speaks. 

" Thus, if one of you had been rescued, in a shipwreck 
on a foreign shore, by some common sailor who had risked 
his life to save you, and you should discover him across 
the street in some great city, you would rush to his side, 
seize his hand, and begin at once, with a choking utterance, 
to testify your gratitude to him for so great a deliverance. 
Or, if you should pass restrainedly on, making no sign, 
pretending to yourself that you might be wanting in deli 
cacy or modesty to publish your private feelings by any 
such eager acknowledgment of your deliverer, or that you 
ought first to be more sure of the genuineness of your grati 
tude, what opinion must we have, in such a case, of your 
heartlessness and falseness to nature ? In the same simple 


way, all ambition apart, all conceit of self forgot, all arti 
ficial and mock modesty excluded, it will be the instinct 
of every one that loves (rod to acknowledge him. He will 
say with our Psalmist, on another occasion, * Come and 
hear, all ye that fear (Jod, and I will declare what he has 
done for my soul. Verily God hath heard me, he hath 
attended to the voice of my prayer/ 1 

While, therefore, the bald recital of personal spiritual 
experiences may not be the best exercise for a social re 
ligious meeting, the themes of conversation ought to be 
such as shall connect themselves clearly and consciously 
with the religious experience of those who speak. The 
main thing is to get from them a clear expression of truths 
which they have veritied. The leader should be wise to 
encourage always this kind of utterance. Let every man 
remember the words of the Master: "We speak that we 
do know and testify that we have seen. Let those who 
speak be kindly admonished to keep within their own 
knowledge ; to avoid speculations and hypotheses ; to bring 
forth the truths which they have either verified or are try 
ing to verify. truths which have been vitalized by ex 
periment in their daily lives. It is not always necessary 
to give the process of verification ; what is wanted is the 
results. The men and women who are fighting the hard 

o o 

battles of life and working out its problems can often 
greatly aid one another by giving the clear issues of their 
serious thinking, while at the same time they strengthen 
their own hold on spiritual realities. And specific- testimony 
to truths verified in the experience is a different thing from 
the general report of spiritual conditions and tendencies to 
which experience meetings are mainly addicted. 

The life of the Christian is the first great theme of the 
midweek service ; the second, which is like unto it, is the 
work of the church. The service mav frequently take on 
a very practical character. The various enterprises in 
which the church is engaged should often come before it 
for study and consultation. Those who have the imme 
diate charge of the work under consideration should be 

1 Biishnell s Sermons for the New Life, pp. 384-5. 


present, and their report should be heard respecting the 
progress of the work, its difficulties and its hopeful feat 
ures. The problem is to bring all these tasks to the altar, 
and let them feel the glow of its consecrating flame. It is 
not chiefly about methods that the meeting should be inter 
ested, it is rather about the work in its larger relations, and 
the motives that should govern it and the spirit in which 
it should be pursued. The inquiry here is, what is God s 
part in this work, and how would he have us co-operate 
with him ? The machinery is a matter of importance, but 
the main question before these social meetings is the sup 
ply of motive power. Thus the Sunday-school, the Parish 
Missions, the Young People s Organizations, the Mission 
ary Societies, the Brotherhoods, all features of the organ 
ized work of the church should occasionally be taken up 
for study and prayer at the midweek service. Such a cus 
tom helps to clear the meeting of the charge of dealing 
wholly with abstractions and sentimentalisms, and brings 
prayer and work into closer relations. 

To the question who shall lead the midweek service the 
answer is, the pastor, unless there is a more skilful leader. 
If there is a capable assistant on whom many of the pas 
toral duties devolve, this service would naturally come to 
him. The man who leads the meeting ought to be a well 
equipped man, ready, prompt, resourceful, enthusiastic, 
with an abundance of tact and good-nature. He should 
also be one who knows the work of the church thoroughly, 
and knows the people ; else he may fail to guide the con 
versation into safe channels. 

It is well that the subject of the meeting should be 
announced on the preceding Sunday ; and it may some 
times be advisable to have a series of related topics ar 
ranged for several successive weeks and printed for the 
use of the members. To secure a prompt and coherent 
treatment of the theme under consideration, some pains 
may well be taken. Good prayer-meetings are not apt to 
grow spontaneously; they need planting and watering and 
diligent cultivation. The leader should study his theme 
and take some measures to get it before the minds of those 


who will be present. A careful analysis of the subject into 
sub-topics or questions might be made ; and a postal card 
or note, with one of these questions clearly stated, might 
be sent early in the week to each of several persons who 
are likely to be in attendance. This brings a specific 
inquiry before the mind of each of these persons, and is 
likely to secure some consideration of the subject before 
the meeting. The leader need make no reference in the 
meeting to this distribution of questions, but his opening 
of the subject would naturally follow the outline he had 
made, and might leave these questions open for consider 
ation. This would prevent the leader, also, from exhaust 
ing the subject in his opening, a vice to which leaders 
are addicted. The chief business of the one who conducts 
such a service is to ask questions or throw out suggestions 
which others may seize and utilize. At the close of the 
meeting he may profitably gather up the ravelled ends and 
enforce the salient truths in a brief address. 

One advantage of this method of distributing the themes 
through the mails is that the 1 church directory may be 
freely used, and those who are wont to be silent or who 
are habitually absent mav thus from time to time be re 
minded of the service and invited to participate in it. 

As to the mode of conducting the service a few sug 
gestions may be quoted from Parish Problems: 

The meeting ought to be so free and so familiar that 
one sitting in his seat might ask a question or drop a re 
mark without rising. Sometimes a thought comes that 
could be expressed in a sentence. It seems hardlv worth 
while to get up to say it; the uprising and downsitting 
make it sound affectedly sententious. Vet ii would be 
spoken very naturally by one sitting still, if that were the 
usual practice, and might have a good deal more in it than 
many long speeches. 

" I remember a former parishioner of mine, a man of 
exceeding diffidence, who never made a speech in his life, 
in prayer-meeting or anywhere else, but whose daily life 
and conversation were both of them with grace seasoned 
with salt. We had a habit in our prayer-meeting of 


talking pretty familiarly ; and although he did not often 
speak, when he did he usually said something. One 
evening we had the parable of the great supper and the 
wedding garment, and the fact came out that the master 
of the feast furnished the guests with garment. " And 
is it not so with our Master? " asked somebody. " Does 
he not clothe us with the robe of his righteousness ? " 
" He does," I answered. " But we must put it on, must 
we not ? " asked my friend. Nine words ! but nothing 
was left to be said on that subject. 

" Now, if we can attain unto a measure of freedom in 
our prayer-meetings which shall admit of such pithy 
questions and observations, I am persuaded that their 
interest and value would be very greatly increased. Our 
Christian women might, in such a condition of things, 
open their mouths now and then, greatly to the profiting 
of the rest of us. One step in this direction is easily 
taken, and that is the repetition of texts of Scripture in 
the pauses of the meeting by old and young, male and 
female. The subject is known beforehand, and those who 
come should be requested to bring in their memory verses 
of Scripture which illustrate it, and recite them as they 
find room for them during the evening. Sometimes these 
well-chosen words will go home to the hearts of hearers 
with great power. Verses of hymns, or short and perti 
nent extracts from the writings of good men, might be 
repeated in the same way with profit." l 

The singing is an important part of this social service. 
The hymns may be somewhat less dignified and stately 
than those of the church service, but the jingling doggerel 
which greatly prevails in our American churches is not to 
be encouraged. All that was said in the last chapter 
about the Sunday school music is equally applicable to 
the music in these meetings for social worship. The 
vulgarization of the tastes and the depravation of the 
sentiments of worshippers through the use of sensational 
and sentimental prayer-meeting hymns and tunes has been 
a grave injury to religion in America. It is not necessary 

1 Parish Problems, pp. 264-5. 


to submit to this infliction. Prayer-meeting hymnals can 
be found containing easy melodies and familiar hymns, 
which are at the same time good music and good poetry. 

It is well to have much singing in the social meeting, 
provided the singing can be at once musical and worship 
ful. The praise, the confession, the aspiration, the hope, 
the desire which find voice in the hymns, may afford a 
beautiful expression of the devotional feeling which the 
prayer-meeting should call forth. The leader of the sing 
ing ought to be one who can feel the meaning of the 
hymns he is singing, and can help those who sing with 
him to feel it also. The leader of the meeting ought to 
know the hymn-book so well that he can quickly call for 
the hymn which best expresses the thought or the feeling 
which is uppermost at any moment. When any kindling 
word has been spoken or any fervent wish has found 
utterance in prayer, it will be a happy inspiration which 
calls upon the whole assembly to respond to it in the 
words of an appropriate song. In all this there should be 
no more formality than is necessary; the hymn may be 
announced by its number only, and no prelude is needed. 
A single verse or two verses are often better than the 
whole hymn. 

The suppression of long harangues and prolix prayers 
is a problem for the pastor. Many social meetings are 
made wearisome by those to whom the gift of continuance 
has been unduly vouchsafed. Those who have not had 
large experience in public speech are often unaware of the 
rapidity with which time passes while they are standing 
up to speak. The ordinary man to whom three or five 
minutes is assigned for speech on any subject is apt to 
use up most of it in getting ready to begin. I5y kindly 
admonition the pastor can usually guard against this 
fault; if there be any who are so obtuse that they offend 
in this way without being aware of it, a frank and friendly 
word from him in private will usually correct the error. 

Some of our brisk prayer-meeting conductors establish 
a three-minute rule, and introduce a call-bell to admonish 
the speaker that lu s time has expired ; but such methods 


savor too much of the auction-room. It is better to as 
sume that the proprieties of the occasion will be observed 
by Christian brethren who meet for social worship. 
" Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty," and 
if there is also love and consideration and courtesy, the 
spirit of the assembly is likely to prevent those who fre 
quent it from imposing upon its patience. 

A question box is sometimes introduced, with great 
profit, into the midweek service. Difficulties and problems 
of the Christian life which are burdening the minds of 
members of the church are thus brought to light, and 
cleared up, stumbling-blocks are taken out of the way and 
troubled souls are comforted. The pastor thus gains some 
valuable knowledge of the mental processes of some of 
his parishioners, and is guided somewhat in his public 
teaching. The questions should, however, be collected a 
week before they are answered, that the pastor may have 
time to prepare judicious answers. And the right of re 
jecting any questions which do not seem to him suitable 
for public discussion should be clearly reserved by him. 

It is well to make this midweek service a social oppor 
tunity for the members of the church. Its devotional 
character will not be marred by using it for the promotion 
of acquaintance and fellowship. Sometimes the pastor 
may announce that he will be present in the room assigned 
to the service, or in an adjoining room, for a quarter of an 
hour or half an hour before the meeting, to receive any 
who may wish to speak with him, and he may also en 
courage all those who attend the meeting to tarry after its 
close for fraternal greetings. Such a kindly interchange 
of words of goodwill may do much to strengthen the 
bond of brotherhood. 



THE minister is commonly supposed to be the pastor of 
the church; the head of a body, lesser or greater, of com 
municants ; the shepherd of a Hock which gathers in a 
certain sheepfold. The members of his church, the fam 
ilies also, to some extent, to which these members belong, 
the individuals and families which have sittings in his 
church and are considered as belonging to his congrega 
tion, the children of his Sunday-school all these are 
supposed to be under his care. Here is a small select 
community for which he considers himself responsible. Is 
this the extent of his responsibility? Is his shepherding 
well done when these are all housed and fed? 

Such is apt to be the habitual feeling of the minister. 
He has no such theory of his function, but it is easy for 
him to settle down upon some such assumption. Our 
postulates are generally implicit. It is well for us to have 
an understanding with ourselves at the outset which will 
prevent the surreptitious entrance of any notion of this 
order. The minister needs first of all to know whose 
servant he is: the pastor ought to have clear ideas about 
the number of his Mock and the extent of their pasturage. 

That corporate communitv with which we have been 
dealing, the local congregation, is generally quite inclined 
to take a narrow view of the pastor s responsibilities. lie 
is tJii-ir minister, the people say. They have hired him, 
and they expect him to devote his time and strength to 
them. If there are any individuals or households within 
reach who can be brought within their fold, that, of course, 
is his business, but here his obligation ends. There is 
complaint of ministers, sometimes, on the part of their 


congregations, because they do too much " outside work." 
The church seems to think that it has a fair monopoly of 
all the minister s production. 

That the pastor owes to the people who have committed 
themselves to his care faithful instruction and patient 
edification cannot be gainsaid. He is to minister to the 
church in holy things, bringing to them out of his treasure 
things new and old. But there is a little higher concep 
tion of the work of the minister than that which regards 
him as a hired man whose duty is wholly owed to the 
people who pay him his wage. He is, to begin with, the 
minister of Christ ; he must regard himself as sent to all 
those to whom Christ would be ministering if he were 
dwelling in that community. And he may sometimes 
recall those words of the Good Shepherd, " Other sheep I 
have which are not of this fold ; them also must I bring, 
and they shall hear my voice." 1 Nor can he well forget 
those other tender words, " I was not sent but unto the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel." 2 He is, indeed, the min 
ister of this particular church ; but if the church is Christ s 
church there can be nothing exclusive in its ministry. 
The church is Christ s representative ; and the servant 
whom it employs is employed to do Christ s work. That 
the church should ever conceive of itself as a close corpor 
ation, organized to promote the welfare and happiness of 
its own members, is an indication of the melancholy truth 
that the church itself often needs to be christianized. 
" The church is, in a word," says Mr. Herbert Stead, " the 
body of Christ. The redemptive and mediatorial purpose 
incarnate in him is incorporated in it. He came expressly 
to establish and extend the kingdom. The church lives 
expressly for the same end. As thou didst send me into 
the world, even so sent I them into the world ; and the 
same voice has said, The Son of Man came to seek and to 
save that which is lost. The later record runs, The 
Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 
This, then, is the avowed vocation of the church. Here all 
the characteristics we have noticed are focussed. The 

1 John. x. 16. 2 Matt, xv. 24. 


church is the organized Saviour. It is (iod s implement 
for overtly and directly bringing over the world into the 
realm of saving health. It is to search for the lost. It is 
to save them. It is to make them whole. It is to inte 
grate humanity." i 

All this is of the rudiments, but there is reason to fear 
that it is not well understood. How long must we wait 
for the church to be christianized? If we could conceive 
the church to be in the truest sense Christian, then it, like 
its Master, must say, kk I came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister, and to give mv life as a ransom for many." 2 
And it is a large part of the pastor s duty to bring the 
church into the realization of its high calling as a repre 
sentative of Christ, as the hodv of which he is the head, 
thinking his thoughts after him. tilled with his spirit, and 
doing his work. When the church so conceives of its 
function, its feeling about its minister will undergo a 
change. The people will still say " He is our minister ;" 
but they will not mean by that, ours to care exclusively 
for our organization or for our households, but ours to help 
us in our proper work of doing good to all men as we 
have opportunity. I low many churches there are which 
still have need to learn the primary lesson of the kingdom, 
that to look out and not in, and to lend a hand, is as truly 
the law of the corporate life of the church as it is the 
law of the spiritual life of an individual! And how great 
would be the gains of some of our churches if they could 
only see that the church which is always finding its own 
life by that act loses it: while the church which loses its 
life for Christ s sake finds it. 

Kvery pastor finds himself, then, in the midst of a com 
munity, in which are considerable numbers of people who 
are not connected with his congregation, nor with any 
other Christian congregation. The outside heathen, the 
neglecters, the non-church-going classes these are round 
about him : and, whatever mav be the expectations of his 
church, he lias certainly some relation to these people, and 
some obligation concerning them. lie may safely assume 

1 Faith and Criticism, p. 33:2. - Mark x. 45. 


that all the people within reach of his church, who are not 
under anybody else s pastoral care, are under his pastoral 
care so long at any rate as they have not made it mani 
fest to him in any way that they do not wish to be cared for 
by him. This may, in some cases, seem to put a tremen 
dous burden upon him; doubtless it will; but no pastor 
will be willing to admit that there are any human beings 
within the reach of his church for whom no representative 
of Christ deems himself responsible. 

If there are other churches and pastors in the vicinity, 
some part of the responsibility for these unchurched mul 
titudes undoubtedly belongs to them, and the pastor will 
be wise if he shall persuade them to share it with him. 
If they will divide the district with him, setting off to him 
a certain territory, his burden will be lightened. 

His first duty to the parish thus put under his special 
care is to get acquainted with it. The problem of " reach 
ing the masses," as it is called, now confronts him. That 
phrase is one which always has an unpleasant sound ; it 
should always be confined within quotation marks. It is 
to be hoped that the wise pastor will never try to " reach 
the masses." One reason of church neglect is that men 
have been thought of and talked of too much as " masses." 
They are inclined to resent that phraseology and all that 
it implies. They are not to be blamed. Most of us know 
that we are not " masses " and we do not wish to be con 
sidered as such. Every human being greatly prefers to be 
regarded as a person, with a name and an individuality of 
his own. If the men, women, and children dwelling in the 
territory for which the pastor has now become responsible, 
shall present themselves before his thought as individuals, 
rather than as " masses," he will be much more likely to 
" reach " them. 

He is likely to over-estimate, somewhat, the extent of the 
absolute neglect within his parish. The great majority of 
the families in the worst districts of our American cities, 
will claim to be connected with some church. Three 
Christian ministers of different denominations, canvassed 
together very carefully a large district in an American 


city, inhabited by the lower middle, and well-to-do work 
ing classes, and only about twelve per cent, of that popu 
lation would confess that they were outside the churches. 
It is probable that less than twenty-live per cent, of the 
population of any city east of the Mississippi would make 
that admission. This shows, if it is true, that the aliena 
tion of the multitudes from the churches is not so hopeless 
as it is often supposed to be. For even if the relation of 
many of these people to the churches is very slight indeed, 
the fact that they are inclined to claim such relation indi 
cates that there is in their hearts no inveterate hostility to 
the churches. 

That the relation of many of these people to the churches 
is very slight indeed, the minister will soon discover. Many 
of them are connected only through their children, who 
attend some mission Sunday-school. Even those working 
men whose complaint of the church is most bitter, are 
thus, very commonly, connected with the churches. The 
children of these men are apt to be found in Sunday- 
school; the mother, probably, does not feel quite willing 
to be wholly separated from the oflices and influences of 
the church. People of whom he lias never heard are often 
reported to a city pastor as saying that they attend his 
church ; he need not always on this account accuse him 
self of pastoral neglect; probably these are people who 
once in a while come in to an evening service ; who like 
his church better than any other, and would call on him if 
there were a funeral in the familv. The number of these 
semi-attached persons is very large much larger, prol>- 
ably, than the number of those who announce themselves 
as non-church-goers. And the great majority of them may 
be regarded as practically outside the churches as lost 
sheep of the house of Israel. 

The minister s first problem is to get acquainted witli 
this unchurched contingent. JJy this is not meant that he 
must personally visit all these families ; though that, if 
he can find time to do it, would be most productive labor. 
There is nothing which Christian ministers need more 
than just such intimate, personal acquaintance with the 



people who do not come to church. The minister ought 
to be able to see life from their point of view ; to learn, 
by actual contact with their minds, what are their mental 
habits and tendencies. If, however, the church is doing 
the work which it ought to do in this field, the minister 
will have all that he can do to care for those who are thus 
brought in ; and the work of visitation and invitation 
should, in large churches, be assumed by the church. It 
is the minister s task to see that the work is done. Nor 
can it well be delegated to city missionaries and paid 
visitors. The real significance of the work is lost when it 
is thus performed by proxy. It must always be essentially 
a labor of love, and love-making is not well done by 
proxy. It is only when a genuine Christian friendship 
is expressed in such a call that it can be other than 

The minister ought to see to it then that the non-church 
goers in the vicinity of his church those for whom he 
has become responsible have the Christian greetings of 
the church extended to them from time to time. It is not 
necessary to persecute them with attentions, and those 
who continue to decline the invitation should be passed 
by ; it is only necessary that all the people of the vicinage 
should be kept aware of the fact that a Christian church 
is there, that it has not forgotten them, and that it wishes 
to share its best gifts witli them. 

For many reasons it is vastly better that this work of 
visitation should be done by the co-operation of all the 
churches in the neighborhood; as it was recently done, 
for example, by the churches of the east end of Pittsburg. 
There have been many such examples. Then the visitors 
of each church, instead of seeking to gather into its own 
fold all those in its territory who have no church home, 
find out the denominational preference of each family 
called upon, and gain its consent to report its name to the 
pastor of the nearest church of that denomination. The 
effect of such a co-operative work is good in every way ; it 
is a demonstration of Christian unity worth more than 
weeks of talk in union meetings ; and it is much more 


effective, because the denominational preferences of these 
outsiders count for much ; and the family is more likely 
to accept the invitation of the minister with which it is 
thus put in communication than that of the church of 
which it has no knowledge, or against which it may have 
some prejudice. 

It lias been assumed that these people may be and 
ought to be brought into the churches. But this assump 
tion will be challenged. It is impossible, it will be said, 
to prevail upon them to come into the churches; they 
will not come to us ; we must go to them. Other agencies 
outside the church must be provided for the evangelization 
of these people. We must go down among them and 
plant mission churches, mission schools, homes, refuges, 
and all such saving agencies. These people are afraid of 
our churches. The churches are, in fact, too line for 
them. They would not feel at home worshipping with us, 
nor we with them. The social stratification is a fact, and 
it is foolish to try to evade it. You must adjust yourself 
to the situation. 

All this is urged by the people who have sold their 
down-town churches and gone up to worship on the aven 
ues, urged with the emphasis of conviction. Some of us 
have listened well but we are not yet convinced. To say 
that we do not feel the force of this reasoning would be 
inaccurate. We feel it as keenly as we feel the force of 
the east wind in April. We feel the weight of it as we 
feel the weight of a muggy atmosphere in the dog-days. 
But we cannot aver that our faith is strengthened or our 


hope invigorated by it. It is not necessary to speak dis 
respectfully about mission schools, or mission churches. 
Many good people are engaged in such enterprises, and it 
would be highly uncharitable to censure them. But there 
are vigorous churches which have never yet found it wise 
to propose the establishment of what are commonly known 
as missions. These churches are engaged in planting 
Christian institutions; but they are not missions, in name 
or in fact. They are founding Sunday-schools in suitable 
localities, but these are not mission Sunday-schools ; care 


has l>eeii taken to avoid calling them by that name or 
giving them that character ; the expectation is that they 
will become churches. 

In the first place, these churches do not go into the 
heart of an} degraded district to find a site for their 
Christian enterprises. It seems to them wiser to select 
a place near the border of such a district, at a mediating 
point between the more fortunate and the less fortunate 
classes. If the church is to do this work of mediation, it 
is important that its purpose should be distinctly signal 
ized by the selection of its site. If it goes up on the 
avenue and purchases a very expensive location, that is a 
distinct advertisement of the kind of church it intends to 
be. It will be perfectly true of the church which stands 
on this ground, that the people in the tenement houses 
will not feel at home in it. If, on the other hand, a site 
is chosen in the midst of the squalor and filth of some 
poverty-stricken district, everybody knows that this can 
only be a mission ; that self-support is not looked for ; 
that it is a purely gratuitous ministration on the part of 
certain rich Christians to the spiritual needs of this neg 
lected neighborhood; and if there are any thoroughly 
self-respecting poor people in that precinct, they will be 
inclined to keep away from it. 

A chapel built on the edge of such a district, but just 
outside it, appeals quite as strongly to the poorest people 
in it as if it stood in the midst of them, perhaps more 
strongly. They would willingly walk a few squares 
further for the sake of worshipping in a more decent place. 
Very few of them expect to remain in this squalor ; they 
do not regard it as their natural habitat, and they are more 
than willing to be reminded once a week that their inter 
ests do not all centre here. If the chapel can draw the 
people out of the slums a few times every week, into 
cleaner neighborhood and better air, it will do them a 
good service. They will go back to that dirt every time 
a little more unwillingly. And there is no serious diffi 
culty in inducing the people of these districts to come to 
tfhe churches which stand near them but not in them. It 


is usually a matter of a few furlongs or even rods ; the 
squalid areas are generally in surprisingly close neighbor 
hood to the abodes of comfort. 

When the chapel or church is thus located, when it 
stands as the mediator between the rich and the poor, 
reaching one hand to the people who dwell in the respect 
able residence streets, and the other toward those who hive 
in the tenement houses, its character and work are at once 
determined. It must not be a " mission " ; the eleemosynary 
features of its work cannot be thrust into the foreground; 
it must be a people s church, a church for all sorts and 
conditions of men, where the rich and poor meet together, 
confessing the Lord who is the Maker of them all. It 
hopes to draw into its fellowship enough of the dwellers 
in the respectable streets to give it the needful financial 
strength, and enough of trained intelligence to give it wise 
guidance, and enough of the surrounding poverty and need 
to give it a good tield for work within its own congregation, 
or at any rate within those circles which will open directly 
out of its own congregation. This plan has been kept 
distinctly in mind by some churches, in their evangelistic 
work, and experience has justified it. The Sunday-schools 
thus started have become churches ; they are not rich man s 
churches, and can never be; they are people s churches; 
and that is the only kind of church which has any right to 
exist. All classes come together in them and learn in 
them the lessons of mutual respect and of self-respect. 
Poor people who are not paupers have exactly the same 
rights in them as their more fortunate neighbors erijov ; 
the poorest prefer to belong to churches, membership in 
which is not a badge of mendicancy. 

It may be said that there are areas of poverty in some of 
our cities so large that it would be hopeless to try to draw 
the people away from them; that churches and chapels 
must be established in them: and that these must needs 
have the character, if not the name of missions. The 
geographical statement may be true, but the ecclesiastical 
inference does not follow. It is not necessarv that chapels 
or churches thus located should be missions. They may 


be colonies. It is possible for members of Christian 
churches to be actuated by motives not less Christian than 
those which have inspired the founders of the college and 
university settlements. It is possible for Christians of 
wealth and education to care enough for the welfare of 
the people of the neglected districts to be willing to go 
and live among them. Of course, this would mean that 
the sanitary conditions of those districts would be sharply 
looked after, for it would not be right for the well-to-do 
Christians to take their families into these precincts unless 
they were made habitable ; and thus their very advent 
would bring saving health to their new neighbors. 

The churches thus formed by colonies in the neglected 
districts would differ widely from what are now known as 
mission churches. The edifices would doubtless be plain, 
but they would be tasteful and comfortable ; the minister 
would be a man of intelligence ; the services would be de 
corous and orderly. But the important feature would be 
the footing of neighborliness upon which the worshippers 
and the w r orkers would stand together. The leaders in tins 
enterprise, the teachers in this Sunday-school, would not 
be hired men and women sent down here to perform a 
certain work of charity; nor would they be occasional 
visitants, letting themselves down, as it were, once or 
twice a week, out of some higher realm of social life, to 
minister to the poor, whose coming was felt to be an act of 
condescension ; they would be neighbors and acquaintan 
ces, whom the poor people met every day upon the 
street, and with whom they were identified in many other 
things besides the religious services. The social contact 
of these classes with each other could not but be of great 
benefit to both of them. Gentleness and refinement would 
be taught in the only way in which they can be taught ; 
and respect for labor and sympathy for the laborer would 
become something more than a sentiment. What oppor 
tunities, too, of genuine charity would come daily to these 
Christians, through their close acquaintance with their 
needy brethren ! And how beautifully would the bonds 
of social peace be woven by such organizations as these I 


If there had been as many as twenty such churches, 
planted by Christian colonies, in the poorer wards of 
New York, how different would be the social conditions 
of that great city ! ( )ne such colony would be a far better 
safeguard against anarchy than one hundred policemen. 

This, then, is the shape which we could wish to see our 
Christian work taking in the cities. Xo one ought to 
speak disrespectfully of missions; but they seem to be an 
impotent device. It is clear that they cannot meet the 
demand. Their work, at best, is sketchy and superficial; 
they "heal the hurt of the daughter of my people" very 

A few years ago the present writer walked through 
some of the worst parts of Hast London, in company with 
an alderman of the London ( ounty Council, who is also pas 
tor of a Congregational church in one of the working-class 
districts of the metropolis. This pastor was thoroughly 
informed respecting the social and religious conditions of 
the great city, and his comments on what appeared were 
full of instruction. In the course of the walk we came 
upon a mission chapel, planted by another Congregational 
church, in one of the worst corners of that section. "See," 
said the pastor, -here is Doctor Blank s mission. Can 
you not perceive, by the very look of it, that it has very 
little relation to the life of these people? One does not 
wish to say a word against such a work as this : these 
people are trying to do good here: but the sum of what 
they accomplish is infinitesimal. They come down lie re 
once or twice a week; they are here for an hour or two at 
a time; they sing and preach and pray; their services 
make a little emotional ripple in the lives of these people, 
and then they go awav. Some thoughts of a better life, 
some wishes for strength and purity are awakened in the 
hearts of those who hear, but how can such feeble impulses 
struggle into life in such an environment? You might as 
well plant a violet between these curbstones. The girls 
in that Sunday-school sleep, most of them, in apartments, 
where from half a dozen to a do/en people are huddled 
promiscuously together, male and female, married and un- 


married. They know nothing about privacy ; modesty is 
an unknown word and an impossible conception. How 
can you teach such people in Sunday-school how to be 
good? How much can an agency like this do to lessen 
or purify the deep and dismal flood of vulgarity and 
brutality and vice and crime which sweeps forever 
through these streets ? " The pastor must not be held 
responsible for all the language of this report, but this 
is the substance of what he said. As we walked on, 
we soon came to another building, in the same neighbor 
hood, of which much is known, and concerning which no 
such doubtful verdict could be spoken. That was Toynbee 
Hall, the first of the university settlements. Toynbee 
Hall may not be an ideal institution ; doubtless its meth 
ods might be in many ways improved ; but this must be 
said of it, that it has made a perceptible change in the 
face of the neighborhood in which it stands. There are a 
great many homes in that neighborhood which are cleaner 
and happier because of it ; the gracious and kindly com 
panionship of Mr. and Mrs. Barnett and the young gentle 
men who live here with them, has done a great deal to 
sweeten the atmosphere of Whitechapel. 

There are quite a number of colonies like this in other 
parts of London, and in several of our American cities, 
whose influence upon the vicinage has been quite percepti 
ble. But these college settlements are lacking, after all, 
in the finest and strongest influence. They are mainly 
composed of young men or women, who live all together in 
one house, and who are manifestly only sojourners in the 
neighborhood ; they are here to stay for a little while, but 
not to live. Their life is club life, and not family life. 
It is far closer to the life of the neighborhood than that of 
the workers in the average mission, but the relation of 
these individuals to the people round about them is felt 
to be but temporary. Besides, these are young people, 
with but limited experience of life, and there is much in 
the daily history of many of these families into which they 
cannot enter. We know how heartily and heroically they 
have thrown themselves into the work, especially the 


young women ; but there are many things which an ex 
perienced matron could do for these mothers and these 
children which a young girl could not undertake. And a 
group of families, living in such a neighborhood, would 
affect the life of the neighborhood in many ways far more 
directly and beneficently than the best regulated club 
could possibly do. 

All this will seem quixotic and chimerical to many. 
They will not be able to conceive of the possibility of such 
devotion. u How," they will ask, "could you expect in 
telligent and cultivated families to exile themselves, 
socially, after this manner? It is all very well for young 
and unmarried people to go away and live in such places 
for a few months or years, but to ask families to take up 
their residence there is a very different thing. Could you 
expect well-bred fathers and mothers to deprive their chil 
dren as well as themselves of the advantages of refined 
society ? " 

To all this it may be answered that it is, indeed, diffi 
cult to say just how much you can expect in the way of 
sacrifice of good Christians in these days; yet it does not 
appear that this is, after all, such a very heroic adven 
ture. It is no more than we expect of every missionary 
who cfoes to Calcutta or Hongf-konff; indeed most of these 

O O O 

foreign missionaries would be glad if their exile was no 
more absolute, and the discomforts and dangers of their 
lives were no greater than a residence in the Eleventh 
Ward of New York or the North End of Boston would 
require of them. These colonists in the destitute districts 
of our American cities would not, in fact be, wholly cut 
off from intercourse with their fellow men : they could 
easily keep themselves in touch with all that was really 
helpful in the life of the city. If the colony consisted of 
a dozen or twenty families of the class supposed, they 
would have among themselves some excellent society. 
Doubtless their life would be far simpler than if they 
lived on the avenues ; would that be. to intelligent fathers 
and mothers, a real objection? Would not release from 
the extravagances and artificialities of city life be a great 


gain to them and to their children ? Suppose that these 
families were compelled, by such a change of their en 
vironment, to live a little more within themselves to 
get a little better acquainted with one another, would 
that be an unmitigated misfortune ? On the whole, there 
is some reason to say that, looking at the matter from the 
view-point of the family s highest good, the sacrifices in 
volved in such an enterprise are not without their 

At any rate, it is not easy to discover any other ade 
quate solution of the problem of city evangelization than 
this plan of colonization, or something which involves the 
same principle. These neglected districts are what they 
are to-day because the churches have deserted them. That 
was a great crime treachery to Christ and his gospel. 
There is only one way to atone for it. The people who 
have abandoned these districts must go back and occupy 
them. If this involves some sacrifice, we must not won 
der ; but we need not be so faithless as to think that none 
can be found to make the sacrifice. We may trust that 
there is enough of Christly love and consecrated purpose 
in the church to do this work, if the thought of the people 
can only be turned toward it. 

These suggestions as to the extension of the work of the 
church to the districts for whose evangelization it holds 
itself responsible are offered with some confidence. It is 
true that they involve a considerable revision of current 
habits of thought and current evangelistic methods, but 
this may be the first requisite of successful evangelism. 
The full and frank recognition of the clear implications of 
the Christian law is not readily yielded. The church has 
been trying, too long, to apply the Sermon on the Mount 
in a narrow and partial way to the problems before it. It 
has not been willing to go after the lost sheep into the 
wilderness ; it has preferred to send delegates. It has a 
great deal to learn of the very rudiments of its high 

Without resorting either to colonization or the planting 
of Christian institutions which shall be self-sustaining 


rathe i than eleemosynary, the church may often do much 
within its own gates for the evangelization of its neighbor 
hood. Many churches attended mainly by the well-to-do 
classes are in close proximity to districts inhabited by the 
very poor. It is true that the stampede of the churches 
from these districts where poverty and sorrow and spirit 
ual need abound has, of late years, presented to the angels 
a melancholy spectacle ; but there are still many churches 
whose location would enable them to enter in an effective 
wav upon the work of evangelization. There is a large 
population within easy reach of them in the alleys and the 
upper stories of the business blocks. These people can be 
brought into the churches if they are wanted there. Some 
effort wiil be needed, no doubt, to convince them that they 
are wanted, but not more than would be needed to estab 
lish and maintain a separate building for their use. Says 
Bishop Hurst : 

"The drift of the city churches is always toward the 
cleaner, less parked, and less commercial parts of the city. 
All through this century the attraction in New York lias 
been northward. When the strong church moves away, a 
weak one is left behind. It seems to need but little care. 
A scanty allowance is left for it. So much is needed for 
the new church elsewhere, and it must be so line, that the 
old church soon heroines a mere skeleton. Little the 
people think that for the power to build the new the 
obligation is due to the old! 

u In Rome it is never thought of, that, because St. 
Peter s has to be reached by a bridge, and to reach the 
bridge one must go through dark and filthy streets, there 
fore St. Peter s must not be thought of as a sanctuary. 
The mere fact that it is St. Peter s makes it an attraction. 
In Vienna, St. Stephen s is in the midst of darker and more 
repellent streets ; yet it is never urged against it that 
it is too far down town, and not in the West End. In 
Berlin and in Paris the same rule applies. St. Paul s in 
London, is surrounded still, as centuries ago, by small 
shops, while the city stages and cabs run around it, and 
make a perpetual din on every side. Vet people go from 


palace and noble residence far away to get to that beauti 
ful temple. St. Margaret s and Westminster are by no 
means in the midst of fine residences. Yet all these places 
are visited by the people of every class. Why should we 
cry that the churches must follow the people ? " 1 

The assumption that poor people cannot be enticed into 
a comfortable and pleasant place of public worship is one 
that needs to be challenged. It is to be feared that the 
unwillingness is largely imputed to them by those who 
in their hearts would rather not have them come. That 
is a strange sight, which is frequently seen in England, 
of ministers and evangelists standing on the front steps 
of churches and preaching to a little group of Avayfarers 
gathered about them in the street. Why are these listen 
ers afraid or disinclined to cross the threshold? If bar 
riers are there which they cannot cross, is it not the first 
business of the church to tear them down ? 

The whole enterprise of street preaching, as carried on 
by organized bands of Christian church-members, appears 
to be a sad confession of failure on the part of the church. 
So far as these services are intended to bring people into 
the churches they may have some value ; but the impres 
sion which they make upon the casual listener does not 
usually convey this as the primary intention. They are 
rather an attempt to reach with the Gospel those between 
whom and the churches there is a great gulf fixed. It is 
possible that some hearts are touched by these street 
sermons, but how superficial and fleeting are their influ 
ence ! What these poor people need above everything 
else is friendship the kind of friendship which the 
church, in the ideal of its Founder, undertakes to provide. 
It is not truth, it is not even Gospel truth, ever so patheti 
cally uttered, it is love that is the fulfilling of the law. 
What these people want is love, and such social relations 
with their Christian neighbors as shall allow the expression 
of this love. To be preached to is not the thing they are 
hungry for, but to be known and cared for. And there 
fore the church which stands near to a neighborhood where 

1 National Peri/sand Opportunities, p. 107. 


numbers of such people live has a great opportunity. Its 
work cannot be done by sending bands of its young people 
about to stand on the corners of the streets and speak and 
sing to those who are passing, but rather by sending its 
best and its bravest out two by two into the streets and 
the highways, the attics and the cellars to constrain them 
to come into its own sanctuary, and by providing such a 
welcome for them that when they do come in they shall 
feel themselves to be among friends. Doubtless special 
services of one kind or another will need to be arranged 
for them ; and many new measures adopted for their 
instruction and edification : the church will need to exer 
cise all its invention upon this problem of manifesting its 
fellowship to those 1 whom Christ reckons as the least of 
these [his] brethren." 

The families thus gathered into the Sunday-school or 
the church need careful shepherding, and it is far better 
that it should be done by members of the church, in an 
unofficial way, than by paid visitors. The pastor may 
wisely assign to each of the women of the church who 
will undertake the- cart 1 , two or three of these families as 
her special charge. She should be instructed to call on 
them not as a committee or a delegate, but as a Christian 
friend, desirous of making their acquaintance and of enter 
ing into relations of Christian friendship with them. She 
must not go as an almoner of charity, searching out their 
penury and offering assistance ; that, in most cases, is the 
very thing to be avoided. When she becomes the Lady 
Bountiful, and they the pensioners upon her bountv. the 
relation is apt to be vitiated. She must rather seek to 
preserve between herself and them the friendship which 
rests on mutual respect. If relief is needed she had better 
see that it reaches them through some other channel. If 
she can become a trusted friend, giving them at all times 
counsel and sympathy, aiding them in securing employ 
ment and in helping themselves, winning their confidence, 
and stimulating their self-respect and independence, the 
service that she will render them will be one of the high 
est value. Work of this kind is proposed by the charity 


organization societies, and much, good work of this kind 
is, undoubtedly, done by them : but it is above all things 
important that the Christian churches should count it 
their chief work a work of which no other organization 
can possibly relieve them. 



IN our study of the constitution of the church we have 
found that it is, primarily, a social organization, and that 
the bond which holds it together must be the mutual love 
of its members. The fundamental law of the church as a 
social organization is well expressed by the apostle Paul 
in these words: kt iS ow we that are strong ought to hear 
the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 
Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is 
good, unto edifying. For Christ also pleased not him 
self. . . . Wherefore receive ye one another, even as 
Christ also received you, to the glory of God. 1 

This is the paraphrase and the amplification of the new 
commandment of Christ tk that ye love one another as 
I have loved you. - If the doctrine of justification by 
faith is, theologically, articulus slant is rcl cadcntis ecclesicc, 
it is no less true that of Christian society the only sure 
foundation is Christ s law of brotherhood. When this 
law is disregarded or set at nought in the practical work 
ing of the body, it ceases to be a Christian church. It 
may be a school of sound theology; it may be a popular 
preaching place ; it may be a place of polite resort : but 
it is not any longer a church of Christ. 

If Paul s statement is true, the church relation implies 
acquaintance and friendship on the part of the members of 
the church. " Wherefore receive ye one another as Christ 
also received you, to the glory of God. 3 This word 
"receive" means much. Undoubtedly its connotation is 
social. It signifies more than merely standing up before the 
communion table when new membei-s are admitted ; more 

1 Rom. xv. 1, 2, 3, & 7. 2 John xv. 12. 3 Rom. xv. 7. 


than sitting together once a week, beneath the same church 
roof ; more than having a speaking acquaintance with 
members of the church. The primary sense of the word 
here translated " receive," is to take another by the hand and 
draw him toward yourself ; and the definitions of the word 
are these : " To take to one s company, intercourse, house ; 
to receive to oneself ; to admit to one s society and fellow 
ship ; to receive and treat with kindness." 1 This, then, is 
the duty which Paul commands the Roman Christians to 
practise toward one another. In the church he expects 
that there will be friendship and social intercourse among 
the members ; the church is to be a genuine sodality. 
Various social organizations exist at the present day, some 
open, others secret, whose members are bound together by 
vows of fellowship and fraternity. But none of these 
contemplate a closer fellowship, a more hearty fraternity 
than Christ designed to be the bond of union among the 
members of his church. This view of the relationship of 
church members may seem to some extravagant and vi 
sionary. Be this as it may, it is the view which Christ 
and all his apostles held and enforced by precept and by 
practice ; it is the only view to which any countenance is 
given in the New Testament. 

It may be said that this implies a sort of communistic or 
agrarian equality and that this is contrary to the teachings 
of Christianity. It is true that the New Testament does not 
teach state socialism, as that term is commonly understood, 
nor does it encourage communism. Even the first chapters 
of the Acts of the Apostles, if rightly interpreted, do not 
sanction the abolition of private property, and the establish 
ment of communistic societies. The family is exalted in 
the New Testament ; Christianity glorifies and establishes 
the family ; the preservation of the family as a social unit 
requires the accumulation of private property; and the 
existence of private property involves disparity of con 
ditions. If industry and traffic are free to all, there will 
be inequality in men s estates. The inequality in men s 
temporal conditions results largely from differences in 

1 Robinson s Greek Lexicon of the New Testament. 


their natural powers and capacities. Christianity does not 
change these natural capacities, and does not, of course, 
change the results that flow from them. It does not make 
all men alike either in gifts or in possessions. The Chris 
tian morality assumes that there will be rich and poor, 
strong and weak, coarse and line, fast and slow, all living 
together in the same society ; it does not undertake to 
abolish such distinctions, but only to establish a law by 
which all these sorts of people shall form one harmonious 
society. The good maestro does not desire to have the 
instruments of the orchestra all violins or French horns ; 
neither does he wisli to have them all play the same part ; 
the silver bugle, and the brass ophicleide, and the wooden 
bassoon ; the stringed instruments and the reed instru 
ments, and the instruments of percussion, lie wants 
them all, as many kinds of voices as he can get; and then 
lie will divide up among them as many melodies as can 
be made to harmonize. What is essential is that all the 
instruments shall be in tune, and that they shall be played 
in time, and with a distinct appreciation on the part of 
each musician of the part which he is called to deliver, 
as well as of the complete harmony of which his part is one 
harmonious strain. So in the Christian society Christ 
wants all varieties of condition and of capacity, so that the 
whole body, " fitly framed and knit together through that 
which every joint supplieth, according to the working in 
due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of 
the body unto the building up of itself in love. * 

The church is to be an organism, not a mass of inde 
pendent atoms. The members of the church have the 
same relation to each other that the parts of an organized 
body have to each other, a vital relation, a formative 
relation. Take the parts of the tree, leaves, bark, branches, 
roots whence do they derive the life by which they live ? 
From the sun, the air, the soil. l>ut it is not true that 
each individual leaf, branch, rootlet, seeks its own nourish 
ment supplies itself with life from sunshine and soil and 
atmosphere and permits the rest of the tree to provide 

1 Eph. iv. 1C. 


for itself. The roots, drawing up from the earth its moist- 
ture and its life-giving juices, partake of the nourishment 
they thus draw from the soil, and at the same time convey 
it through the woody veins of the trunk and the branches 
to all parts of the tree ; the leaves drinking in the sun 
shine, send its vitalizing currents back along the same 
channels to the roots again ; so that every leaf, and every 
branch, and every cell of tissue, and every rootlet under 
ground is busy in ministering to the health and growth of 
every other part of the organism ; all are working together 
for the upbuilding of the body in love. The roots under 
ground may be soiled and scraggy, without form or come 
liness, but they have an equal part in the work of vegeta 
tion ; and they are not forgotten or neglected by the gay 
leaves overhead; for draughts of nectar that the golden 
sunshine brews are sent to them every hour to cheer them 
in their lowly toil. A partnership of life, a vital unity, 
binds all parts of the tree together. 

The relation which the members of the church sustain 
to each other is like unto this. The members of the church 
are not only united by an individual faith to Christ the 
living head, from whom all their life flows ; but they are 
united to each other in a living fellowship, and as every 
man has received the gift, they are to minister of the same 
one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of 

Love is the essence of Christianity. Not love for those 
nearest us, for our family, or our social circle, but love for 
all who are made in God s image. My neighbor may be 
coarse, hard-hearted, stupid, but he is a child of God, and 
therefore my brother, and I must love him, and do him 
good as I have opportunity. And this love must be some 
thing more than a vapory sentiment ; it must be a practical 
power issuing from my life and reaching his life, " As I 
have loved you, so ought ye to love one another," 1 said the 
Master. If the cherishing of loving sentiments had been 
all that was necessary, he might have remained on his 
throne among the angels ; he needed not to take on him- 

1 John xv. 12. 


self the form of a servant. To love our neighbor as Christ 
loved us, means more than to feel kindly toward him ; it 
means that \ve should take pains, and make sacrifices to do 
him good. It is not possible, of course, that we should 
manifest in this practical way our Christian love for all 
the individuals in the world, or even to all within the 
community in which we live. But, in order that we may 
be fully exercised in loving our neighbors, the Christian 
church has been organized. 

Into this church, the local church, all sorts and condi 
tions of people ought to be gathered. Each local church 
should be, so far as it is possible, an epitome of the univer 
sal church. And that, in its Founder s conception, is not 
a theoretical or a sentimental, but a practical and real 
brotherhood, in which the rich and the poor meet to 
gether, learning how, in all their relations with one another, 
to put the Golden Mule into constant practice. 

It is necessary to the perfection of individual character 
that there should be in the church not only diversities of 
gifts, but diversities of culture and diversities of condition, 
and that thus we should be practised in our relations to all 
kinds of people. We need to know how to bear ourselves 
discreetly, lovingly, helpfully, not only toward those of our 
own station in life, but toward those higher than ourselves 
and those lower. A Christian who only knows how to live 
in fellowship with one grade or caste in society is like a 
gardener whose sole recommendation consists in the ability 
to raise Japan lilies, or like a woman who thinks she is 
fitted to be a housewife because she knows how to make 
dainties for the table and parlor decorations. The garde 
ner who is fitted for his calling must have knowledge of 
the habits and needs of all sorts of plants ; and the skil 
ful housewife must be practiced in other branches of her 
art than those which relate wholly to luxury and ornament. 
So the Christian must have intimate knowledge of all kinds 
of people ; of their ways of thinking and living ; ample 
acquaintance with all departments of Christian household 
work. What we should all desiderate as Christians is large 
ness of sympathy ; breadth of view ; power to enter into 


the experiences of all our fellows, and to bear their burdens 
upon our feeling. Our Master was equally at home in the 
hovels of the poor and in the palaces of rich Pharisees. So 
shall we be if we are like him. 

It is by this close relation of personal friendship, and by 
this alone, that the Christian church can be built up and 
the principles of the Gospel be made to prevail. The 
religion of Christ cannot be propagated in any other wa} r . 
It is only by the contact of mind with mind, of heart with 
heart, of life with life, that its virtues and graces are repro 
duced and multiplied. 

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman 
hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. 
But in order that the whole may be leavened, the whole 
must be brought together in one compact body. From one 
life to another the sacred influences of love must flow, and 
it is only when men are brought near enough together so 
that their lives touch each other that the influence can be 

Courtesy, for example, is one of the Christian graces. It 
is a fruit which the religion of Christ will always bear when 
it gets its growth in the human soul. But there are many 
Christians in whom this grace is not yet perfectly devel 
oped. This is the part of their character which needs 
culture. How are they ever to gain this culture if they are 
excluded from polite society? The spirit of God does 
develop this grace, but only under favorable conditions. 
The sunshine wakes to life the germ that is in the seed ; 
but it will not make it grow through an asphalt pavement. 
And it will be difficult for those who were born and bred 
in rude society to acquire the graces of true courtesy if 
they are shut out from the circles in which courtesy is the 
law if all their associations are with the uncivil. They 
never can become refined except by association with men 
and women who are refined. If those who lead gentle lives 
hold themselves aloof from those who lead rude lives, there 
can be little growth of refinement in society. But when 
all classes of people are brought together in the church, 
the expectation is that the principles of the divine life will 


be communicated from one to another; that the gentleness 
and the unselfishness and the grace which iind expression 
in ideal Christian lives, will pervade the whole society and 
prevail at length over the roughness and barbarism of the 
woods. This expectation is always realized when Chris 
tians recognize the duty of using their social influence and 
their social opportunities unseliishly ; of consecrating to 
God not only their money and their talents, but their social 

What is true of courtesy is true of every other high 
quality. Knowledge is a Christian grace that will scarcely 
be communicated in any other way. Many of our neigh 
bors are ignorant and dull-witted. Those who are intelli- 
"gent and cultivated, by their loving and helpful intercourse 
with them, may not only impart to them much information, 
but, what is better, the contact of their minds with minds 
better trained will quicken and awaken their intelligence, 
and inspire them with a desire to know. So with patience ; 
so with charitableness of judgment; so with self-denying 
beneficence. They are all best learned from the lives of 
those who practise them ; and it is hardly possible to learn 
them in any other way. 

Here, then, are the two main reasons why the members 
of the same church should establish and maintain close and 
friendly social relations - iirst, because each individual 
needs, for the perfection of his Christian character, to learn 
to rule himself by the law of love in his intercourse with 
all kinds of people, those above him and those below him ; 
and secondly, because it is only by the loving contact of 
mind with mind and heart witli heart that the Christian 
virtues can be reproduced and propagated. 

Such associations as these are, no doubt, repulsive to the 
feelings of refined and cultured persons. They do not like 
to meet and mingle with such people, even if they are their 
Christian brethren. Their persons are uncouth ; their 
dress offends the taste ; their manners are awkward and 
constrained; their views are narrow; their tempers are 
often sullen ; it is hard to get at them, to establish any 
points of sympathy or understanding with them. It seems 


hard and disagreeable, no doubt. But the disciples of the 
Nazarene should bear in mind that it is enough for them to 
be as their Master. We know that if he were here in the 
flesh, lie would gladly receive us to his society ; would 
walk with us and talk with us ; would sit down with us in 
our homes ; would admit us to the closest friendship. Yet 
we are not so vain as not to be aware that such association 
with us would offend his tastes let us speak reverently. 
For we must not forget that his perceptions of beauty of 
conduct and character are far keener than ours ; and that 
it pains him more than it can pain us to witness such un- 
gainliness of soul and body as that from which we are wont 
to shrink. He could not have been the Saviour of the world 
if he had suffered himself to be governed by his {.esthetic 
feelings, instead of his benevolent feelings. If we would 
be disciples of his we must take up this cross and follow 

But would it not be very difficult, it may be asked, to 
put this principle of the text into practice ? It would be 
difficult. It is commonly difficult to do right. It is diffi 
cult for some to speak the truth ; it is difficult for others 
to judge their neighbors charitably ; it is difficult for others 
to be honest, and for others to consecrate their property 
to Christ ; but the fact that a duty is difficult hardly ex 
cuses us from its performance. The more arduous the 
work the greater the reward for doing it. 

But would not this make a complete overturning in all 
our social customs ? Possibly : but may it not be that 
society needs a complete overturning? The law of what 
is called society is, for the greater part, the law of self- 
pleasing. Not benevolence, but taste, is the arbiter of its 
affairs. The question is not in social circles and social as 
semblies, How can I do the most good how can I confer 
the most happiness? but rather, Plow can I gratify my 
own tastes most thoroughly ? As our civilization advances, 
this becomes more and more the principle on which society 
in some of its circles is organized. And this is not Chris 
tianity ; it is heathenism ; it is paganism ; a refined and 
elegant variety, no doubt, but still paganism; and the 


religion of the meek and lowly Nazarene has no more 
powerful foe. Nothing needs christianizing more than 
what is called, by a polite euphemism, Christian society. 
The thorough application of the Christian law to the social 
intercourse of neighbors, of members of the same church, 
would work a marvellous transformation. 

We sometimes hear it said that the christianization of 
the church is a visionary enterprise. In great ecclesiasti 
cal assemblies the suggestion that party spirit be laid 
aside, and that, instead of trying to overpower one an 
other, the representatives of the churches seek to please 
one another, and to prefer one another in honor, is received 
with a significant silence. And the proposition to introduce 
the Christian law of social intercourse into the church is 
likely to be viewed in many quarters as an impracticable 
innovation. Yet, so long as we call ourselves Christians, 
and accept the man of Nazareth as our Master, we ought, 
manifestly, to recognize the duty of making some attempts 
in this direction. Any church which will throw itself 
heartily into the enterprise of realizing the life of Christ 
in its fellowship w r ill find that it is an easy and delightful 
thing to do. The difficulty of which we have spoken is 
mainly the difficulty of overcoming the disinclination 
of making the attempt. Like many other services from 
which we shrink, the thorough performance of it brings 
an abundant reward. That which is drudgery in the an 
ticipation often becomes a delight when we do it with all 
our hearts. 

If the social life of the Church is to be christianized, it 
is needful not only that the Christian spirit dwell in the 
hearts of the pastor and the members, but that methods 
and opportunities be provided for the manifestation of it. 
Much could be done freely and spontaneously by the 
members in their intercourse with one another, and this 
will be the best fruit of the Christian spirit. For such 
manifestations of Christian kindness and neighborliness 
no rule can be given; those who practise them are a law 
unto themselves. Hut while it is true, on the one hand, 
that the spirit will make forms for itself, it is equally 


true, on the other hand, that the provision of beautiful 
and appropriate forms gives the spirit freer utterance. It 
is part of our work to " make channels for the streams of 
love." And the Christian church ought to be so organized 
that its members should have ample opportunities of be 
coming acquainted with one another, and of manifesting 
the unity of the spirit. 

It is true, however, that the best fellowship of the ideal 
church will be the fellowship of work. Those who are 
engaged in the various activities of the church are inevi 
tably brought into close relations. It will be well for the 
pastor always to keep this fact before the people. Let 
him say, very often, from the pulpit ; " This is a working 
church ; we are trying to carry on a number of kinds of 
religious and charitable work ; and those of you who wish 
to extend your acquaintance will do well to enlist in some 
of these enterprises." In truth the friendships that are 
formed among those who are partners in a common labor 
and sharers of an unselfish purpose, are worth far more 
than those whose only motive is social enjoyment. Fellow- 
soldiers or fellow-workers in the hospital are united by a 
stronger bond than that which joins members of the same 
social club. And because the pastor knows that this is 
true his first and strongest effort will be put forth to bring 
as many as he can of the members of his church into the 
fellowship of Christian labor. Those who are taking an 
active part in the Sunday-school, in the mid-week service, 
in the sewing-school, in the charitable visitation, in the 
guilds and brotherhoods, will find in their work a comrade 
ship that will go far to satisfy their social needs. In order 
that this may be, however, the social side of all these de 
partments of labor should be developed, and those who are 
co-operating in them should cultivate the bond of brother 
hood. In their consultations about their mutual work and 
in all their association, they should seek to be helpers of 
one another, and sharers of one another s burdens and joys. 
If there are any among them that are timid and unpractised 
in social intercourse, special kindness should be shown to 
them. Christian disciples who are thus engaged together 


in the labors of the church may often be quite; as service 
able to those with whom they work as to those for whom 
they work. 

But, in addition to the fellowship of work, the church 
should make opportunities for fellowship in social pleas 
ures. "Let each one of us please his neighbor, for that 
which is good, unto edifying. 1 One important way of 
doin<> - cfood to our neighbors is by invin< - them social 

O O O i/ O O 

pleasure, and this is a method which eyery Christian church 
should learn and practise. 

It is highly important, to begin with, that methods should 
be devised of promoting acquaintance among church mem 
bers. In small churches this task is not dil licult ; there 
are many churches in which it is not impossible for every 
member to know every other. But in large churches in 
the cities, where the membership is scattered over a wide 
territory and where the social engagements are many, this 
problem becomes somewhat difficult. It is neyer solved 
with entire satisfaction to the faithful pastor, but a warm 
heart and a resolute purpose can accomplish much. There 
are many churches in which it seems almost a physical 
impossibility that acquaintance should be universal; but 
it is possible to provide that no household and no indi 
vidual shall be left friendless; that every one shall have 
ample opportunities of Christian fellowship. If no one 
can know all his brethren, each one may know many, and 
may find in the social life which the church provides the 
supply of his highest wants. 

Those church members who reside in the same neighbor 
hood ought to be able to maintain some neighborly relations. 
To this end pains should be taken to inform those who live 
in any given neighborhood when a family living in their 
vicinity is added to the congregation. In some churches 
it is customary, when individuals or households are received 
into the church, to name the place of their residence, that 
those who live nearest them may be able to discharge their 
neighborly obligations. It is well for the pastor to have; a 
supply of cards printed in blank, on which he may inscribe 

1 Horn. xv. 2. 


the name and residence of every new member, inclosing 
them to those who can most conveniently call, and inviting 
them to manifest to the new-comers the fellowship of the 

For many reasons it is better that the people themselves 
should do this work than that it should be done by the 
pastor. The pastor s call is perfunctory. He goes be 
cause it is his duty to go. It is well if he has the grace 
to conceal this disagreeable fact; but many of those on 
whom he calls must be aware that it is an official service, 
and does not possess any social significance. A friendly 
call from one of the members of the church living in the 
neighborhood might wear a different look. It would 
almost uniformly be accepted as an act of friendship; it 
would manifest the fellowship of the church more clearly 
than a call from the pastor. 

It is desirable that the social ties which bind members 
to the church be as strong as those which bind them to 
their pastor. Those who join the church, and not the 
pastor, should be received by the church at least as 
heartily as by the pastor. Pastors come and go, but the 
church abides ; and it is of the utmost importance that the 
attachment of each member be fastened upon the church, 
and not merely upon its minister. 1 

There are, doubtless, congregations in which such a 
recognition of the fraternal relations of members would 
not be possible; in which the members would resent the 
suggestion that they owe any courtesies to one another 
because they belong to the same church and live in the 
same neighborhood ; in which the barriers of social reserve 
are far too high and strong to admit of any genuine brother 
hood; but these churches greatly need to consider the 
charter of their existence and their right to bear the name 
of Christ. 

, In churches which recognize a fraternal relation among 
their members, and desire to promote and strengthen it, a 
convenient device is the division of the parish into a num 
ber of well-defined geographical districts, each of which 

1 Parish Problems, p. 233. 


should l>e placed in charge of ;i pastoral committee, con 
sisting perhaps of one gentleman and three ladies. The 
directory of the church should be printed, with the boun 
daries of each district distinctly defined, and the names 
and residences of families and individuals residing within 


tin 1 district brought together. The members of the con 
gregation can thus see at a glance who their neighbors are, 
and when 1 they live; and they can, if they desire, show 
themselves neighborly to those within their reach. The 
pastoral committee should visit every family in its district 
at least once a year, and should report to the pastor any 
changes of residence in the district, and any removals from 
it, with the names of new-comers within their territory 
who are attending the church. 

Such a division of the parish into geographical districts, 
with a pastoral committee in charge of each, is a con 
venient arrangement for many purposes. It is necessary 
to canvass the parish from time to time for various objects; 
this machinery provides a wav whereby every family can 
be expeditiously and surely reached. In some churches 
the benevolent collections are thus taken with but little 
labor. Cottage meetings and neighborhood sociables may 
also be held occasionally in the several districts under the 
direction of the pastoral committees. 

The chief value of the geographical division is, how 
ever, the aid which it affords in the cultivation of church 
fellowship by grouping the members of the congregation. 
By means of such a system, it is possible for those belong 
ing to the same church to fulfil their fraternal obligations 
to one another, and to foster that sentiment and spirit of 
brotherhood on which the usefulness of the church so 
largely depends. 1 

In the city churches it is often difficult to make the 
acquaintance of those who have become regular attendants 
upon the Sunday services. In such churches it is well to 
appoint a welcome committee, whose duty it shall be to 
watch for such regular comers, to express to them the 
hospitality of the church, to obtain their names and 

1 Paris/i Problems, p. 23">. 


addresses, and, if they are willing, to present them to the 
pastor. Another simple device is to place in the pews 
occasionally plain cards on which any persons who know 
that they are not known, and who wish to be considered as 
members of the congregation, should be desired to write 
their names, with their places of residence, dropping the 
cards into the collection baskets. The pastor is thus 
directed to the homes of strangers who desire his acquaint 
ance, and he may bring them to the notice of the pastoral 

It is important, however, that frequent meetings for 
the promotion of acquaintance be held in the social rooms 
of the church itself meetings to which the whole congre 
gation should be invited. To this end it is necessary that 
the church should be provided with social rooms, apart 
ments adapted to social intercourse. The parlors of the 
church are an essential part of its outfit for Christian work, 
and the social meetings held in them, with which no 
religious exercises are connected, are to be reckoned as a 
means of grace. 

These church sociables have frequently been made the 
subject of caustic comment, and there is no doubt but that 
serious abuses have been connected with them ; neverthe 
less they should serve an important purpose in the develop 
ment of the social life of the church. In some cases they 
have been almost wholly devoted to diversions of some 
nature ; long programmes of musical and elocutionary per 
formance, and various amusements are provided; thus the 
entire evening is occupied and very little opportunity is 
given for the promotion of acquaintance. The primary 
object of the church sociable is not, however, recreation, 
but sociability, and its exercises should be so ordered as 
to give ample time for conversation. A little music or a 
brief recitation or two to enliven the occasion may be 
allowed, but this part of the exercise should not be pro 
tracted. Some light refreshments may be served, but this 
also should be a subordinate feature, and the entertain 
ment should always be plain and inexpensive. It is better 
that it should be gratuitously served. The purpose of the 


sociable can only be to afford an opportunity for free and 
friendly conversation among members of the same congre 
gation. They have come together to recognize the bond 
that unites them, and to receive one another even as Christ 
also has received them to the glory of God. Here they 
are neither rich nor poor, learned nor ignorant; they are 
brethren in Christ Jesus. It is not the place for friends 
and cronies to gather into congenial groups; it is the place 
to remember the solemn covenant of mutual help and 
sympathy which was uttered or implied when they entered 
into the fellowship of the church. 

Much depends on the spirit of the pastor. If he is a 
man of genuine friendliness, and if he is fully possessed 
with the truth that the church must be a brotherhood, his 
enthusiasm is likely to be contagious and the spirit of 
good-will and cordiality will prevail in these social assem 
blies. When the leaders of the congregation, the men and 
women of wealth and social standing take up this purpose 
heartily and devote themselves to seeking out those whom 
they do not know, and those who are likely to be neglected, 
manifesting to them a true Christian courtesy, the effect 
upon the life of the church is often very salutary. There 
are churches in which the prosperous and the cultured 
members have learned to use their power and prestige in 
such a way as to draw the membership into the most 
fraternal relations. No spectacle can be more grateful to 
the faithful pastor than that which he sometimes witnesses 
in these social meetings, when with no sign of patronage 
or condescension on the one hand, or of sycophancy on 
the other, the rich and the poor meet together as Christian 
brethren. It is doubtful whether any service which the 
church roof shelters has a deeper significance than this, 
or helps more effectually to bring to earth the kingdom of 

The kind of social assembly which we have been con 
sidering is intended for the whole congregation. But 
there seems to be a place for a meeting, partly religious 
and partly social, to which none but communicants in the 
church shall be invited, and which shall be wholly devoted 


to strengthening the tie that binds the believers into one 
household of faith and one brotherhood of love. Assem 
blies of this description, sometimes called fellowship meet 
ings, are held in some churches. They may well be called 
on the Monday evening following every communion, that 
there may be opportunity for the members of the church 
to meet any who may have been received into the church 
on the preceding day. It is often the case that members 
thus received have no early opportunity of making the 
acquaintance of those with whom they enter into covenant ; 
and the solemn words that are spoken by both parties to 
this covenant appear to be nothing better than mockery, 
unless some way is provided by which the friendship thus 
promised may have a chance to begin its life in a mutual 
acquaintance. In some churches the pastor, on behalf of 
the church, extends to the candidates the right hand of 
fellowship ; but it is well if the members are permitted to 
express their greetings in their own way. 

If it be found inexpedient to devote a whole evening to 
this purpose, it may be practicable to give to it half of the 
hour of the mid-week service in the week following the 
Sacrament. But if the church can be brought to consider 
the matter, it will not grudge a whole evening, once in 
two months, for the cementing of its own unity; for the 
more perfect realization of that communion of saints which 
its creed so clearly affirms, but which its practice so 
imperfectly illustrates. 

The conduct of this meeting should be altogether 
informal. It will be well to spend a little time in song 
and prayer at the beginning ; and if there are members of 
the church who can be trusted to speak judiciously and 
heartily and briefly of the friendships which the church 
fosters and consecrates, of the benefits and joys of Chris 
tian fraternity, a few words from them may be helpful and 

Then an opportunity should be offered for conversation. 
This intercourse of the fellowship meeting will naturally 
be somewhat less hilarious than that of the sociable ; the 
voices will be keyed to a lower pitch; the talk will be in 


a gentler strain; but it ought to be cordial and unreserved. 
No introductions should be required or tolerated; people 
who have said to each other what all these have said before 
the communion-table do not require the formality of an 
introduction. Let every one speak first to those whom he 
does not know, if any such there be, and then to those 
with whom he is least intimately acquainted; let him 
reserve his intercourse with familiar friends for other occa 
sions. The themes of conversation cannot be prescribed; 
lint the natural drift of the talk in such a meeting would 
be, it would seem, toward the more serious topics; toward 
the life and the work which the church is seeking to pro 
mote. After half an hour spent in these familiar greet 
ings and communings, the assembly may again be called 
to order, and with a few words of prayer and song, may 
be dismissed. 

Such a meeting will be of no profit it will be postively 
mischievous unless there be in the church a genuine and 
hearty fellowship which seeks expression. To call together 
people who really care very little for one another, who do 
not prize the friendships into which the church introduces 
them, who are haughty or supercilious or indifferent toward 
their fellow-members in the church, and to turn them loose 
upon one another in the fashion here suggested, would 
result in nothing but injury. Doubtless there are such in 
all our churches. Perhaps there are many churches in 
which the number of these is so large that no such method 
as this could be profitably introduced. But it is certainly 
true of most of our churches that there is no lack of a 
real friendship; the only failure is in a proper expression 
of the brotherly interest and good-will that are in the 
hearts of the multitude. How often a better acquaintance 
shows us tender sympathy and self-denying generosity 
where we had thought were nothing but indifference and 
exclusiveness ! The great majority of our reputable neigh 
bors are far kinder than we think them; the lack which 
we deplore is not in the feeling so much as in its expres 
sion. In the church, more than anywhere else, this is 
true. Our modern life, in our cities and larger towns, is 


so intense that the opportunities are few for the cultiva 
tion of friendships beyond a very narrow circle. And if 
some simple ways can be devised in which the people of 
the churches can be brought together and encouraged to 
express their sympathies and their good wishes, great 
benefits will result to those who give as well as to those 
who receive these overtures of kindness. 

It is well to have a short fellowship meeting at the end 
of every mid-week service. The people should be encour 
aged to tarry for ten minutes or so after the close of this 
service, for handshaking and the interchange of friendly 
words. The more opportunities of this sort they enjoy, 
the less likely are they to indulge in bickerings and 
jealousies. One of the deepest needs of our large churches 
is a more perfect union. It is needed to consolidate the 
church for work ; it is needed to develop and express those 
Christian sentiments of good-will which are the only 
enduring cement of society in these turbulent and ominous 
times. Assemblies of this nature, which are intended to 
bring all the members of the church, rich and poor, old 
and young, together on an equal footing, and to cultivate 
and manifest a genuine Christian brotherhood, have an 
influence that reaches far beyond the confines of the 
church. 1 

1 Parish Problems, p. 269-271. 



THE place of \voman in the modern Church is not that 
which she occupied in the Apostolic Church or in any of 
the centuries preceding the Reformation. It is equally 
true that the place of woman in the state, in the com 
munity, and eyen in the family, is unlike that to which 
she was confined in the days of Paul the Apostle. From 
a position of subjection she has passed to one of social 
equality. The natural laws are not repealed, and the 
relation of woman to man will always he what nature has 
ordained that it shall be; but the race has come to under 
stand that differences of function and endowment among 
human beings do not necessarily signify superiority or 
inferiority, and that, since we must all stand before the 
judgment seat of God, there ought to be no lordship or 
vassalage among us. In the days when brute force was 
the arbiter of all disputes, the position of woman in society 
was necessarily that of an inferior; but as spiritual yalues 
have asserted themselves, the ground of this subordination 
has disappeared. That the emancipation and elevation of 
woman are chiefly due to Christianity cannot be gainsaid. 
It would be strange indeed if the Church of Christ should 
deny to woman the honor of which his gospel has made 
her worthy. For what else has she been lifted up and 
dignified if not that she should occupy that social position 
for which she has been fitted? 

If, therefore, the entire relation of woman to thf society 
in which she liyes is different now from what it was in the 
time of Paul, we need not be surprised to find her relation 
to the Church correspondingly changed. Paul s injunc 
tions to women to refrain from public speech and to main 
tain a strict reserve in public places were wholly justified 



by the social conditions then prevailing. He simpl}- for 
bade Avomen to put themselves in an equivocal attitude 
before the community to adopt a line of conduct which 
would have brought scandal upon the Church. It would 
have been indecorous for a woman to appear in a public 
assembly with an unveiled face; Paul disallowed this as 
expressly as he condemned public teaching, and for the 
same reason. The social conditions have changed; it is 
no longer proof of a lack of modesty if a woman shows her 
face or opens her lips in a public assembly, and therefore 
the admonitions of Paul are no longer pertinent. There 
seems to be no longer any good reason why women may 
not do any kind of work in the Church that they are fitted 
to do. The time has come of which the apostle s words 
were only a prediction: "There can be neither Jew nor 
Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be 
neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ 
Jesus." 1 Whether women will, in any considerable num 
bers, undertake the work of the regular ministry may be 
doubted. In those communions which have opened the 
pastoral office to them they do not seem to be eager to 
assume it. But the fields of labor that are opened to them 
in connection with the work of the local church are wide 
and fruitful. Their influence in its councils everywhere 
is pervasive and commanding. They compose about two- 
thirds of the membership of our American Protestant 
churches and a far larger proportion of the active laborers 
in these churches. There is no longer any need to claim 
for woman a place of influence and power in the Christian 

The prudential maxims of the Apostle Paul, cautioning 
women against bringing scandal upon the Church by a 
violent departure from social customs, are not, however, 
the only Biblical references to woman in connection with 
the work of the Church. In the Jewish dispensation 
prophetesses were recognized, and among the Christians 
the active service of women is often mentioned with 

l Gal. iii. 28. 


"Our Lord found among women the most ardent and 
faithful disciples, and the most efficient in ministering to 
His wants. The Son of God, in becoming Incarnate, was 
born of a woman. Thus was conferred upon womanhood 
the highest honor and a transcendent glory. She whom 
all men should call blessed, she who was so highly 
favored, is properly the type of what woman in Christ 
should seek to become. No privilege could In- greater 
than to belong to that sex, upon which the mother of our 
Lord conferred such distinction. Observe the confidence 
our Lord reposed in women and the fidelity of their minis 
trations. The names of the Marys and others are as 
imperishable as those of the Apostles. As often remarked, 
holy women were last at the Cross and first at the sepul 
chre on Easter morning. Holy women were part of the 
Church which waited for the promise of the Father, the 
coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. 1 The gifts of 
the Spirit descended upon women, and not upon men only. 
They equally shared in the Church s Baptism and Eucha- 
ristic Feast. They were ministered unto, and themselves 
fulfilled a ministry. It was the widows of the Hellenic 
portion of the church at Jerusalem that gave occasion to 
the appointment of the Seven Deacons. 2 And that there 
were deaconesses in the Apostolic Church is scarcely more 
doubtful than that there were deacons. St. Paul says, 
writing to the Romans, I commend unto you Phebe, our 
sister, which is a servant (Greek, a deaconess) of the 
church which is at Cenchrea. 3 She was evidently a per 
son of much consideration. St. Paul recommends her at 
greater length than any others: that ye receive her in the 
Lord as become th saints, and that ye assist her in whatso 
ever business she hath need of you, for she hath been a 
snccourer of many and of me also. In St. Paul s iirst 
Epistle to Timothy 4 a literal translation of the Greek would 
seem to show, and in this agree the best ancient and 
modern interpreters that where we read of the wives of 
deacons, the meaning is really female deacons. Even so 

1 Acts i. 14. - Acts vi. 1. 

3 Rom. xvi. 1. 4 1 Tim. iii. 11. 


must the women deaconesses le grave, not slanderers, 
sol>er, faithful in all things."" 1 

Precisely what were the official functions of these women 
named l>y Paul is not so clear. His counsels against the 
public teaching of women are not inconsistent with the 
supposition that women may have been employed by the 
Church in the quiet ministries of charity. But in addition 
to those who may have been officially related to the 
Church, quite a number of others are mentioned about 
whom no such suggestion is made, and whose efficient 
service in the work of the Church is recorded with high 
approval. Dorcas was a woman well beloved in the com 
munity where she lived, "for the good works and alms 
deeds that she did ; " 2 Priscilla, 3 the wife of Aquila, seems 
to have had equal part with her husband in training for 
his ministry the eloquent A polios, ranking thus among 
the earliest of the instructors in divinity; there was a 
Mary 4 in Rome, who as Paul testifies, bestowed much 
labor on him ; " Tryphena and Tryphosa who labor in the 
Lord," and "the beloved Persis who labored much in the 
Lord," 5 are also gratefully remembered by him; Euodias 
and Syntyche, who appear to have been zealous workers, 
receive a message from him, and there is also a general 
reference, in the letter to the Philippians, to " those women 
who labored with me in the gospel." 6 Nor should it be 
forgotten that the first Christian church in Europe was 
gathered by a woman who opened her house (after the 
Lord had opened her heart) to Paul and his companions 
on their first visit to Philippi." None of these appear to 
have been deaconesses or official women; but they were 
bearing their part, evidently an important part, in the work 
of the Church. In spite of the unfavorable social condi 
tions, the Church found employment for its devout women. 
It would appear from Paul s testimony that the unofficial 
women those whose service was voluntary had quite 

1 The lit. Rev. Johu F. Spaulding in The Best Mode of Working a Parish, 
p. 187-189. 

2 Acts ix. 26. s Acts xviii. 24-27. * Rom. xvi. 6. 

6 Rom. xvi. 10. 6 Phil. iv. 2, 3. ^ Acts xvi. 11-15. 


as much to do with the life of the Apostolic Church as 
those who were supposed to have belonged to an order of 
the ministry. 

In the post-Apostolic Church the existence of an order 
of deaconesses is unquestioned. The names of many of 
them are mentioned by the early fathers, and their duties 
are defined in the primitive legislation. They assisted 
the deacons in ministrations to the poor, and acted as 
ushers for their own sex in public assemblies. Women 
and girls who were candidates for baptism were instructed 
by them in the baptismal answers, and robed by them in 
white for the solemn sacrament. The a<j(ipac, or love- 
feasts, were also provided by the deaconesses. In the 
times of persecution it was part of their duty to visit the 
women prisoners, and to show hospitality to fugitives of 
their own sex. At iirst they were ordained to office pre 
cisely as men were ordained, by prayer and the laying on 
of hands; but later, the tactual imposition was reserved 
for the male clergy, and the deaconesses were conse 
crated by prayer alone. Up to the fourth century, only 
those could thus be set apart who were either maidens, or 
widows who had been married but once, and they must be 
at least sixty years of age; after the council of Chalcedon 
the age was fixed at forty. This order of Church servants 
lingered in the Latin Church through the sixth centurv, 
and in the Greek until the twelfth. The name is still 
given in the Roman Church to the women in monasteries 
who have the care of the altar. 

Although the order of deaconesses has disappeared 
from the Church of Rome, the work to which the name 
was once given has had a beautiful development. The 
order known in France as the "Daughters of Charity/ 
and in most English-speaking countries as the "Gray 
Sisters or the "Sisters of Charity," but whose official 
designation is "The Daughters of Christian Love," is one 
of the most notable and illustrious fruits of the Christian 
spirit in modern times. The order was founded in Paris 
in 1U17 by St. Vincent de Paul and Madame Louise 
Morillac le Gras. It began with a little group of fifteen 


women who were associated for the purpose of visiting 
and caring for the sick. Original!}" they seem to have 
been connected with a parish, and many of them were 
married women; but the work rapidly spread to other 
parishes and cities, and the need of some organization 
of the work became apparent. The good woman who was 
St. Vincent s coadjutor in the beginning was left a widow 
in 1625, and she at once signified her purpose of devoting 
her life to this work. Her duty to her family held her 
back, however, from undertaking the care of contagious 
cases, and the founder discovered that none but unmarried 
women or childless widows could render the service re 
quired. In 1633 the order was established by the Arch 
bishop of Paris ; and in 1668 it was officially acknowledged 
and endorsed by Pope Clement IX. The rule of the order 
has not been changed from the beginning; there seems to 
be no provision for amending it, nor has there appeared 
any serious need of amendment. The vows are not per 
petual; a five-years probation is required before the vow 
can be taken, but it is annually renewed. The constitu 
tion appoints a superior for every congregation, to be 
elected triennially by the members : she may be re-elected 
once, but no oftener. She is aided in the administration 
by an assistant, a treasurer, and a dispensiere or steward. 
The superior of the congregation is under the authority of 
the superior general of the order; the sisters of the con 
gregation are pledged to obey their superior. Their rule 
requires them to rise daily at four o clock ; to pray twice a 
day; to live abstemiously; never to take wine except 
when they are ill; never to refuse to nurse the sick, even 
in the most loathsome and dangerous cases; never to 
stand in awe of death; always to remember that in nurs 
ing the sick they are nursing Christ, whose servants 
they are. They are to have no intimacies or special friend 
ships; one sister is not allowed to kiss another, except 
as a sign of reconciliation, and the manner of this rite is 
prescribed. They are warned against feeling greater in 
terest in one patient than in another: their service must 
be, like the sunshine and the rain of heaven, an equal 


bounty to the agreeable and the disagreeable, the just and 
the unjust. 

Before the death of St. Vincent the order which he 
founded had spread through many lands ; it now numbers 
many thousands ; the messengers whom it has sent forth 
are found in every city in Christendom, and on every 
battlefield ; and wherever the dark wings of the pestilence 
are spread, there are they, ministering in Christ s name. 
Before the spectacle which they present, ancient bigotry 
and religious rancor often stand dumb or open their 
mouths with praise and blessing; it is a hopeless blind 
ness of soul which refuses to recognize the mind of Christ 
in the work of the Sisters of Charity. 

In some of the Protestant churches serious attempts 
have been made to revive the ancient order of deaconesses, 
which, in the growth of monasticism, disappeared from the 
life of the Church. Speaking of the Episcopal churches, 
Bishop Spaulding says: 

The attempted restoration of this Order in the reformed 
Catholic Church is more than justified. Indeed, this is 
the imperative duty of every branch of the Church which 
claims the Bible as interpreted by the Church in the past 
ages as its rule of faith and practice. And the success 
of every effort in this direction is only what might be 
expected. The inference cannot be set aside, that it is 
the will of Christ that His Church should be served by 
the ministry of Deaconesses or Sisters, as well as of 
Deacons and other Orders. And now that the work 
which the Church is called to do is pressed upon us, and 
we are working up to a sense of its magnitude and of the 
need of more laborers, and the faithful arc everywhere 
searching for the best instrumentalities and methods, by 
the study of Holy Scripture and the example of the primi 
tive ages of Faith and of most successful labor, there can 
hardly be a doubt that we shall soon have the primitive 
Diaconate revived and restored among us ; we shall have 
Deaconesses under this or some other name, as that of 
Sisters, successfully laboring in every Parish, in the schools 
of the Church, and in hospitals, homes and asylums, for 


all classes of the afflicted. We shall have teaching Dea 
conesses or Sisters for our Parish schools, which will by 
and by be seen to be necessary, not for a salary, but with 
the assurance of the Church s support and care through 
life. We shall have Deaconesses or Sisters regularly 
employed in winning to Christ both men and women, 
and imparting primary instruction and ministering to the 
sick and needy under the care and maintenance of the 
Church. The sanction given to this office and work of 
women in the Church of England, and by the General 
Convention of the American Church, is one of the most 
hopeful of the signs of the times. It gives us hope that 
the thorough working out of a principle of the Gospel so 
generally recognized, cannot be long delayed." 1 

The canons of the Protestant Episcopal church in the 
United States now make full provision for the employment 
of deaconesses. Any bishop of the church is authorized 
to appoint to the office unmarried women of devout char 
acter and proved fitness. The candidate must be at least 
twenty-five years of age and must present to the bishop 
testimonials showing that she has spent at least two years 
in preparation for the work, and that she possesses such 
characteristics as would fit her for the service contem 
plated. The duty of a deaconess, in the words of the 
canon, is " to assist the minister in the care of the poor 
and the sick, the religious training of the young and 
others, and the work of moral reformation." It is also 
provided that 110 woman shall accept work in a diocese 
without the written permission of the bishop, nor in a 
parish without like authority from the rector. The vows 
of these deaconesses are not perpetual ; they may at any 
time resign the office to the bishop of the diocese ; but 
they may not resume the office thus laid down, unless, in 
the judgment of the bishop receiving the resignation, 
" there be weighty cause for such reappointment." The 
canon also provides that no woman shall exercise this 
office until she has been set apart by an appropriate reli 
gious service the form of which is left to the discretion 

1 The ttest Mode of Wnrkiiifj <i Paris/,, pp. 191, 192. 


of the bishop. In some dioceses the solemnity is similar 
to that of the early Church, involving not only pnryer but 
the laying on of hands. These deaconesses serve as assist 
ants in parishes, as teachers of kindergartens, as Bible 
readers, as workers in missions and hospitals, and as visit 
ors and nurses among the poor and the sick. In some of 
the larger parishes several are employed, and the revival 
of this ancient order of servants of the Chuivh is meeting 
with much favor. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States 
has also entered this field and is cultivating it with much 
enthusiasm. The Woman s Home Missionary Sorietv of 
this church has under its care eighteen " homes," in differ 
ent parts of the country, to which more than one hundred 
trained deaconesses are attached ; and there are three or 
four such homes, under independent boards of manage 
ment, employing a considerable number of women. The 
principal training school is at Washington. It would 
appear that the chief work of the deaconesses in this church 
is that generally known as city mission work. The head 
of the training school thus describes it: 

Take the work of the deaconess; what is her employ 
ment? She visits from house to house where the masses 
are, by whom the church so sadly and so wrongly is re 
garded as a social club, which has no interest in them nor 
to them. She opens industrial schools for the ignorant 
and helpless ones for whom the word home has no associa 
tions and who have never experienced the joy and blessed 
ness of the family. She gathers the children of the 
foreigners into kindergartens, where, along the avenues of 
the eye, the ear, the touch, mercy and grace shall find 
their way to the heart and mind. She enters the dwellings 
of the poor and sick where suffering is unmitigated by 
the soft hand of love. She comforts and befriends the 
victims of the vices and sins of men. She consoles and 
counsels the deserted and bereaved. She searches out tin- 
widow and orphan and aids them with her sympathy and 
charity. She brightens with her presence the cots ot the 
hospital wards and directs the asylums for the orphan and 


the aged. She soothes the last hours of the dying with 
helpful messages from the Holy Word." 

It would appear from the reports that most of the 
deaconess homes connected with this church are of the 
nature of settlements or city mission stations, and that the 
deaconesses having their headquarters in these homes are 
engaged, somewhat independently, in the prosecution of 
such evangelistic and philanthropic work as is described 
above. There are occasional references to co-operation 
with pastors, but for the most part it is the "Deaconess 
Home " and not the church which is regarded as the centre 
of the work. 

In some of the other American Protestant churches the 
name of deaconess is given to women whose service among 
their own sex corresponds to that of the Congregational 
deacons ; they are members of the church, chosen to have 
a certain oversight of its charitable work ; the care of the 
poor and the sick is committed to them, but they have 
received no special training for the work, nor do they de 
vote their lives to it. The meaning of the term as thus 
employed is set forth by a Congregational pastor in the 
following paragraphs : 

" No workers in a church can do more to increase its 
usefulness than a band of properly qualified deaconesses. 
Shall they be elected as other officers? or shall they be 
selected by the pastor as his especial helpers in pastoral 
work ? The writer of this paper prefers the latter method. 
The pastor selects such a number and such persons as the 
circumstances of the church make expedient. The whole 
parish is divided into districts. Each district has a dea 
coness whose duty it is to keep watch over all the persons 
in that district. If any need the pastor she informs him ; 
if any are liable to be neglected, she asks others to call 
and extend friendly courtesies ; if any are poor, and need 
assistance, they are reported to the proper officers ; if any 
strangers come into her district, she takes care that they 
are invited to attend church. These are what may be 
called the social and temporal duties of the deaconesses. 
Then follow the spiritual duties. They keep watch over all 


their district, and if any need especial care they go to them, 
and either help them or direct them to the proper ones to 
give help. They visit young converts ; they talk with the 
unconverted, they look after the sick, and if need be pray 
with them ; they act for the pastor in all possible ways. 
They have a monthly or weekly meeting with the pastor, 
at which the results of their calling and various observa 
tions are reported, and they give to him usually the most 
reliable information he obtains concerning the condition 
of the parish. Where the proper women are secured for 
this work, no people in the parish are likely to be neg 
lected. All are called upon, and the pastor is kept in 
formed as he could not be if dependent on his own 
resources alone. 

" The women chosen for this service should never be of 
the goody goody kind, and seldom past middle age. 
They should be selected for their social position and social 
gifts, as well as for their spirituality. Sociability, social 
position, intelligence, and spirituality are essential to the 
successful deaconess. These qualifications are far more 
likely to be secured when the pastor carefully chooses his 
helpers than when they are selected by vote of the 
church." l 

The Church of Scotland has undertaken to restore the 
order of deaconesses. In the report for 1895 of the Com 
mittee on Christian Life and Work is the following 
statement : 

"Oui Church, following the Scriptures and the example 
of the early Christians, has found a name and place in her 
ranks for women of culture and refinement \vho wish to 
devote their whole time and skill to the service of the Lord 
Jesus Christ in His Church. Having this ideal, the order 
of the Diaconate is one that is certain to attract to itself 
many ardent and sympathetic natures who are longing to 
give themselves entirely to work among the needy and 
troubled and suffering, and who are not prevented from 
doing so by family ties and duties or by other circum 
stances. We know how the poor and friendless in their 

1 The Rev. A. II. Bradford in 1 nrislt PrMoim, pp. 285, l>Sfi. 


distress turn naturally to the parish church and minister as 
their home and counsellor; and in the more crowded 
centres of population, and even in rural districts, where 
the conditions under which the out-workers and farm 
workers toil are unfavorable to virtue, it is of immense 
consequence to have the help of a thoroughly trained and 
well-educated and devoted Christian lady." 1 

Some of the women thus set apart for service are at 
work in foreign mission fields, some in connection with 
city missions, but the most of them are in the employ of 
large city churches, working under the direction of the 
church session. A Deaconess House has been established, 
in which a thorough training is given to those who wish 
to devote their lives to this work. A recent report of the 
Deaconess Superintendent thus sets forth the purpose of 
the institution : 

u The object of the Home is twofold : 1st, that of receiv 
ing women, who, coming to it with pure and holy motives, 
are able to make Christian work the chief object of their 
life. These, after fulfilling the condition laid down by 
the Assembly, namely, that of having been trained for 
two years in the Home (or of having been known as active 
workers elsewhere for seven years), may, if they desire it, 
be set apart as Deaconesses. If they remain in the Home, 
they will then be expected to go to any part of Scotland 
where they may be required, and to work there under the 
minister and kirk- session of the parish. Some may wish 
to be Deaconesses living not in the Institution, but in 
their own homes, and these will be set apart by the kirk- 
session of their own parishes with consent of their pres 
bytery. 2d, that of receiving as residents for instruction 
and training in various methods of Christian work ladies 
who, while they do not wish to be Deaconesses, desire 
to be competent Christian workers. Experience indeed 
teaches at home, but it is often with many blunders and 
much loss of time and usefulness, whereas if methods 
which have been tried and proved are learned, they can be 
carried away and adapted in the smaller particulars to 
local requirements." 2 

1 Page 577. 2 Year-Book for 1890, p. 34. 


The instruction in this institution includes classes in 
Scriptural knowledge and the art of teaching, courses of 
Bible readings by neighboring ministers, lectures on mis 
sions to the heathen, on the qualifications of church work 
ers, on sick-room cookery and the care of the sick, on 
literature for church workers, on the district visitor as an 
evangelist, and various similar lines of training. 

The deaconesses thus prepared are set apart by a solemn 
service, prescribed by the General Assembly. A sermon 
is preached on the occasion and the following questions art- 
proposed to the candidate : 

"1. Do you desire to be set apart as a Deaconess, and as 
such to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church, which 
is His body ? 

" Ans. I do. 

" 2. Do you promise, as a Deaconess of the Church of 
Scotland, to work in connection with that Church, subject 
to its courts, and in particular to the Kirk-Session of the 
parish in which you are to work? 

" Ans. I do. 

" 3. Do you humbly engage, in the strength and grace 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, faithfully 
and prayerfully to discharge the duties of this office? 

t. A us. I do." l 

After silent prayer by the congregation, and a consecrat 
ing prayer by the minister, the candidate is declared to be 
a deaconess of the Church of Scotland. It will be seen 
that the Church esteems the restoration of this ancient 
order of the ministry as no light thing, and invests it with 
dignity and honor. 

The close connection of these Scotch deaconesses with 
the work of the local church is emphasized in all their 
training. They nre not independent laborers, nor is there 
any organization to which they belong which prosecutes 
its work upon lines of its own choosing ; they are strictly 
subordinate to the ecclesiastical authorities. They are to 
be helpers of the church, sharers in its ministry, messengers 
of its goodwill. They are to furnish a channel of cora- 
1 The Place and Power of Woman, p. 11. 


munication between the church and the needy poor to 
whom it is sent with help and consolation. In this respect 
their work is probably wiser and more effective than that 
of certain orders in this country whose relation to the 
church is but slight, whose ministry is not known in the 
community as representing the church, and whose service 
has little if any tendency to draw the poor into the fellow 
ship of the church. 

The effective beginning of this modern movement toward 
the enlistment of women as oi ficial servants of the church 
may be traced to a little town on the banks of the Rhine, 
where, in 1830, Pastor Fliedner, of the Lutheran Church, 
opened his little parish hospital and called for help in min 
istering to the sick. This was the first training school for 
nurses in modern times. A picture in the little gate-house 
of the parsonage-garden where Fliedner began his work 
bears the inscription : " The kingdom of heaven is like to 
a grain of mustard-seed.* The Scripture has been abun 
dantly fulfilled. The grain of mustard seed has not merely 
become a tree, it has multiplied to many trees ; the birds of 
the air on many shores are lodging in the branches thereof. 

When Pastor Fliedner assumed charge of the little 
parish of KaisersAverth in 1822, destitution had overtaken 
the community through the failure of a velvet manufactory 
in which nearly all his small flock had earned their liveli 
hood. His people were starving, and he was compelled to 
go forth into Holland and England to collect funds for 
their relief. His observations in those countries quickened 
his philanthropic impulses, and he came home with a pur 
pose to do something for the relief of his fellow-men. The 
first call came from the Prison Society of Diisseldorf, six 
miles distant, in a proposition to provide an asylum for 
discharged female prisoners, where they could be sheltered 
and trained for usefulness. It was a great undertaking 
for a parish with such narrow means, but the brave pastor, 
whose wife most heartily supported him, opened a summer- 
house in his garden, and bade the prisoners welcome. 
Shortly after, a house was hired for the asylum, and the 
summer-house was used for a knitting-school for poor 


children, which soon took on some of the characteristics of 
a kindergarten. It was a curious combination of philan 
thropies, but resolute hearts were in the work and it greatly 
prospered. Many prisoners were reformed and little 
children were made happy and wise under the tuition of 
the faithful pastor and his wife. 

And now another human need appealed to them. There 
were many sick, and a hospital was demanded. One house 
only in Kaiserswerth was available for such a purpose; its 
price, in American money, was sixteen hundred dollars; 
the penniless pastor bought it, and before the year was 
gone paid for it also. Two friends, single women, volun 
teered to be the nurses in this hospital: Oct. 13, 1830, the 
maidens took possession of the house; they had for furni 
ture a table, a few chairs with half-broken backs, a small 
set of crippled knives and forks, and a heterogeneous collec 
tion of rickety bedsteads. Thus, u with great gladness and 
thanksgiving," began the Deaconess House at Kaiserswerth. 
To-day the little hamlet is one of the centres of the philan 
thropic work of the world. Besides the principal hospital, 
now containing two hundred and twenty beds, there is a 
hospital for disabled deaconesses, a Magdalen home, a large 
kindergarten, a training-school for teachers, an orphanage, 
a holiday house for retired deaconesses, an old ladies home, 
and a great many shops and buildings in which the indus 
trial work of the mission is carried on. This is the seed- 
plot. But how wide has been the planting. To all parts 
of the world the work has spread. Fliedner was called to 
other countries to establish branches of his hospital train 
ing-schools, and the women who have been fitted for ser 
vice in Kaiserswerth have found their way into many 

With two of his deaconesses, Fliedner came early to a 
German church in Philadelphia. Others have followed, 
and Kaiserswerth now has six branch training-schools in 
the Lutheran churches of the United States. In Jerusa 
lem, in Constantinople, in Alexandria, Beirut, Smyrna 
and many other places the indefatigable founder built 
hospitals, boarding schools and orphanages. Since Kaisers- 


werth was instituted, ten thousand four hundred deacon 
esses have been ordained in the German Protestant Church, 
and they are found to-day at work in three thousand 
six hundred and forty different places. 

The course in the training school at Kaiserswerth covers 
three years. There are two classes one for nurses, the 
other for teachers. In certain rudiments of service all are 
trained. Every one must know how to do general house 
work to cook, to wash and iron, to sew, for these 
homely services may be required of any deaconess. After 
these primary lessons the course divides, and those who 
are to become nurses are specially trained in the hospital 
while the teaching sisters receive the instruction that fits 
them for their work. All these sisters also are set apart 
to their work by a solemn service of consecration. 1 

1 The form of consecration as used at Dresden is as follows : 


"Nach der Ansprache legen die Eiuzusegnenden ihr Gelobniss in die 
Hand des Geistlicheii ab. 

" P. Kniet nieder und bittet um den Segen. Die Eiuzusegnenden beten : 
Gott sei uns gniidig und barmherzig, und gebe uns seineu gottlichen Segeu ! 
Er lasse iibcr uns sein Antlitz leuchteu, dass wir auf Erden erkennen seine 
Wege. Es segue uus Gott, unser Gott, und geb uns semen Friedeu. Amen. 

" P. Es segne euch der dreieiuige Gott, Gott der Vater, Sohn, uud heiliger 

" Schw. Amen. 

" P. Friede sei mit Schw. N. N. 

" Schw. Friede sei mit ihr. 

" P. Er sende ihr Hilfe vom Heiligthum. 

" Schw. Und starke sie aus Zion. 

" P. Der Herr unser Gott sei ihr freundlich uud fordre das Werk ihre 
Haude bei uns. 

" Schw. Ja, das Werk ihre Ilande wolle er fordern. 

" P. Amen ! In Jesu Namen. 

" Schw. Amen. 

" Hierauf giebt der Geistliche jeder der Scliwestern eiuen Gedenkspruch und 
betet iiber ihuen : Ewiger Gott, Vater misers Herr Jesu Christi, du Schiipfer 
des Mamies und des Weibes, der du Mirjarn und Debora und Hauna und 
llulda mit dem heiligen Geiste erfiillt und es nicht versclimaht hast, deinen 
eingebornen Sohn von einem Weibe geboren werden zu lassen; der du auch 
in der Hiitte des Zeugnisses und im Tempel Wachterinnen deiner heiligeu 
Pforten envahlen hast; siehe doch nun auf diese Magde, die (dir) zum 
Dienst verordnet werden, und gieb ihnen deinen werthen heiligen Geist, 
und reinige sie von aller Beneckung des Fleisches uud Geistes, auf dass sie 
wurdiglich vollstrecken das ihnen aufgetragne Werk zu deiner Ehre und zum 


The Kaiserswerth deaconesses are assigned to their 
work by the parent institution ; they are always under 
marching orders, and they receive no remuneration from 
those who employ them. Hospitals which accept their 
services as nurses pay the mother-house " at Kaisers 
werth, or the branch house from which they go forth, a 
small annual sum ; the dressmaking department furnishes 
each deaconess with the simple garments needful, and a 
small yearly allowance for pocket money. Food and 
shelter are furnished them in the hospital or the parish 
where the work is done. When they are disabled a home 
awaits them in the parent institution. 

The vow of the Kaiserswerth deaconess is not perpetual ; 
a probation of from six months to three years is required 
of each one, and during this period she is constantly 
admonished that unless she is assured of her calling it is 
better for her to withdraw. When, at length, the pledge 
of service is made, it amounts to no more than this, that 
she will be obedient to the rules of the association while 
she remains in it. and will suffer no entangling alliances 
to hinder her in her work. The deaconesses are not shut 
off from intercourse with their kindred; considerable 
liberty of action is left them. Of course no vow of celi 
bacy is required or permitted. A sister cannot marry and 
remain in the sisterhood. But she is at liberty to leave 
the community at any time, and a subsequent marriage is 
no reproach. The vow signifies only this, that while the 
sister is a member of the community she must live accord 
ing to its rules. 

This recent development of the trained activities of 
women in the Christian Church possesses great signiii- 
cance. As will be seen, it has largely taken place outside 
the local congregation. So far as the work of nursing the 
sick is concerned, preparation for it must, of course, be 
made in connection with hospitals ; and it is in the hos- 

Lohe deines Cliristus, mit wclchein dir Khre, mid Anbetun^ mit heiligem 
Geist von Ewigkcit zn Ewigkeit. Amen. Vatcr Unscr, etc. 

" P. Schlussvotum. 

" Schw. Amen! " Quoted in UHi/iot/itctt Sucni, Vol. xxviii., p. . ). 

L O 


pitals that most of the charitable nursing must be done. 
The work of teaching, and visiting the poor and church- 
less might, however, be largely done in connection with 
the local congregation. It is only as the work of the 
deaconess is turned in this direction that it comes strictly 
within the view of this treatise. What the deaconess is 
trained to do in pastoral work as a helper and leader in 
the Christian service of the congregation chiefly con 
cerns us. It is evident that the " Lehrschwestern " of the 
Kaiserswerth Institution are prepared for such service. 
The evident purpose is that they shall bring to the pastors 
to whom they report, a reinforcement of strength and skill 
by which the church will be enabled to do its work more 
efficiently. It is not only by what they themselves will 
do, but by what they will stir up other members of the 
church to do that the church will be profited. They will 
assist in opening communication between the church and 
the needy and the neglected round about it, and will 
strengthen its hold upon their confidence and affection. 
Such, as we have seen, is the design of those who are 
foremost in promoting the training of deaconesses in the 
Church of Scotland, and in the Protestant Episcopal 
Church of the United States. The assistance thus fur 
nished to the local church in the prosecution of its proper 
mission may be of great value. 

In cases where the aim seems to be to establish religious 
or philanthropic centres separate from the churches, to do 
the work which it is assumed the churches cannot do, 
there is some reason for hesitation in our commendation 
of it. If deaconess homes are calculated to supersede the 
churches, or to afford the churches an excuse for neglect 
ing the work which properly belongs to them, their utility 
will be doubtful. The church ought to be the centre of 
all evangelical and charitable operations : and the multi 
plication of agencies which intercept its lines of influence 
is to be regretted. The deaconess home ought to be in 
every case closely connected with some church : it ought 
to be evident to the whole community that its gracious 
influences proceed directly from the church ; and its 


gospel invitations should draw men into the fellowship of 
the church. It is to be hoped that as the movements for 
the establishment of this agency, now largely tentative, 
are better matured, the connection between the work of 
the deaconesses and the work of the parishes will be closer 
and more vital. 

In most American Protestant churches the work of the 
women is well organized. In many churches will be 
found an association, variously named, whose function is 
parti} social and partly financial. Its work consists in 
promoting the fellowship of the church and in increasing 
its necessary funds. 

.Much can be done by the women of the church to 
strengthen the bonds of fellowship. Indeed it may be 
said that most of what is done for the promotion of better 
acquaintance and the development of fraternal feeling 
must be done by them. They have not only the leisure 
for this work but the tact and the experience which fit 
them for it. If the women of any congregation are so 
minded they may establish a condition of things which 
will make the pastor s work easy and delightful. If every 
new family finds a cordial welcome and a prompt intro 
duction to congenial friends; if social opportunities are 
so arranged and improved that those who ought to know 
one another are brought together pleasantly and fre 
quently, a social atmosphere will be created which will be 
favorable to the growth and fruitfulness of the church. 
On the Women s Society of the church the responsibility 
for this work mainly rests. 

The financial operations of these societies have attracted 
criticism. The various methods employed by them in 
raising funds are often censured as undignified and dis 
graceful. The suppers, the festivals, the ba/aars and sales 
to which they resort are often stigmatized as unworthy 
devices for the procurement of the necessary revenues of 
the church. It is not improbable that indecorous conduct 
may sometimes mar these festivities: the same might be 
said of prayer-meetings. If the stale joke of the news 
papers were well founded, that the charges made on 


these occasions are exorbitant, that would be good 
ground for censure. But the truth is that the good 
women usually err in the other direction, giving their 
customers more in return for their money than they could 
obtain elsewhere. The charge that they interfere with 
trade by selling goods below the market price might more 
easily be proven against them. 

It may be said that any such commercial expedient to 
raise the funds for the support of the church is to be con 
demned, since the amount necessary ought to be freely 
contributed. That this is the ideal method will not be 
disputed; but our ideals are not easily realized, and the 
friendly enterprises of the women s societies often afford 
a substantial assistance to those who have the charge of 
building or furnishing churches and of maintaining wor 
ship in them. It is, indeed, often possible for good women 
to give of their handiwork more value than they could 
give in current funds ; and the provision for turning these 
offerings into money seems to involve no essential impro 
priety. In the olden time, we are told, "all the women 
that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and 
brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of 
purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the 
women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goat s 
hair. And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to 
be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate ; and spices 
and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the 
sweet incense. The children of Israel brought a willing 
offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose 
heart made them willing to bring of all manner of work, 
which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand 
of Moses." 1 It is not clear that the contributions of handi 
work to a modern church bazaar differ essentially from this 
ancient donation. 

It may sometimes be true that enterprises of this nature 
give rise to jealousies and ill-tempers among the partici 
pants; any close association of human beings is liable to 
result in this way. But, on the other hand, it is quite 

1 Ex. xxxv. 25-29. 


possible that the association for such purposes should l>e a 
means of grace to those who engage in it. There is no 
better place to learn to behave unselfishly and generously, 
to consider one another, to prefer one another in honor. 
Churches do sometimes make great gains of Christian char 
acter in the loving co-operation of these enterprises. 

The social advantages of these events are also consider 
able. They bring together those who would not otherwise 
meet; they enlist all the women of the church in a com 
mon enterprise; and if care be taken to make each one 
feel that her assistance is valued, the tie that binds the 
members to the church and to one another may be greatly 

In most churches a Women s Missionary Society will 
be found, sometimes both a foreign and a home missionary 
society; and many churches, in addition to these, have 
room for a Young Women s Missionary Society, and a 
Children s Band. Of these missionary organizations we 
shall speak in a subsequent chapter: they are mentioned 
here in order that attention may be called to the multiplic 
ity of women s societies within the church, and to the 
need of co-ordinating them. This is the task which has 
been undertaken by the Women s Guild of the Church of 
Scotland. This (mild is a national organization, but its 
purpose is to develop and also to unify the work of the 
women in the local parishes. It aims to establish a Branch 
Guild in every congregation, and this is not an additional 
society, but a consolidation of all the societies. Each of 
the different organizations for woman s work is regarded 
as a section of this Guild; and one of the aims of its 
promoters is to enlist everv woman of the church in the 
work of one or more of these sections. In the reports 
which the Branch Guilds make to the National Guild, 
fourteen different sections are specified, as follows: Visiting 
the sick and poor; hospitality to the lowly; entertainment 
for the people; mothers meeting workers; workers at 
home for missions; members of Dorcas society; fellow- 
workers union; mothers union; Sabbath-school teach 
ing; magazine and tract distributing; church music; 


temperance society; Bible class; collectors. Each of 
these sections, it would seem, should be under the care of 
some capable leader or committee ; the work of the Guild 
should be to get every woman or girl in the church to 
choose some one or more of these kinds of work and report 
to the leader of the section. All these sections constitute 
the Branch Guild, and the workers meet together from time 
to time, to exchange experiences and to report progress. 
The rules for the members of the Guild are as follows : 

" The members of this Guild are united together with 
the view of deepening and strengthening their own religious 
life and of promoting good works ; and they resolve 

" 1.. To give service to the Lord Jesus Christ as workers 
in his Church, or as receiving guidance and instruction 
with a view to work in future. 

" 2. To meet together at such times as may be agreed 

" 3. To read a portion of Scripture and pray in private 
every day, and to go to church as regularly as possible. 

" 4. In private prayer to pray often for the furtherance 
and success of the work undertaken by the Church of 
Christ, especially by the Church of Scotland. 

"5. To pray for other members of the Guild on Sunday 
morning, and on that day also to pray for a blessing on 
all the good works done in this parish, on the parish min 
ister, and on all the workers." 1 

The little Handbook from which these rules are copied 
gives also under the title "What is the Woman s Guild?" 
a clear statement of the purposes of the organization : 

"1. It is not a Young Woman s Guild. It is therefore, 
even in this respect, not parallel with the Girls Friendly 
Society and the Young Women s Christian Association. 
It is an attempt to band together all the women in a con 
gregation, so that they may be helpful to each other. It 
proposes to make all workers acquainted with each other, 
and with each other s work, and through this acquaintance, 
and the sympathy resulting from it, to strengthen their 
hands and increase their power to work. 

1 Handbook, p. 4. 


"2. It is a union within the Church. The Christian 
Church has lost much by so many of its meniters going 
outside of it for companionship in work, and for Christian 
fellowship. This scheme by no means proposes that mem 
bers of the Church of Scotland shall not be members of 
their non-ecclesiastical societies, but it reminds them that 
they have a primary duty within their own church. The 
Guild can reach, and ought to reach, every adherent of 
every congregation, so that, for example, domestic ser 
vants and young women in shops, if they be sitters in a 
church, shall have associates, advisers, and guides of their 
own sex in the congregation to which they belong. This 
is a part of the communion to which all are solemnly 
pledged at the Lord s table. As it is through working 
together that people come to know each other best, the 
Guild is 

" 8. A Union of Workers. It has been found that poor 
and rich rejoice when it is put in their power to do some 
thing; and rich and poor can be allied in working for mis 
sions in connection with the congregation, or in some of 
the many branches of congregational activity. A union 
for work in Christ s cause ought surely to be a part of 
congregational life. 

"4. It is a union whose members may do good to others. 
The ultimate question is not " What will the Guild do for 
me? but What will the Guild enable me to do for 

" Therefore we may sum up by saying, - 

"1. A branch of the Woman s Guild in any parish or 
congregation ought to be a union of all women, old and 
young, who are engaged in the service of Christ in con 
nection with the Church, or who desire to give help to any 
practical Christian work in the parish, as well as all who 
are receiving Christian teaching , and looking forward to 
Christian service. 

" 2. Each member should take part in at least one of 
the sections of the parish work, as for example, the 
Dorcas Society, the Tract Distributors, the Mission Work- 
Party, the Sabbath-school Teachers, the Choir; and those 


sections should be entered on one roll of the Guild. One 
great object of the Guild is to make every worker acquainted 
with all that the others are doing, so that joint meetings, 
at which the work is reported on and encouraged, may be 
attended by all. At those meetings all who are interested 
in the work are welcome ; and they soon choose the work 
with which they specially desire to be connected. Those 
who are but beginning, or who wish to begin, and those 
lately come as strangers, are also welcomed ; for thus they 
put themselves under good influences." 1 

Of these Branch Guilds there were reported, in the year 
1895, no less than 337, with a membership of 24,924, and 
a sum of 4,372 had been raised by these branches for 
church purposes during that year. It is clear that the 
ancient Church of Scotland has here discovered a most 
valuable agency. For the development and co-ordination 
of the activities of its women, the Guild furnishes an 
admirable plan. Its suggestion may well be adopted by 
many other Protestant churches. The scheme would need 
to be modified to suit the conditions of some of our 
American churches, but the method is clearly applicable 
everywhere. It is not essential that a national or denomi 
national organization for this purpose should be formed: 
each congregation could unite its own agencies after this 
manner without connecting itself with other congregations 
similarly organized. The union of the Branch Guilds in a 
national or denominational association would, no doubt, 
add something of enthusiasm to the movement; but on the 
other hand it would call for another annual convention; 
and in America the plague of the conventions is becoming 
nearly as formidable as the plague of the frogs was in 
ancient Egypt. If, indeed, the numerous denominational 
societies of women could be consolidated in one Woman s 
Guild for each denomination, so that one annual meeting 
might serve the purposes of all, that would be a con 
summation on which many devout wishes could well be 
expended. The Free Church of Scotland and the United 
Presbyterian Church have also large guilds. 

1 Handbook, p. 1-3. 



IT is barely half a century since the young people of < un- 
American Protestant churches first began to be organized 
for Christian work. Nineteen centuries ago the promise 
was recalled of a day when the Spirit should be poured 
from on high upon the whole Church, and when the young 
men should see visions 1 presumably visions of work to 
be done, for these are the visions which the Spirit most 
often vouchsafes. The apostle John, in his old age, wrote 
to young men because they were strong; 2 his purpose must 
have been to enlist their strength in the service of the 
Church. By those who reflected that the apostolic band 
were probably all young men, it might have been conjec 
tured that what has been termed u the young-man-power " 
could be used with great effect in the work of the Church. 
But this hint was tardily taken by most of the organi/ed 
ecclesiasticisms, and but little provision was made for tin- 
co-operation of the young men and women in Christian 

In Germany, after the Napoleonic wars, when the people 
in the bitterness of their poverty began to turn to God, 
and when that great deepening of spiritual experience took 
place out of which have grown so many of the best fruits 
of modern German civilization, there sprang up in many 
parishes ChristlirJic Jiinglingsrcreinc Christian Young 
Men s Associations. These were generally groups of 
young men, belonging to some parish, who came together 
for prayer, for Bible study, and for mutual help in the 
Christian life. Doubtless we may find in these associa 
tions some reverberations of Fichte s epoch-making book, 

1 Acts ii. 17. - 1 John ii. 14. 


The Way to the Blessed Life. These German Vereine were 
not, however, widely influential ; the enlistment of the 
young in Christian activity was barely begun in them. 
In 1844 the first Youiiff Men s Christian Association 


was organized in London by George Williams, lately 
knighted by the Queen in recognition of this great service 
to religion. The association from the beginning was 
undenominational; the young men met first for prayer 
and Bible study; soon the reading room, the library, and 
courses of popular lectures became a necessity, and the 
Young Men s Christian Association developed into a sanc 
tified club, offering an inexpensive and safe resort to the 
homeless, and providing social opportunities for the young 
men who were united in Christian work. The gymnasium, 
the amusement room, the bowling alley, the swimming 
bath, and many appliances for physical culture are now 
generally furnished to members. Educational classes in 
great variety are also offered at merely nominal cost; 
courses of lectures are provided for the winter evenings 
and employment bureaux assist the workless to find occu 
pation. The strictly religious work of the association has 
been less emphasized of late than the social and educational 
features; but special religious services for young men are 
held every week ; Bible classes are taught, and groups of 
young men go forth from the association rooms to perform 
evangelistic and charitable work in the community. 

The development of this arm of the church has been 
phenomenal; between five and six thousand associations 
now exist, distributed over the known world. 

The Young Women s Christian Associations have had 
a later and much less extensive development; they under 
take to perform for young women a service similar to that 
which the other associations perform for young men. 

Both these institutions, however, do their work outside 
the lines of the local congregation. They depend upon 
the churches for their support, and they are, to some 
extent, feeders of the churches; but they are not under 
parish control, and no organization connected with them 
takes any part in parish work. They furnish a splendid 


illustration of what can IK; accomplished by the conse 
crated energies of young men and women ; Init they do not 
help to solve the prohlem of the local ehureli, save as they 
perform some portion of the work whieli the church would 
otherwise be required to undertake. If, for example, a 
well-equipped building of the Young Men s Christian 
Association stands in proximity to smnc down-town 
church, it is manifest that this church may be released 
from undertaking the kind of work for the young men of 
the neighborhood which might, in the absence of the asso 
ciation, be expected of it. The reading room, the educa 
tional classes, the pleasant Sunday afternoon service, are 
all furnished by the association, and it would be poor 
economy and worse comity for the church to duplicate 
them. To some extent, therefore, these associations do 
relieve those churches which are their neighbors from their 
responsibilities. In another way, also, the life of the 
parish is affected by the existence of these institutions. 
The work of the Young Men s Christian Association must 
be done bv the young men who are members of the 
churches; and the pastor will regard this as one of the 
fields in which his force is employed, and will gladlv sur 
render such of his young men as may be needed to this 
important work. It is one of the cases in which the 
Church, for Christ s sake, loses its life that it may keep it 
unto life eternal. 

But there are other organizations of young people which 
are vitally connected with the local congregation and do 
the chief part of their work within it. and for its benefit. 
For the past thirty years in America organizations of the 
young people have existed in many churches, the purpose 
of which was the cultivation of the religious life of their 
members and the improvement of their minds, as well as 
the provision of wholesome social recreation for them. 
But a great impetus was given to the movement when, in 
iNSl, a young Congregational pastor of Portland, Maine, 
called his young men and women together and submitted 
to them the constitution of a Young People s Society of 
Christian Endeavor. This constitution, substantially as 


then submitted, has been adopted by more than twenty- 
five thousand societies in all parts of the world, represent 
ing at least thirty different denominations, and including 
more than two and a half million members. To this must 
be added the Epworth League of the Methodist Episcopal 
Churches, with eighteen thousand chapters and nearly a 
million members, and the Baptist Young People s Union, 
with a large membership. These last-named organizations 
are offshoots of the Society of Christian Endeavor. Such 
a growth, in sixteen years, is perhaps unparalleled in the 
annals of evangelical Christianity. 

The young people, after long obscurity, have thus sud 
denly blazed forth like the lightning from one end of the 
heaven to the other ; they are very much in evidence ; the 
air resounds with their marching cries, and the streets are 
gay with their badges and banners. Yet this is not a 
centralized organization. There is a "United Society of 
Christian Endeavor," consisting of one trustee from each of 
several religious denominations, but it is only a bureau 
of information. There is no central authority or board 
of control. The great Christian Endeavor conventions 
attempt no legislation ; they are simply religious meetings. 
Every local society is independent; its membership is 
drawn from its own congregation, and it is subject to the 
control of the authorities of that congregation. In the 
words of its founder : " The Society of Christian Endeavor 
is a purely religious organization, though there may be 
social features, literary features, and musical features con 
nected with it. In fact, the society is meant to do any 
thing that the Church wishes to have it do. The scope of 
its energies is almost limitless. It may relieve the desti 
tute, visit the sick, furnish flowers for the pulpit, replenish 
the missionary treasuries, build up the Sunday-school, 
awaken an interest in the temperance cause, preach a 
White Cross crusade. The inspiration for all these manj- 
fold forms of service comes from the weekly prayer-meet 
ing, which is always a vital matter in a Christian Endeavor 
Society. The prayer-meeting pledge, while no uniformity 
of language is insisted upon, binds the young disciple to 


daily private devotions, to loyal support of his own church, 
and to attendance and participation in the weekly prayer- 
meeting, unless prevented by a re-.ison which he can con 
scientiously give to his Master. This, perhaps, is the most 
vital and important thing in the society. It has rejuve 
nated and revived the young people s prayer-meeting 1 in 

* i. i/ O 

all parts of the world and has poured new life into the 
other services of the Church. The monthly consecration 
meeting, at which the roll is called and the members 
answer to their names, is also a very serious and important 
meeting, and shows who are faithful to their covenant 

As an illustration of the breadth of the field occupied by 
this society, the following paragraph may be cited: "One 
society kept the church alive for months while its pastor 
was sick; another has given two hundred dollars a year to 
foreign missions, and supports a girl in Syria; another has 
sent two foreign missionaries; another has two young men 
studying for the ministry; another has sent two mission 
aries to Africa: another is educating a Japanese girl; 
another has organized thirteen other Christian Endeavor 
Societies in eighteen months; another, in Bombay, supports 
twelve missionary enterprises in that citv; another, in 
Mexico, has fourteen members studying for the ministry; 
another sent one hundred and fourteen sacks of Hour to 
the Russians; another has built a new church and helped 
erect a school for colored girls; another has bought a 
horse fora home missionary; another sent members to sing 
and pray at the poorhouse every week ; another supports 
three native preachers in China. .Japan, and India; another 
is runninsr iive Sabbath-schools, and has starved a saloon- 


keeper to death; another reports thirty conversions in one 
year; another is lighting race-track gambling; another 
sends iifty periodicals a week to missionaries in the West; 
another has live young women employed as city mission 
aries; another has established two branch Sunday-schools; 
another runs a fresh-air home." l 

This may seem to indicate that the society travels far 

1 Triuin jtlta of tin CVoss, p. ;WJ. 


beyond the boundaries of the parish, but if it does so, it is 
only because the lield of the Church is the world, and the 
society is helping the Church to occupy its field. And it 
ought to be strongly affirmed that in the conception of 
those who have had most to do with the leadership of the 
movement, the entire subordination of the local society to 
the church with which it is connected has always been 
kept in view. The pastor and the church officers are 
ex oj/icio members of the society, and their counsel and 
approval must be sought in any work undertaken by the 
society. It is not improbable that these groups of young 
people sometimes become rash and headstrong, and that 
they occasionally manifest some lack of respect for the 
authorities of the church, and some disposition to carry on 
their work without much regard for the wishes of the 
older members; but when this spirit takes possession of 
them they are departing from the counsels of their leaders 
and from the spirit and the letter of their own constitution. 

The impulse which has been given to the religious 
activity of the young people of the churches by this organi 
zation is one of the notable events of recent histor} r . It 
is not too much to say that the rise of the Society of 
Christian Endeavor has made even skeptics see that it is 
hazardous to count Christianity among the spent forces of 
modern civilization. Certainly there is no lack of youth 
ful vigor and consecrated purpose in the Church of Christ 
to-day. There is power here with which a prodigious 
amount of work can be done if it is only wisely directed. 
It is a great thing to have made this truth clear to the 
apprehension of believers and unbelievers. In the days 
when men are talking about the decadence of faith, here 
is a demonstration of religious enthusiasm scarcely paral 
leled since the Crusades. 

All that is needed is that this enthusiasm be husbanded 
and rightly guided. These young people know their 
power ; they must be shown how to use it. The problem 
now is to find for them the right things to do, things 
which they can do ; and to let them see that they are pro 
ducing results. Hitherto they have lacked definite pur- 


poses. Some of the societies, as we have seen, have found 
work to do, and have rejoiced in the things accomplished; 
but with many of them success lias consisted in holding 
meetings, in getting a large number to take part in the 
meetings, in increasing the number of members and in 
holding enthusiastic conventions. And it must lie admitted 
that a strung tendency to the spectacular has been devel 
oped. There are many members of these societies to 
whom the holding of a great convention seems the greatest 
thing in the world. The fact that meetings and conven 
tions are only devices for the generation of j tower, and 
that they are woi-se than useless unless the power there 
gem-rated is employed in producing some useful changes 
in the lives of men and in the social order, is a fact not 
so fully impressed as it ought to l>e upon the minds of 
many of these zealous young disciples. It is evident that 
those who have the movement in charge have felt the 
force of these considerations, and that they have been 
casting about them for methods of utilizing the force they 
have evoked. This will be their most dilHcult problem. 

The suggestion has been heard that the moral power of 
the Endeavor movement be turned toward the work of 
municipal reform. Here is a great field, and the young 
people might cultivate it with excellent results, if their 
efforts could be well directed. But it is plain that they 
ought not to undertake any political campaigning; and 
that any efforts of theirs in the direction of law enforce 
ment would be injudicious. What they can do is to pre 
pare themselves by thorough study of municipal problems 
to act intelligently when the leadership shall fall into their 
hands. The older young men might join the Good Gov 
ernment Clubs and the Municipal Leagues, and the socie 
ties might form themselves into associations for the 
investigation of civic problems and civic conditions. To 
study, patiently and thoroughly, the methods of doing the 
public business; to make themselves thoroughly familiar 
with the details of the administration of the municipality 
in which they live; to cultivate the habit of careful judi 
cial examination into such affairs, so that they miirht be 


conscious of having a well-formed opinion upon public 
questions this would be a most useful exercise for these 
young men and women. The one thing needful in all our 
communities is sound and strong public opinion ; and the 
presence in the community of a large body of intelligent 
young men and women who had taken pains to obtain 
accurate information upon municipal questions would 
powerfully tend to create such a public opinion. Many 
persons might object to their meddling with municipal 
government; but nobody can object to their learning all 
they can about the existing methods of government, and 
telling what they know, provided they always talk 

There is also a vast work of political education to be 
done for the foreign-born populations of the American cities. 
It is a mistake to regard all these people as vicious and 
depraved; many of them are capable of unselfish action, 
but most of them are wofully ignorant of the first prin 
ciples of civil government, and all of them are in danger 
of being led astray by demagogues. To the tender 
mercies of the most unscrupulous politicians Americans 
are in the habit of consigning them ; if they vote unwisely 
who can blame them? The presence in all our popula 
tions of a vast mass of such ignorant voters imposes a 
heavy responsibility on all good citizens. In some way 
these people must be reached and instructed. The politi 
cal education of these multitudes is a duty only less 
pressing than their spiritual evangelization. And it can 
be done only by going among them, and establishing friendly 
relations with them and winning their confidence. It will 
require a vast amount of hand-to-hand work in the slums 
of the cities. The Good Government Clubs are organized 
to do this very work, and the Good Government Clubs 
ought to get from the young men of the Christian Endeavor 
societies large reinforcements of trustworthy and steadfast 

The enlistment of the Endeavor societies in mission 
work, at home and abroad, is a proposition which involves 
fewer difficulties. There is no reason why these young 


people, under the direction of their pastors and the officers 
of their churches, should not do efficient work in estab 
lishing and maintaining Sunday-schools, and sewing- 
schools, and kindergartens, and coffee-houses, and all 
manner of instrumentalities for the enlightenment and 
evangelization of the needy of their own community. If 
their hearts are on tire with the purpose to serve, they will 
find leaders and counsellors. And there is ample room 
for all their energy in the great mission enterprises by 
which the Church seeks to carry the gospel to the far-off 
lands. All that is needed to kindle the missionary enthu 
siasm of these young people to a white heat is to acquaint 
them with the facts. Let them see what the work is and 
what the encouragements are and they will give to the 
cause a full measure of devotion. 

To these wide lields outside the parishes to which they 
belong their thoughts may well be directed; but after all 
there is much work waiting for them within the precincts 
of these parishes of which the}- should not be suffered to 
lose sight. In the Sunday-schools, the Mid-week Services, 
the Boys Brigades, the Girls Guilds, the Flower Com 
mittees, the singing services, the missionary and charitable 
work of the church, there is a great deal of work to be 
done, and the young people of the Endeavor societies 
ought to be made to feel that it is for them a point of 
honor to see to it that no vacancy lie permitted to exist in 
any of these forms of service. The commission of the 
risen Lord required the disciples to preach his gospel 
among all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.^ This is 
where we must always begin at home. The church 
whose home work is thoroughly done can send out a more 
efficient band of laborers to the fields outside. 

The day will come perhaps it has already risen when 
the interest of these young people will be more surely 
maintained by getting them employed in some definite 
work, and making them see that they are succeeding in 
it, than by some of the methods now chiefly relied on. 
The pledge is not amiss; the thing which it promises is 

1 Luke xxiv. 4". 


not unreasonable, and no faithful young disciple needs to 
shrink from making the promise ; but the official surveil 
lance of the members, to see whether or not they are keep 
ing the pledge, and to call them to account if they do not 
keep it, is of doubtful wisdom. The kind of fidelity 
which is produced by this device will not prove to be the 
highest. The motive to which these methods appeal is far 
from being the noblest. The society would better depend 
for its success upon the enthusiasm for some good work 
which it can inspire in its members, than upon the disci 
pline which it can exercise over them. It is failing, to 
day, to secure the co-operation of a large number of the 
best and strongest young people in our churches, of 
those whose intelligence and conscientiousness it greatly 
needs, because it insists on these mild forms of cen 

Doubtless, if these methods prove to be unwise, they 
will, in time, be modified. And there is every reason to 
hope that this great movement of the young people will 
go forward with increasing power, and that all the 
churches of all the lands will be vitalized by its influence. 
The subject is one which the wise pastor needs to study 
carefully, that he may know how to keep alive this gener 
ous enthusiasm, and how to direct it so that it shall 
accomplish for the church and through the church the 
greatest amount of good. 

In the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United 
States the impulse to consecrated activity has taken form 
in the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. The society is now 
about thirteen years of age, and it reports about fourteen 
hundred chapters, representing as many local parishes. 
The purpose of the Brotherhood is set forth in its consti 
tution : 

" The sole object of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew is 
the spread of Christ s Kingdom among young men, and to 
this end every man desiring to become a member thereof 
must pledge himself to obey the rules of the Brotherhood 
so long as he shall be a member. These rules are two: 
The rule of Prayer and the rule of Service. The rule of 


Prayer is to pray daily for the spread of Christ s Kingdom 
among- young men and for God s blessing upon the labors 
of the Brotherhood. The rule of Service is to make an 
earnest effort each week to bring at least one young man 
within hearing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as set forth 
in the services of the church and in young men s Bible 
classes. Any organization of young men, in any parish, 
mission, or educational institution of the Protestant Epis 
copal Church, effected under this name, and with the 
approval of the rector or minister in charge, for this object, 
and whose members so pledge themselves, is entitled to 
become a Chapter of the Brotherhood, and, as such, to 
representation in its conventions unless such approval be 
withdrawn. No man shall l>c an active member of a 
Chapter who is not baptized, and no member shall be 
elected presiding oih cer or delegate to the convention who 
is not also a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal 

This Brotherhood has already taken a large place in 
the life of the Episcopal Church in America. Its conven 
tions bring together a large number of vigorous young 
men, and these meetings have been full of fervor and 
resolute purpose. We lind here the same; spirit that ani 
mates the legions of Christian Endeavor, and although 
the numbers are comparatively small, the intelligence and 
force of the assemblies are of a high order. It is remark 
able, indeed, to witness the large variety of characters in 
these conventions. A recent newspaper report gives a 
graphic picture of the constituency of one of them: 

"The convention included men engaged in almost every 
honest occupation. Some of them could have designed a 
house and drawn plans for it; others could have built it, 
painted it, or furnished it. There were men in every 
line of skilled labor needed to build a railroad track, 
bridges, rolling-stock, and all; and others who could have 
manned and managed the road, from brakeman to president. 
There were men who as lawyers could try cases, and others 
who as judges could decide them. There were men who 
could edit a paper or write a book; several reporters; 


others who could set the type, feed the press, make the 
paper stock, or turn patterns for the machinery. There 
were enough farmers to make quite a village ; teachers and 
students enough to start several schools and colleges; 
doctors enough for a hospital ; and as many clergymen as 
there are in the diocese of Virginia. Some of the men 
could design a piece of cloth, others could weave it, and 
others could make the garment. There were men who 
could survey a field and others who could plough it. 
There were men who could build ships and men who could 
sail them; men who could build engines and men who 
could run them ; men who could manage a business, keep 
the books, buy goods or sell them ; men who spend most 
of their time on the road as salesmen, and men who sit in 
offices and keep the travellers busy. There were coach 
men, telegraphers, artists, postmen, plumbers, mill-workers, 
barbers, blacksmiths, miners, scientists and merchants in 
almost every line of business. They all stood together as 
citizens of one Kingdom." 

One striking feature of these conventions is the " Quiet 
Day " with which they begin. The delegates assemble at 
their place of meeting the day before the business of the 
convention is opened, and spend the whole day together, 
for the greater part in silence, receiving together the 
Communion in the morning; reading the Bible and devo 
tional books ; joining in the Litany ; but devoting most of 
the time to meditation and silent prayer. "Just before 
the close," says one, "we were asked to repeat or read 
aloud any texts peculiarly dear to each one or especially 
applicable to the day. How quickly they came, those 
blessed words, so full of joy, encouragement and hope! 
The men s voices, as they read, now from one part of the 
church, now from another, indicated how deep were the 
impressions the quiet communion of the day had made. 
It closed, outwardly, with evening prayer at half-past 
four, but who can tell when it really closed?" 

If, as seems evident, the spirit of the St. Andrew s 
Brotherhood finds expression in services of this nature, we 
may readily credit the statement of a leading journal of 


the Church, that it is "by far the most important of all 
the voluntary agencies organized to serve the Church and 
to extend the Kingdom." It will be seen that this 
Brotherhood, like the Society of Christian Kndeavor, 
proposes to devote all its energies to the work of strength 
ening the local church. It puts its forces under the 
leadership of the rector of the church, and seeks to co 
operate with him. Its first and most constant aim is to 
bring young men under the influence of the Church. It 
is a recruiting agency, sending out its trained helpers to do 
the work of gospel ministration for the church to which 
they belong. It seeks to express the hospitality of the 
church to all who approach its threshold; it undertakes 
mission services, under the rector s guidance, but its main 
business is bringing people to church. To make the 
acquaintance of young men who are not church-goers, to 
gain their confidence, and then to give them a cordial invi 
tation to attend public worship this is the simple service 
in which these Brothers of St. Andrew are most frequently 
engaged. The first work of St. Andrew the Apostle (John 
i. 40-42) is that to which they give their best energies. 
How effective such service may be, when a huge body of 
manly young men heartily engage in it, many pastors of 
this church have had occasion to learn. 

The St. Andrew s Brotherhood is confined in its mem 
bership to the Protestant Episcopal Church; but its spirit 
is not sectarian, and one of the three prayers printed on 
the membership card is a prayer for the unity of the 

There is a similar society the Brotherhood of Andrew 
and Philip, which is interdenominational, and chapters 
of which are found in various Protestant churches in 

In some of these churches Young Men s Leagues have 
been formed with the special design of improving the 
Sunday evening services. Co-operating with the pastor, 
they arrange for the enlargement of the choir, the prepa 
ration of good music, and the printing and distribution 
of the order of service, with hymns and responsive read- 


ings ; and they constitute themselves a committee of invi 
tation to bring into the house of worship those who would 
not otherwise attend. In these and many other ways the 
newly awakened zeal of the Christian young men of 
America finds expression in the life of the churches. 

On the other side of the ocean one of the significant 
movements for the development of the religious life of the 
young appears in the Guilds which have been formed in 
several of the Protestant churches. Of these the Church 
of Scotland presents one of the most perfect examples, and 
a somewhat careful account of this organization will be 
instructive. It is a national organization, conterminous 
with the Church of Scotland, and under the charge of the 
General Assembly s Committee on Christian Life and 
Work. In the language of its official manifesto, "the 
Guild aims at having in every parish a union of young 
men, either in the form of a society or a Bible class, which 
will be a centre toward which young men may be attracted, 
and which will exert a healthy Christian influence upon 
all who connect themselves with it. It desires to have all 
these different societies united into one large Union or 
Guild, through the existence of which individual societies 
may be strengthened, new societies formed, combined 
efforts made for the welfare of young men, and a system 
of communication provided whereby members leaving one 
district for another may be introduced into another asso 
ciation similar to that which they have left." 

Great liberty is therefore left to the local organization. 
Any congregation may associate its young men by anv 
method which it prefers ; any local organization which has 
for its object " to serve the Lord Jesus Christ by promot 
ing the spiritual and intellectual life of young men, and 
by encouraging them to undertake works of Christian 
usefulness," may be represented in the National Guild. 
The Parent Society furnishes to each Branch which wishes 
to be affiliated, a schedule for the return of particulars 
respecting its name and form and the kind of work it is 
doing. The local Branches are supposed, also, to be 
divided into several sections, each of which is engaged in 


some kind of work, and the return provides for the speci 
fication of the number enlisted in the work of each section, 
naming, in the example now in view, the Fellowship 
Section, the Literary Section, the Bible Class Section, the 
Sabbath School Association Section, the Psalmody Section, 
the White Cross Section, the Athletic Section, the Tem 
perance Section. This return is to be signed by the 
Secretary of the Branch and countersigned by the parish 
minister, who thus becomes responsible for the accuracy of 
the return. The tabulated returns show a wide variety of 
Christian work among the young men of the Scottish 

There is an annual meeting of the National Guild, in 
which each Branch Guild maybe represented; and local 
Councils have also been organized, in which neighboring 
Guilds come together for mutual assistance and encourage 
ment. The Central Committee of Management and Refer 
ence is constituted in part by the Assembly s Committee 
on Christian Life and Work, in part by the representatives 
of the local Councils, and in part by election at the annual 
meeting. The Guild has now been in existence for sixteen 
years, and it reports 670 Branches, representing every 
Presbytery, with a total membership of about 25,000. So 
far as it is possible to judge from the representations on 
paper, this is an admirable scheme for developing the 
interest of the young men of the congregations and unit 
ing them in active Christian work. It will be seen that 
this Society, like the Christian Endeavor Society and the 
St. Andrew s Brotherhood, concentrates its interest upon 
the local congregation. The Young Men s Guild of the 
Church of Scotland is supporting one Foreign Mission in 
India; with this exception its energies are devoted to 
strengthening the work of the home churches. The mem- 
1)0 rs meet and consult in the national union and in the 
provincial councils chiefly as to the methods which they 
may employ in making broader and more fruitful the work 
of the individual churches to which they belong. The 
Branch Guild thus becomes in every parish an organized 
pastor s assistant; it ought to be possible for him to use it 


with great effect in prosecuting the entire work of which 
he has the oversight. 

A system of Daily Bible Readings is also prepared and 
furnished to all members, by which they are encouraged 
and aided in the regular private reading of the Bible and 
in intercessory prayer for one another, and an almanac, 
combining with these Bible Readings a goodly number of 
well-chosen devotional excerpts for each month, in prose 
and verse, is furnished for threepence. 

One of the most interesting features connected with this 
work is a series of prize examinations and essay competi 
tions, in which the Young Men s Guild and the Women s 
Guild unite. These examinations are conducted in two 
departments, one of Biblical Study and one of Literature ; 
and text books are provided for the preliminary studies. 
In each of the departments the examinations are arranged 
under three grades ; the highest candidate in the highest 
grade receives a gold medal with a money prize of <5; in 
the second grade a silver medal with a money prize of the 
same value ; in the first grade a bronze medal with a money 
prize of <3. Those who stand second and third in the 
three grades receive prizes of a little less value. 

In each of these grades the subject for Biblical study 
prescribed for 1895 included nine chapters in the Acts of 
the Apostles, beginning with the eighth; and portions of 
one of three books, The Old Testament and its Contents, 
Landmarks of Church History, and a handbook on Our 
Lord s Teaching. The questions set for the examination 
of that year in all the grades of each department are printed 
in the Report of the Committee on Christian Life and 
Work, with the comments of the examiners. In the 
examinations last reported, which were held at 87 different 
centres, 563 candidates competed, of whom 238 were 
young men and 325 young women; of these 512 took the 
Biblical examination and 51 the Literary examination. 
Prizes were awarded to 98 contestants and certificates to 
314. The names of all who obtained testimonials of any 
sort are printed in the report. The efficiency of this 
method of stimulating the study of the Bible and of good 
literature must be evident. 


111 the Free Church of Scotland, the Committee on the 
Welfare of the Youth has been carrying on for a still 
longer period this system of instruction, and examinations 
are held in several hundreds of centres, while the number 
of registered candidates for examination runs up into the 
thousands. The subjects of examination, as named in a 
late report, have been the Lives of St. Paul, David, 
Moses, and Solomon; the Hooks of Zechariah, Kings, St. 
Mark, St. Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles; the Taber 
nacle; the Story of the New Testament; the Confession 
of Faith; the Larger, Shorter, Constitutional and Free 
Church Catechisms; Scottish Church History; the Sacra 
ments; Horm Fni liint ; Whately s Erii^ncc.^ and the 
I ili/t itti ti Progress. " Xothing." said the Committee, "had 
been more encouraging than the assurances received from 
many parents that they never saw so much enthusiasm in 
their homes as this scheme had awakened over Bible and 
ecclesiastical studies." It is doubtful whether any meas 
ures for the Christian education of the youth have ever 
been undertaken by any American church, which are 
worthy to be compared with those which have been suc 
cessfully prosecuted by the two great Presbyterian churches 
of Scotland. 

Not only in the Free Church of Scotland, hut also in 
others of the Reformed churches of Great Britain, the 
Guilds have come to be an important factor of the life of 
the Church. Thus the movement among the voung people 
of America, which has so largely taken an undenomina 
tional form, has gone forward on the other side of the sea 
mainly under denominational guidance. The Society of 
Christian Endeavor has, however, a considerable member 
ship in England. 

The Methodist Epworth League and the Young People s 
Baptist Union of America more closely resemble the Scot 
tish Guilds. The organization of the latter is more com 
pact and the guidance is more positive and authoritative; 
but the strong influence in behalf of Christian unitv which 
the Endeavor Society exerts, is necessarilv wauling. The 
Scottish Guilds are not, however, hostile to interdeiiomi- 


national fellowship, and the ninth article of the Constitu 
tion of the Church of Scotland Guild provides that " while 
the Union proposes primarily to foster the life of the 
young men of the Church of Scotland, it shall, in all cases, 
be open to those belonging to other churches ; and when 
ever, from special circumstances, an undenominational 
association is found to be more desirable, it may be put in 
correspondence with the Church of Scotland Union." 

Reference was made in the early part of the chapter to 
certain beginnings of organized Christian work among 
young men in Germany. Of recent years, this work has 
been greatly developed. At the present time about a 
thousand " Unions " of Christian young men exist in 
Germany. They are not called "Christian Associations," 
nor do they follow altogether the lines of work taken up 
by the organizations which bear this name, but they are 
probably well adapted to the conditions of the young men 
of Germany. The organization of such a Union is gen 
erally undertaken by the pastor of the church, and he is 
apt to be its leader and presiding officer. Sometimes two 
or three evenings of each week are given to the work, and 
a membership fee of from six to twelve cents a month is 
required. The under limit of age is generally eighteen. 
Intellectual, social, and religious culture are the objects 
which these young men set before themselves. Bible 
study with the pastor as teacher is common ; meetings for 
the discussion of religious questions are often held. The 
provision of suitable rooms in which homeless young men 
may spend their Sundays and their leisure is one of their 
enterprises. Organized work among soldiers, and pris 
oners, and certain classes of working men is undertaken by 
most of these Unions. 

An organization of young men as deacons or brothers, 
corresponding, to some extent, with the Kaisers werth 
work among women, has also been formed in Germany. 
" Brother Houses " have been established in many towns 
and cities, the inmates of which are enlisted in charitable 
and Christian work. The candidate for admission to one 
of these homes must be between twenty and thirty years 


of age, in sound health, unmarried, and not intending 
marriage. A thorough course of training is prescribed, 
which usually occupies three years. Agriculture, horti 
culture, the management of cattle and various kinds of 
handicraft are taught. Vocal music is made a leading 
feature of the instruction. No vow is assumed; continu 
ance in the work is entirely voluntary. The work of these 
"Brothers" is done among the poor children who are 
gathered into schools and houses of refuge; in Orphan 
Houses, and hospitals for the sick and the unfortunate; in 
houses of correction, in prisons, and especially in those 
Arbeitercolonien, or temporary homes which the German 
government provides for the unemployed. Nearly thirty 
institutions of this character are now enumerated, the 
heads of which, in nearly all cases, are pastors. A Con 
ference of these Brother Houses and Seminaries meets 
statedly for discussion and comparison of experiences. 1 

1 Christian Life, in Germany, by E. F. Williams, pp. 252-259. 



THE Sunday-school is the instrumentality employed by 
the modern Protestant church for the training of its chil 
dren. Though originally intended for the ragged urchins 
of the streets, it has been gradually transformed into an 
agency which the church employs for the instruction of 
the young who belong to its own communion. Mission 
schools still perpetuate the type of Robert Raikes, but 
when we speak of Sunday-schools in America we usually 
think of the children of our own families, gathered on 
Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon in the sanctuaries 
where their fathers and mothers worship, to be taught the 
rudiments of religious truth and to be guided into the way 
of life. When the Sunday-school is what it ought to be, 
it may seem that no other agency for this purpose should 
be needed by the church. The multiplication of organiza 
tions which practically cover the same ground ought to be 
avoided. In view of the multiform activities of the modern 
church, the need of organization is evident enough, but 
there may easily be too much of a good thing; and of 
nothing is this more probably true than of the tendency to 
organization. Many societies are organized to death, 
There are so many wheels within wheels, and there is such 
a complicated machinery that power enough to keep it all 
moving is not easily generated. 

It is at least an open question whether some of the 
organizations which have taken up the work belonging 
to the Sunday-school are not superfluous. The Young 
People s Societies, now so powerful a factor in the life of 
the Church, have sought to extend their methods to the 
children: and we have Junior Endeavor Societies and 


Junior Epworth Leagues, and Boys Branches in the Young 
Men s Christian Associations, and Boys Departments in 
the Great Brotherhoods, and various such associations of 
children within the Church. Doubtless much faithful work 
is done in these departments and no little good accom 
plished ; but might it not be better, on the whole, if this 
work were concentrated upon the Sunday-school, in 
increasing its efficiency, and in developing the different 
lines of its work? Can we conceive of a better or more 
lasting influence upon boys and girls than that which is 
exerted by the faithful Sunday-school teacher? Is there 
any better kind of association than that which naturally 
grows out of a well-shepherded Sunday-school class? The 
boys and girls under fifteen years of age are not old 
enough to be employed in any evangelistic work; and the 
wisdom of calling on them for public utterance is greatly 
to be questioned. Instruction they need, and free conver 
sation with judicious friends on the themes of religion 
should not be denied them ; but services of public speech 
in which they are expected to have the chief part are of 
doubtful usefulness. Besides, these boys and girls ought 
to spend most of their time at home ; and the number of 
outside engagements for them should be sparingly in 
creased. They are busy with their school duties, and 
their out-door sports ought not to be curtailed; too many 
social obligations are not good for them. With the deep 
est gratitude to those who seek the welfare of our boys 
and girls through these junior societies, we may fairly 
question whether there is not danger in carrying work of 
this kind too far. 

Another consideration lends weight to those already 
suggested. There ought to be a closer bond in most of 
our churches between the pastor and the children, and 
therefore the pastor ought to have frequent and regular 
opportunities of meeting them for purposes of instruction. 
The Junior Societies cannot do the pastor s work. They 
ought not, therefore, to take the time which the pastor 
could mi in- profitably use. If the children s time is apt to 
be crowded, it is better that the hours which they may 


profitably give to church instruction, outside the Sunday- 
school, should be occupied by the pastor. That many 
pastors do not seek this opportunity, and have never valued 
it, is true ; nevertheless, the obligation rests on all pastors, 
and careful reflection upon what is involved in it would 
be salutary for most of them. 

In some of the Protestant churches the " Children s 
Hour" has become an institution. In this exercise the 
pastor meets the children regularly sometimes once a 
week, immediately after the dismissal of the Friday after 
noon session of the public school, and leads them in acts 
of public worship, giving them some incidental instruction. 
The nature of this service has, however, generally been 
emotional and hortatory rather than didactic ; the children 
have been entertained by lively songs and interesting 
stories more than they have been instructed. Such a 
meeting, which keeps the pastor in touch witli the children, 
may be very useful ; but it does not quite answer the 
demand that the pastor shall be, in a special sense, the 
teacher of the children committed to his care. The Great 
Teacher, in his last commission to the chief of the apostles, 
laid it upon him, as the test of his affection and loyalty, 
that he should feed the lambs of the flock. 1 The lambs 
were mentioned before the sheep. The true shepherd s 
first care must be for the lambs. He must not only help 
to fold them, he must feed them. Is not this duty sadly 
neglected by most Protestant pastors in this day of grace ? 
Some of us, whose best days are past, must look back with 
keen regret upon the years behind us, because we have so 
imperfectly kept this part of our charge. It is true that 
the single pastor of a large Protestant church finds him 
self heavily burdened. To prepare two weekly sermons, 
and arrange for the mid-week service ; to supervise all the 
organizations which his parish comprises ; to visit the sick 
and the strangers ; to respond to the numerous calls for 
charitable and public service, is more than any man can 
do ; but would it not have been better for some of us if 
we had sacrificed so me of these other interests or de- 

1 John xxi. 15. 


voted to them a smaller portion of our time and care in 
order that we might have found more hours for the 
children of our churches? 

The canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
United States require that the rector shall meet the children 
of his parish at least once a month for catechetical instruc 
tion ; but the pastors of most of our Protestant churches 
are under no such rule, and it is probable that the large pro 
portion of them have no regular methods of meeting and 
teaching the children. But it must be acknowledged that 
the difficulties in the way of performing this duty arc many 
and serious. Not to speak of the preoccupation of the 
pastor with other interests and labors, the disinclination 
of the children to attend such services, and the unwilling 
ness of the parents to co-operate with the pastor in securing 
their attendance must also be taken into the account. 
Many a faithful pastor who has desired to gather the chil 
dren of his church about him for instruction, and who has 
besought the parents to aid him in this endeavor, has been 
disheartened to find that but a handful out of the whole 
number responded to his call. It must be admitted that 
comparatively few parents have any adequate sense of the 
importance to their children of such instruction, and so 
long as this is the case, the opportunity of the pastor will be 
greatly limited. In this fact there is, however, all the more 
reason why he should throw himself into the enterprise with 
all the strength he possesses, that the indifference of the 
parents may be overcome, and the sentiment of the home 
made more favorable to the undertaking. 

The work of catechizing the children is no novelty in 
the Christian Church. From the earliest years the candi 
dates for baptism were prepared by careful instruction, and 
the office of the catechist was recognized as one of great 

"We accordingly see particular Catechists make their 
appearance so early as the second half of the second cen 
tury, while the Missa catechumenorum becomes constantly 
more and more sharply separated from the Missa fidelium. 
From the Const it utiones Apostolicae, composed in great 


part during the second half of the third century, we become 
acquainted with the main substance of that instruction, as 
well as the earliest precepts concerning its duration and 
conduct. While the duration of the catechumenate varied 
in different lands, we see, from the time of the third cen 
tury, the catechumens themselves divided into three dif 
ferent classes. The first, that of the hearers (Audientes), 
who in the public service might only attend the reading of 
the Scripture and the preaching of the word. The second, 
that of the kneeling ones (Genu flectentes), who might in 
this posture attend at the prayers which were offered on 
their behalf. Finally, that of the candidates for baptism 
(Competentes), who were already waiting to receive that 
baptism for which they were now adjudged fit. In the 
instruction of these classes a regular ascent was observed, 
by virtue of which much remained concealed from the 
beginners, which was communicated to those farther ad 
vanced. Only when the disciplina arcani was unveiled 
for them, was also that which is necessary communicated 
to them with regard to the Creeds, the Lord s Prayer, the 
Church Prayers of believers, and the Sacraments : not in 
writing, but in order that they might preserve them upon 
the tables of their hearts." x 

It is true that many of these catechumens were adult 
persons, converts to Christianity, who needed to be in 
structed before they were received into the church ; but 
the same instruction was required by baptized children and 
young persons when they were prepared for church mem 

"A glance into an ancient catcchumenium, or sacred 
schoolroom, will show the nature and aptness and power of 
the system proposed. Baptized children, and candidates 
for baptism, young or old, if old enough to be instructed, 
compose the audience. The instructor corresponds to our 
Sabbath-school superintendent, or Bible-class teacher. 
Sometimes, however, he is what the ancient Church styled 
a deacon, presbyter, or even bishop. Possibly the class is 
special, being made up of rustic women and girls of low 
1 Van Oosterzee, Practical Theology, p. 454. 


intelligence, when the teacher is a deaconess. The topics 
are the simplest in a course of sacred instruction, varying 
and progressive with the attainments of the class. Cle 
mens lioinanus, possibly contemporary with the apostles, 
in an apocryphal, though very early epistle, is represented 
as comparing the Church to a ship. In it he says, the 
bishop is the pilot, the presbyters are the mariners, the 
deacons are the chief oarsmen, and the eatechists are those 
who give information about the voyage, take fare, and 
admit passengers. So they prepare the catechumens to 
make the voyage of life successfully. Such acatechist was 
the great Origen at Alexandria, when only eighteen years 
of age. v l 

The practice of catechetical instruction, not only for 
adult converts but also for children, declined after the 
early centuries. The sacramental theories overbore the 
catechesis. The minister was a priest and the communica 
tion of the sacramental "-race larm-lv displaced the necessity 

O O i/ A / 

for the more laborious work of teaching and training. 
Through all the pre-Reformation period, although there 
were many strenuous calls for the restoration of this ser 
vice, but little was done. Iut the dawn of the Reforma 
tion witnessed a great revival of the work of the catechist. 
All the great Reformers recognized its importance ; the 
two catechisms of Luther, the Genevan catechism, the 
Heidelberg catechism, the catechism of Zurich, and the 
Anglican catechism, are landmarks of the Reformation. 


The Longer and Shorter catechisms of the Westminster 


Assembly, came later. In this activity of teaching pro 
duced by the Reformation the Roman Catholic church also 
shared; Erasmus made a great preparation for it in his 
Exposition of the Decalogue and the Lord s Prayer; and 
the catechisms of Canisius and Bellarmine, and later, those 
of Malines and of Trent, furnished material which that 
Church has used with all diligence in the subsequent cen 
turies. At the present time the fidelity and thoroughness 
with which Roman Catholic children are taught by their 
pastors the doctrines of their Church utterly put to shame 

1 Tht Church and Her Children, by William Harrows, j. 324. 


the negligence of the descendants of the Reformers. It 
can no. longer be said that sacramentalism paralyzes the 
teaching power of that Church. Roman Catholic children, 
as a rule, are far better instructed with respect to the doc 
trines of their church than most Protestant children are ; 
they know what they believe, and they know why they 
believe it ; they can give a reason for the faith that is in them. 
It is time that the Reformed Churches, whose system rests 
on instruction, had taken up the weapons which have been 
thrown away, and had returned to that work of training 
the young, without which all their splendid machinery of 
parochial and missionary organization will produce little 
else but noise. 

There are special reasons also, growing out of the intel 
lectual conditions of this time, why pastors should take 
this charge upon them. It is a time of transition in theo 
logical opinion ; the great philosophical conceptions which 
underlie the theory of evolution enter into all our theologi 
cal thinking and modify many of the statements of doctrine 
with which we have become familiar. Perhaps one reason 
why the careful instruction of the young has been omitted 
is that the ancient catechisms no longer represent the best 
thought of the church, and the pastor is not able to see how 
he can adjust his teaching to these formularies. Doubtless 
his task will be made much heavier by this circumstance. 
But there never was a time when the children of our 
churches so much needed the instruction of their pastors. 
Comparatively few of the laity are competent to guide the 
children through the rapids and the shallows of modern 
thought. It may even be necessary for the pastor to con 
fess, on many points, his own ignorance. But there is 
certainly still remaining a body of elementary truths which 
can be clearly and cogently taught ; and it is the pastor s 
task to select those which are vital and fundamental, and 
to fasten them in the minds of the children of his charge. 

The fundamental presupposition of the catechetical 
teaching is well stated in the words of Van Oosterzee : 
" In every human being there is present in principle a 
natural gift for the formation of a Christian-religious 


character. This gift, however, needs calling forth, devel 
oping, and guidance, if he is to be trained to become, in 
harmony with that for which he was designed, a subject of 
the kingdom of God." l How far the work of instructing 
the young may have been obstructed by the prevalence of 
a theology which denied this presupposition it would be 
interesting to inquire. kk Till about a hundred years ago, 
says Bishop Huntington, "theology and the pulpit in the 
Eastern States insisted aloud that mankind are accursed 
absolutely, universally, totally, by reason of the lirst trans 
gression. That was believed. I heard it preached through 
all my childhood with learning, logic, and as much picto 
rial luridness as the preacher s imagination could supply." 
To one with such a belief about human nature, what mo 
tive could there be to undertake the work of Christian 
instruction? A theory of this kind is as fatal to all effort 
toward the training of the character of children as is the 
baldest sacramentalism. It is not to be disputed that 
those holding such theories have done good work in train 
ing children, but this was because their piety set at nought 
their logic. 

" A natural gift for the formation of a Christian charac 
ter," but a gift to be called forth, developed, guided; this 
is what we see in every child that comes to us for instruc 
tion. There is already something of Christ in the nature 
of the child. If all tilings were created through Him, and 
in Him find their rationale, then He must surely be re 
vealed in the heart of a little child. The Christ who is 
immanent in the whole of creation is not absent from the 
lives of little children. The Christ there enshrined may 
be obscured by many inherited tendencies to evil ; it is 
for us to discover the divine lineaments and by God s 
grace cause that to become clear which now is dim. 

What, however, must be least of all overlooked is this, 
that, contemplated in the light of the Gospel, this religious 
constitution is, after all, a Christian constitution ; one, in 
other words, endowed with a natural affinity for the things 
of the kingdom of heaven. And so it must be ; for the 

1 Practical Theology, p. 407. 


image of God, after which man was created, is primarily 
110 other than he, who is himself the radiance of God s 
glory, the final aim in the whole natural and moral crea 
tion, the great centre, in a word, of the whole divine plan 
of the world. This is the profound significance of the 
doctrine of the Logos Spermaticos, either hinted at or more 
distinctly uttered by Justin Martyr and the Alexandrine 
School ; this the truth of the anima naturaliter Christiana^ 
pleaded by Tertullian with so much warmth. The being 
man is in its profoundest depths only the basis for becom 
ing Christian : he who becomes not this, becomes not man 
in the noblest sense of the word, and can much less remain 
so ; for the higher capacity dies out, and he sinks back to the 
level of stone, or plant, or animal, which has been trained, 
but in no degree humanized, because only the homo Chris- 
tianus may be called the true homo. It is folly to seek 
the man beyond the Christian, or in principle to place the 
man above the Christian ; because this very Christianity, 
of definitely divine origin, is at the same time the acme 
of manhood. 

" Nothing can thus be of greater importance or of more 
glorious nature than to lead a soul to Christ, that is, to 
the final aim of its life. Such special guidance is, how 
ever, actually necessary for every one ; for it is otherwise 
in the kingdom of nature from what it is in the kingdom 
of grace. The sunflower of itself finds the sun, but the 
conducting of the soul to Christ is something more than an 
unconscious and unchosen process of nature. The im 
planted power is nowhere brought to maturity without 
exercise and training ; least of all in the highest domain 
of life. No isolated human being can, without the in 
fluence of others, attain the main end of life even in things 
temporal ; and if man is it may here safely be further 
presupposed constituted not merely for occupying a 
place in the household, in the state, in society, but also in 
the kingdom of heaven, never will he be numbered among 
the citizens of the kingdom of God, so long as he has not 
found a pedagogue to Christ." a 

1 Van Oosterzcc, Practical Theology, p. 468. 


Such is the ratioimk of the great work to which the pastor 
is called when he gathers the children of his church about 
him and seeks to lead them into the true and living way. 
The place to which he invites them should he a cheerful 
place, and all the surroundings should he as attractive as 
they can be made. The pastor should have two or three 
judicious helpers, to take the names of those present, to 
distribute singing books and leaflets, to see that the class 
is compactly seated, and that none st niggle away into the 
corners of the room, and to assist in the singing. 

Let him endeavor, in bis manner, to preserve the. happy 
medium between a cold formality and an effusive famil 
iarity. The children should not be fro/.en, but on the other 
hand thev ought never to lose sight of the truth that they 
are in a sacred place on serious business. 

As to the basis of the instruction it is not easy to give 
advice. The question is settled for Anglicans whose cate 
chism is prescribed bv canonical law. and for Presbyteri 
ans, to whom the Westminster Shorter Catechism is the 
standard, and for Lutherans, and for the Reformed Church, 
and perhaps for the .Methodist Episcopal church as well. 
Whether these church catechisms are adequate for the 
present purpose of the pastor who wishes to impart to his 
children the elementary truths of the Gospel of Christ each 
must determine for himself. It is at least doubtful 
whether some of them can ever be used with success in 
the instruction of young children. Other simple manuals 
of catechetical instruction may be found ; but it may be 
well for the pastor, if the discipline of bis church will per 
mit him to do so, to select his own line of teaching and 
prepare with care his own outlines. Statements of truth 
which he has made his own by study and prayer, be will 
be able to communicate more readily than those which be 
has learned by rote. 

A simple beginning can he made with the Lord s Prayer, 
the Apostles Creed, the Beatitudes, and the First Chapter 
of the Gospel of John. Hut some definite and compre 
hensive condensation of Biblical History will need to fol 
low; and the preparation of this will call forth the best 


judgment of the pastor. An example of such a course may 
be found in Bishop Dupanloup s lectures on The Ministry 
of CatechisiiKj. l Some modification would need to be 
made in two or three of his topics, to adapt the course to 
the uses of a Protestant teacher; but for the most part it 
will be found to answer his purpose remarkably well. 

If the pastor is to continue this work, year after year, 
it is evident that his teaching must provide for the 
advancement of his pupils; and it will be necessary to 
separate them into classes. Perhaps the course should not 
continue more than two or three years ; when pupils have 
passed through it they should be released from attendance, 
and some appropriate public service in the church itself 
should signalize their accomplishment of this part of their 
Christian education. 

How often these classes should meet is a question that 
each pastor should settle for himself. It would be better 
that the lessons should be given only during a portion of 
the year, perhaps through the autumn and the winter. 
If the lessons could be as frequent as once a week, the 
interest would be more easily maintained ; but three classes 
a week would tax the pastor s strength, and it might be 
difficult to secure the attendance of the pupils. With 
respect to all these details the pastor must judge for him 
self; only let him not be afraid to make large demands 
both upon himself and upon his pupils. If he shall con 
stantly assume that it is a great and important business, 
for which lesser interests must give way, many difficulties 
will disappear. 

Any pastor who contemplates this task would do well to 
make himself familiar with the volume of Bishop Dupanloup 
on The Ministry of Catechising, to which reference has 
already been made. Allowance will need to be made for 
theological divergencies. Many of the things emphasized 
in this instruction will seem trivial to a Protestant pastor, 
but the spirit of the book is of the highest. The impor 
tance of the work will be borne in upon the mind of the 
candid reader and most of the practical suggestions as to 

1 Page 284, seq. 


the conduct of it will commend themselves to his judg 
ment. This good and great prelate, who in his earlier life 
was the Catechist of the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, 
declared that no work of his life had l>een so delightful or 
so fruitful as this work with the children. His office as 
the children s pastor was more significant and more influ 
ential than his office as the Bishop of Orleans. "Si vous 
me permettrez ici, messieurs, un souvenir personnel, je vous 
dirai, en toute simplicity, c est aux cateehismes (pie je dnis 
tout. Pour moi, ah! (pie les enfants qui out e"t<5 mon 
premier amour et le premier devouement de ma vie en 
soient aussi le dernier." 1 Bishop Dupanloup delights to 
recall his great predecessors in the work of teaching the 
young; he reminds us that some of the most famous men 
of the Church have devoted themselves to this service; he 
tells us how Gerson, the great Chancellor of the Univer 
sity of Paris, gave the ripest years of his life to the cate 
chisms for children in the Church of St. Paul at Lyons, 
"and such was his respect for them, and his confidence in 
the innocence of their age and the power of their prayers, 
that, feeling his last hour to he near, lie desired to have 
them all around him, on his death-bed, and asked them to 
commend to God His poor servant, Jean ( lei-son; " how 
the great Archbishop Bellarrnine of Capua "went into the 
different parishes and himself held the catechism for the 
children in the presence of the Cures;" how Ignatius 
Loyola began the labor of his life as the General of his 
order by conducting the catechism in Rome; how Francis 
Xavier, and Francois de Sales, and Vincent de Paul and 
many others of the most renowned and beloved of Roman 
Catholic teachers and prelates had l>een distinguished for 
their success as teachers of children. 

Bishop Dupanloup lays great stress at the beginning on 
the truth that the work of the catechist is not instruction 
merely, that it is education ; not simply the impartation of 
well-ordered knowledge, but above all the training of 
character. Instruction must indeed l>e careful and precise 
and thorough. And this, he insists, will require much 

1 See The Ministry of Catechising, Book I., Discourse X. 


labor on the part of the catechist. His chapter on this 
subject is exceedingly suggestive : 

" It is impossible to give a good Catechetical Instruction 
without having prepared it with the greatest care. For 
my own part, gentlemen, it would be infinitely easier for 
me to preach a sermon or a prone without preparation. A 
good Catechetical Instruction demands of the most skil 
ful, four, five, or six hours of preparation. I have some 
times had two or three days of continuous work, sometimes 
a whole week, in preparation for certain very difficult or 
very special Instructions. 

"I shall perhaps astonish you, gentlemen, when I tell 
you that I wrote out all the Catechetical Instructions, not 
only those which I gave myself, but also those of my col 
leagues ; I have them still, written by my own hand, each 
of fifteen or twenty pages, and that for four years : all the 
Instructions on dogma, on morals, then those on the 
Sacraments, and on Sacrifice. 

" I wrote out also all my Homilies, all the little sermons 
which I used at the Catechism. I ought to add that I did 
not say them, nor know them, by heart, except sometimes 
the Homilies and sermons on the festivals. I do not pre 
tend, gentlemen, to set myself as a model. I only tell you 
simply what I did. But what I do maintain is, that if an 
Instruction is not properly prepared, it runs a great risk 
of being vague, wordy, and wearisome." 1 

The Bishop means that he did not use his manuscript in 
the class, nor did he commit it to memory, but that he 
wrote out the lesson, so that every point might be perfectly 
clear in his own mind, and then made himself so familiar 
with it that he could speak promptly and clearly on every 
point. Other admonitions of his are pertinent : 

" I may add that brevity is above all necessary in the 
Instructions given to children, for, as Fe ne lon says, their 
mind is like a vase with a very small opening, which can 
only be filled drop by drop. If the Instruction is to be of 
use to them, they must be told a very few things at a time. 
Believe me, said S. Francois de Sales to the Bishop of 

1 The Ministry of Catechising, pp. 144, 145. 


Belley, I tell you this from experience, from long expe 
rience: the more you say, the less they will retain; the 
less you say, the more they will profit; by dint of burden 
ing your hearers memory, you break it down, just as 
lamps are extinguished if we put too much oil in them, 
or as plants are suffocated if we water them too much. 
Indifferent preachers are acceptable, provided they are 
short, and excellent ones are a burden if they are too 
long. We may say the same of Catechists : and for this 
reason the Council of Trent, in the decree which binds all 
pastors to instruct the people, recommends brevity and 
also simplicity of language: Cam brccitate ct facilitate 

"In the first place the Instruction ought to be well 
divided. This is the important point, gentlemen, if you 
would be short, be clear, be interesting, and be sound. 
You should begin by recapitulating clearly and briefly the 
subject and the divisions of the last Instruction. Then 
give out, with the same clearness, and very slowly, the 
subject of the new Instruction; then point out very dis 
tinctly the divisions into two, three, or four heads, gen 
erally in the form of questions; for instance, you are 
giving an Instruction on grace, you can give the children 
these five questions : 

"(1) Can any one be converted and obtain his salvation 
without grace? 

"(2) Has every one sufficient grace to convert him and 
to enable him to obtain salvation? 

u (8) With grace, is it easy to be converted and to 
obtain salvation? 

"(4) Can any one resist grace? 

"(5) Is it a very grievous thing to resist grace? 

"Questions presented in this way are very much easier 
caught by the children, going straight to their understand 
ing, than if put in an abstract form: such as, In the first 
place, we will speak of the necessity of grace, A;e. ; in tin- 
second, of the sufficiency of grace, &c. But in whatever 
form you put it, the division must be simple and clear, 
and given out so slowly that the children may be able to 


write it out correctly, as from dictation. Otherwise you 
put these young intellects to the torture; they wish to 
follow you and they cannot; soon they no longer know 
where they are, they understand nothing that is said to 
them, and in despair they will sometimes even shed tears. 
I remember once that one of my colleagues had forgotten 
to give out the division of his Instruction ; the children, 
who were taking notes, were so disheartened that I saw one 
of them dissolved in tears. I immediately let the Catechist 
know ; he gave out his division, and as they came to under 
stand, their faces lighted up again with joy. 

"The Instruction must be perfectly clear both as to 
groundwork and in every detail. You will allow me to 
remind you, gentlemen, of the precept of Quintilian, 
Non ut intelligere possit, sed ne omnino non intelligere non 
possit, curandum. 1 It is not only necessary that the 
child understands, but that it shall not be possible for him 
not to understand. There are three very efficacious ways 
of doing this : 

"I. Things must be told simply; as they are, not 
labored nor exaggerated; one does sometimes exaggerate 
with children, but it. is wrong, it only troubles them and 
puts a strain on their minds. 

"II. Things must be said in their most natural, most 
suitable order, nothing brusque or forced, nothing contra 
dictory; above all, avoid the confusion of digressive 
phrases or parentheses. Nearly all young Catechists are 
apt to fall into this fault. 

"III. The greater number are unfortunately lavish in 
useless words ; they do not know how to cut short a sen 
tence, or how to abridge it, and hence we have lengthi- 
ness, redundance, and confused expressions." 2 

From all this it will be evident that this master cate- 
chist does not undervalue the importance of clear and 
definite instruction. But, after all, the emphasis of his 
lectures rests on the spiritual more than on the intellectual 
results. The children are to be skilfully taught, but only 
that they may be formed after the mind of Christ and filled 

1 Quint, lib. vii. c. ii. 2 Pages 146, 147. 


with his spirit. And the one supreme qualification of the 
catechist is a genuine affection for the children. He must 
love them, and they must know it. 

" But, you will perhaps ask me how to make them feel 
this? Ah, gentlemen, this is something which cannot be 
defined. I can only tell you simply this, that when I was 
a Catechist 1 made it to be felt. How? I know not. 
But we felt it ourselves, we loved these young souls for 
God s sake, we tried to love God in them; and God 
deigned to bless this devotion of our hearts. 

" But it is not a question of myself here. One word of 
S. Augustine says it all, and with sovereign authority: 
Ama, ct fac quod r/.s. Love, love! and all which you 
believe impossible will be easy to you. S. Augustine 
says again: Da ainaidciii ct sent it quod dico. In the 
work of souls the heart and love are the spirit and the 
life: Spiritus ct vita. Da amantem, da sitientem, da csu- 
ricntem. Love the precious souls of these children! Be 
hungry and thirsty for their happiness, for their eternal 
beauty, for their salvation. Then you will understand all 
things, and you will make all things to be understood; 
for it is the Divine Unction which is love, which teaches 
everything: Unctio docct umnia. "" l 

Here, beyond all controversy, is the sovereign qualifica 
tion of the good shepherd of the children. And this 
whole treatise is surcharged with this pure passion. Let 
the Protestant pastor sit at the feet of this Catholic bishop 
and learn from him to estimate the debt of love that he 
owes to the children of his congregation. Bishop Dupanloup 
makes much of the idea that the Catechism, by which he 
means not the book but the act of catechizing or the class 
at work, must have the essential characteristics of a 
family. "In a family," he says, "no doubt children are 
taught, but still more they are advised, they are exhorted, 
they are encouraged, they are blamed, they arc rewarded, 
they are loved, and they are made to love goodness. And 
all this comes from the spirit of the fa/nil //; that is to say, 
on the one hand authority and devotion, with every shade 
1 Pages 10, 11. 


and every form of tenderness and zeal; and on the other 
respect, docility and confidence with every shade also of 
filial love and gratitude." 1 Something like this is what 
Catechisms and Catechists ought to he; and when this 
spirit pervades all the communications between the pastor 
and the children, great results are sure to follow. The 
good Bishop records the fact that at his meetings with the 
children in the Madeleine, large numbers of their parents 
came with them, so that galleries had to be added to the 
chapel for their accommodation. Thus the hearts of the 
parents were turned to the children and the hearts of 
the children to the parents by the faithful ministry of the 
pastor of the church. To strengthen the family bond, 
now, in so many households, sorely strained by the world- 
liness of parents and recklessness of children, no better 
measure could be devised than the faithful instruction of 
the children of the church by their pastor in the truths of 
the Christian religion. 

One feature of this exercise of Catechist Dupanloup in 
the Madeleine we should find it extremely difficult to 
reproduce in many of the American Protestant churches. 
He tells us that during the time of his service in that 
church, Paris was filled with refugees, patricians and 
plebeians, from all countries, all of whom were wont to 
gather in his chapel, " poor children, rich and even royal 
children; children who, coming to the Catechism, came 
out of the most miserable quarters of Paris or from the 
most brilliant dwellings of the rich; children, moreover, 
whose parents belonged to all the most contrary shades of 
political parties which then divided France ; well all 
had but one heart and one soul; all these differences, all 
these divisions, disappeared; all these children, gathered 
together in the Chapel of St. Hyacinthe, filled with the 
same thoughts and the same desires, sharing in the same 
instructions, the same fetes, preparing together for the 
same great action." Of royalties he mentions the young 
Queen of Portugal, who came with her mother-in-law, the 
Empress of Brazil ; her royal Highness the Princess 

1 Page 58. 


Clementine; the pious Queen Marie Amelie and her 
worthy daughter, the Queen of the Belgians; and with 
these, boys of high degree who have since Income such 
distinguished men as General Foy, M. de Yillele, M. 
Casimir-Perier, and M. de Polignac. The kind of equality 
which such a case connotes is not easily secured in all the 
Protestant churches of democratic commonwealths. 

Much is made in these Roman Catholic " Catechisms " 
of the devotional exercises, especially of the singing. The 
choir is present, to lead the children in hymns adapted to 
the service. The length of the sitting will astonish most 
Protestant pastors. Not less than two hours, this Cate- 
chist testilies, should be given to the lesson. It is not 
probable that such a burden as this would be borne by the 
children of American Protestants. Nor is it clear that so 
much time could be usefully given to the exercise. One 
hour would be ample for ordinary lessons. Would that 
the kindling enthusiasm of this great prelate for the work 
of training the young might be caught by many pastors in 
all branches of the Christian church! We may differ with 
him widely with respect to many of the doctrines taught, 
but in his tender love for children and his burning desire 
to lead them early into the ways of life, he is a bright 
example to us all. 

One, at least, of the Protestant churches, that which 
l>ears the name of the Great Reformer, maintains, with 
increasing vigor, the catechetical practice. The Smaller 
Catechism written by Luther himself is still universally 
employed in the instruction of children; the Lutherans are 
divided into many schools, and the eonllirts of opinion 
among them are intense; but in this they all agree; 
Luther s Catechism forms the groundwork of instruction 
in all their synods. And the thorough teaching of all the 
bapti/ed children is rigidly insisted on. As a rule, it may 
l)e said that no one is confirmed in the Lutheran church 
until lie has given evidence of careful instruction in the 
doctrines of the Catechism. It is supposed that children 
ought to pass through a course of weekly lessons, covering 
at least two years. 


It is true that not all this work is done by the pastors 
of the churches. Many of the Lutheran churches, in 
America as well as in Europe, support parochial day- 
schools, and in these the catechism or the Bible history is 
a daily exercise. Many Lutheran children are thus under 
daily religious instruction for several years. The teacher 
in such a school must be a qualified catechist. The 
opportunities enjoyed by Lutheran children for full relig 
ious instruction are thus unexampled among American 
Protestants ; the Church of England da} -schools undertake 
a similar work. But this drill in the day-school, under 
the hired schoolmaster is, after all, a very different thing 
from that pastoral care of the children of which we have 
been speaking. An excellent thing it is, no doubt; but 
it does not answer the highest purpose. The children 
instructed in these congregational schools are not brought 
into intimate relations with the pastor until just before 
the time of confirmation, when he always meets them for 
a brief course of instruction, which amounts to a review of 
the work they have done in the day-school. Even this is 
more than most of our Protestant pastors can boast of; 
but it is not the kind of relation described by Bishop 

Many of the Lutheran churches in America, however, 
maintain no parochial schools, and in these the full labor 
of catechetical instruction falls on the pastor. And no 
small labor it is. For a period of at least two years he 
meets the children of his charge as often as once a week, 
and often twice a week, requiring them to memorize the 
words of the catechism, and taking infinite pains to explain 
to them its meaning. A very large percentage of the 
children of the congregation attend punctually upon this 
instruction; it is a cardinal point of the Lutheran disci 
pline. Some small children, who live at too great a dis 
tance from the church, receive instruction at home, and 
others, whose occupations are such that they cannot 
attend the pastor s class, are sometimes excused ; but it is 
a point that the pastor does not readily yield; and the 
sentiment in Lutheran families is very strong in favor of 


the maintenance of the catechetical instruction. A vast 
amount of labor is thus entailed upon the pastor, but it is 
labor which, if rightly performed, Ix ars abundant fruit. 
That it may be done in a manner so dry and perfunctory 
that it shall be a burden to both teacher and taught is 
evident enough ; but if the love to which the good Bishop 
Dupanloup ascribes such power be the heart of it all, the 
pastor s opportunity of forming the minds and shaping 
the characters of the children is one that an angel might 

We are told that a conviction of the value of catechetics 
has recently been strengthening in the minds of Lutheran 
Christians, and that the practice was never so universal or 
so enthusiastically pursued as it is to-day. A few years 
ago there was a disposition in some synods to relax this 
demand, and to rely more upon the revivalistic methods ; 
but that tendency seems to have spent its force, and the 
Church, in all its branches, has returned with new ardor to 
the work of teaching and training the children, putting its 
chief reliance upon this method of propagating the gospel. 
So strong is the faith of the Lutherans in the efficacy of 
this method, that even their city mission work takes this 
form. If a new church enterprise is to be started in a 
city, the missionary generally begins by opening a school 
and teaching the children. 

It is a notable fact that the growth of the Lutheran 
church in America, during the last decade, was more rapid 
than that of any other Christian body the percentage of 
growth was larger. That this is due in part to the large 
German and Scandinavian immigration is undoubtedly 
true; but it is also due, in large measure, as intelligent 
Lutherans believe, to the revived interest in the work of 
catechetical instruction of the young. 

It must not be inferred that there are no Protestant 
pastors in other denominations who are aware of the impor 
tance of this duty. Here and there, in all the churches, 
are those who give much thought and labor to the children 
of their charge. In his little book on Tltc Working 
Church, the Rev. Charles F. Thwing, speaking of the 


tendency of boys and girls between the ages of ten and 
sixteen to drop away from the churches, thus testifies : 

" I write out of my own experience when I say that a 
special class should be formed of those young Christians, 
and that special instruction and guidance should be given 
them. This instruction and guidance should be committed 
to one most able to give it. This one may be the pastor 
or it may not be. If it is not he, he should discover some 
other person qualified to perform this duty. I think I may 
say he will usually find that it is wise to intrust this labor 
to other hands ; and yet these other hands he may think it 
well specially to train for this important service. This 
instruction should consist of a systematic presentation of 
the great truths of Christ. It should be systematic, tak 
ing up in order the central doctrines and themes of the 
Bible. It should be, it must be, to secure favorable 
results, attractive, attractive in the person of the teacher 
and attractive in its methods. It should be thorough; for 
children will receive and appreciate, be it properly illus 
trated, Christian teaching far more profound than is com 
monly credited to them. Such a class should meet on 
some week-day, after the exercises of the public school, 
and should be held each week for certain periods of each 

" With the methods and the results of such teaching, I 
am already somewhat acquainted. Year by year I have 
seen a class of boys and girls grow from a membership of 
forty to a membership of three hundred. I have seen 
these boys and girls listening intently to the presentation 
of the historic facts and truths of the Bible. I have seen 
this class made so attractive that scores of children would 
run from the public school-room in order to lose no moment 
of the short hour. I have seen this interest aroused and 
maintained by the power of a strong and living personality 
rather than by extraneous aids. I know this teaching to 
be systematic and thorough. I have seen examination 
papers in writing of these boys and girls that were a 
wonder in their revelation of the appreciation of the nature 
and duties of the Christian life. I have been made glad in 


receiving many of those thus trained into the membership 
of the Church, and have daily rejoiced in beholding the 
good confessions they witnessed at home and school." 1 

The opinion here incidentally expressed that the pastor 
might better entrust this work to some one else may well 
l>e reconsidered. It is doubtful whether the pastor can 
afford to surrender this opportunity. If he is not litted 
for this work, he ought to lose no time in seeking the 
necessary qualifications. The knowledge which this work 
will give him of the thoughts of the children, the friend 
ships which it will enable him to form with the boys and 
tnrls of his Hock, arc worth more to him as a pastor than 

O L 

almost any other experience of his life. Not the least 
valuable result of such a service is its effect upon the char 
acter of the pastor himself. The call to sincerity, sim 
plicity and lidelity which these young lives continually 
address to him is one that he must hear. He cannot feed 
these lambs unless he abides in the love of the Good 

One American pastor has provided for the children of 
his charge an association which he describes as the Church 
Porch. Its design as he describes it, k * is not simplv to 
convey instruction, but to bring the children into an 
organization which has no more completeness in itself than 
has the porch of an ecclesiastical building. It is a passage 
way into a larger and complete? relationship. And he 
thus outlines its method: 

"In the one direction it will be connected with the 
family; in the other, with the church a link between the 
two. It will have as its honorary officers the pastor and 
deacons of the church; as its executive, young men and 
women of such an age as to have sufficient ripeness <.f 
judgment to know how to act with wisdom and discretion. 
The adult Christian fellowship of the church will be at the 
back of it, encouraging the attendance of their children 
upon its meetings, regularly and conscientiously, for to 
develop character is one of the great aims. The Church 
Porch will provide some simple words, which are of the 

1 Tht Working Cfnirch, j>j>. 44-47. 


nature of a confession of discipleship to the great Head of 
the Church. It will so conduct its meetings as that the 
youngest may take some part. It will so organize itself 
as that the members shall have mutual care one of another. 
It will provide meetings for social intercourse as well as 
for devotional, thus recognizing the good of all innocent 
recreation. It will provide for the daily home reading by 
its members of wisely selected Scriptures. It will have 
some such graduation in membership as shall allow the 
more developed to assume responsibility, and put them 
selves one step nearer to full membership of the Christian 
church. Of course, organization is not everything, nor 
the principal thing. We cannot do much without it, but 
the most ideally perfect organization in the world must 
depend for its reputation upon those who use it. It will 
be urged as an objection by some who have had little or 
no experience in these matters, that it is requiring too 
much to ask a child to sign such a simple pledge as this : 
Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for strength, I purpose 
to try to do whatever He would like to have me do. I will 
pray to Him, and read the Bible every day, and henceforth 
I will try to be His disciple. Analyze it, and what do 
we find? Nothing at all inconsistent with that which is 
possible to the youngest disciple. A child can trust; a 
child can try; a child can pray; a child can read the 
Bible ; a child can be a disciple a learner. It is that 
from its constitution. Children like to be members of 
societies, and they are generally more faithful to their 
duties than are adults. They grow into right thoughts 
and right feelings, just as their seniors do, by right 
deeds." 1 

The pastor s work of instruction and personal influence 
might be carried on in connection with such an organiza 
tion of the children. But the organization must not take 
the place of that work. The pastor should be jealous of 
anything which stands in the way of that intimate asso 
ciation with his children which the work of systematic 
instruction implies and requires. 

1 Rev. Ueuen Thomas, in Parish Problems, pp. 213, 214. 


Most American churches now observe the second Sun 
day in June as Children s Day. On that day the Sunday- 
schools are gathered in the place of public worship made 
beautiful with flowers, and the exercises are ordered for 
the benefit of the children. Songs and recitations in which 
they participate, and an appropriate sermon or address by 
the pastor make the service of special interest to tin- 
youngest of the Hock. In churches which practise infant 
baptism, the little ones are often presented on Children s 
Sunday; and it is the custom of some pastors to give to 
each baptized child, on the festival which follows his 
twelfth birthday, a IJible, in the name of the church, thus 
reminding him that the church has not forgotten the con 
secrating rite and still holds him in its fellowship. 

In the churches in which this rite is observed, the 
status of the baptized children is often a subject of inquiry. 
The theological and ecclesiastical questions here involved 
do not come within the purview of this essay; but it is, 
nevertheless, important that the pastor and the church 
should have some theory about the relation of these children 
to the church: the kind of pastoral care exercised over 
them will be determined, to a considerable extent, by this 
theory. There seems to be no other reasonable view of 
the case than to regard these children as members of the 
church, not vet enjoying all its rights and privileges, 
but members still, and entitled to the care and love of the 
whole household of faith. The children of a family are 
not less truly members of the family than are the adults; 
and their sense of proprietorship in all the belongings of 
the home is always keen, ft should not be otherwise in 
the church ; and the administration of its services should 
l>e such as to cultivate in the children this sense of iden 
tification with its life. The time will come when they 
will come forward and assume for themselves the respon 
sibilities of membership: but before that day. and while 
they are receiving preparation for the active labors of the 
church, the recognition of the fact that they are not aliens 
and strangers, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of 
the household of love, ought to be kept clearly before their 


Whether any portion of the Sunday morning service 
should he specially devoted to the children is a question of 
some importance. Some American pastors address a short 
sermon five or six minutes in length to the children 
in the congregation. Others decline to interject this 
exercise into the services, on the ground that their unity 
is impaired, and their best effect lost, when a portion of 
the congregation is singled out for separate instruction. 
It is a matter concerning which every man has a right to 
be fully persuaded in his own mind. Some pastors may 
succeed with the method and others may fail. It should 
be remembered, however, that when no special words are 
addressed to the children, there will often be, in an ordi 
nary discourse, portions, longer or shorter, which even 
young children will perfectly understand. Every pastor 
who watches the effect of his teachings upon the children 
will often find them grasping with perfect intelligence 
many statements that were not intended for them. If 
the truth is made simple and clear, as it always ought to 
be, some good part of every sermon will find its way into 
the minds of the children of six or seven years of age. 
The ability of children to understand such matters is gen 
erally under-estimated. 

Even, therefore, though there may be no special address 
to the children, there are many reasons why they should 
be present, from their earliest years, in the morning ser 
vice. The absence from the great majority of the Ameri 
can churches of the children of the congregation is becoming 
an alarming fact. It is often assumed that the Sunday- 
school is the children s service, and that attendance upon 
that should release them from the public worship of the 
sanctuary. Children would in this way rarely form the 
habit of church-going in their later years. The time 
never comes when they are willing to begin. They have 
no taste for such employments. They prefer to spend the 
Sunday as they have always done, reading or riding or 
visiting Habit, in matters of this nature, is nearly every 
thing ; and if the habit of church-going is ever formed it 
must be formed in childhood. And the plea, generally 


heard, that the children cannot understand the service 
and are not profited by it, must not be allowed. The 
Scripture readings are, for the most part, perfectly intelli 
gible to them ; the hymns and the prayers are not beyond 
their comprehension; and much tit the service will often 
be level to their understanding. This is a matter concern 
ing -which the wise pastor must bear faithful testimony. 
He must not quietly suffer the children of his church to 
fall away from its fellowship. He must convince their 
parents that the public worship of the Lord s house is for 
the young as well as for the old, and that if the one or the 
other must be foregone, the children had far better be 
taken from the Sunday-school and brought into the 

The close of this chapter appears to be the appropriate 
place to refer to an organization which is attracting much 
attention on both sides of the sea at the present time, and 
which is known as the Hoys Brigade. It had its origin 
in Glasgow, Scotland, where the lirst company was organ 
ized in iSS-j, by a gentleman active in Christian work, 
who Avas a member of the Lanark Rifles. Like Robert 
Raikes, Mr. Smith began with ragged boys in the street, 
but his scheme proved popular among the boys of the 
church, and the movement soon spread to other churches. 
Companies were formed in great numbers and men of 
standing and influence soon were found among the enthu 
siastic promoters of the enterprise. The late Professor 
Ilenrv Driiinmond was one of its leaders. It is said thai 
more than fifty thousand boys an- now organized in fifteen 
hundred companies, in the Tinted Kingdom, the l. nited 
States, Canada, Australia. New Zealand, and other parts 
of the world. From the Manual of the American branch 
of the organization the following explanation is taken: 

" Brietlv stated, it is a world wide movement among 
young men and boys for the advancement of the kingdom of 
Christ. The Brigade consists of local companies of twelve 
to fortv vouth, between the ages of 1:2 and :21 years, the 
onlv condition of membership being attendance at some 
local Sunday-school and subscription to tin- following 


pledge: I promise and pledge, that I will not use tobacco 
nor intoxicating liquors in any form ; that I will not use 
profane, vulgar nor indecent language; that I will obey 
faithfully all the company rules, and that I will, at all 
times, set an example of good conduct to my comrades and 
other boys. 

"The company must be attached to some Christian 
organization which will supervise its civil and religious 
affairs. The distinctive feature of the movement is that 
all meetings of the company are conducted under military 
regulations and discipline. The required meetings are: 
1. Some weekly religious exercise; either a Bible drill, 
prayer-meeting or Sunday school. 2. A weekly military 
drill, conducted strictly according to infantry tactics of 
the United States Army. 

"The military features have been found to possess 
surprising attractions for boys who would otherwise drift 
away from church fellowship. They also furnish excellent 
physical training and have many advantages which need 
only to be tested to be proved. Bear in mind, however, 
that they are but a means to an end: that is to promote 
habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect, and 
all that tends toward a true Christian manliness." 

In the third article of the constitution, relating to 
agencies, it is provided that religious exercises shall be 
employed " as a means of rendering the boys familiar with 
the Bible, and acquainted with its truths ; " that patriotic 
studies shall be introduced, by which loyalty and good 
citizenship shall be inculcated; that provision shall be 
made for such physical-culture exercises as may be adapted 
to the age of the members, and calculated to develop a 
perfect body and a perfect manhood; and that military 
organization and drill shall be used as a means of securing 
the interest of the members, banding them together in the 
work of the Brigade and promoting such habits as it is 
designed to form. Strict obedience and discipline are 
always to be enforced. One of the rules requires that 
every member shall attend Sunday-school at least once 
every Sabbath. The Company Council consists of the 


pastor and the three ranking commissioned officers and 
three members appointed annually by the Christian organi 
zation with which the company is connected. The entire 
power of governing the company is entrusted to this 
Council, which admits and discharges members, appoints 
officers, enacts by-laws and controls the company s funds. 
It is thus evident that the purpose is to put every com 
pany of the Boys Brigade under the care of the church to 
which it belongs and under the immediate supervision of 
the pastor. The commanding officers of these companies 
are a 1 \vays men usually young men. It is clear, at a 
glance, that everything will depend on the tact and char 
acter of these commanding officers. If the right man can 
be found for captain, such a company may become a strong 
influence for good over the lives of the boys belonging 
to it, 

The military drill and discipline is, in itself, an excel 
lent regimen for boys. The physical benefits are consider 
able: the carriage of the bovs who have been for some 
time under the drill is almost always perceptibly improved; 
they stand erect and step more firmly and manifest an 
increase of physical vigor. The moral gains of the drill 
and the discipline are also important. The habits of obe 
dience and subordination which are thus formed become, 
to some good degree, automatic. Boys obey their parents 
and their teachers more promptly: it becomes evident to 
them that obedience is manlv. The organization also 
inculcates and even enforces respect for religion; the 
primary and indispensable condition of membership in the 
Brigade is membership in that Sunday-school from which 
the bov is often so strongly inclined to slip away. To be 
associated with a military organization of bovs who are all 
members of the Sunday-school puts that institution at once 
upon a different footing in all his thoughts about it. The 
Biblical study and the religious exercises with which the 
meetings of the company must always begin, are a constant 
witness to him of the importance of an interest which the 
boy between twelve and twenty is too much inclined to 
undervalue. And the pledge to avoid the use of tobacco 


and intoxicating liquor, and to keep his lips clean from 
profanity and indecenc} r , is one in the keeping of which 
there is safety and honor. 

All these gains are manifest. Over against them we 
must set a possible injury to which some good men and 
women are inclined to attribute great importance. It is 
said that the organization fosters the military spirit; that 
it will fill the hearts of the boys with the passions of war; 
that it is not the right kind of a regimen for disciples of 
the Prince of Peace. In the days when all good men are 
seeking to exterminate from human hearts the love of 
carnage and to lead the nations onward in the paths of 
peace, it is not good, say these critics, to set our Christian 
children to learn the arts of war. 

To all this the reply of those who are most active in 
promoting the organization is that the Boys Brigades are 
practically having no such effect; that the drill is really 
no more than a good gymnastic exercise ; that so much is 
made of the Christian features of the organization that the 
sentiments and passions of warfare find no place in the 
boys 1 hearts. The ideas which prevail are thus set forth 
in the Manual : 

" It is consistently military and for two reasons. First, 
for the purpose of system and thorough organization. 
Second, if boys are taught military tactics at all it is worth 
while to teach them correctly and completely. But mark 
this and forever remember, that the Boys Brigade is 
above all for spiritual conquest; its object is to advance 
Christ s kingdom among boys. It will not and must not 
be done with the sword. But just as the boy Jesus 
learned to ply the hammer and saw and chisel of his 
father s craft, and thus was trained in reverence, obe 
dience and self-respect, so may our boys through military 
drill and Bible drill and patriotic study learn habits of 
self-restraint; learn that victories over self are those that 
shine in everlasting records ; learn that to fight for Jesus 
means to fight for the poor and the weak and disabled; 
learn that the reveille for which they must prepare is that 
which will sound on the resurrection morn, when shoulder 


to shoulder youth and old age shall inarch to their eternal 

On the whole there is good reason to hope that the 
dangers against which the protest is lifted up are not 
serious, and that the organization will prove to he a strong 
agency for training in Christian manliness the hoys of 



THE relation of the church to the work of missions 
to the christianization not merely of its own parish and 
of its own community, but of the whole world is a 
subject concerning which most churches need admonition. 
The development in this generation of the working church 
has somewhat withdrawn the attention of many zealous 
Christians from the field of the world. The work at 
home is so manifold and so urgent that they find neither 
time nor resources for enterprises at a distance. Never 
theless, the very note of Christianity is universality. The 
Christian law was not, in terms, a new commandment 
when Christ gave it utterance ; the identical phrases are 
in the Mosaic legislation ; what he did was to give a new 
definition to the word " neighbor." The Jew believed that 
he ought to love his neighbor as himself : the obscuration 
of his ethics was revealed in the lawyer s question, " Who, 
then, is my neighbor ? " Christ s answer was the parable 
of the Good Samaritan, which teaches us that our neighbor 
may be one of another nationality, another color, one 
joined to us by no ties of race or kinship, one dwelling on 
a distant shore and speaking an unknown tongue. My 
neighbor is any human being whom I may reach and help. 
The ethnic morality is superseded by the law of universal 
love. And it is essential to the development of the Chris 
tian life in the individual that this love shall have its 
constant opportunity. Works of love that call forth good 
will and helpfulness toward all sorts and conditions of 
men in every part of the world furnish the element in 
which Christianity lives and has its being. The attempt 
to shut it in, to erect or maintain limitations beyond which 


its impulse shall not travel is fatal to its existence. It is 
no more true that there are geographical boundaries which 
love does not cross, than it is true that there are physical 
limitations to space which thought cannot pass beyond. 
The country of goodwill has no frontiers. 

Since this is the nature of Christian love, it is plain 
that the missionary impulse must always exist where the 
spirit of Christ abides; and that a church of Jesus Christ 
which lias no interests beyond its own immediate precinct 
is a moral anomaly. True is it that the needs which are 
nearest most strongly appeal to us, and that the benevo 
lence which spends all its energies upon those on the 
other side of the sea, and has no sympathy for those on 
the other side of the street is a spurious variety. Begin 
ning at Jerusalem, the apostles preached the good tidings 
in many lands. But the charity which begins at home 
and stays there is no less defective than that which travels 
abroad and neglects its nearest neighbors. 

The Christian churches, in all the vital parts of Chris 
tendom, are profoundly interested, in these days, not only 
in their neighbors who live in the next ward, but in their 
neighbors who live on the other side of the world. We 
know a great deal and care a great deal about people who 
have very little knowledge of us. The people of Africa, 
of Armenia, of China, of India, are the objects of our dis 
interested regard. We are not always thinking of how we 
may establish relations of tralhc with them and make their 
industries serve our interests; we are often thinking of 
what we can do to enlarge and brighten their lives. It is 
not that we believe that they are all doomed to endless woe 
unless they hear our gospel ; our faith in (Jod is stronger 
than this. Nor is it that we regard their beliefs as wholly 
false and pernicious ; we recognize in many of them great 
elements of universal truth. But we can see that while 
some of them may be able to impart to us much that may 
profit us, the substance of the truth as it is in Jesus is 
something far better than any of them has yet attained 
unto ; and because this truth is ours, and they need it, we 
cannot rest until we have shared it with them. We know 


that the Gospel of Christ, with all that it implies, would 
wonderfully brighten the lives of any people that would 
receive it. We know that it would greatly alleviate human 
suffering. How vast and overshadowing are the woes of 
the lands unvisited by the messengers of the blessed Christ 
it is difficult to realize. China is by some persons supposed 
to be a highly civilized nation, and it is urged that China 
needs none of our religion ; but any one who will acquaint 
himself with the condition of medical science in that coun 
try, and learn how many suffer and die from remediable 
maladies, may be willing to admit that the disciples of him 
who healed the sick and cleansed the lepers and opened 
the eyes of the blind could do much to lighten the woes 
and to lengthen the lives of these helpless people. This, 
indeed, is what Christian missionaries are actually doing 
in every part of the world to-day, not by miracle, but by 
the intervention of an intelligence consecrated to the ser 
vice of mankind. One missionary in China treated more 
than fifty-three thousand patients, and organized agencies 
by which at least one million received scientific medical 
care. When we think of the sightless eyes that have been 
opened, of the millions that have been delivered from pain 
and misery, of the blessed relief given by anaesthetics to 
those in agony, of the lives that have been lengthened and 
the hearts that have been comforted by these services of 
love, we shall feel that the work of Christian missions 
must have a deep significance to every one who wishes well 
to his fellow men. Add to this what has been done to 
lift women in all the pagan lands from their degradation, 
and to point out the way of their deliverance from the 
thraldom of the dark generations, and we shall see that 
the enterprise of Christian missions, considered merely 
from a philanthropic point of view, is entitled to serious 

It would be strange, therefore, if the Christian love 
which is pouring itself out in such a wealth of philanthropic 
service, should overlook these great opportunities of minis 
tering to the wants and sorrows of men in other lands. 
For it is not difficult to see that the source of many of these 


physical ills must he sought in the darkened minds of the 
people, and that the Light of the World is the only sovereign 
reined} . The enterprise of Christian missions has often 
been rested on a hase too narrow to support it and has been 
commended by arguments which contradicted its message, 
but it is a sure and divine impulse that linds expression 
through it, and one can hardly conceive that with the en 
larging conceptions of the (Jospel of the Son of (Jod, there 
should be in the hearts of his disciples any diminution of 
love for their brethren in other lands who need the light 
and hope which are their precious heritage. * I-Yeelv ve 
received, freely give, l is a maxim not likely to lose its 
force as the centuries pass. 

It is a great part of the pastor s work to organize the 
missionary zeal and activity of his congregation. He needs 
to be intelligent respecting this work, to have a rational 
theory about it ; to comprehend the fact that it is an essen 
tial element in the life of his church; to be able to deal 
effectually with the stock objections of the caviller: to 
have the power of enlisting all classes in his congregation 
in this great enterprise. For one thing, he must be able to 
recognize what a modern writer has called the recent vast 
political expansion of Christendom.- Within the lifetime 
of many now living, by far the greater part of the known 
world has passed under the power of nations nominally 
Christian. Africa, not long ago. was no man s land ; the 
present generation has seen its territory parcelled out 
among the great Christian powers. Out of ll."> 14. ."><() 
square miles, only one-tenth remains unappropriated : out 
of a population of 1:30,000.000, all but 2<>,<MMU.)00, are liv 
ing under the sway of some European government. Turkey 
claims the overlordship of about S, 000. 000 of these, but 
England is the real ruler of most of the African territory 
that Turkey claims. Even in Asia half the land and one- 
third of the people are under the rule of Christian powers. 
"Everywhere, in every continent, you shall lind Christen 
dom in such marvellous ascendency that it is not only domi- 

1 Matt. x. 8. 

2 Modern Missions in the East, by E. A. Lawrence, p. 307. 


nating, but swiftly and surely assimilating every country 
and every people under the sun, with the solitary exception 
of China. At a rough estimate, we may say that Christen 
dom includes within its dominion about two-thirds of the 
land of the earth and 800,000,000 of the 1,500,000,000 of its 
population." l 

The industrial expansion of Christendom, as the same 
writer shows us, is not less marvellous. More and more 
the markets of the world are rilled with the machinery and 
the wares produced by Christian nations : the industries 
of Europe and America are pushing their conquests in every 
quarter of the globe. The science of the Western world 
is also steadily prevailing against the superstition of the 
East ; where light is, darkness cannot be. 

It is this tremendous advance of the physical and intel 
lectual forces of Christendom which makes the problem of 
Christian missions so urgent. It is a time for Christian 
statesmanship. A certain supremacy has already been 
won for nominal Christianity. The immense vigor of the 
Christian civilization compared with the civilizations that 
have been produced by other faiths, is thus demonstrated. 
But the triumph is full of peril. The vast multitudes 
whicli have been brought under Christian rule need to know 
something more of the power of Christ than the soldier or 
the civil servant or the trader is likely to teach them. A 
Christianity which is merely official or nominal may easily 
become a snare to them. The form of Christianity with 
out the power thereof bewilders and burdens them. The 
very fact of the political supremacy of Christendom creates, 
therefore, an obligation weightier and more imperative than 
the Church has ever before been called to bear. With 
these tremendous considerations every pastor ought to be 
familiar. The work of Christian missions is not done ; 
it is hardly begun. The phases which the work will 
assume, the enthusiasms which it will arouse, we may 
partly conjecture. Doubtless we are likely to need a large 
revision of ideas and methods ; but the one fact to be kept 
in view is that the political and industrial and intellectual 

1 Modern Missions in the East, p. 309. 


expansion of Christendom must be the forerunners of u 
spiritual expansion not less significant. First that which 
is natural ; afterward that which is spiritual. The foun 
dations of the New Jerusalem arc laid; the Church is 
called to complete the superstructure. The Christian 
pastor of to-day must learn how to bring home to the 
hearts of his people the significance of the movements now 
going forward in all the earth. It is his task to make 
them see that the time in which they are living is one of 
mighty significance ; that the business of Christian missions 
is connected in the most vital manner with the political and 
social changes which are taking place ; and that the sub 
ject is one concerning which they cannot afford to be 
ignorant. The enlargement of the knowledge of the 
Church is the one thing needful. Men are not likely to 
take a deep interest in subjects of which they know little 
or nothing. And this subject of missions in other lands is 
one of which the majority of church members will have no 
knowledge unless considerable pains be taken to give 
them information. The needs of their own neighborhood 
are before their eyes every day; the conditions of their 
own country they have some knowledge of ; but the suffer 
ings and miseries of their neighbors on the other side of 
the world they do not see, nor are they aware of the work 
that has been done in these fields and of the promising 
nature of the beginnings that have been made. To spread 
this information, to arrest and hold the attention of the 
church to the subject of missions is the first thing to do. 
Some stated meeting, held as often as once a month, should 
furnish this information in such a form that the people 
will eagerlv receive it. It is not best tot-all it a "monthly 
concert ;" that name is seriously discredited. Nor should 
it ever be confined to work in foreign lands. But if every 
church could have a monthly meeting at which the prog 
ress of the kingdom in the whole world should be reported, 
taking up the salient events of current religious history 
at home and abroad, pointing out the hopeful and dis 
couraging features ; the gains and losses ; the fields where 
. the struggle is fiercest and the reinforcements most needed, 


and making it plain that the battle is one all along the 
line, it would appear that this meeting might be made one 
of great interest and power. " If I heard," said President 
Edwards, " the least hint of anything that happened, in 
any part of the world, having a favorable aspect on the 
interests of Christ s kingdom, my soul eagerly catched at 
it." That is but the normal feeling of every genuine 
Christian disciple. How can any man keep praying daily 
for scores of years, " Thy kingdom come," and not be alive 
to signs of its coming ? The preparation for such a meet 
ing as is here suggested would require, on the part of 
somebody, much work, at least at the outset. The field of 
the world should be divided, and the different portions 
assigned to competent persons, each of whom should be on 
the outlook for the epochal movements going on within 
his territory. After this educational process has been 
vigorously carried forward for a year or two, there may be 
need of forming organizations for the more effective pro 
motion of missionary interests. But the organization may 
well be deferred until the interest has been created. 

Is it well to divide the missionary interests of the con 
gregation along the line of sex ? Such seems at present 
to be the tendency. At any rate, we have women s 
missionary organizations everywhere ; whether there are 
societies of this nature exclusively for men may be ques 
tioned. It seems to be supposed that men can obtain all 
the information and impulse that they will need in the 
general meeting of the church. 

The women s missionary societies in the churches, are, 
of course, intended to be auxiliary to the Woman s Mission 
Hoard of the denomination to which the church belongs. 
These Women s Boards have been organized, within the 
last generation, in nearly all the national churches of 
America ; and the officers of the missionary societies have 
given the movement much encouragement. The Mission 
Boards and Societies, having been originally composed of 
men, and women having no representation in them, it was 
natural that the women, as they came to take a larger part 
in the life of the church, should wish to have organizations 


of their own whose operations they might control. The 
Women s Boards came into existence as the expression of 
the growing consciousness of influence and power on the 
part of the women of the churches. The fact that a dual 
organization of the missionary forces provided two collect 
ing agencies for the same cause, and made sure of two 
collections in a year instead of one was calculated to 
commend the scheme to the officers of the Missionary 
Societies. If Women s Boards exist, the women of the 
congregations must he separately organized for the purpose 
of sustaining them. The scheme has its advantages, and 
doubtless much missionary zeal has been evoked, and much 
administrative efficiency developed in its operation. But 
there are unfavorable indications. The fact that in every 
church there is a Woman s Missionary Societv, and no 
Man s Missionary Society makes upon the wayfaring man 
and the average boy the impression that missions are the 
special interest of women : that men are connected with 
them mainly through their wives. That this impression 
has grown very rapidly during the past twenty-five years 
can scarcely be doubted. And while the amount of money 
raised by the Women s Boards has been considerable, it 
may be questioned whether the aggregate amount has not 
been diminished by this process. It would be interesting 
to know how many men decline or neglect to make con 
tributions to the work of missions, on the plea that their 
wives have already contributed, through the Woman s 
Society. When it comes to this, the collections are apt to 
fall off, for the wife, with cash resources that are generally 
limited, will not be able to represent the family so liberally 
in the collection as the husband could do. And it may 
also be questioned whether one effect of the separate 
organization for women has not been greatly to reduce the 
interest of the Church at large in the general church meet 
ings for missions. On the whole, therefore, it is not clear 
that the separation of the sexes in the work of missions is 
working well. And there are those who strongly believe that 
it would be far better to consolidate the Mission Boards 
giving the women a representation in the official member- 



ship of the Church Board, permitting them to hold a 
certain number of secretaryships and other offices, and 
uniting instead of dividing the sexes in the work of 
evangelizing the world. There are those who think that 
a serious loss of moral power results from this separation ; 
that neither the Men s Boards nor the Women s Boards 
are so well managed as a consolidated Board would be ; 
and that the missionary interest in the local church would 
be far stronger and more productive if the men and women 
were working together, and there were one treasury instead 
of two. 

When the organization of mission work in the local 
church is contemplated this question must be met. It is 
not often wise violently to oppose existing methods of 
administration ; and it may seem best to maintain for the 
time a separate missionary society for women ; but it is 
certainly important that the co-operation of the sexes in 
the work carried on by the congregation should in some 
way be secured. 

With respect to the methods of disseminating informa 
tion and awaking interest, there is need of the constant 
exercise of invention on the part of the pastor and those 
associated with him in the work. No method should be 
worked after it has lost its efficiency ; new forms of pres 
entation, new ways of combining the forces of the church 
must be devised every year. Life is always taking on 
new forms. " The usual prayer-meeting," " the usual 
missionary meeting," are phrases which must not be 
heard too often from the pulpit. Let the people learn to 
expect something unusual something fresh and vital. 

Should the annual presentation of the various mission 
ary societies to the congregation be made by the represen 
tatives of those societies when that is possible, or by the 
pastor of the church ? No universal rule can be given. 
Probably it is better, in most cases, to combine the two 
methods. The representative of the society possesses a 
certain skill in marshalling the facts which is not wholly 
offset by the prejudice against him in the minds of his 
hearers, growing out of their knowledge that lie is a 


special pleader. He may very often speak more convinc 
ingly than the pastor could do, and his service is not to 
be uniformly refused. The occasional visit to the congre 
gation of those who are in constant communication with 
the field, and who are familiar with all its needs, is un 
doubtedly desirable. On the other hand, the pastor can 
often present these causes far more effectively than any 
official representative could do. He knows his own con 
gregation, and can judge what kind of information they 
need, and what manner of appeal will be most effective. 
He has no professional or personal interest in any of these 
causes: his representations will not be discredited by any 
such suspicion. If the people have the confidence in him 
that they ought to have, his word will go farther with 
them than the word of any stranger could go. And. more 
than all, if he studies the subject carefully, his treatment 
will be sure to have a freshness and vitality that the 
appeal of the professional advocate is apt to lack. It is 
difficult for anv man to speak daily on a single theme and 
preserve the appearance of spontaneity and the accent of 
conviction. It will be found that those churches, as a 
rule, are the largest contributors to missionary causes, in 
which the pastors frequently, if not uniformly, present 
the causes to their congregations. 

With respect to the development of the spirit and habit 
of benevolence in the congregation, much might be said- 
The pastor will need to give to the subject no little careful 
study. It is a hard lesson for the average Anglo-Saxon 
of this generation to learn that it is more blessed to give 
than to receive, but this of all truths is the one he needs 
to lay to heart. The pastor must endeavor to make it 
plain to his people that it is of the nature of all genuine 
Christian experience that giving and receiving are correla 
tives ; that each is the condition of the other: that no 
Christian can live without giving, any more than he can 
live without receiving. When this is said, the word give 
must be used in a large and comprehensive meaning. The 
Christian is a giver in many ways, on many sides, through 
many channels of gracious ministry. It is not always that 


his giving takes the form of material aid, though this is 
an expression that it must often take in a world where 
there are so many hungry mouths, and so many tireless 
hearths, and so many naked and shivering limbs. The 
first if not the deepest needs of our fellow-men are bodily 
needs ; and these must often be supplied before we can 
bestow any higher gift upon them. A great part of the 
ministry of Christ was directed to the physical wants of 
men, and none of us is likely to give more wisely than he 
gave. Besides, and this is the truth which the faithful 
pastor must not fail to enforce, it is an essential condition 
of profitable giving, so far as the giver is concerned, that 
he should bestow that which he highly values. The use 
fulness of the gift ought to be as great to the one who 
imparts it as to the one who receives it, though in a differ 
ent way ; and this cannot be unless the giver parts with 
something that he prizes. A man whose main interest is 
in material things can hardly be said to be a giver at all 
unless he gives money, or that which costs money. For 
him, at any rate, this exercise is indispensable. His spirit 
ual life will shrivel if he deny to love this outlet. No 
matter how constant or how fervent may be his prayers, 
no matter how diligent may be his endeavors to do good 
in other ways, if the man whose energies are devoted to 
the accumulation of wealth does not give money or money s 
worth freely his spiritual life will soon be a withered and 
blasted thing. The pastor must not tell his people that it 
is a sin for a Christian to have money or to desire money, 
or to bend his powers to the acquisition of money ; but he 
must warn them that the Christian whose heart is set on 
getting must train himself to be a liberal donor also or he 
will lose his soul. What he freely receives he must freely 
give or his gain will be his ruin. 

And yet the pastor must not fail to remind his people 
that money wrongfully obtained can never be sanctified by 
giving part of it away. The consecrated purpose must 
govern the winning as well as the bestowing of wealth. 
Money that lias been gained in extortion, in grinding the 
face of the poor, by the unmerciful treatment of rivals in 


trade, by corrupting officers of the government, is not the 
Lord s money and the Lord wants none of it: the Chris 
tian pastor must beware ho\v he soils his hands with the 
rewards of iniquity. The church might better close its 
doors and the missionary societies call home their evange 
lists, than that the testimony of the church against iniquity 
should be withheld. There are those in many of our 
modern churches who ought to hear the prophet s bitter 
words: "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my 
soul hateth: they are a trouble to me: I am \vearv to bear 
them. And when ye spread forth your hands I will hide 
mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many p ravers I 
will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, 
make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from 
In 1 fore mine eyes; cease to do evil: learn to do well; seek 
judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, 
plead for the widow." It is not these who should be 
admonished that they can only save their souls by be ing- 
generous with their money; something more radical than 
liberality is required of them. I>ut those who have striven 
to avoid dishonesty and extortion in the acquisition of 
their fortunes, are often absorbed in the mere eagerness of 
the pursuit, and their hearts are hardened and their 
standards lowered by the greed of acquisition. It is to 
these that such admonitions as were referred to should be 
addressed. It is they who need to cultivate the grace of 
giving that the injurious effects of their daily habits may 
be counteracted. 

And it is not the rich and prosperous alone, not alone 
those whose hearts are set on great accumulations who 
need this kind of discipline: those whose gains are small, 
and who are not ambitious of great financial success will 
find it useful for them to impart that which it is hard for 
them to get and not easy for them to spare. The Item-fit 
that comes from making pecuniary sacrifices for worthy 
objects is a Item-lit that the poorest members ol the church 
cannot alford to forgo. Those who can give but little 
often resolve to give nothing, and thus they themselves 

1 Isa. i. 14-17. 


are heavy losers. They are willing to do good, so far as 
they can, in other ways; but they excuse themselves 
from charitable offerings. Everything else but their pos 
sessions and gains they consecrate to the Lord: these are 
so small, they say, that they are hardly worth consecrat 
ing. So there is one corner of their lives in which selfish 
ness is intrenched and the result is a defective character. 
The pastor must seek to make all his people feel that 
none of them can be so poor as not to need, for his own 
soul s sake, to be on all sides of his nature and out of 
every one of his resources, a charitable giver. 

In developing the charitable gifts of the church, two 
facts are to be borne in mind. The first is that, in most 
congregations, much the largest part of the offering ought 
to come from a comparatively small number. The ine 
qualities of condition are such in most of our churches 
that the few are abundantly able to give much more than 
the many can give. If the benevolent gifts of the church 
are what they ought to be, there must be a few large 
contributions. A man whose income is twenty thousand 
dollars a year ought to give more than ten times as much 
as the man who has but two thousand; his surplus, above 
all that could be regarded as the necessaries of life, is 
vastly greater. Accordingly all plans for the raising of 
money which propose to find a certain number of persons 
in the church, each of whom shall give the same amount, 
are likely to be impracticable because of their injustice. 
Sometimes it is said: "Are there not one hundred mem 
bers who will give five dollars apiece? To which, in 
many cases, the reply should be made : " If this money is 
to be raised, according to the gospel rule, which requires 
every one to give as he has prospered, it would probably 
require some such division as this : that one shall give one 
hundred dollars, and two fifty each, and three twenty-five 
each, and ten ten each, and seventy-five one dollar each." 
The application of this principle, that those whose surplus 
is large should expect to contribute much more, in propor 
tion to their incomes, than those whose surplus is small, 
should be faithfully made by the Christian pastor. 


The other fact is that everybody ought to give some 
thing. The diligent, persistent effort to secure from every 
ineinl)er of the church, rich or pool , old or voung, male or 
female, some offering for every cause is the pastor s clear 
obligation. Most of our 1 rotcstaiit churches fail in this 
respect. A very large proportion of the members of Un 
church hold themselves excused from contributing either 
to the current expenses of the church, or to its missionarv 
funds. Even \vhen a church is to be built, the proportion 
of the names of the membership found on the subscription 
list is apt to be very small. Against this teiidencv an 
organized and patient effort should be directed. Those 
who can give but little ought not to be permitted to lose 
the reward of the giver. It is essential to their growth in 
grace that they exercise themselves in this grace also. 
And the aggregate of these small offerings would be con 
siderable. We want, for all our charities, larger gifts 
from those who are able to give liberally, but we want 
also the small gifts which might be bestowed by those who 
are now giving nothing. Manv an enterprise now languish 
ing would lind its resources abundant if these gifts could 
IK secured. The mites of the million would furnish to 
our benevolent operations a motive power which we can 
not afford to lose. Consider how great are the resources 
of the Roman Catholic Church, drawn very largely from 
the wages of dav laborers and servant-maids. These rills, 
if we can combine them, will cause the stream of our 
charities to flow with an ample ll 1. 

These considerations will enable us to deal with the 
question of systematic and proportionate giving. That 
the pastor should seek to guide his people towards some 
intelligent and systematic use of their income, in the way 
of benevolent contributions, is reasonable, (living is an 
important part of Christian service, and it ought to be 
done thoughtfully, not from erratic impulse, but from 
sol>er reason. That the giver should carefully consider 
how large a portion of his income he can set apart for gifts 
to missionary and charitable purposes, and that lie should 
endeavor sacredly to devote to these purposes the money 


thus set apart, is good doctrine which the pastor may 
wisely enforce. But the giving should be proportionate 
to ability and not according to any fixed percentage. The 
doctrine of the tithe is not applicable to Christian giving. 
There are those who ought not to give so much as a tenth 
of their income to such purposes ; and there are those who 
ought, perhaps, to give nine-tenths of it. Insistence upon 
the tithe is apt to obscure the Christian principle : " Every 
man according to his several ability." The Jewish rule is 
not the Christian rule, and should not be appealed to in 
Christian instruction. 

The methods of gathering these offerings of the church 
greatly vary. In some congregations the plate or basket 
collections for each cause are relied on, notice of the col 
lection being given on the previous Sunday. In such 
cases only a portion of the congregation is offered the 
opportunity of contributing, for a large percentage of the 
members will be absent on any given Sunday. In some 
churches collections for benevolent purposes are taken 
every Sunday, and either a certain number of Sundays are 
set apart to each object, or else the entire amount collected 
is divided periodically, according to some ratio agreed 
upon, among the several objects to which the church con 
tributes. This plan is practicable in the churches which 
do not need to take collections for their own current 
expenses. It would, doubtless, be far better if the entire 
revenues of the church could be provided by other means, 
so that the church collections might be wholly given to 
the purposes of benevolence. 

By some churches the attempt is made to secure, at the 
beginning of the year, pledges to each of the causes to be 
presented to the church. The pledge card is returned to 
the clerk of the church, who keeps an account with each 
member pledging, and a duplicate is retained by the mem 
ber to keep him in mind of his promise. In some churches, 
the parish is geographically divided into districts, and 
collectors are sent to every parishioner s house to receive 
the offerings of the inmates. In some churches the mails 
are used to remind the members of the coming offering. 


In an envelope, addressed to each person or each family, 
are enclosed a smaller envelope and any leaflet or other 
literature illustrating the object for which the offering is 
taken. A printed note from the pastor should also be 
enclosed, making further explanation and requesting that 
the gift l>e enclosed in the small envelope, scaled, and 
brought or sent to the church on the next Sunday. This 
method renders it tolerably sure that every one will have 
an opportunity of making an offering. 

Every church must determine for itself what method 
it will employ in gathering its benevolent offerings, but 
the subject is one that should not be too lightly disposed 
of. Much depends on the adoption of the best method, 
and the best is not likely to be the easiest. The church 
ought to be willing to take pains and trouble in putting 
the opportunity of giving before every one of its members. 
And the pastor should feel that it rests with him to secure 
the adoption of plans bv which this work will be done, 
and to (ill the whole enterprise with his own courage and 



A QUESTION which must deeply affect the welfare and 
even the character of the local church respects the method 
on which it will chiefly rely for the increase of its mem 
bership. Two principal methods may be said to be in use 
among Protestant churches that of catechetical instruc 
tion, of which the Lutheran Church gives us perhaps the 
strongest example, and that of revivalism, on which several 
other churches mainly depend. Both methods have been 
traced back to the beginnings of Christianity and even to 
the ancient Judaism. No less an authority than Matthew 
Arnold tells us that we may read in the Old Testament of 
a great "religious revival in Hebrew religion, under 
Samson and Samuel, and how by degrees Judaism grew in 
spirituality, and the age of ecstasy and the Witch of 
Endor gave place to the prophets of the eighth century, 
conscious of a real inner call." 

So, too, under Hezekiah, and under Josiah, and in the 
time of Ezra, religious movements occurred which are 
described by the same writer as religious revivals. 1 It will 
be observed, however, that these were events which occurred 
at long intervals. There appears to be no provision in the 
Hebrew scheme of religion for a revival every winter. 
When by the invasion of luxury, or formality, or heathen 
ism, the heart of the Church had grown cold, and its altars 
were neglected and its rites corrupted, there sometimes 
came to the people an influence that aroused them from 
their degeneracy and led them back to their allegiance to 
the God of their fathers. It might be some national dis 
aster, it might be the voice of a prophet or the decree of 
a godly king that awakened them ; but the revival, in all 

1 See God and The Bible, chap, iv., sec. iii. 


these cases, consisted in the recognition by the whole 
people that they had departed from the service of the 
living (rod, and that they ought to forsake their idolatries 
and return to Him. It was not an effort, on the part of 
the Church, to increase its membership, by calling in those 
who were without its pale; it was a reformation of the 
Church itself. 

The remarkable event which took place at .Jerusalem on 
the dav of Pentecost is often called a revival. Hut this 
was the result of the enforcement by the word of the 
apostles and the spirit of (lod, upon the minds of a great 
multitude of people, of the truth that Jesus of Nazareth, 
whom they had cruciiied, was the Messiah for whom they 
had so loiiyf been waiting. Most of these men and women 

o o 

had known .Jesus and had been inclined to believe on him 
and follow him. His blameless life and his marvellous 
teachings had appealed to their reason and their affection: 
probably thev had been in the multitude that led him in 
triumph into Jerusalem from the Mount of ( Hives, shouting, 
"Hosanna, Hlessed is he that cometh in the name of the 
Lord!" This enthusiasm of theirs was sincere enough; 
like the two disciples that were walking to Kmmaus, they 
were trusting that it was he who should redeem Israel. 
But when Jesus suffered himself to be apprehended by 
the Sanhedrin, and, when, unresistingly, he was led away 
from Pilate to be crncitied, their faith in him was gone; 
he could be nothing but an impostor. The testimony of 
the apostles at Pentecost, uncoil tradictecl by the authorities, 
that he had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, 
with the full revelation of the fact that his was a spiritual 
and not a temporal kingdom, thre\v a new light upon 
his character: and with bitter contrition the multitude 
accepted as their Lord and King him whom upon the 
cross, in their unspiritual blindness, they had denied and 

Hut the psychological experience of these thousands on 
the day of Pentecost must have been altogether ditl crent 
from that of those who are appealed to in a modern revival 
meeting. These were not irreligious men; the record 


distinctly says that they were "devout men." They were 
not men who hud rejected a King whom they knew to be 
divine, because of a moral unwillingness on their part to 
submit their lives to his gentle reign. They had turned 
away from him sadly, and no doubt resentfully, because 
he did not till their conception of Messiahship. He had 
not proved to be the kind of Deliverer for whom they had 
been taught to look. It was necessary that their intel 
lectual conception of the Christ should be transformed. 
This was what happened at Pentecost. The fact of the 
resurrection convinced them that Jesus of Nazareth was 
the Messiah. Probably no fact less significant would have 
changed their minds. When they were once assured that 
this Jesus was their long-expected Deliverer, they were 
willing at once to be baptized into his name. 

This is not the condition of the multitude that listens 
to the revivalist s appeals in a Christian church of the 
nineteenth century. There is no uncertainty in their 
minds respecting the character of Christ; most of them 
believe all that the preacher believes concerning him ; they 
refuse to accept Christ as Lord because they do not wish 
to follow him in the ways of consecrated service. The 
revival which brought the three thousand at Jerusalem to 
acknowledge Jesus Christ as the true Messiah involved a 
very different intellectual and spiritual process from that 
which is described as conversion in modern evangelical 
churches. It is not, therefore, legitimate to argue from 
Pentecost to a modern revival of religion. The two 
events are not of the same nature. And it is doubtful 
whether any close analogies can be found in Biblical his 
tory for that which is best known, in modern Christen 
dom, as a revival. 

This is not, however, decisive as against the modern 
revival. The Church has developed many new methods ; 
life will create its own forms ; the anxiety of the apologists 
to trace all good institutions back to apostolic or patri 
archal models is quite superfluous. The modern revival 
may not have been known to Hezekiah or Ezra, to Peter 
or Paul, and may still be a very good thing. The ques- 


tion is not whether it is old, but whether it is good. And, 
to put the case more precisely, the real question is whether 
the Church should mainly depend for its growth upon 
revival methods, or upon the method of instruction and 
nurture. In his treatise on Christian Nurture Dr. Hushnell 
thus states the case : 

"There are t\vo principal modes by which the kingdom 
of God among men may be, and is to be extended. One 
is by the process of conversion, and the other by that of 
family propagation; one by gaining over to the side of 
faith and piety, the other by the populating force of faith 
and piety themselves. The former is the grand idea that 
has taken possession of the churches of our times, they 
are going to convert the world. They have taken hold of 
the promise, which so many of the prophets have given 
out, of a time when the reign of Christ shall be universal, 
extending to all nations and peoples; and the expectation 
is that, by preaching Christ to all the nations, they will 
finally convert them and bring them over into the gospel 
fold. Meantime very much less, or almost nothing, is 
made of the other method, vi/.., that of Christian popu 
lation. Indeed, as we are now looking at religion, or 
religious character and experience, we can hardly find a 
place for any such thought as a possible reproduction thus 
of parental character and grace in children. They must 
come in by choice, on their o\vn account: they must be 
converted over from an outside life that has grown to 
maturity in sin. Are they not individuals? and how are 
they to be initiated into any good by inheritance and before 
choice? It is as if thev were all so main" Melchisedecs in 
their religious nature, only not righteous at all, without 
father, without mother, without descent. Descent brings 
them nothing. Horn of faith, and bosomed in it, and 
nurtured by it. still there is yet to be no faith begotten in 
them, nor so much as a contagion even of faith to be 
caught in their garments. What I propose, at the present 
time, is to restore, if possible, a juster impression of this 
great subject; to show that conversion over to the Church 
is not the only way of increase; that (Jod ordains a law of 


population in it as truly as he does in an earthly kingdom, 
or colony, and by this increase from within, quite as much 
as by conversion from without, designs to give it, finally, 
the complete dominion promised." 1 

In the book from which these words are taken, this 
great teacher sought to turn the thought of the Church 
away from her almost exclusive trust in revivalistic 
methods, which, as it seemed to him, were greatly weaken 
ing her life, toward the less demonstrative ways of Chris 
tian education, not only in the Church, but also and more 
especially in the home. The fact was pointed out that the 
Church, in many of its branches, had come to rely, almost 
wholly, on the revival system, for the replenishment of its 
membership and the invigoration of its life. Additions 
to its numbers, except as the fruit of revivals, there were, 
in these denominations, almost none: between these peri 
odic awakenings the stream of its activities flowed slug 
gishly: the converting grace was only looked for in the 
revival season. This complete reliance upon revivalism 
had led to the practical abandonment of the quieter 
methods. Children were trained for Christian discipleship 
neither in the Church nor in the home, nor was it expected 
that they would be quietly led into the ways of Christian 
service : they were to be swept into the Church on some 
flood of excitement in the time of a revival. The manner 
in which the conduct of Christian parents is affected by 
this expectation is described by Dr. Bushnell : 

" They believe in what are called revivals of religion, 
and have a great opinion of them as being, in a very 
special sense, the converting times of the gospel. They 
bring up their children, therefore, not for conversion 
exactly, but, what is less dogmatic and formal, for the 
converting times. And this they think is even more 
evangelical and spiritual because it is more practical; 
though, in fact, much looser, and connected commonly 
with even greater defections from parental duty and fidel 
ity. To bring up a family for revivals of religion requires, 
alas! about the smallest possible amount of consistency 

1 Christian Nurture, pp. 195-197. 


and Christian assiduity. No matter what opinion may be 
held of such times, or of their inherent value and propriety 
as pertaining to the genuine economy of the gospel, any 
one can see that Christian parents may very easily roll off 
a great part of their responsibilities, and comfort them 
selves in utter vanity and worldliness of life, by just hold 
ing it as a principal hope for their children, that they are 
to be finally taken up and rescued from sin by revivals of 
religion. As it costs much to be steadily and uniformly 
spiritual, how agreeable the hope that gales of the Spirit 
will come to make amends for their conscious defections! 
If they do not maintain the unworldly and heavenly spirit, 
so as to make it the element of life in their house, (iod 
will some time have his day of power in the community, 
and they piously hope that their children will then be con 
verted to Christ. So they fall into a key of expectation 
that permits, for the present, modes of life and conduct 
which they cannot quite approve. They go after the 
world with an eagerness which they expect by and by to 
check, or possibly, for the time, to repent of. The family 
prayers grow cold and formal, and are often intermitted. 
The tempers are earthly, coarse, violent. Discipline is 
ministered in anger, not in love. The children are lec 
tured, scolded, scorched by fiery words. The plans are all 
for money, show, position, not for the more sacred and 
higher interests of character. The conversation is unchari 
table, harsh, malignant, an effusion of spleen, a tirade, a 
taking down of supposed worth and character by low 
imputations and carping criticisms. In this kind of ele 
ment the children are to have their growth and nurture, 
but the parents piously hope that there will some time IKJ 
a revival of religion, and that so God will mercifully make 
up what they conceive to be only the natural infirmitv of 
their lives. Finally the hoped-for dav arrives, and there 
begins to be a remarkable and strange piety in the house. 
The father chokes almost in his prayer, showing that he 
really prays with a meaning! The mother, conscious that 
things have not been going rightly with the children, and 
seeing many frightful signs of their certain ruin at hand, 


warns them, even weeping, of the impending dangers by 
which she is so greatly distressed on their account; add 
ing also bitter confessions of fault in herself. The chil 
dren stare, of course, not knowing what strange thing has 
come! They cannot be unaffected; perhaps they seem to 
be converted, perhaps not. In many cases it makes little 
difference which ; for if all this new piety in the house is 
to burn out in a few days, and the old regimen of woiidli- 
ness and sin to return, it will be wonderful if they are not 
converted back again to be only just as neglectful, in the 
matter of Christian living, as they were brought up to be. 
Any scheme of nurture that brings up children thus for 
revivals of religion is a virtual abuse and cruelty. And it 
is none the less cruel that some pious-looking pretexts are 
cunningly blended with it. Instead of that steady, forma 
tive, new-creating power that ought to be exerted by holi 
ness in the house, it looks to campaigns of force that really 
dispense with holiness, and it results that all the best ends 
of Christian nurture are practically lost." 1 

It must be admitted that this picture is quite too real 
istic; and that, under the prevalence of the revival system, 
the normal methods of Christian nurture have been sadly 
neglected, both in the Church and in the home. The 
effect, both upon the Church and upon the home, of this 
too exclusive reliance upon the revival system, has un 
doubtedly been disastrous. The life of many of the 
churches has thus come to be a constant succession of 
floods and droughts, of chills and fever. Between stagna 
tion and excitement they are all the while vibrating. 
Sometimes they are on the heights of religious faith and 
fervor; oftener they are in the depths of discouragement 
and fruitlessness. The influence affecting them appears 
to be malarial. The periodicity of heats and rigors is not 
a sign of health. 

Yet this is the state of things for which, in many 
churches, systematic provision is made. It seems to be 
expected that the church will either be on the heights or 
in the depths. There is a certain time of year when it is 

1 Pages 77-79. 


on the pinnacle of emotional excitement, when its assem 
blies are scenes of the most boisterous enthusiasm; when 
the cries and shouts and passionate appeals of its wor 
shippers evince a perfervid zeal; and there are other times 

much more extended and continuous, it must be admitted 
- when the flame of holy love burns low in the candle 
stick; when there is only a small attendance upon public 
worship; when the earnestness of prayer and exhortation 
appears to be simulated or forced rather than spontaneous, 

pumped up, as it were, out of a dry well; and when the 
most frequent word of the prayer-room is a word of cen 
sure or complaint because of the coldness of the times. 
These reactions are part of the history of a good many 
Christian churches, indeed they may be said to consti 
tute their history. It is easy to see that the one of these 
conditions is the natural consequence of the other. It is 
no more strange nor unaccountable than sleep following 
muscular exhaustion, or low tide following high tide. 
Just as long as men live in bodies and in their present 
environment so long will abnormal excitement on any sub 
ject be followed by unwonted indifference to that subject; 
and excessive exertion on behalf of it give place to undue 
neglect. The law of stimulants is well known. When 
any organism is whipped up to unnatural activitv, it will 
inevitably flag when the goad ceases to be applied. This 
law holds good of a religious society as well as of a 
human body. 

When the drunkard is in the depression following his 
debauch, he is not apt to seek the right remedy. If he 
would content himself with nourishing and stimulating 
food and soothing potions by which he might gradually 
regain steadiness of nerve and strength of body, it would 
be well with him. But this he does not choose to do. 
To regain the safe 1 levels of sobriety and health is not 
what occurs to him ; he wants to go back to those giddy 
heights of inebriated hilarity from which he plunged into 
this abyss. He will return to his cups. That is his 
notion of the proper remedy fur his dismal condition. 
And there is something very like unto this in the experi- 


ence of some of our churches. During the long period 
when the church is in the depths, and the air of the 
prayer-meeting is full of jeremiades, and the mourners are 
going about the streets, there is not much thought of try 
ing to rise to a condition of moderate activity, a condition 
that can be sustained; of taking a pace that can be held, 
and holding it; the only thought is of climbing to the 
heights again, of getting another start in that break-neck 
gait which must end in collapse and prostration. 

So long as the churches of this country are subject to 
malarial influences of this kind, their usefulness will be 
limited. It is highly desirable that a conception of the 
religious life which is much less hysterical and emotional 
should prevail in many sections of the Church. 

Doubtless, these churches may often feel that their life 
is far less vigorous and fruitful than it ought to be. If 
they are not in the depths, they know that they are far 
below the level of earnest fidelity and consecrated zeal on 
which they ought to be living. How to get out of their 
present low condition into a safer and healthier and hap 
pier one is a problem that often confronts them. They 
ought not be content to stay where they are ; if their faith 
is feeble and their life is low and their gains are few, they 
ought to bestir themselves: but how shall they escape, 
and whither? A man who awakes in the morning and 
finds the mercury in his house down to freezing point, 
does not wish to live in this temperature ; he cannot. But 
what shall he do to raise it? He might set the house on 
fire : that would accomplish the result, but it might not be 
the best way. Another way would be to build good fires 
in the fire-places and keep them burning steadily. Prob 
ably that would make the house comfortable after a little. 
This method might not be so expeditious or so exciting 
as the other, but on the whole it would be more judicious. 
And it would seem that there must be a better method of 
delivering a church from a condition of low tempera 
ture than by applying to it the torch of high-pressure 

But not only is the life of the Church unhealthily affected 


by a too exclusive reliance upon the rcvivalistic methods, 
there is also, as has been suggested, a serious loss in the 
neglect of those quieter methods of nurture and training, 
out of which such important gains might come. That 
chapter of Dr. Bushnell s from which ([notations have 
already been made is entitled "The Out-Populating 
Power of the Christian Stock." His argument is that if 
the Church simply luil<l* it* own, its growth will be rapid, 
even phenomenal. If the children of Christian families 
are kept in the Church and trained for ellicient service, if 
the organic life of the Church is as vigorous as it ought to 
be, its own law of natural increase will speedily put it in 
possession of the world. 

"In this view it is to be expected, as the life of Chris 
tian pietv becomes more extended in the earth, and the 
spirit of (iod obtains a living power, in the successive 
generations, more and more complete, that linallv the race 
itself will be so thorough! v regenerated as to have a Lrenu- 

o .. o o 

inely populating power in faith and godliness. I>y a kind 
of ante-natal and post-natal nurture combined, the new 
born generations will be started into Christian pietv, and 
the world itself over- populated and taken possession of 
by a truly sanctified stock. This I conceive to be the 
expectation of Christianity. Not that the bad heritage of 
depravity will cease, but that the second Adam will get 
into power with the iirst. and be entered seminally into 
the same great process of propagated life. And this ful 
fils that primal desire of the world s Creator and Father, 
of which the prophet speaks k That he might have a 
godly seed/ " ! 

It may be objected that piety is a matter of individual 
choice. The answer is that the same is true of sin. 
"Many of us have no difficulty in saying that mankind are 
born sinners. Thev may just as truly and properly be 
born saints it requires the self-active power to lie just as 
far developed to commit sin as it does to choose obedi 
ence." 2 The organic tendency to holiness may be as posi 
tive as the organic tendency to evil. And the Scriptures 

1 Christian Nurture, p. 205. - Ibid., p. 107. 


everywhere assume that this mighty force of heredity will 
be employed by the Church in transmitting the forces of 
righteousness. It is needful, indeed, that the Church and 
the Christian home shall be ready to take the children, 
thus predisposed to the acceptance of Christ, and give 
them a godly nurture, surrounding them with the influ 
ences which shall cherish and not extinguish the good 
tendencies which they have inherited, and lead them 
toward the voluntary choice of Christ and his service. 
This expectation rests upon the doctrine of the Immanent 
Christ. " What higher ground of supernaturalism can be 
taken," demands this prophet, "than that which supposes 
a capacity in the Incarnate Word and sanctified Spirit to 
penetrate our fallen nature, at a point so deep as to cover 
the whole spread of the fall, and be a grace of life, travel 
ling outward from the earliest, most latent germs of our 
human development." 1 If the saving grace of God does 
enter thus into the very sources of our life, and is to be 
found working there to regenerate and sanctify, there is 
surely great hope for us, when we seek to work out our 
own salvation, and to guide the children committed to 
our charge into the ways of life. The Church thus sanc 
tified in its life and entering with intelligent purpose into 
the great plans of God for its redemption would become 
"the great populating motherhood of the world/ 2 

The manner in which this may come to pass is outlined 
in a luminous passage of the volume under our considera 
tion. In a regenerated society the tides of health and 
physical vigor will be stronger than elsewhere. The 
debilitating effects of vice and extravagance will be 
minimized, and the energies of life Avill be reinforced. 
Physical vigor will give the mastery of the physical con 
ditions of life, and " the wealth accruing is power in every 
direction, power in production, enterprise, education, 
colonization, influence, and consequent popular increase." 3 
Intellectual development is the natural fruit of such con 
ditions ; for the great thoughts of God which the Christian 

1 Christian Nurture, p. 205. 
2 Ibid., p. 206. 3 Ibid., p. 211. 


faith makes familiar not only purify the heart but stimu 
late the reasoning powers and give wings to the imagina 
tion. Thus the great fact of the expansion of ( hristendom, 
to which reference was made in a former chapter, is seen 
to be the natural outcome of the principle of life which 
Christianity communicates. It is in the nature of the 
leaven to leaven the whole lump. "These great popula 
tions of Christendom, what are they doing but throwing 1 
out their colonies on every side, and populating themselves, 
if I may so speak, into the possession of all countries and 
climes? I>v this doom of increase, the stone that w;is cut 
out without hands shows itself to be a very peculiar stone, 
namely, a growing stone, that is fast becoming ;i great 
mountain, and preparing, as the vision shows, to till the 
whole earth." J 

This does not mean that we have no evangelistic work 
to do; it only means that we are not to under-estimate the 
natural fruits of Christian nurture, and the gains that 
must come to us from simply recognizing the normal la\v 
of increase. In a high and true sense we may expect to 
see the principle of natural selection working to secure 
the triumph of Christianity. That, in fact, is what we do 
see, in the marvellous progress of Christian civili/ation. 

If the significance of these great truths could oiilv be 
apprehended by the churches, it is probable that we should 
see some wonderful gains in the next century. If the 
churches were all to put their chief reliance on methods 
less dramatic and spectacular, but more in harmony with 
all the great economies of nature, there is reason to 
believe that such an accession of strength would come to 
them as would make the promise of the speedy triumph of 
the kingdom far easier to believe. 

It will be said, however, that the revival system is so 
thoroughly intrenched in the churches which have employed 
it that it will be next to impossible to supplant it. .More 
over, it will be urged, it is even securing a strong footing 
in some of the sacerdotal churches: the High Anglicans 
are resorting to "missions," and the 1 aulist Fathers among 

1 Christian Nurture, \>. 213. 


the Roman Catholics undertake a service not dissimilar 
to that of the travelling evangelists of the Protestant 
churches. All these things show, it will be argued, that 
revival measures meet a recognized need of the Church, 
and that some provision must be made for work of this 
kind in connection with the churches. If the Church 
must cherish and nurture its own children, it has also a 
message for those who are without its pale. Its commis 
sion is "Go and preach!" Not only to those of its own 
household, but to those who are in the highways and hedges 
it is sent, with the good tidings. It must be not only a 
teaching but a converting Church. And in order that it 
may do this work efficiently, it must learn how to concen 
trate its energies upon it, and to marshal in forces for its 

In all this is truth which must not be forgotten. The 
work that is done through what are known as revival 
measures is work that cannot be left undone. The two 
kinds of activity which we are considering must go on 
together. The question before us is really one of propor 
tion. The converting agencies cannot be neglected; the 
question is whether they shall have the relative importance 
now often given to them, and whether the work of church 
and household nurture should not have the highest place. 
Is the church which makes the latter a secondary interest 
likely to preserve its spiritual health? The Anglican 
churches, which have long relied almost exclusively upon 
the intensive method, have lately been constrained to take 
up the work of the "missioner, " and to organize a vigorous 
campaign of evangelization. They have felt the deficiency 
of their method, and are seeking to supply it. Would 
not the same wisdom compel the churches which have 
been resting wholly on the revival .-system to revise their 
programme and devote themselves with equal zeal to the 
work of teaching and training? 

The idea which underlies revivalism is that of a certain 
fluctuation in the movements of spiritual influence. It is 
supposed that the converting grace of God is sometimes 
present in the community in far greater fulness than at 


other times; that he is sometimes ready and sometimes 
reluctant to aid us in our efforts to bring men to a knowl 
edge of the truth. Concerning all this we hear many 
statements which evince crude notions of the divine good 
ness. It is necessary for the faithful pastor to disahuse 
the minds of his people of such quaint superstitions. Let 
him not hesitate to preach, with all positiveness, the doc 
trine of the divine omnipresence. And let him make it 
clear that omnipresence is a spiritual fact not less than a 
physical fact. That (.rod s power is everywhere in Nature 
men easily Ix lieve; but it is more difficult for some to 
comprehend that as a Spirit he is no less pervasive and 
constant in his operations. They would never think of 
praying that God would come to the scene of their daily 
labor and give cohesion to the particles of matter or 
chemical affinity to its atoms, or actinic force to the rays 
of the sun; they would never he heard lamenting that the 
law of gravitation had ceased to operate in the city of 
their residence, or praying that the power of God, as 
manifested in gravitation, might he displayed in their 
neighborhood as wonderfully as it had been displayed in 
other neighborhoods: yet they do often lament that the 
spiritual influences of God have departed, and pray that 
they may be restored. It might be supposed that no such 
conception could occupy the minds of Christian disciples, 
but it will be found that notions of this kind do prevail to 
a considerable extent. To remove this misconception is 
part of the duty of the Christian teacher. He must make 
it clear that no such literal separation of God s spirit from 
man can be conceived of. It can be no more true that his 
spirit is withdrawn from human lives, than that his power 
is withdrawn from the natural systems by which our 
bodies are sustained. God is not less constant in his 
ministrations to the souls of men than to their bodies. 
The doctrine of his omnipresence is sadly mutilated when 
we make it apply only to physical nature and exclude it 
from the spiritual world. 

When, therefore, we hear the prophet saying, "Seek ye 
the Lord while he may be found, call ye niton him while 


he is near," 1 we must be ready at once to admit that these 
words are not to be taken as literal statements of his 
relation to us. Yet there is a truth of experience to which 
these words conform. Like many other words of Scripture 
and of common speech, they put the subjective for the 
objective. We speak of a room as cheerful, meaning that 
we are cheerful while we occupy it. We talk of a dizzy 
height, attributing to the place our sensations. And thus 
it often happens that, so far as our consciousness is con 
cerned, God is nearer to us at some times than at other 

There may be various reasons for this. The environ 
ment, the spiritual atmosphere, may be clearer at some 
times than at others. The hills of the distant horizon 
seem much nearer on one day than on another. Some 
times clouds hide them from our sight: sometimes in the 
autumn haze they are very dim; we can hardly tell 
whether they are mountains or clouds : sometimes in the 
clear air of a winter morning they appear to draw near: 
we can almost individualize the trees in the horizon line. 
It is undeniable that our personal experience of the divine 
presence is subject to variations not unlike these. There 
are hours and days when our sense of his existence and 
of our relation to him is comparatively dim and unreal: 
and there are hours and days when the thought of him 
impresses us, and when all things remind us of him. 
This is not because he is really nearer at one time than 
at another, but because something in ourselves or in our 
surroundings renders communication with him more 
direct at some times than at others. The earth is nearer 
to the sun when it is winter in the northern hemisphere 
than when it is summer, but it seems farther off, because 
the rays of the sun strike it obliquely in the winter and 
directly in the summer. And in like manner there are 
times when the plane of our lives is turned away from the 
Sun of Righteousness, so that we do not receive the direct 
rays of his light and love ; and other times when our lives 
are turned toward him and our atmosphere is as full of his 

1 Isa. lv. f>. 


influence as is the air in June of the sun s life-giving 
power. It is very important that we should know that 
these vicissitudes in our experience are not due to any 
fitfulness of the (Jiver of all good: with him "there can 
be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning." 1 
liut it is also reasonable that we should make the most of 
the flood-tides of our experience. If, in some hours or 
seasons, we are more conscious than at others of the 
presence of the divine influence in our lives, it is then 
that we should press into the audience chamber and make 
known to him our requests. 

Sometimes the social conditions are such that there is 
unusual readiness on the part of those not known as dis 
ciples to consider the claims of (tod upon their lives. It 
is not necessary to enter into any discussion of the causes 
which produce these social conditions. Doubtless thev 
are much less recondite than they are sometimes supposed 
to be. Hut no matter what may be the causes, the effects 
are notable, and they ought to be wisely used. The sun 
is no nearer in June than in December, but June and not 
January is harvest time. 

"Seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord " - 
will come, therefore, to every faithful church. It will not 
be true of any church which sets before itself the true 
ideal of life and work that its activities will alwavs move 
upon one dead level. While it goes about its work cheer 
fully and patiently, seasons of unwonted interest and 
enjoyment will supervene; truth will be borne in upon 
the minds of disciples with unwonted power: they will 
feel new delight in their devotions and new y.eal in their 
labors: their hearts will burn within them as they journey 
in the common paths of dailv experience and the quicken 
ing influence of the divine Spirit will be felt in all their 
assemblies. Such times of refreshing do come to all 
faithful companies of Christian laborers: there are hours 
when the Kingdom of (iod seems to be very near to them. 
Such visitations as these, which occur to those who are 
patiently doing their Master s work, differ widely from the 

1 .laini-i i. 17 - An- iii. I .i. 


custom-made excitements into which some disciples are 
wont periodically to lash themselves. When they come 
we may well regard them as seasons for renewing our 
vigilance and increasing our diligence. How to use such 
seasons wisely, when they come, is one of the practical 
questions that test the judgment of the Christian minister. 
"The church," says a wise pastor, "should welcome these 
periodic revival occasions when they come naturally, as 
affording it a special opportunity for its proper work. 
Sometimes, indeed, these occasions have been abused by 
ignorant and unwise leaders. Sometimes they have used 
exaggerated statements of doctrines or gross sensationalism 
to stampede men into the kingdom of heaven under a 
panic of fear or through the common impulse of the crowd. 
The result is an explosion of passional excitement rather 
than a genuine arousing of the religious nature. And the 
reaction that follows such a spurious work brings a deep 
distaste for religion and a greater unwillingness to listen 
to its appeals and engage in its duties. We need to be on 
our guard against any such misuse of the opportunity." 1 

As a rule it will be well, when such tides of religious 
feeling sweep through the congregation, to keep the ordi 
nary activities of the church moving steadily forward, 
without any great change in methods. Some greater 
frequency of public services may be advisable, but even 
here moderation is wise. It is not good to permit the 
impression to obtain that this new earnestness is the effect 
of some special measures employed, or inseparable from 
them. It ought to be evident that the heightened relig 
ious feeling can find ample expression in the ordinary 
services of the church, and in the common round of daily 
duties. In his work on the Theory of Preaching, Professor 
Austin Phelps gives useful counsel on this subject: 

" The tendency of popular religious excitement to morbid 
growths is proportioned to the insignificance of the execu 
tive action to which it is directed. Neither nature nor 
grace in normal action fosters profound agitations of con 
science about petty things. Make such things the centre 

1 Rev. C. H. Richards, in Parish Problems, pp. 312, 313. 


of intense convictions of conscience, and you inevitably 
create religious distortions. The prick of a needle in the 
spinal marrow may make a child a hunchback for life. So 
let an awakened conscience be penetrated deeply concern 
ing action which is not significant of character, and its 
working becomes diseased. The penetration results in 
ulceration. Therefore it is always the aim of a wise 
preacher in a revival to guide the current, and, still more 
carefully, a torrent of quickened emotion, as soon as pos 
sible into the even tenor of life s ordinary duties. The 
specialty of a revival of religion in itself is not a desirable 
thing. The sooner it ceases to be exceptional, and flows 
into life s common channel of interests, the better. Relig 
ions excitement has no value any further than it can be 
utilized in the sanctifying of common life. All conver 
sions, until they receive the test of real life, are of the 
nature of death-bed repentance in this respect, that they 
have not been subjected to the divinely appointed disci 
pline of religious character. Hence it is seldom, if ever, 
wise to suspend for any long time the common routine of 
life, because of the presence of the Holy Ghost in regener 
ating power. We can devise no better means of moral 
discipline. We dislocate the divine plan, if we displace 
that in the attempt to improve upon it." 1 

Professor Phelps calls attention also to the fact that the 
machinery of the revival, the anxious seat, the inquiry 
meeting, the rising for prayer, the public confession, the 
street singing, are apt to absorb the popular thought. For 
this reason it is highly important that special instrumen 
talities of all sorts be sparingly employed. The tendeiicv 
is strong to identify the spiritual influences with the 
methods used in giving them effect. The saeramentalism 
which attributes spiritual effects to physical causes is not 
confined to the sacerdotal systems. Precisely the same 
thing widely prevails in the churches which depend on the 
revival system. The use of certain expedients comes to be 
regarded as indispensable to the action of the converting 
grace of God. Intelligent pastors have testified that the 


piety of a candidate for membership in their churches was 
greatly discredited in the opinion of the church if he did 
not come in by way of the " anxious seat " or the " mourner s 
bench. To go through these particular motions seems to 
many disciples almost the sine qua non of conversion. 
The outward act is in their minds as much an opus operatum 
as is the administration of the sacrament in the mind of a 
Roman Catholic. When things have come to this pass 
the abolition of the usage is the only way of safety. A 
distinguished American revivalist of a former generation, 
the Rev. Dr. Kirk, speaks thus of the evils which may 
spring from emphasizing mere methods: 

" Inquirers easily substitute the mechanical act for the 
spiritual step that leads to the Saviour. I have known 
leaders to become so earnest in urging to this bodily 
exercise, that it seemed to me certain that some of those 
thus urged would lose sight of the spiritual objects which 
are the only real magnet to draw the life into new chan 
nels, while their attention was engrossed with the outward. 
And when they yield to this urgency there is some danger 
they may substitute the outward act for the faith which 
saves, depending on the measure instead of Christ. The 
leader is often placed in a very undesirable position. He 
has undertaken a public contest with the inquirers ; and I 
have seen one become angry because he was foiled in it. 
This can be avoided, however, by simply making the 
offer, and not undertaking to urge the step. The inquirer 
sometimes is hardened by his resistance to the minister; 
so that he more easily resists the Spirit of God. His 
success in the contest with God s servant emboldens him. 
The attention of the Church becomes diverted from the 
mercy-seat, to watch the success of this measure, with 
mixed emotions of true zeal, curiosity, and a party 
spirit." 1 

The first condition of healthy growth in a season of this 
kind is entire freedom from all these mechanical devices. 
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Ste 
reotyped methods are not the sign of his presence. His 

1 Tlie Supernatural Factor in Revivals, p. 1 J .). 


manifestation will be as free and various as is the reve 
lation of the spirit, of l>eauty in the natural world. 

Whether the assistance of a professional evangelist 
should he called in is a question on which wise pastors 
differ. The fresh voice and the new way of presenting 
the truth are sometimes effectual : undoubtedly the evan 
gelist may reach some whom the pastor has failed to 
influence. There are evangelists so sane and prudent 
that they might be safely trusted in any congregation. 
But, as a rule, it is better for the pastor to keep the work 
in his own bauds. The different methods of presentation 
ma} be helpful to some, but they will be distracting to 
others, and doctrinal difficulties are often suggested by the 
homiletical divergence of the evangelist from the pastor. 
There are few evangelists who do not introduce more or 
less of revivalistic machinery; and the increase of this is 
always to be deprecated. The presence of the evangelist 
is itself something exceptional: the tendency will be strong 
to identify the unusual interest with him, and to imagine 
that when he departs the work is at an end. On the 
whole, therefore, the results are apt to be better if the 
pastor goes quietlv forward with his work, making no 
more changes than he must in the ordinary appointments 
of the church, and turning the rising current of faith and 
love into the regular channels of church service. The 
only purpose of such a revival, so far as the church is 
concerned, is to replenish all its normal activities. 

In services which are chiefly intended for the conver 
sion of men, it is usually assumed that some method 
should be employed to secure the decision of those to 
whom the invitation of the gospel is addressed, and to 
obtain the confession of their purpose to begin the life of a 
disciple. The duty of some public expression of this 
purpose is often enforced by our Lord and his apostles: 
and it seems rational that some wav should be devised of 
ascertaining whether those who hear the appeal of the 
preacher are inclined to respond to it. There is sometimes 
a singular lack of definiteness and practicality in our 
evangelistic efforts: we fire into the flock and make no 


effort to ascertain whether any shot has taken effect. In 
special evangelistic services an attempt is made to supply 
this deficiency. Sometimes those who are inclined to 
accept the gospel offer are asked to stand up in the con 
gregation, or to raise their hands: sometimes they are 
invited to remain, after the public service, for conversa 
tion with the minister: sometimes, as we have seen, they 
are called forward to kneel at the altar of the church. 
No method can be prescribed for the accomplishment of 
this purpose, and it is not necessary that any of those 
ordinarily employed should be unqualifiedly condemned. 
The character of the congregation appealed to, and the 
usage of the church will largely determine the method. 
One or two cautions are needful. The appeal should 
never be made in such a way as to embarrass those who 
for any reason may not wish to respond to it, or to put 
them in a false position. When a minister asks all who 
are already Christians to rise and remain standing, and 
then asks those who wish to become Christians to rise with 
them, attention is sharply called to the few who remain 
sitting. They are put in the attitude of saying that they 
do not wish to become the disciples of Christ. This may 
not at all represent their real feeling. They simply do 
not wish to express their desire publicly; and they may 
have good reasons for this hesitation. Any method of 
calling for public expression which embarrasses those who 
do not answer to the call is always to be avoided. It is 
better to say, " If there are any who would like to make 
known their desire to be Christians, let them rise." 

There are always some who are touched by the appeal 
and inclined to commit themselves, but who shrink at the 
outset from any such public proclamation of their purpose 
as is involved in standing up in the congregation. Some 
zealous evangelists insist that such scruples should not be 
respected, and that those who cannot accept this invitation 
are not to be regarded as sincere in their purpose. But 
he who does not quench the smoking flax is ready to 
recognize the most timid and halting resolution. And it 
is well, if such confessions are called for, to provide some 


moans l>y which every one who desires to do so may 
signify his wish to begin a better life. A simple device is 
the distribution of plain cards to all members of the con 
gregation. The cards may be handed to them as they 
come in. At the close of the service, the minister may 
ask all those who are present to write their names upon 
the cards: those who are already members of the church 
to signify that fact by a cross under the name; those who 
are not, but who are willing to enter the way of the dis 
ciple, to write under the name the word "Yes," adding 
their address if they would like to receive a call from him. 
Upon the cards thus collected he may find the names of 
some who have accepted the gospel invitation and with 
whom lie may put himself in communication. All this 
is done with the utmost decorum; there is no invasion of 
any personality; there is no excitement: the choice is 
quietly made and registered and the iirst step is taken in 
the Christian way. 

The pastor should also invite any who may wish to 
speak with him to tarry after the service: and he will do 
well to appoint an hour during the day when those who 
desire conversation with him may call upon him. 

Respecting all these matters of detail it must be said, 
however, that they must never be stereotyped, and that 
the pastor must exercise his own judgment freely in adapt 
ing his methods to the needs of his congregation. 

It has been assumed, in this discussion, that "times of 
refreshing " would come to the faithful church: and that 
it is the duty of the church to expect them, and be ready 
to make the most of them when they come, but not to 
attempt, by any artificial means, to work them up. Hut 
may it not be well to devote certain portions of every year 
to special services? The Roman Catholic and Anglican 
churches observe the Lenten season in this manner; there 
are then daily services in the churches, social engage 
ments are fewer than is usual, and the interests of the 
religious life are made the uppermost subject of thought. 
Is not this observance, on the whole, a salutary one? Is 
it not well to concentrate our thought and desire, in this 


manner, upon the things that so deeply concern our peace? 
Might not all the churches appropriately choose this 
season, or some portion of it, for daily service? There 
seems to be some tendency in this direction, and it may 
well be encouraged. A period favorable to special relig 
ious services, says an experienced pastor, "is the Lenten 
season, when abstention from gayety and pleasure on the 
part of a large portion of the Christians would induce 
social quiet and thoughtfulness, which is peculiarly suited 
to the introduction of religious themes. The attention of 
men is more readily arrested then : there are fewer diver 
sions to distract their thoughts when once turned to these 
momentous questions, and the sacred and touching events 
in the life of our Saviour which are associated with the 
observance of this season make it a particularly fitting and 
impressive time for evangelistic meetings. The very days 
speak of penitence, of consecration, and of grateful devo 
tion to Christ." 1 If such meetings should result in the 
deepening of the life of the church, conversions would 
surely be the fruit of them. 

1 Rev. Charles H. Richards, in Parish Problems, p. 314. 



Tui: adjective which stands at the head of this chapter 
is neither apt nor convenient ; its significance docs not 
appear; but it has been applied to a type of religions organ 
ization which is becoming 1 frequent, and there seems to be 
no other term to take its place. The church which is 
described as institutional " is one which adds to the ordi- 
narv features of church life a number of appliances not 
commonly regarded as ecclesiastical, such as gymnasia, 
reading rooms, amusement rooms, and class rooms for in 
struction in science or literature or music or art or useful 
industries. The distinction is not easily applied, for many 
churches that do not claim the name have some such fea 
tures in their work : indeed there are few vigorous 
churches in the larger towns and cities which do not 
employ some of the methods indicated above. It is true, 
however, that quite a number of churches in America have 
recently made extensive provision for the introduction of 
these methods : and it is to those churches which put a 
strong emphasis upon instrumentalities of this nature that 
the term w institutional " is familiarly applied. " It relates." 
says one authority, "to that form of citv mission work 
which adds certain appliances to the ordinary functions of 
the local church, that adapt the church work better to the 
youth of the neighborhood and the families of working men. 
The building is an e very-day house. The work is social 
and educational, and helpful to the poor: it is diverting, 
amusing, as well as keenly evangelistic. Its evening ser 
vices are so manipulated as to reach the classes to which 
the church ministers. It is a church in which the versa- 



tility of the pastor and his associates, and their knack at 
catching the crowd count for more than in staid family 
churches, where good preaching, systematic edification, and 
certain routine pastoral activities are most in demand." l 

It must be said, however, that sensational preaching is 
not a peculiarity of this type of church : churches which 
admit no novelties of method are quite as apt to resort to 
this. The pastors of the churches best known as " insti 
tutional " in the United States are not, as a rule, sensa 
tional preachers : most of them are as dignified and 
decorous in their pulpit work as any one could desire. 

A brief description of the kinds of work attempted by 
these churches will bring the matter clearly into view. 
The Berkeley Temple, of Boston, under Congregational 
auspices, was one of the first churches to undertake what 
is known as institutional work, and its methods are thus 
described : 

" It started out with the idea of evangelizing the non- 
church-going community, rather than merely edifying the 
habitual church-goer, and in place of the ordinary rou 
tine of parochial visitation, and occasional special services 
to reach the impenitent, the pastoral force was to be first 
of all evangelistic in its methods of work. 

" The building itself was made an open-door church, 
with daily ministrations ; a business house, in spiritual 
business. The attention of non-church-going people was 
attracted at once by popular lectures and concerts. By a 
Dorcastry Superintendent, three hundred young women 
were gathered, for whom reading rooms were opened, and 
twenty evening classes. Young men s reading rooms, 
gymnasium, lyceum work, and evening classes were opened, 
a Boys Brigade organized ; a sewing school and a kinder 
garten provided ; and thirty-seven gatherings, comprising 
from eight to twelve thousand people every week, have 
utilized the Berkeley Temple building. There is a relief 
department for the poor, rescue work for fallen women, 
and a temperance guild of two hundred reformed men. 

" It is in its new environment one of the most highly 

1 Triumphs of the Cross, p. 540. 


organized and efficient institutions ; fully armed at every 
point, and intensely alive spiritually. In seven years the 
church membership has increased from three hundred to 
more than a thousand/ l 

Students from neighboring theological seminaries have 
taken large part in the work of this church. With such 
assistance it has been found possible to establish an " In- 
stitute of Applied Christianity," with a well organized 
teaching force and a regular course of studv. 

Grace Church, or The Temple, in Philadelphia, is a 
Baptist institution of far larger ambitions. This church, 
beginning in a small mission, in the outskirts of the city, 
has taken on one kind of work after another until its scope 
is now wider than that of any other similar organization. 
The membership of the church is now about twenty-five 
hundred, with regular congregations of from four to five 
thousand, of whom many hundreds are devoting much of 
their leisure time to charitable and evangelistic work. 
One striking outcome of this work is a college thus de 
scribed by the pastor : 

" Beginning with seven young men who wished to study 
for the ministry, these attracted others, and the new class 
still others. Teachers were added as the need developed. 
New studies were introduced, as demanded, until now a 
full College Corporation, chartered by the State and inde 
pendent of the church, gives instruction directly and in 
directly to about thirty-live hundred students. The courses 
include a full college course, a college preparatory and 
business courses, a professional course, a School of Christian 
Religion, a musical department, a special department in 
practical instruction connected with mechanics, household 
science, and the useful arts. The new building just dedi 
cated, together with the halls in different parts of the city of 
Philadelphia, have been so arranged as to take six thousand 
students at the opening of the fall term. These students 
are from all classes of society, but most largely from the 
working classes, who would have no opportunity to secure 
such instruction unless permitted to study in their spare 

1 Triumphs of tin C ruas, pp. 5. 5C, 537. 


hours and to go for recitation at the hours most convenient 
for them, day or evening." l 

Another remarkable outgrowth of this work is the Hos 
pital, located in a neighborhood where no provision had 
been made for the care of the sick. It began with four 
beds, and the number has increased to twenty-one, now 
housed with a dispensary in a building owned by the church. 
These beds are usually full the year round with accident 
cases ; sometimes the dispensary and the yard adjoining 
are crowded with afflicted persons waiting for medical or 
surgical assistance. The church regards this part of its 
work as only just begun, and looks for a larger building 
and a work of medical visitation which shall cover the 
entire city. 

Of organizations connected with this church there are 
mentioned seven Christian Endeavor Societies, the Boys 
Brigade, the Young Women s Christian Association, the 
Young Men s Association, the Business Men s Union, 
the Ladies Aid Society, the College Athletic Associa 
tion, the Great Chorus, the King s Daughters and King s 
Sons, the Gymnasium, the Sunday Schools, the Sanitarium, 
the Society for furnishing work for the homeless poor, the 
Home for Young Women, the Girls Lamp and Lilies Bene 
volent Society, the Young Men s Congress, and the Literary 
Societies. The seven reading rooms are said to be over-full 
in the evenings. There are four assistant pastors besides 
the dean of the college and the hospital chaplain. Eighteen 
deacons divide among them the parochial charities. The 
field covered by this single church of Jesus Christ is ex 
ceeding broad. 

The Jersey City Tabernacle is located in a very unprom 
ising section of that city. The licensed saloons in the 
vicinity number about three hundred to the square mile, 
and there are unnumbered groceries where liquor is sold, 
and a full supply of houses of prostitution, pooling shops 
and gambling places. On one side of the Tabernacle, in 
its immediate neighborhood, is the Canal Boat Basin, with 
a shifting population of extremely low character ; docks, 

1 Triumphs of the Cross, pp. 534, 535. 


freight yards and factories form the environment in other 

The first addition to the appliances of this church was a 
bowling alley : this proved so useful that the wisdom of 
providing wholesome amusements for the people of the 
vicinity was justified. A People s Palace has been built 
adjoining the church, in which are billiard tables, a room 
for dramatic entertainments, a swimming tank, and a gvm- 
nasium. More than a score of indoor games of various 
kinds attract the boys, and there is a four-acre lot adjoining 
for out-door sports. There are lecture courses, popular 
entertainments, an employment bureau, a Chautauqua 
circle, a Christian Endeavor Society, and a cooking class 
and a dressmaking class for the girls. Six hundred boys 
are attached to the Tabernacle : there is a Hoys Brigade 
and a carpenters shop. 1 

The churches thus described are known as " institu 
tional ;" others, bearing the same designation, and doing 
the same kind of work, are found in Cleveland, Detroit, 
.Milwaukee, and several other American cities. Other 
churches, not thus designated, are performing the same 
kind of work. The largest and richest Episcopal church in 
America, Trinity Parish, in New York, with eight chapels, 
a total membership of 6488 communicants, and 4^77 pupils 
in its Sunday-schools, includes in its machinery of service 
relief societies, employment bureaux, industrial training 
schools, a number of societies for men. and clubs for all 
ages. Its educational equipment comprises ten day and 
night schools with 104-> scholars and lo/>7 pupils in the 
industrial schools. 

(irace Church in the same city, to which an endowment 
of $350,000 has been given bv a benevolent parishioner, 
divides its work into twelve departments : The Religious 
Instruction of the Young, having eleven hundred in the 
Sunday-schools; Missions at Home and Abroad: Indus 
trial Education, with six hundred pupils: Industrial 
Employment : The Care of the Sick and Needy; The Care 
of Little Children: The Visitation of Neighborhoods; 

1 Tin Triu?nj>lis i if the Cross, p. 525. 


The Visitation of Prisoners ; The Promotion of Temper 
ance ; Fresh Air Work, benefiting eight thousand recipi 
ents ; Libraries and Reading Rooms, and Friendly Societies 
and Brotherhoods. The work of these departments is 
divided between thirty-five organizations." 

St. Bartholomew s Church in New York has a Men s 
Club, with a membership of three hundred; a Girls Club, 
which assists young women to find employment, and whose 
membership, limited to five hundred, is always full, with 
candidates in waiting; and a Boys Club, with a cadet 
corps, a drum and fife corps, a gymnastic class, and classes 
for typewriting, mechanical drawing and bookkeeping. A 
tailor-shop in which women make over or repair old gar 
ments, a cooking class for married women, a sewing school 
with five hundred pupils, and several kindergartens are also 
included among the departments of church work. The St. 
Bartholomew clinic has treated more than six thousand sur 
gical cases in a year and made more than three thousand 
medical visits, and a night dispensary for eye, ear, nose and 
throat disorders has given free treatment to eighteen hun 
dred patients. A novel institution connected with this 
church is the loan bureau, with a capital of $25,000, Avhich 
has aided during one year 768 families by small loans upon 
chattel mortgages. The loan is for one year, and is paid 
in monthly instalments. The purpose is to deliver those 
in distress from the pow r er of the extortioner. The annual 
disbursements of this church are about $200,000. 

St. George s Church, now far down town, with 3185 
communicants on its registry and 1124 families of 5372 
individuals in its parish, has a parish house with a free 
library, a fine gymnasium, industrial schools for boys and 
girls, a free trade-school, with five departments, a Men s 
Club, a Boys Battalion, an Employment Society, an Ath 
letic Club, with sections devoted to base ball, bicycling, 
croquet and tennis ; legal, medical relief, and sanitary 
bureaux, and an extensive kindergarten work. The sea 
side cottage charity, and the poor relief are also important 

These sketches of some of the more important Ameri- 


can churches now devoting 1 their energies to this kind of 
work will serve to indicate the nature of the development 
which is now taking place in this field. The list might be 
greatly extended. In England, both in the national church 
and in the dissenting churches, methods of this nature are 
extensively employed. It is needless to say that the classi 
cal treatises on pastoral theology do not contemplate the 
existence of such functions as these modern churches are 
exercising. Many things which churches in the cities are 
now attempting would have been thought, a few veai-s ago, 
to be utterlv beyond the ecclesiastical pale. Kven now 
there are many who sharply question the legitimacy of 
these methods, maintaining that the line between the 
secular and the sacred should be clearly drawn, and that 
the church should confine itself to purely spiritual func 
tions. The question which is raised by this new departure 
in church activities is one that demands careful con 

It should be at once admitted, that if these new measures 
have the effect to diminish the spiritual power of the church, 
they are by that fact condemned. If libraries and gym 
nasiums and bowling alleys and educational classes and 
men s and boys clubs are inconsistent with or hostile to 
spiritual life and activity they must not be encouraged. It 
is not, however, usually believed that these things are es 
sentially opposed to spiritual culture: it is only contended 
that they are distinct from it, and cannot be usefully com 
bined with it. The assumption is that they belong to a 
different department of life and should be kept separate 
from our religious activities. That Christian men should 
belong to an organization outside the church for the pro 
motion of studies or recreations, would be deemed entirely 
proper: what is questioned is the incorporation of such 
interests in the life of the church. The effect of this, it is 
argued, can only be the "secularization" of the church, 
and the weakening of its religions influence. 

The first answer to this criticism must be found in an 
appeal to the facts. Is it true that the religious life of the 
churches adopting these measures has been preceptibly 


weakened ? The testimony seems to be clear that such is 
not the case. The preaching of most of these pulpits is 
said to be exceptionally faithful in its presentation of 
spiritual truths ; the percentage of additions to these 
churches by conversion is far larger than is the average in 
the other churches of the country. It appears, therefore, 
that the proximity of the gymnasium and the amusement 
room to the prayer-meeting room has not reduced the 
attendance in the latter place, nor the interest of its 
services, but has rather augmented them. 

If these diversions were suffered to become substitutes 
for Christian activity their influence would be evil ; but 
if they are made tributary to the life of the spirit they may 
be beneficial. If it is possible for us, whether we eat or 
drink or whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God, it 
must be possible to use all wholesome means of education 
and recreation in building up his kingdom. 

So far as the strictly philanthropic work of the institu 
tional church is concerned, there would probably be little 
dispute about its legitimacy. The question arises respect 
ing the educational and recreative features of the work. 
It is to these that the taint of secularity is supposed to 
attach. But it is evident that a church situated as is the 
Jersey City Tabernacle or St. George s Church in New 
York could hardly devise a wiser philanthropy than that 
which offers to young men and boys wholesome diver 
sions in safe places. If recreation is a normal need of 
human beings, and if the church finds thousands of its 
neighbors going down to ruin before its eyes because there 
is no recreation within their reach that is not full of deadly 
poison, the instincts of Christian love would prompt the 
church to supply this normal need. To save a soul from 
death, even by means of a gymnasium or a bowling alley, 
is not a secular proceeding. The church that is too dainty- 
fingered to use such means for the rescue of the youth 
from the ways of destruction, has not learned how to 
be all things to all men that it may by all means save 

But the philosophy of this movement goes deeper. It 


rests upon the truth that Christ has redeemed the whole 
world, that it all belongs to him its industries, its pleas 
ures, its arts, its social institutions and that it is the duty 
of the Church to claim it all for him and use it in his 
honor. The conventional distinction between the sacred 
and the secular it abolishes. It places the emphasis not 
upon the form of the service, but upon the spirit in which it 
is administered. It sees many a religious rite performed 
in a temper which is too manifestly irreligious: and it 
beholds the divineness of love displayed in homely tasks 
and simple pleasures. All work, all study, all social ser 
vice, rightly performed, are sacred. If the ploughing of the 
wicked is sin, the ploughing of the righteous is holiness, and 
for the same reason. The sanctiiication of all life is tin- 
great business of the Church ; and the demonstration that 
useful studies and wholesome pleasures are essentially relig 
ious is one of the highest services that she can render to 
the present generation. 

In the presence of this conviction the common objections 
to the programme of the institutional churches are at once 
ruled out. It has been said concerning one of these 
churches: "The gymnasium has its place in this plan 
because physical health and strength are sacred possessions, 
gifts which God wishes and works to bestow on all his 
children. It is because this church aims to be a co-worker 
with God that it furnishes the gymnasium. The recreation 
rooms and the clubs for outdoor sports are furnished for 
the same reason, because in God s plan rest must alternate 
with work and recreation follow mental strain. This is 
not a secular provision ; it is part of the divine order, and 
the church recognizes and treats it as such." 

The pastor of one of these churches 1 tears this testi 
mony: "Great fear has been expressed by timid souls, 
lest the adoption of the bowling alley, the billiard table, 
the dramatic entertainment, the gymnasium, and the swim 
ming tank, should detract from the spiritual, but experience 
proves that, on the contrary, all these legitimate sports 
predispose young people in favor of religion and help 
mightily to build up the church. 


" The improvement in the manners and morals of the 
attendants is pleasing to contemplate. Boisterous behav 
ior, profanity, betting, and all manner of ungentlemanly 
conduct are strictly prohibited, and this gentle constraint 
is not without its refining effect. Men who are compelled 
to be polite two or three hours every evening acquire a 
certain polish in the course of time, which is gratifying to 
themselves and their friends. This polishing process is 
one of the conspicuous peculiarities of our institution. 

" Blessed familiarities are formed between Christians 
and those not Christians, which under other circumstances 
would be impossible. You must know men before you can 
expect to lead them, and when you once gain their good 
will it is astonishing how easily many of them can be led. 

" The congregation of the Tabernacle is peculiar for its 
proportion of young men. It is not an uncommon sight to 
see as many as three hundred young men present on 
Sabbath evenings in an audience of fourteen hundred. The 
young men s Bible class always impresses the stranger, 
and in the Sunday-school contrary to the general rule 
the male element predominates. Conversions are frequent, 
and almost all who come into the church come on con 
fession of faith. 

" The present clerk of the church is a young man who 
seldom frequented God s house, but his love for billiards 
and bowling brought him into the outer court of our 
peculiar temple, and thence he naturally drifted into the 
holiest of all. Throughout our entire institution the 
current makes strongly towards the Cross, and above 
all else we place the regeneration of the individual by 
the pow r of God. This genial, broad-gauge, common- 
sense religion is very attractive to young people, and 
if the Master were here to-day we believe He would be 
in the van of the present forward movement of His 
Church." i 

Another pastor, after a comprehensive sketch of the 
work of his church, draws the following conclusions : "It 
appears that the church which honestly tries to adapt these 

1 Rev. J. L. Scudder, in The Triumphs of the Cross, pp. 522, 523. 


secular means to a spiritual end accomplishes three things 
which add much to the solution of the vexed problem of 
evangelizing the masses. First : It attracts to itself a large 
number of people who, under ordinary conditions of our 
church life, would not be brought within the influence of 
the gospel. This has invariably been the ease whenever 
the experiment has been tried in this country. Secondly : 
It confers an actual blessing on the objects of its minis 
tration, and so fulfils the law of Christ. Such a church 
puts its warm hand, athrill with the heart-beats of the 
Saviour, into the hand of the distressed, the tempted, the 
fallen ; and leads them out into a large place. It mav be 
said that this is the duty of the individual Christian, and 
so it is : but it is also the duty of the church as a church. 
For, thirdlv, in attending to this duty as an organization 
it will make that impression upon the community without 
which it must inevitably become effete. It might often 

i O 

seem, to a superficial critic, that there was a larger outlay 
of time and energy in this kind of work than the results 
would justify. The mathematical Christian who is forever 
trying to solve the arithmetic of the Trinity, or presuming 
to demonstrate the results of church work in terms of the 
addition table or by the rule of three, might be disappointed 
with his figuring. The true value of such a work lies not 
in the material, or even in the spiritual help which may 
have been given to a few individuals: it lies rather in that 
indefinite yet potent influence, which like a subtle fragrance 
pervades the surrounding community, and counteracts the 
malaria of scorn and doubt which threatens the religious 
life of our times." 1 

The only comment which these words call for is the 
query whether it is not an error to use the word secular in 
this connection. The maintenance of the distinction im 
plied is rather apt to vitiate, to some extent, the whole- 
work. Just so far as these new features of the church life 
are treated as mere expedients or baits will their efficiency 
be impaired. If they are not sacred in themselves let the 
church have nothing to do with them. If they are, let her 

1 Rev. C. A. Dickinson, in Amlover /iVr/-,Vol. xii. pp. 369, . 570. 


not apologize for them, but honor them. They are not 
merely means of getting people under religious influences, 
they are means of grace, every one of them helps to a 
godly life just as truly as is the prayer meeting itself. 
The essential thing is that those who are brought into these 
churches should understand that these things in which they 
take pleasure are the good things of God, and are provided as 
such by his people ; that they ought to be received with 
thanksgiving ; that the sense of his presence should be with 
true disciples, not only when they are in the devotional meet 
ing, but also in the recreation room. This clear recogni 
tion of the essential sacredness of all honest work, of all 
wholesome diversion, of all pure social enjoyment should 
vitalize and consecrate all the work of these churches. 

There is reason to hope that work of this nature will 
greatly increase in the near future. The fields are white 
for such harvesting. It would be well if in every large 
city we could have many churches employed in work like 
this. As has been remarked in a former chapter, the 
Christian church which will devote itself unitedly and 
courageously to work like this, can accomplish far more 
than the average College Settlement. The Christian men 
and women of mature wisdom and ripened character who 
form the membership of the churches ought to be able to 
give to the ignorant and the needy more effective help than 
could be given by young volunteers, just out of college. 
If the church could so organize its work as to bring its own 
membership into helpful relations with the needy multitude 
round about, it might look for large results. The great 
advantage of these methods is that they put the church into 
direct communication with those to whom it is sent with 
its message. 

It is true, however, that work of the kind under con 
sideration cannot be done by all churches. There are 
many, in country districts, and in small villages, in which 
such methods would be impracticable. Not a few city 
churches are in neighborhoods where agencies of this nature 
are not called for. A church, as has been before remarked, 
which lias for its near neighbor a well-equipped Young 


Men s Christian Association, scarcely needs to open a gym 
nasium or a reading room, or educational classes for young 
men. It might, perhaps, tind a field of labor aiuoi 

women. ,. 

One of the difficulties in the way of the prose 
such work is its expeiisiveness. Huildings, well adapted 
for all these various uses, are costly: if they are opened 
every dav the expense of warming, lighting. ;l nd caring 
them is considerable : and the staff of pastors and helpe: 
must be much larger than in an ordinary church. AIM 
usually it will be true that the churches which are properly 
located for service of this kind have not many of the rich 
in their membership. One solution of this difficulty i 
found in the generous support by churches in the mo, 
prosperous districts of those which are properly located 
undertake this work. In the words of a city pastor : 

-Some churches, because of their location and environ 
ment, cannot directly reach many of this class, but this 
makes them no less responsible for the solution of our prol 
lem The very fact that they are thus situated impli 
that God has so prospered then, as to make it incumben 
upon them to maintain a double work. -that in their , 
Held, and some aggressive work among the mass 


It is in this cooperation of the uptown and down-t< 
churches that the ideal church of the future is to be re a 
ized; and when it appears it will be an Institutional 
Church, that is, a church with several pastors and 
salaried workers, and many well-organized department, 
work. It is impossible for one man to discharge i 
factory manner the multiform duties of a city pastora 
There are differences of administration, and dive,, 
operation, and there should be workers of differing 
carry them on. The aggregate salaries need not mm 
exceed the salary of the star preacher ; and a cm re 
worked in this way, by men and women of 
ability, will show results that will far exceed any wh, 
can come from mere brilliant preaching. 

i Th> Andonr Iticitic, V..1. xii. p. %:>. 


The social influence of churches of this nature can 
scarcely be computed. More than any other agency at 
work in the community they tend to break down the bar 
riers which keep social classes apart, and to cultivate that 
goodwill which is the only adequate social bond. 



THE rapid survey which we have taken of the varied 
activities of the working Chureh at the end of the nine 
teenth century makes it clear that in a church fully organ 
ized enough work will he found to employ all the members. 
The too frequent conception of the church as a safe refuge 
into which weary wayfarers turn for rest and refreshment, 
does not harmonize with the view of its functions which 
we have entertained. That the Church may be a haven 
of rest for troubled souls is not to be disputed, but the 
rest will be gained in other ways than those in which men 
are wont to seek it. "Not as the world givetli " does our 
Master give his peace. His own rest and refreshment 
were found in his ministry of love. While his disciples 
were gone away into the city to buy food, and he sat, 
weary, by the well at Sychar, his fatigue was forgotten in 
his faithful service of the needs of a sinful soul. " I have 
meat to eat that ye know not of," ] he said to his wonder 
ing disciples, as they returned and pressed him to partake 
of the needed food. And the fundamental truth respect 
ing his service is that it reverses, in many respects, the 
common conception of welfare. The laws of the spiritual 
realm are, in their primary statement, antithetical to those 
of the physical realm, though there is a higher unity in 
which both cohere. Of the things of the spirit it is 
always true that the more one gives away the more one 
has left. The economic principles which govern material 
exchanges are utterly inapplicable to the spiritual relations 
of men. And the same thing is true of the conceptions ot 
labor and rest as applied to the Christian service. The 

John iv. :!:>. 


time may come when the disciples of Christ will rest from 
their labors, but in this world the law is that they shall 
rest in their labors. What is the word of the Master 
himself to the weary and heavy laden ? " Take my yoke 
upon you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your 
souls. " l 

It is this conception of the essential nature of the Chris 
tian life which is beginning to find expression in the 
organized activities of the Christian Church. The idea is 
still very imperfectly comprehended by the great multi 
tude of communicants: the notion still prevails, both 
within and without the Church, that it is mainly an 
Ark of Safety rather than an army of occupation. Four 
persons out of every five of those who are invited into the 
Church fellowship will be heard answering, for substance, 
"What will it profit me?" The idea that men come into 
the Church simply and solely to secure some benefit for 
themselves is almost universal. It is a great reproach 
against the Church of Jesus Christ that such an impression 
should still prevail. "Come thou with us and we will 
do thee good " 2 is not the invitation upon which the 
Church should put the chief emphasis. The followers of 
Him who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, 
must not reverse the order of his kingdom in- their mes 
sage to the world. It is enough for the disciple that he 
be as his Master. Not to be saved, but to serve, is the 
high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The sneer of the 
on-lookers when Jesus hung upon the cross embodied 
the profoundest truth of his gospel: "He saved others, 
himself he cannot save." 3 It was because he did not save 
himself that he was able to save others. 

After this great truth the Church, in these latter days, 
seems to be dubiously reaching forth. The meaning of its 
mission in the world is dimly borne into its thought. It 
begins to get some glimpses of the kind of work that it is 
called to do, as the body of Christ, as his representative 
in the world. 

It is not, indeed, a new conception that the Church is 

1 Matt. xi. 29. 2 Num. x. 29. 3 Matt, xxvii. 42. 


called to minister in Christ s mime, and to give its life for 
men; but this conception has generally been coupled, 
avowedly or tacitly, with the theory that the Church, 
thus commissioned, is the clergy. That such is the func 
tion of all those who are entrusted with the olh cial ministry 
of the gospel has always been understood. Their first 
business, as all men know, is not to save themselves, but 
to save others. But those theories of the Church which 
separate the clergy from the laity have resulted in prac 
tically surrendering to the clergy this highest form of 
service. The high calling of the clergy is to save others; 
that of the laity is to be saved. Such is the steady impli 
cation of sacerdotalism. And although the Reformed 
Churches have repudiated the sacerdotal theories, they 
have by no means rid themselves of all their implications. 
The notion that the people are in the Church to be taught 
and fed and strengthened and comforted and inspired and 
led to heaven, and that the minister is among them to do 
this work for them, has been the prevailing notion, to 
which all the treatises on pastoral theology are clear wit 
nesses. It is probable that the very name of pastor, 
which those at the furthest remove from sacerdotalism have 
usually bestowed upon their ministers, has suggested limi 
tations which do not belong to the ministerial relation. 
All analogies fail at some points; and the minister must 
be something other than a shepherd, and the members of 
the Church something more than sheep. This is the mis 
conception which we constantly encounter, in all our 
dealings with the people of our churches. What is more 
common than to see the people in the pews on a Sunday 
morning, apparently settling themselves in an attitude 
wholly passive and negative to await the operation of the 
minister upon their minds. It is much as if they were 
folding their arms and saying: "He is going to try to do 
us a little good; let us see how his enterprise will prosper. 
If he succeeds, he will be only an unprofitable servant: if 
he fails, we shall have good reason to find fault." This 
is hardly a caricature of the mood in which many congre 
gations weekly present themselves lie fore the pulpit. To 



drive all these misconceptions from the minds of his people 
is one of the first duties of the Christian minister. Line 
upon line, precept upon precept, let him instruct them 
that the call to service is addressed not only to the man in 
the pulpit, but to all the men and women in the pews; 
that it is the whole Church and not merely its office-bearers 
who are to be witnesses for Christ and laborers together 
with him; that the duty of ministering to those who are 
without rests upon the laity as well as upon the clergy; 
that the injunction to do good to all men as we have 
opportunity, and especially to those of the household of 
faith, 1 is addressed by the apostle to the people, and not 
to their pastors. And it will be the minister s constant 
endeavor to secure from each member of his flock, even 
the feeblest, some co-operation in the work to which the 
Church is called. 

The extent and the urgency of this work he ought to 
keep before their minds. The relation of the church to 
the community in which it stands ; its function as teacher, 
inspirer, healer, light-bearer, leader of the people ; its duty 
to do for the people round about, rich and poor, high and 
low, believing and unbelieving, the work that Christ would 
be doing if he were there, is the truth which he must con 
stantly urge upon the consciences of his people. The pos 
sibility and the duty of some active participation in this 
work by every one that has named the name of Christ 
by the children of the fold, even, and by the invalids at 
home must be faithfully enforced. 

We are sometimes inclined to say that it would be 
better for all our churches if they could be sifted, as 
Gideon s army was sifted; if the faint-hearted and the 
ease-loving and the worldly-minded could all be sent to 
the rear, and only the brave and the faithful were left in 
the ranks. But this is the counsel of unwisdom. These 
timid and indifferent people in the church are worth sav 
ing; and the only way to save them is to set them to 
work. Even if the service which they undertake is but 
slight, it will be good for them to feel that they are iden- 

1 Gal. vi. 10. 



tified with the lite of the church, a.ul have a right to 
count themselves not merely as passengers but as helpers. 

In order to secure this co-operation ,,f all, the hrst 
to be done is to keep the members of the church we! 
informed respecting the work in band 1 be pulpit 
announcements from Sunday to Sunday will convey i 
of this information; but it is not judicious to devote mil 
of the time of the morning service to the discussion ot tli 
details of these various enterprises: and it is 
desirable that some means of communication be esl 

between the members of the congregation by which all 
news of the church work ran be conveyed 
printed calendar of services and engagements for t 

with the standing list of the officers and the working 
organizations of the church, distributed at the .loons 
the church at every service, answers this purpose, 
a calendar may be sufficiently large to admit, every week- 
brief notes about the various enterprises, and reminders 
the obligation of the members to support them. In a cit } 
church where the membership is scattered, and the 
culty of maintaining social intercourse among the membe 
i, serious, such a method of communication is valuab 
Some churches maintain a monthly periodical, somewhat 
more pretentious, in which the work of the church i 
reported and discussed. If judiciously edited, sucl 
newspaper may be a great aid to the pastor. It, however, 
the labor of editing it is wholly thrown upon him, t 
burden, in many cases, will be too heavy. 

The mid-week service, as has been suggest 
may be utilized in reporting tbe progress of the 
the church. A definite scbedule might be arrang 
which brief reports from one or two departments 
secured at each weekly meeting. Or it might k- preferrc 
that an occasional mid-week service should be wh< 
set apart for the hearing of such reports from all depar 
ments. The idea that tbe church is a working body, e 
sacred in definite enterprises, aud interested in tbe progress 
of these enterprises, would thus be steadily kept in view 

The annual meeting of the church should be 


devoted to reports from all departments of the church. 
It should be made the duty of the head of each of these 
departments to prepare and present a clear and condensed 
account of the work done during the year in his depart 
ment, with intelligent criticisms and suggestions. Fol 
lowing these reports of the heads of departments should he 
the pastor s report, covering the whole field, pointing out 
the encouraging and the discouraging features of the 
work, emphasizing the points that need to be especially 
considered, and making any suggestions that may seem 
wise to him respecting enlargements or modifications of 
method. These reports should in all cases be written; 
after the meeting they should be recorded in a book kept 
for the purpose, so that a complete history of the work of 
the church should be written from year to year. 

The meeting at which the work of the year is thus com 
prehensively reviewed should be treated by the pastor and 
the officers of the church as the most important meeting 
of the year. Notice of it should be given two or three 
weeks beforehand, and the members should be admonished 
to arrange their business so that they may be in attendance. 
It should be made very clear by the pastor that their 
presence at this meeting is expected of all who are not 
sick or necessarily absent from the city; that no social 
engagement and no business engagement should be per 
mitted to take precedence of this, and that the ordinary 
excuses for absence will not be accepted. 

In churches congregationally governed, the duty of all 
the members to attend the annual meeting, and take part 
in the choice of the leaders of the work for the coming year 
is obvious enough. Even in these churches, however, 
this business is apt to be left to a few. But when the 
annual meeting is made the great event of the church 
year, and the work of the year is clearly presented in brief 
and Avell-digested reports, it takes on a new significance, 
and the appeal to the members to attend and participate 
is more likely to be heeded. 

There is no reason however, why churches under an 
episcopal or a presbyterian government should not have 


such annual assemblies of the whole meml>ership to hear 
the recital of what has l>een done during the year, and to 
listen to the proposals which may be made by the proper 
officers of new work for the coming year. If the church 
is a working body, it would seem to be highly important 
that an annual review of what has been accomplished 
should in some way be brought to tin- attention <if every 
member of the church. With nothing short of this 
should the pastor be for one moment content. The 
presence of a small minority of the members at this impor 
tant meeting should be to him an intolerable neglect, and 
he should set himself, with all good-natured determination, 
to overcome it. Once a year, if no oftener, the fact that 
the church is a working bodv ought to be brought home 

O i/ O o 

to the comprehension of every member thereof. 

It is sometimes assumed that the printing, in a church 
year-book, of the reports of all the departments of the 
church, for distribution among the members, will answer 
the same pin-pose. But this is hardly sufficient. The 
printed report can be easily laid aside; there is reason to 
fear that not half the members receiving it would read it; 
and the reading, in any case, would not have the same 
effect upon the mind that would be produced by the oral 
presentation, in the assembled congregation, of these 
recitals of faithful service. 

Nor is the plan adopted by some churches of providing 
an annual supper for the members, in connection with 
which these matters shall be considered, in all respects 
advisable. The festivities would interfere, to a consider 
able extent, with the business; and it is not well to give 
the impression that this meeting is in any sense a festivity. 
It is a business meeting; and those who attend it should 
be expected to give their minds strictly to business. To 
allure them with the promise of a good time and some 
thing to eat is to touch the wrong chord. This meeting 
means service and sacrifice, if it means anything; and we 
do not well when we assume that there are many meml>ers 
of our churches who can never be enlisted in anything 
that involves service and sacrifice. 


By such measures as have been suggested, the work of 
the church may be kept before the minds of its members. 
This is the first consideration. Those who come into its 
communion must be constantly advised and reminded of 
the fact that it is a working body ; that it is seeking to 
follow him who said, " My Father worketh hitherto, and I 
work." 1 In this very matter many churches fail. A 
considerable number of their members are at work, but 
there are also large numbers who are doing nothing, and 
no means are taken to bring the work of the church directly 
before the minds of those who are living in idleness. 

But it is not enough that information should be freely 
afforded to all the members. Vigorous measures should 
be taken to enlist every one of them in some department of 
the work. The problem of the unemployed is quite as 
serious in the church as it is in society. The number of 
those church members who, from one year s end to another, 
never lift a finger in any effort to promote the enterprises 
in which the church is engaged, is, in most,, churches, far 
too large. We must not, indeed, assume that those 
church members who are never known to take part in the 
organized activities of the churches to which they belong, 
are all fruitless Christians. Some of them may be bringing 
forth good fruit in their homes, and in their business 
relations, and in their daily association with their fellow- 
men. The inspiration which they receive in the public 
services of the church may greatly influence their con 
duct. But it would seem to be true that even these, if 
they were a little more conscientious, would feel that they 
owed some service to the church whose covenant they have 
taken upon themselves, that they must not be wholly 
negligent of the opportunities of associated work which 
the church offers them. And every pastor should set it 
before him as the end of his leadership, to get every mem 
ber of his church definitely and consciously pledged to 
some kind of service in connection with the work of the 
organization. There is work enough to do; the fields are 
white for the harvest; and the problem is to assign every 
one his work. 

l John v. 17. 


In every church a goodly number of the memters are 
now employed. They are teaching in the Sunday-schools, 
or working in the Women s Aid Societies, or the Mis 
sionary Societies, or the Young People s Associations, or 
the Guilds, or the Brotherhoods; many individuals are 
engaged in several different departments of work. To 
reach those not thus employed is the business in hand. It 
can only be done by systematic and patient effort. 

It is quite probable that there are many persons in the 
communion who would not feel competent to undertake 
any kind of work now organized. If so, some new depart 
ments must at once be formed. It is possible, surelv, to 
provide some kind of work in which every one may be a 

There ought, for example, to be a very large force of 
visitors of the poor in every considerable city church; and 
any one should be invited to take part in this visitation 
who would be willing to take the oversight of a single 
poor family. 

There should be a largo committee on fellowship also; 
and those who would consent to make a few calls upon 
new members of the church living in their neighborhood 
should l>e assigned to this committee. 

The committee on church and Sunday-school attendance 
should lie larger still; scores or oven hundreds of the 
members of a largo church could belong to it; all those 
who would engage to invite to church or Sunday-school 
those having no church home might be members of this 
committee. There might be committees on flowers and 
decorations, and committees on visiting and reading to 
the sick and the aged: and collecting committees for the 
church offerings; and manv others which the circum 
stances of each congregation would readily suggest. Now 
let the pastor sot to work to assign everv one of his mem- 
lx>rs, bv their own consent, to some one ot these various 
departments of work. Cards mav be prepared, on which 
these departments are named, and these may be placed in 
the hands of all the members, with the request, that each 
one mark those kinds of service in which he is willing to 


engage, and return the card, with his signature, to the 
pastor. The names thus gathered in may be given to the 
leader in charge of each department, who should be 
responsible for putting himself in communication with his 
volunteers and assigning to them their special tasks. 

This will do for a beginning; but it will need to be 
followed up. Many will fail to respond ; they should be 
visited and kindly pressed into undertaking something in 
the way of definite Christian service. "No unemployed 
members " should be the motto of every church. By 
diligence, by patience, by persistence, the expectation 
should be established that every person coming into the 
church should find, at once, some post -of service. Every 
candidate presenting himself for admission to the church 
should be requested to assign himself, at once, to some 
department of the work of the church. 

To bring about such a state of things in some churches 
would seem to be a herculean undertaking. So large is 
the number of those to whom church-membership has 
never brought a suggestion of responsibility or actual 
service, and to whom it has always seemed that they were 
fulfilling all righteousness, if they folded their hands, and 
absorbed what they could, and found fault with those who 
bore the burden and heat of the day, that the attempt 
to enlist the whole membership of every church in some 
kind of Christian service may even appear to many a 
quixotic proposition. But it will be far better to aim at 
this than at any lower mark. The admission ought never 
to be made that any person can belong to a church with 
out having some active part in its labor. That a pupil 
should be admitted to a school without any definite under 
standing that he should become actively interested in its 
studies, or that a soldier should be enlisted in an army 
without being required to perform any service, would 
seem an irrational proceeding; is it any less anomalous 
that men and women should be received into the member 
ship of a Christian church and permitted to live and die in 
its communion without becoming responsible for any por 
tion of the work which that church is organized to per- 


form ? The clear and emphatic statement of this principle, 
from time to time, will carry conviction to the minds of 
those who hear it. It is so manifestly true that they can 
not deny it. And when, without passion or accusation, it 
is firmly insisted on as the only rational theory of church 
membership, most of the members of the church will 
accept the situation and seek to be counted as having some 
part in the work. A thorough-going policy of this nature 
will commend itself to the reason of every intelligent 
person; it is more reasonable and more feasible than tin- 
policy which expects all the \vork of the church to be 
done by one-third or one-half of the membership, while 
the rest are permitted to be merelv nominal or honorary 
members. Doubtless we often fail in our church work 
because we do not ask enough of our church-members. 
But it must not be forgotten that when we ask service of 
all, we must provide forms of service in which all can 
engage. All cannot talk in the prayer-meeting or teach 
in the Sunday-school; but some simple kinds of work can 
be devised in which the humblest and the youngest and 
the busiest can take part. 

The leaders who have the charge of the several depart 
ments thus organized, should be expected to have frequent 
meetings of those enlisted tinder them, that progress may 
be reported and counsel and encouragement given to the 
workers. A roll of all engaged in each department 
should be kept and called at every meeting. The visitors 
of the poor, for example, should meet frequently, to 
exchange experiences and make return to the committee 
in charge of the work done. The large committee on 
church attendance should be brought together occasionally, 
and each member of the committee should be expected to 
report in person or bv letter how many invitations he had 
given and with what success. The committee on fellow 
ship should meet to exchange information about removals, 
and to learn what their leader or the pastor may have to 
tell them respecting new comers. It \\ill be useless to 
provide these different departments of work, unless those 
who are assigned to them are made to led that something 


definite is being done in every one of them, and that the 
work which they do will be recognized. The responsibility 
of the head of every department for keeping his forces 
together and securing some contribution of help from every 
one of them should be insisted on. No such plan can be 
made to work unless the pastor can succeed in finding 
men and women for these positions who will take time 
and trouble in securing the co-operation of those who have 
enlisted under them. It is at this point, no doubt, that 
the chief difficulty will be encountered. Not a few of 
those to whom this leadership is entrusted will be found 
careless and neglectful. Much of the work will be indif 
ferently done. Perfection is never quite attainable in this 
world. But it is worth while to aim at securing the 
co-operation of the whole membership in the work of the 
church, even though the aim may not be completely 
realized. It is the only ideal upon which any pastor can 
wisely fix his thought. To keep the proposition clearly 
before the minds of his people, that, as every one has 
received the gifts of grace, even so they must minister the 
same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold 
gifts of God, would be, to some thoughtless and irrespon 
sible souls, a most wholesome dispensation of saving 

The amount of unused power in most of our churches is 
not often estimated by those who are responsible for the 
care of them. The neglect exists, and we fall into the 
way of condoning it, and do not take pains to find out 
how serious it is. One investigation, made a few years 
ago by a pastor in Ohio, showed that of thirty churches 
investigated, only about half the members were present in 
the church on a pleasant Sunday morning, and only about 
twenty-two per cent, at the mid-week service. Here are 
his reflections : 

" It is a sad comment on the spiritual life of our churches 
that out of thirty thousand members only six thousand 
should be present at the prayer-meeting on a given week, 
and twenty-four thousand absent. Is there no waste of 
that power which resides in numbers ? If there were four 


times as many present, the service would do good to four 
times as many, and vastly more than four times as much 
good could 1x3 done, because the meeting would be vastly 
better. If a given number of Christians do a certain 
amount of good, manifestly twice as many of the same 
sort would accomplish twice as much. lint this is not all. 
The Word says that one shall chase a thousand and two 
put not two thousand, but ten thousand to flight. l 
There is a cumulative power in numbers greater than the 
numerical increase. Two hundred Christians ought to lie 
able to accomplish far more than twice as much as one 
hundred, and Avill if they properly co-operate. If half of 
our church-membership does nothing, far more than half 
of the possible power is lost. If four out of live do 
nothing, possibly ninety-nine one-hundredths of the power 
is wasted. The secret of the fact that possible power 
increases more rapidly than numbers lies in organization, 
the value of which in Christian work the churches and 
denominations are barely beginning to learn."- 

1 Deut. xxxii. 30. 

2 Kcv. Josiah Strong, I). I)., in 1 itris/t I 3 rM<m*, p. . 348. 



THE unity of Christendom is a problem to which the 
great ecclesiasticisms have lately been addressing them 
selves with unusual seriousness and insistence. It seems 
to be felt, on all sides, that something must be done about 
it. Discussion of the various propositions for organic 
unity, from that of the Vatican to that of the Congrega 
tional Council, is quite aside from the purpose of the 
present treatise. Yet no working church can study its 
responsibilities and prepare to take its place in the field of 
the world and its part in the service of the kingdom, with 
out being confronted, at once, with serious difficulties that 
grow out of this lack of unity. Indeed, it is the develop 
ment of the working church which has forced this problem 
upon the attention of Christendom. So long as each local 
church was content with sheltering and shepherding such 
as were born within its fold, or came of their own accord 
into it, this question was largely in abeyance. But as 
soon as it was discovered that there were large regions 
lying unevangelized, and that the churches must go out 
with their gospel into these waste places, the evils of 
schism began to manifest themselves. In almost every 
city in the land the collisions and confusions arising from 
this source are shameful, and the waste of resources thus 
entailed is little less than criminal. Any church sending 
out its visitors into a neglected district, to invite the 
children into its Sunday-school, is apt to find that a neigh 
bor church has been over the ground just before it; and 
the children, thus solicited, manifest a lively interest in 
finding out which of the Sunday-schools is offering the 
largest inducements. Multitudes of these children are 


thus continually <lru\vu away from one school to another 
by what they regard as superior attractions; there is no 
stability in their church relations, and small possibility of 
making uny permanent impression on their characters. 

When any church, after carefully studying the neglected 
districts of its own city, plants a chapel in sonic promising 
Held, it may confidently expect that before the paint is 
dry upon the walls of the new building, another, like unto 
it, will be rising on the next square, to contest with it the 
occupancy of its field, and to divide with it a constituency 
which is not large enough to support one enterprise. If 
this competitor is backed by large revenues, and aggres 
sive workers, it is possible that it mav absorb the attend 
ance, and leave the original occupant of the field to 
struggle and starve and finally perish. Such things are 
constantly occurring. The principle of the survival of 
the strongest is allowed free play among church organiza 
tions in the cities. Mr. Fiske says that civili/ation largely 
consists in setting metes and bounds to this force of 
natural selection; in replacing the animal competitions bv 
sympathy and consideration and good-will. lie calls this 
"casting off the brute inheritance/ This stage of civili 
zation has not yet overtaken our contending ecclesiasticisms. 

Dragons of tin 1 prime 
That t;m- each other in their slime" 

were not more ready to devour each other than are the 
Christian churches, so called, planted for sectarian pur 
poses, in the growing districts of American cities. It is a 
striking illustration of the adage that corporations have no 
souls. The impersonal society which we call a church 
dues not consider itself bound by the law of love in its 
relations to similar bodies round about it. There are 
casuists who maintain that it cannot be: that any social 
organization, as such, must look out for its own interests, 
with no regard for the interests of its neighbors. The 
ethical soundness of this proposition may well be ques 
tioned. Through the acceptance of some such doctrine, 
the strife of classes and all the woes that threaten the 


social order have crept into our modern world. It is, 
however, the principle which is tacitly assumed by most 
of the sectarian propagandists. Led by such a maxim, 
those who are zealous for denominational aggrandizement 
fling themselves into competitions which must result in 
great waste of energy and in the destruction of vast amounts 
of capital. It would be uncharitable to say that the delib 
erate intent of those who engage in these competitions 
is to destroy one another s property; probably they often 
silence the voice of conscience with the plea that the 
growth of the neighborhood will soon develop support for 
all the competing churches; but in four cases out of five 
this expectation would be proved, by any serious investi 
gation, to have slight foundations ; and the fact would 
plainly appear that the multiplication of churches in the 
neighborhood must mean the death of some of them, and 
the annihilation of the capital invested in them. Such a 
contingency cannot be remote from the thought of any 
intelligent person carefully considering the situation. If 
it is recognized by any of these zealous sectarians, they 
are at least fain to hope that their enterprise will survive 
in the struggle. None of them would think of applying 
the torch of the incendiary to the edifices erected by their 
"sister" churches; but they adopt a policy which will 
quite as effectually, if a little less suddenly, wipe out the 
value of their neighbor s property. 

The mere question of material economy is, therefore, 
a serious one. No man knows how many hundred thou 
sand dollars worth of buildings have been rendered worth 
less by these sectarian competitions; and even when the 
edifices have not been abandoned, the enormous over- 
supply of church accommodation, in the competitive 
neighborhoods, signifies the unprofitable investment of 
large amounts of capital, from which no adequate return 
will ever come, and which should have been productively 
employed elsewhere in aiding the progress of the kingdom 
of heaven. 

Such are the conditions which every working church 
must face when it sets forth, at the command of its Lord, 


to occupy the field into which, in the exercise of its )>est 
wisdom, it believes itself to be sent. It is ;i situation 
which no body of sincere believers, to whom the welfare 
of Christ s kingdom is dearer than the prosperity of any 
sect, can contemplate without a sinking of the heart. 
Was this any part of the calamity which our Lord foresaw 
when he said, "A man s foes shall be thev of his own 
household?" 1 Can anything be more melancholy than 
this fratricidal strife of men who sing so blithely, in their 
union meetings, - 

o * 

We are not divided, 
All one body \vt- : 
One in lioj>c and doctrine, 
One in charity ! " 

For the waste of the Lord s money to which we have 
alluded is not the only loss involved. The whole message 
of the Church is enfeebled and perverted. The pushing 
rivalry, so patent to all observers, impresses those to whom 
the invitations are spoken with the egoism of the whole 
proceeding. It becomes too evident that these eager can 
vassers are working to save the Church, more than to 
make the Church the saviour of men. " The competition 
of churches," says one, "which is so mournfully common, 
almost universal, is sufficient evidence to the world that 
the churches are sellish; that they seek attendants in 
exactly the same spirit that a business house seeks cus 
tomers. And, of course, men who care nothing for the 
Church cannot be induced to attend for the sake of the 
Church. When we really convince men that we seek not 
theirs but them, and that we seek them for their own 
sakes, not ours, we shall have far more influence with 

What shall the church do when it finds itself face to 
face with these conditions? It ought to seek, by every 
means in its power, to secure some kind of understanding 
or agreement with the churches round about, by which 
competition shall be as far as possible suppressed, and the 
principle of co-operation substituted therefor. In the day 

1 Matt. x. 36. 


when the wastefulness of a wholly selfish competition is 
fully recognized by political economists, and when it has 
become evident, even in the material world, that it is 
better to unite than to contend, it would seem that the pos 
sibility of securing some kind of co-operative arrangement 
among Christian churches ought not to be despaired of. 

Asa beginning, it might be well to propose a convention 
of all the churches of the town or municipality, for the 
sole purpose of studying together their common field of 
labor. A friendly conference of this nature, even if it 
were pledged beforehand to pass no votes and take no 
action, might prove to be useful. It would necessarily 
emphasize the fact that the field was common to the 
churches thus conferring; the obligations of comity would 
be suggested and emphasized by the existence of the con 
ference. Some churches, doubtless, would be reluctant 
to enter into it for this very reason; for there are still 
some who are shy of any proposition that looks toward 
unity some, because they are so fully convinced that 
theirs is the only possible form of church order, and others, 
because they think that the existing " cut-throat competi 
tion " of the sects is the best regimen for the kingdom of 
heaven. But it should not be difficult to answer these 
objections and bring the various churches together, by 
their representatives, to consider the condition of the field 
which they are occupying together to learn what their 
neighbors are doing, and what is left undone ; to investi 
gate the hindrances to the progress of the kingdom; to 
secure careful reports upon the state of the most neglected 
neighborhoods; to study the relation of the churches to 
the working people and the unchurched classes generally; 
to look into the condition of the foreign -born populations ; 
to find out whether or not the laws and ordinances of the 
town or city are enforced by the proper authorities, and 
if not, why not; to learn what is being done for the poor 
by public and voluntary agencies, and whether and to 
what extent this work of outdoor relief is tending to the 
pauperization of the recipients ; and to consider any other 
matter of this nature which may be of interest to the 


Christian people of the community. The purpose of this 
conference would thus be purely educational. Work of 
this kind is by no means superfluous. Clear information 
respecting the social and religious conditions of the com 
munities in which they are at work is one of the tilings 
most needed by all working churches. Far too often they 
keep working away, year after year, with little knowledge 
of what needs to be done, or of what others arc doing. 
An intelligent survey of the entire Held for which t hex- 
are jointly and severally responsible, would be full of 
instruction for them. 

Such a conference, in which each church should l>e 
represented by its pastor and two or three delegates, culls 
for no elaborate organization. A well-chosen Business 
Committee of three or live members furnishes all the 
machinery needed. The duly of this committee should l>e 
to decide upon the topic for each meeting, to secure the 
opening paper or address, which should be limited to half 
an hour, and to engage one of the churches for the meet 
ing. The pastor of the church in xvhich the meeting is 
held should be the chairman of the meeting. The paper 
of the evening should be open for discussion, in speeches 
of limited length, and should be prepared xvith a view to 
its publication in the local newspapers. Careful studies, 
not too long, of the religious or social conditions of the 
community, are available "news/ which any enterprising 
journal would gladly print. The conference would thus 
assist in enlightening the whole community respecting its 
own social needs, and could be an effective means of 
creating an intelligent and wholesome public opinion. 

There is good reason to Ix lieve that a few meetings of 
this nature would convince the churches taking part in 
them that they ought to devise some method of practical 
co-operation. Such an association as this would be likely 
to deepen, in the hearts of all sincere disciples, the feeling 
of their common interests and aims, and would strengthen 
the craving for fellowship in work xvhich must spring in 
the heart of all who have learned of Christ. Kvidenee of 
wasted resources and conflicting labors must needs appear 



in abundance to those engaged in such studies; and 
doubtless large tracts of heathenism, practically untouched 
by all these striving bands of sectaries, would be brought 
to light. The need of a more comprehensive and a 
more rational policy of evangelization would be strongly 

The first question respecting the active co-operation of 
the Christian churches of the local community in their 
common work would have respect to the basis of such 
organization. What churches shall be invited or admitted ? 
What shall be the doctrinal foundation of such an effort? 
To some persons this is a paramount consideration. They 
are not willing to unite in Christian work of any kind 
with those whose beliefs are unsound. The Roman Catholic 
church, in its strenuous testimony to the unity of the 
church, and its unflinching assertion that there can be no 
unity which is not based upon acceptance of the supreme 
authority of the Bishop of Rome, refuses, as a matter of 
course, to take part in any association by which the recog 
nition of other Christian bodies as churches is even im 
plied. Many high Anglicans, with a different standard 
of regularity, adopt a similar practical rule. Some of 
the Reformed bodies have hitherto held so strongly to 
the vital importance of certain tenets of orthodoxy that 
they could not co-operate with any who did not hold these 
doctrines. Various attempts have been made to find a 
doctrinal basis on which Christians of different names, 
residing in the same neighborhood, might unite in Chris 
tian work. The creed of the Evangelical Alliance was 
long supposed to be a statement broad enough for all prac 
tical purposes. This creed contained the doctrine of the 
Trinity and what are known among the Reformed churches 
as the doctrines of grace, including the expiatory atone 
ment, and the need of regeneration; it asserted also the 
everlasting punishment of those dying in impenitence. By 
this creed, many of those who " profess and call themselves 
Christians " were excluded from fellowship in Christian 
work; and while a goodly number of the denominations 
were able to range themselves under the banner of the 


Evangelical Alliance, its definitions of doctrine served to 
divide rather than to unite the followers of Christ. The 
Apostles Creed has often been proposed as a basis of 
fellowship for local organizations, but even this [troves to 
be a stumbling-block to some whose co-operation is greatly 
to be desired. 

These unsuccessful endeavors after unity have raised 
the question whether, in the local community, any dog 
matic basis is essential to the co-operation of Christians. 
Doubtless when the great denominations negotiate respect 
ing organic union, it is necessary that they should conn 
to some definite understanding about doctrines. But when 
neighboring churches come together to consider the work 
lying at their doors, and to agree upon some plan by 
which this work may be carried forward without waste or 
friction, is it really important that a doctrinal platform 
should be agreed upon before they set to work / May they 
not "receive one another, as servants of the same Master, 
and agree to waive doctrinal differences? 

There is, however, one important affirmation, which 
Christian churches, engaged in avowedly religious work, 
should always utter and maintain. They are Christian 
churches; and the very principle of their organization is 
loyalty to Jesus Christ. No co-operation of Christian 
churches is to be desired, in which this principle is disal 
lowed. Christian churches may unite, for various social 
and ethical purposes, with organizations that are not Chris 
tian; but when, as churches, they meet to form a union 
of churches, the organic idea of the Christian church 
cannot be ignored. All organizations taking part in such 
a union must be those that "hold to the Head." Accept 
ance of the lordship and leadership of Jesus Christ is the 
only bond of union between Christian believers: but this 
and this alone is essential to useful Christian fellowship. 
Those who can answer the Master s question, " Whom 
say ye that I am ?" as Peter answered it, "Thou art the 
Christ, the Son of the living God," may surely 1x3 recog 
nized as Christians. Further inquiry into the philosophi 
cal distinctions which they are in the habit of making 


respecting the essentials of divinity and humanity may be 
forgone. His own apostles were by no means clear 
respecting the essential nature of our Lord, while they 
companied with him in the flesh; such as those whom he 
chose to be always with him here, and for whom he prayed 
that they might be with him forever, are not to be set 
aside by us as unworthy of our fellowship. Loyalty to 
him, the acceptance of him as Master, a true discipleship 
this is the only condition on which we need to insist 
when we come together as Christian neighbors to form 
plans for the better prosecution of our common work. 

Doubtless the first thing to be done by such an organi 
zation of the churches would be to divide the field among 
themselves, so that each church should have some definite 
territory for whose evangelization it should be held respon 
sible. These districts should be assigned with consider 
able care, so that each church would find opportunity of 
work among the poor and the neglected. To assign to 
each church a district contiguous to its own edifice would 
not be wise, for some of the churches are located in neigh 
borhoods where there are few of the necessitous and 
unchurched, and other churches have almost no other kind 
of neighbors. The aim should be to distribute the work 
as fairly as possible, considering the ability of the several 

Nor should any church be given exclusive charge, for 
evangelistic purposes, of the territory thus entrusted to it. 
For within this territory, wherever it might be, would be 
found many families connected with other churches, and 
the right of these churches to care for their own members 
could not be disputed. The duty of the occupying church 
would be to find, by a careful canvass, those families in 
the district which had no connection with any church, 
and to be responsible for the care of them. Many families 
would be found, in such a canvass, which had formerly 
been communicants in some church, but, for some reason, 
had lost connection with it. The visitors should be 
instructed to send the names of such families to the pastor 
of the nearest church of the denomination to which the 


wanderers were formerly attached. Others, though never 
communicants, would have decided preferences among the 
churches, and the aim should Ix; to put tlu-se also into 
communication with the churches which they prefer. 
Those having neither relationships nor preferences else 
where should be cordially welcomed to the services of the 
church giving the invitation. 

When the canvass of the district is made in this spirit 
and with these purposes, the people receiving the invita 
tion will get a new impression of the meaning of Christian 
evangelization. It will l>e evident that the visiting church 
is not working exclusively for its own aggrandizenienl : 
that it considers the interests of the kingdom of heaven 
as paramount, and the interests of its own organization as 
secondary. "When the invitation is given in the name of 
all the churches," says Dr. Strong, "it is manifest that 
they are co-operating instead of competing, and the invi 
tation which is seen to he unselfish is much more effec 
tive. Such oneness of spirit and effort has an influence 
which thrice the effort without co-operation cannot have; 
not simply because organization always economizes force, 
but because such oneness is the convincing evidence of 
the divine origin and character of the Christian religion 
which the world lacks. Christ prayed that his followers 
might l>e one, that the world iniyht kuuw that the Fal!-r 
sent In in." 1 

The churches thus co-operating should have regular 
meetings at which each church should report the results 
of its canvass, and for this purpose uniform blanks should 
be provided for the visitors, showing the mnnlier of 
families called upon by each one. the number attending 
other churches, the number attending no church, the 
number gathered into the inviting church and its Sunday- 
school, and the names and addresses of the families reported 
to the pastors of other churches. These reports should 
be summarized and reported to the union, and the returns, 
when compiled, would furnish a complete religious census 
of the town or city. 

The attempt is sometimes made to form an alliance of 


all the churches, and perform this work of visitation by 
means of a general committee or superintendent represent 
ing all, who shall subdivide the whole field and assign the 
visitoi-s, selecting them from all the churches. But it is 
doubtful whether this plan would be generally found prac 
ticable. It is better to assign to each church a definite 
territory for its care, providing it with the blanks for its 
report to the union, indicating, in a general way, the 
method by which its work should be done, and leaving it 
free to work out its problem with its own resources. It 
should also be understood that the responsibility of initiat 
ing any new religious enterprise Sunday-school or chapel 
service in the district thus assigned should belong to the 
church having the care of it; and that no other church 
should enter the district for such a purpose without con 
sultation with the church in charge. Upon this principle 
of comity much stress should be laid. In the meetings of 
the union the scandalous and disastrous results of multi 
plying organizations for purely sectarian purposes should 
often be held up to reprobation, and the need of adhering 
to some such rule of good-neighborhood should be empha 
sized. If some consultation with other churches and 
some consideration of the interests of the kingdom must 
precede the attempt of any sect to establish a new enter 
prise, many grievous offences against prudence and charity 
would be avoided. Most of the organizations that have 
been thrust into fields where they were not needed were 
the fruit of a heedless sectarian impulse ; if their projec 
tors had been called to justify them before the bar of 
reason, they would have been put to shame. 

The church receiving the charge of such a district 
should be expected to canvass it frequently, certainly as 
often as once a year. Necessitous families will be found 
which ought to be visited very frequently; these, how 
ever, should be placed under the care of the visitors of the 
poor. Families which are known to be in attendance upon 
other churches need not be called upon a second time; 
those wanderers reported to other pastors should be seen 
again, to make sure that they have been properly folded ; 


and those who still remain unshepherded should ]>e kindly 
entreated, until they make it evident that the friendly 
overtures of the visitors are no longer welcome. 1 

By measures of co-operation of some sueh character the 
churches of most towns and cities could make sure that 
no classes and no districts were neglected, hut that the 
invitations of the gospel had l>een carried to the whole 
community. There would he difficulty, no doubt, in 
adapting a plan like this to such a metropolis as London, 
or even to a city like Glasgow or New York or Chicago. 
In cities of one or two hundred thousand people the plan 
might he adopted, and more easily in lesser communities. 
It would, however, he practicable in the great cities to 
select certain large districts or sections, and group the 
churches within them for this co-operative work. This 
geographical division of a great city should include locali 
ties inhabited by the less fortunate as well as the more 
fortunate classes, and should not be so large that the 
workers could not conveniently meet and co-operate. A 
plan like this was recently adopted at the Hast Hud of 
Pittsburgh, Pa., with the best results. The churches of 
that vicinity were brought into the most cordial fraternal 
relations, the life of all of them was greatlv enriched and 
stimulated, and the effect of this co-operation upon the 
community at large was manifest. 

It is clear that churches thus associated may find other 
work in which they can unite besides the visitation of 
the unchurched. Their joint study of their common field 
will reveal to them a great number of interests which need 
their care, and in which they may usefully co-operate. 
Ilere, however, there will be need of great wisdom and 
moderation. Christian people are by no means of one 
mind respecting the things that ought to be done. When 
practical measures are proposed, great differences ol opinion 
immediatelv appear. Respecting the evils arising from the 
use of intoxicating liquors, for example, there is not much 
difference of opinion; and the wish to do something for 
the removal of these evils would be practically unanimous. 

1 Srr ( MlilJ). i.\. 


But when the ways and means were considered, the unanim 
ity would vanish. The sectarianism of the advocates of 
temperance is not less virulent than the ecclesiastical 
variety. Some would be inclined to insist upon measures 
which others would deem quixotic; it is not unusual for 
zealous partisans of one method to denounce those who 
favor other methods as foes of the cause and " friends of 
the rum interest." The existence of great differences of 
opinion must be clearly and frankly recognized at the out 
set, and the question must be raised whether any line 
of policy can be found in which all can heartily co-operate. 
Here is a great opportunity for these Christians to take a 
few lessons in tolerance and sweet reasonableness. It is 
quite worth while to learn that although it is impossible 
for two to walk together all the way except they be agreed, 
it is still often possible for those who have different ends 
in view to go together a good part of the way. "If in 
anything," says Paul, "ye are otherwise minded, even this 
shall God reveal unto you: only, whereunto we have 
already attained, by that same rule let us walk." 1 "Let 
us go together as far as we can," must be the motto of 
these co-operating churches. It must be understood at 
the outset that there will be many practical matters in 
which they cannot co-operate; the problem is to find the 
things in which they can heartily work together. And, 
in this bitterly controverted field of temperance, there will 
be some useful things which these churches can unite 
to do. 

It is probable, for example, that they could unite to 
provide safe places of resort and refreshment, to counter 
act the attractions of the drinking-places. Recent careful 
investigations show the great need of some such provision. 
A good part of the patronage of the saloons and public- 
houses is due to the desire for society and for a comfort 
able place to sit and chat and read the evening newspaper. 
Such places of resort, with none but "temperance drinks," 
are provided in great numbers in British cities, but in 
America there are few of them. It is probable that the 

i Phil. iii. 15, 16. 


opening of such places in our American cities would prove 
an effective temperance measure. They should never l>e 
offered as charities, and it would be a mistake to connect 
with them any kind of religious exercises; they ought to 
be simply and frankly places of decent resort for every 
body; and they ought to be managed in such a way as to 
IK self-supporting. The relation of the associated churches 
to such an enterprise would be simply that of promoter 
and patron; through a competent committee, they might 
secure the formation of a company which would undertake 
the business, and they could lend to it their moral support. 
That the united churches of any town or city could. ly 
their hearty advocacy, set such an enterprise on foot is 
scarce! v to be doubted; and it would appear that until 
something of the kind is done, they ought not to be ton 
severe in their censure of those who resort to the only 
warm and bright places they can lind to spend their winter 
evenings in, nor to those who furnish such places for the 
comfort and entertainment of their fellow-men. Much of 
what passes for zealous temperance sentiment, when 
viewed from the standpoint of the man in the street, savors 
quite too much of the spirit of the dog in the mangel . 
Our appeal to the habitue of the saloon will be much 
more cogent when we have furnished him with something 
better to take its place; and our political agitation for the 
closing of the saloon will be greatly strengthened by the 
same provision. 

The associated churches could also, in all probability, 
unite in the demand for the closing of the drinking-places 
on Sunday. That the open saloon is far more injurious to 
the community on Sunday than on any other day of the 
week is matter of demonstration. When the saloons arc 
open, the arrests on Sunday and Sunday night are more 
numerous than on other davs; the cost to the community 
of the maintenance of the peace on this dav of rest is 
heavier than on other days, and the loss to the families of 
bread-winners of the means of livelihood, with their con 
sequent pauperization, is far more serious on Sunday than 
on any other day. It is, therefore, the simple right of 


the community, for its own protection, to insist upon the 
closing of the drinking-places on the day of rest; and the 
churches, resting their demand on no theological assump 
tions, but simply on the general welfare, which they are 
interested in promoting, may join in enforcing this demand. 
A steady and resolute insistence upon a principle so clear, 
in which all the Christian churches of the community 
united, could not fail to have great influence in forming 
the public opinion by which this policy would be made 

In another testimony, of the greatest value, these asso 
ciated churches may be able to unite. That is the testi 
mony to the sacredness of law. The stability of all free 
governments rests upon the obedience of the people, and 
especially of the magistrates, to the laws enacted for their 
government. Liberty is the child of law; where there is 
no restraint of human passion, and no rational establish 
ment of social order, there is no freedom for any ; the only 
rule is the power of the strongest. That the laws which 
undertake to secure the liberties of men are entitled to the 
respect of all is, therefore, the fundamental principle of 
civilized society. Even though they may be imperfect, it 
is better to bear with their imperfection until they can be 
lawfully amended, than to ignore and disobey them. 

The notion that every citizen may judge for himself 
what laws are beneficent, and may set aside those which 
are displeasing to himself, braving the censure and retri 
bution of the constituted authorities, is a most pernicious 
and abominable conceit; albeit we find it, now and then, 
advocated in newspapers, and avowed in public speeches. 
Still less is it to be conceded that a public officer, sworn, 
in the very terms of his oath of office, to support and 
administer the laws, should pick and choose among these 
laws, selecting those which he will enforce, and tacitly 
permitting those which are displeasing to himself to be 
dishonored. That some such policy as this has become 
traditional in some American municipalities there is reason 
to fear. 

What can be done to check the spread of this political 


leprosy? It would si-em that the Christian churches of 
every community, whose duty it is to enforce the funda 
mental principles of morality, might unite in a resolute 
demand for obedience to the laws of the land, especially 
on the part of those who have sworn to honor and admin 
ister them. When they sec; the laws openly disol>eyed, 
and those who are charged with the duty of enforcing 
them plainly conniving at the disobedience, and even 
enriching themselves by corruptly granting immunity to 
the law-breakers, it is their duty to raise their united 
voices in condemnation of the shameful intidelitv. It is 
not their duty to organize volunteer detective or prosecut 
ing agencies for the performance of the work thus neglected 
by the officials, but it is their duty, as the witnesses for 
righteousness, to condemn, in no ambiguous terms, the 
most grievous unrighteousness existing among them. 
The function of the old prophets must belong to somebody 
in this generation, and to whom has it descended, if not 
to the teachers of religion? Doubtless the obligation to 
declare the truth respecting all these matters which con 
cern the existence of societv rests on the occupant of every 
pulpit; but the united voice of all the churches, clearly 
and strongly testifying upon such an issue, would exert 
an influence stronger than that of the single and separate 
pulpits. Such a testimony, faithfully spoken, again and 
again, must produce a wholesome change in public opinion 
with respect to this crying evil. It is a testimony which 
no man can gainsay. The reason of it is self-evident to 
all who have reflected upon the nature of civil society. 
And the associated churches, by simply declaring the 
whole counsel of (iod with respect to this great interest of 
law, would perform for the community a service ol the 
highest value. 

To the churches of the community thus associated, and 
seeking for objects to which they might devote their 
united energies, other opportunities of co-operation than 
those mentioned would undoubtedly appear. To one of 
the most important of these we shall devote the conclud 
ing chapter. The determination to attempt nothing in 


which they could not heartily unite to be content with 
undertaking only such labors as they could hope to carry 
through with entire success would result in a conscious 
ness of power which would greatly add to the hopefulness 
and courage of every member of the organization. And 
doubtless the word of the Master would be fulfilled to his 
Church thus united : " Because thou hast been faithful in 
a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; 
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

It is even possible that churches thus seriously endeav 
oring to find common ground 011 which they could stand, 
and objects in which they could combine their efforts, 
would come to realize their essential unity. It might, by 
and by, be evident that here was truly but one Church ; 
that the associated congregations of any town or city really 
constituted the Church of that town or city; that there 
could be but one Church of Jesus Christ in any commun 
ity, and that, in their common loyalty to him, and their 
consistent endeavors to work together with him and for 
him, the unity of the Church had been realized. It is 
here, if anywhere, that Christian unity will be achieved. 
Neighboring congregations of believers, whose principle of 
organization is simple loyalty to Jesus Christ, may grow 
together. It is possible that such associations should come 
into such close and helpful relations that their union 
would mean more to them than any denominational bond 
could mean ; and that they would finally stand together as 
one Church, together contending for the faith once deliv 
ered to the saints, and lifting up a united front against 
the powers of evil. Nothing seems to be wanting to this 
but the recognition of the importance of co-operation, and 
the willingness to co-operate. There do not appear to be 
any theoretical obstacles to some measure of co-operation. 
Roman Catholics may be willing to stand with us on 
some platforms, and to recognize the fact that they are 
our brethren. Every overture from that direction should 
be cordially welcomed ; it must be that in certain matters 
they will be willing to unite with us. In the preface to 
his Reformed Pastor, so devout an Evangelical and so 


sturdy a Protestant as Richard Baxter thus sets forth his 
own feeling respecting the co-operation of Christians of 
different beliefs: 

"The thing I desire is this: (1) That we might all 
consider how far we may hold communion together even 
in the same congregations, notwithstanding our different 
opinions; and to agree not to withdraw when it may 
possibly be avoided. (^) Hut when it cannot, that yet 
we may consult how far we may hold communion in dis 
tinct congregations; and to avoid that no further than is 
of mere necessity. And (3), and principally, to consult and 
agree upon certain rules for the management of our differ 
ences in such manner as may be least to the disadvantage 
of the common Christian truths which are acknowledged by 
us all. Thus far would I seek peace with Arminians, 
Antinomians, Anabaptists, or any that hold the founda 
tion. Yea, and in the two last I would not refuse to con 
sult an accommodation with moderate Papists themselves, 
if their principles were not against such consultations and 
accommodations; and 1 should judge it a course which 
God will better approve of, than to proceed by carnal con 
trivances to undermine their adversaries, or by cruel mur 
ders to root them out. which are their ordinary courses. 
I remember that godly, orthodox, peaceable man. Bishop 
I ssher (lately deceased), tells us in his sermon at \Vansted, 
for the unity of the Church, that he made a motion to the 
Papist priests in Ireland; that localise it was ignorance of 
the common principles that was likely to IK- the undoing 
of the common people more than the holding of the points 
which we differ in, therefore both parties should agree to 
teach them some catechism containing those common 
principles of religion which are acknowledged by us all. 
But jealousies and carnal counsels would not allow them 
to hearken to the motion." 

Such jealousies and carnal counsels have, indeed, for 
long centuries, been building barriers between the disciples 
of a common Lord: but the day must come when these 
obstructions will be swept away, and when the determina 
tion to study the things that make for unity will U- 


stronger than the selfish passions that foster schism. And 
this, let us repeat, is likely to come to pass as the result 
of the efforts of local churches to come to an understand 
ing respecting the work lying before them in their several 
communities. Therefore it is a matter which directly and 
vitally concerns the pastor of the local church, and those 
who are laboring with him. It is in the administration of 
these local churches that the practical solution of this 
problem will be found. 

The principle which underlies the whole matter is the 
principle which is revolutionizing modern sociology and 
economics, the conception of society as an organism. If 
this is true of all society it is even more vitally true of 
Christian society. If it illustrates the relations of the 
members of churches to the churches, it illustrates also the 
relation of groups of Christians to the Christian commun 
ity. " Many members but one body " is as true of the 
Church of Jesus Christ in any town or city as it is of the 
individual members of any given church. These separated 
congregations are not normally separate, and cannot be if 
the life of Christ is in them. They are members one of 
another. There can be no fulness or perfection of life 
in any of them unless each is ministering to all and all are 
ministering to each. The churches of any one denomina 
tion may be like the fingers of one hand ; but that hand 
draws its life-blood from the body of Christ and must be 
the servant of the body. The independency of the local 
church is a doctrine which must not be too strongly 
asserted. Indeed, even those to whom it is a cardinal 
principle make haste to declare that it must never be dis 
sociated from the other principle, equally fundamental, of 
the fellowship of the churches. If a certain measure of 
autonomy be granted to each congregation, it is only that 
the freedom thus conceded may be used in a loving co 
operation with all who follow the same Master. And this 
principle of the fellowship of the churches is one to which 
no denominational limits can be set. It is not merely the 
churches of the same denomination which are members 
one of another. It is not their acceptance of the creed of 


a denomination, or tlicir utterance of some "consensus of 
doctrine," or their observance of certain common usages 
that makes them one, it is the life of Christ that is in 
them. Brandies of the same tree have no need of a con 
fession of faith to consummate and manifest their unity. 
And all true churches of Jesus Christ, living so near to 
one another that they can l>e affected l>y one another s 
life, must feel themselves to be one, and must realize 
more and more fullv, as his life is perfected in them, how 
unnatural and even suicidal is the attempt to maintain 
separate interests, and the refusal to be helpers of one 
another s faith and love. 

There is reason to hope that this conception of Christian 
society as an organism will give us, during the century 
which is now approaching, some precious fruitage. Tin 1 
old individualism has done its disintegrating work in 
ecclesiastical as well as in civil society. It was a neces 
sary reaction against the hierarchical despotisms by which 
not only the local congregation was robl>ed of the precious 
right of "home rule," but the individual layman was 
reduced to a cipher, the clergy being the only significant 
figures. But the force of this protest has gone quite far 
enough. Those local churches which have most completely 
won their autonomy may well be the first to show how 
free they arc to seek the unity of the spirit in the bonds of 
peace, and how many and precious are the interests which 
churches of differing creeds and rites may combine to 
serve. That the spiritual unity of Christian believers is a 
sublime reality, the churches of the next century ought to 
make manifest. 



IT might almost be said that the Christian church was 
organized for the care of the poor. The version of the 
first Beatitude found in Luke s Gospel, "Blessed are ye 
poor, for yours is the kingdom of God," 1 was rightly 
supposed, in the earliest times, to refer primarily to those 
who were not rich in this world s goods. The first assem 
blies of the saints were largely composed of the needy and 
the destitute. "Hearken, my beloved brethren," cries the 
Apostle James : " did not God choose them that are poor 
as to the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom 
which he promised to them that love him ? " 2 The first 
ecclesiastical act of the first church in Jerusalem was the 
appointment of seven deacons to receive and disburse the 
contributions for the relief of the poor. From time imme 
morial the administration of the Lord s Supper has been 
regarded as incomplete unless accompanied by a contribu 
tion for the relief of the poor. The most striking feature 
of the development of the early Church was its thorough 
and systematic ministration to the needy and the suffering. 
The learned treatise of Dr. Uhlhorn on Christian Charity 
in the Early Church is a most inspiring relation. It is, 
therefore, somewhat singular that we find in some recent 
treatises on pastoral theology scarcely a word respecting 
this most important duty. The elaborate work of Dr. J. 
S. Cannon, an honored American professor of pastoral 
theology does not allude to this as one of the functions of 
the church. The only reference to the poor which a some 
what cursory examination of the stately volume has dis 
closed is the following, in a chapter on " Pastoral Duties " : 
" In his visitations let him not pass by the habitations of the 
1 Luke vi. 20. 2 j ames ;; 5. 



poor nor consider any family too mean and insignificant 
to be attended to. The gospel must lw preached to the 
poor. " Condescend, says Paul, to men of low estate. 
The Master regarded the poor in his ministry; their souls 
are precious. It is certain that if any gospel minister can 
fill the place of worship with the poorer class of people, he 
will soon find those of a higher class falling into Ins society, 
for it is only among the poor that the pride of wealth can 
he variously displayed. The Methodists now, in mos 
places, begin to afford illustrations of this tact. Hie rich 
in society are joining them, and producing a change 
among them/ 1 The naivete of this reasoning is notable; 
but we lind no hint of any obligation <>n the part ot the 
Church toward the needy of its neighborhood; the poor 
here referred to are evidently not those who need ass 
ance. Vet this cannot have been due to any lark <.i sym- 
pathv with the poor on the part of this godly teacher. In 
the biographical sketch of him which introduces 
lectures, mention is specially made of his benevolence 
the poor, who never went empty from his door, 
facts are indicated by the silence of this book: first, that 
the congregations to which the young men instructed by 
these lectures were intending to minister contained 
necessitous persons; and secondly, that it was not regarded 
as a special duty of these congregations to seek out and 
relieve the wants of the poor living in their neighborhood. 

Until these inferences, which seem to reflect some\\ 
seriously upon the benevolence of the churches, may be in 
part explained by the fact that when these lectures were 
delivered, nearly half a century ago. the number . 
poor needing assistance was comparatively small in mo; 
American communities. The eleemosynary service 
church to its own members must needs have been a sub- 
ordinate portion of its work. Probably this work 
done with kindness and fidelity: Imt it did not occi 
the good professor to refer to it as a department . 


Even in the prosperous American commm 

l Ltctiins on Pastoral ThtuhxjiJ, ]>. 550. 



years ago the Master s word must, however, have been 
verified : u For ye have the poor always with you, and when 
soever ye will ye can do them good." l In the vicinity of 
every church, if not in its membership, there must have 
been those who needed the love and care of the Church. 
The fact that they were not in its membership is a fact for 
which, perhaps, explanation will be required when the 
Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the angels 
with him. But, if they were not in its membership, why 
did it not charge itself with the duty of seeking them out 
and relieving their necessities? Probably because this 
work had been taken out of its hands, and entrusted to 
other agencies. A remark of the judicious Fairbairn, who 
himself finds need in his excellent volume for no more 
than a page of discussion upon this subject, will throw 
light upon the question : 

" Passing now to the other branch of subsidiary means, 
that relating to social economics, a pretty large field till 
lately lay open here for parish ministers in connection with 
the management of the poor, calling for the exercise of 
discretion, sagacity and good feeling. It was in this field 
that Dr. Chalmers won for himself his first claim to dis 
tinction as a philanthropist; and to the discussion of topics 
connected with it one of his most elaborate works is 
devoted his Parish Economics. The work may still be 
read with interest and profit, as it is pregnant with views 
and principles which admit of a certain application in 
every age; but as a guide-book for pastors in a specific 
department of official duty, it may justly be said to be 
antiquated. This whole branch of social economics is now 
directed ~by an agency of its own, in ivhich ministers of the 
Gfospel* whether of the Established Church or not, have but a 
subordinate part to perform. But, of course, it will never 
cease to be their duty to interest themselves in the state of 
the poor, and to be forward in devising liberal things in 
those more peculiar cases of want and distress which from 
time to time occur, and for which a legal machinery affords 
no adequate source of relief." 2 

1 Mark xiv. 7. 2 Pastoral Theology, p. 349. 


The care of the poor, which was once the exclusive 
function of the Church, has been relinquished, in most 
Christian countries, to the state or the municipality. We 
have here a notable fact of modern civili/ation, and one 
upon which not a little serious thought ought to be ex 
pended by the Church of this generation. Whether this 
result is one upon which we may congratulate ourselves is 
not altogether clear. It is, indeed, a great triumph of 
Christianity that that "fund of altruistic feeling" which it 
has contributed to modern civili/ation has so influenced 
the whole community as to impel the state to take up this 
work of charitable relief. That " All-of-us," in our corpo 
rate capacity, should be compassionate enough to wish to 
provide for the wants of the needv is matter for profound 
thankfulness. But it is not yet clear that civil society is 
fully equipped for the performance of the whole of this 
work, nor that the Church has done well in relinquishing 
it. For the most part, it must be admitted that much of 
the work is badly done by the civil authorities; that those 
most needy are apt to be least cared for, and that those to 
whom the aid of the state is injurious rather than helpful 
get the lion s share of its dispensation. That the Church 
has been stripped of a large part of its power by its sur 
render of the charge committed to it by its Master is also 
manifest. If its influence in civil society has been weak 
ened; if suspicions have arisen that it has become too 
closely identified with the more fortunate classes; if the 
problem of reaching the masses " has come to be discussed 
in its councils in a somewhat despairing tone, these facts 
are to be largely explained by its practical abandonment 
of the field into which it was sent by its Master. It is 
time, let us urge, for a great revision of the relation of the 
Christian Church to the poor living in its neighborhood, - 
and for deep searching* of heart on the part of Christian 
disciples, with respect to the meaning of the commission 
under which they are serving. Has the parable of the 
Judgment no relation to the present conditions of the 
Christian Church? 

In the study of this question, we are first reminded of 


the truth that every church ought to have, in its own 
membership, those for whom its compassionate offices will 
be needed. 1 The constitution of the church implies such 
a condition of things. Not only will it include those of 
the lower classes, it will also rejoice to find among its 
members those to whose needs it may minister in Christ s 
name. Some of these have been overtaken by sickness or 
misfortune or old age, and in their destitution they need 
the sympathy and succor of their brethre