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1. 1922 

BV 3790 .D43 

Davis, Ozora Stearns, 1866j 

Evangelistic preaching 

Evangelistic Preaching 

With Sermon Outlines and Talks 
to Children and Young People 


President Chicago Theological Seminary 

New York Chicago 

Fleming H. Revell Company 
London and Edinburgh 

Copyright, 1921, by 

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
Chicago: 17 North Wabash Ave. 
London: 21 Paternoster Square 
Edinburgh: 75 Princes Street 


THE Christian Church in the modern 
world is still charged, as it always has 
been, with one supreme task, publishing a 
message which is concerned with nothing less than 
a new life for the individual and society. There 
are many ways by which this message may be made 
known ; but from the beginning it has been chiefly 
through the oral delivery of the evangel that it 
has been proclaimed. Christian preaching is still 
the compelling engagement of the Church. The 
preacher is still the messenger of life to his genera- 
tion. Preaching is difficult, highly technical and 
glorious business. There seems to be need of a 
brief manual which will define again the unchanged 
task of the preacher in the light of our exacting 
and bewildered world, bring out the encourage- 
ments in the preacher's task, and offer practical 
suggestions for the prosecution of that distinct 
kind of preaching commonly known as evangel- 
istic. This book is offered as a word of encour- 
agement and specific counsel to all those who are 
toiling to publish the good news of the Kingdom of 
God and the new life in Christ. 

O. S. D. 
Chicago Theological Seminary, 



The Theory of Evangelistic 


I. The Good News and Its Publication . 9 

II. Preaching and the Preacher . . 22 

III. The Impression and Expression of the 

Good News 35 

IV. Every Preacher an Evangelist . .48 

V. The Evangelistic Sermon . . .61-^ 

VI. Evangelism as the Organizing Prin- 

ciple IN Preaching .... 78 

A Program of Evangelistic Preach- 
ing, WITH Sermon Outlines . 85 


Talks to Children and Young • 

People . . .197 

Special Gatherings . .215 


The Theory of Evangelistic 


ONCE upon a time there broke upon the 
yearning ear of humanity a message that 
was so timely, so assuring, so comforting 
that it was well named '' the good news." It was 
not good news in general; it was specifically and 
forever unique ; it was the good news. For every 
man, for all mankind, during all the years down 
to the end of time, whatever that may be, and un- 
der all human circumstances, however these may 
change, it remains the same exhaustless and won- 
derful message. 

The men who first heard it and put it into words 
spoke Greek and they gave a name to the message, 
which passed into Latin letters and then came to 
us in the English word " evangel." From this we 
derived the kindred words " evangelistic " and 
" evangelize." Then from another source, our 
own Anglo-Saxon, came the word " gospel," 
shorter and more vital, meaning the same thing, 
" good news." 

How swiftly and surely words lose their pristine 
and pictorial meaning! Like coins abraded by 



constant handling, our great words have the Im- 
ages rubbed off and the sharp Hnes in which they 
were originally minted smoothed down. So we 
have lost to a great extent the precious and vivid 
content of the word " gospel." We must use our 
imagination and picture once more the clear scene 
that is involved in some of the great terms of our 
language. Here is the situation out of which the 
word gospel was born. A battle is being fought 
by the defenders of a city on a field far from the 
walls where the people who cannot take their part 
in the conflict wait and long for news. The old 
men are there and the women and the little chil- 
dren. They are straining their eyes as they watch 
the road ; they are listening with every sense attent. 
Now out of the dust, far off, appears the figure of 
a runner. He is bending every nerve to reach the 
city gates, for he is the messenger of good news. 
The battle has been won and the city is saved. To 
make that fact known is worth the utmost effort 
that he can put forth. He knows what it will 
mean to the waiting people ; so he spares no energy 
to tell them the good news. 

The word " evangelist " represents this mes- 
senger. And the news that he brings is the " evan- 
gel," or the good news. The Christian preacher 
IS the evangelist or the bearer of good news to all 
the yearning and beleaguered souls of men. The 
message that he brings them Is his gospel or evan- 
gel. It tells how the love of God has enlisted on 


man's side in the struggle for truth and righteous- 
ness. It has the accent of certainty about it. This 
is not a guess ; it is an affirmation that grounds it- 
self in the deepest assurance. It has the ring of 
joy about it. The message is sure to set the bells 
ringing. If the messenger is so enthusiastic about 
it that he pours all his soul into the announcement 
of his message, if sometimes he breaks over the 
conventional forms in his proclamation, we are 
not surprised. We would be surprised if he did 
not do something of this sort. Who could pos- 
sibly tell men such truth without emotion? The 
message is so wonderful, so important, so packed 
with joy ! 

This is the earliest and the most vital content 
of the word. But the years go by. The message 
is repeated again and again, until the very words 
are worn thin. Men begin to change the message 
from a glad announcement to a fixed dogma. They 
quarrel about it They even kill each other because 
they cannot agree on the meaning of the words or 
the words themselves. The form in which the 
announcement of the good news is to be given is 
stereotyped into what is called a " sermon." A 
science of sermon structure and delivery grows 
up; it bears the dismal name " homiletics." The 
sermon is subjected to the critical treatment of 
literary composition and oral address, and is forced 
to conform to the canons of the science with this 
hard name. How can we keep the kindling beauty 


and the radiant joy of the pristine good news, 
brought by the messenger on the run, under such 
conditions? You cannot conventionalize and 
standardize a thing of beauty and joy and spon- 
taneous expression like this and keep it in its gen- 
uine and primitive form. The preacher, who is 
simply the messenger or the evangelist, must fight 
all the time to preserve the native meaning of his 
words as he uses them. He must constantly use 
his imagination and his reason in order to vitalize 
the terms that he uses, his thought of his own task 
and the truth that he gives to his comrades in the 
act of preaching. We have almost forgotten what 
these great words " gospel," '* evangelize," and 
" preach " do actually mean. It is not merely the 
people who have lost this clear conception ; but the 
very preachers themselves have suffered the great 
words to become hazy and inert in their thinking. 
This word " gospel " is a noble, living word. 

There are many statements of the Gospel. Some 
are brief and some are long. Some are simple and 
some are technical. No one is quite complete. 
Even when they are united in one great, compre- 
hensive definition, there are factors that are left 
out. The good news is so wide in its reach and so 
deep in its intention, it is so full of vast and varied 
meaning, it is so rich and fertile in its daring affir- 
mation that we cannot pack it all into a proposi- 
tion. One of the most satisfactory of the early 
statements, because it was made by a man whose 


personal Christian experience was deep and genu- 
ine, is as follows: 

" But all things are of God, who reconciled us 
to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the 
ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in 
Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not 
reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having 
committed to us the word of reconciUation " (3 
Cor. 5: 18, 19). 

As we reflect upon this passage we cannot fail 
to catch its exalted vision and searching impera- 
tive. It surely matches the temper which we found 
in the earliest figure of the Gospel and the evan- 
gelist. There is the reflection of the runner's 
urgency and the people's expectation. Then 
there is something courtly and imperial about it. 
An ambassador is not a little man fussing with a 
little job. He is not running errands or concerned 
with pettiness. He is the representative of his 
monarch. He stands in the place of his nation or 
his race. When he speaks the voice of the people 
is heard. When he affirms something the power 
of a great corporation is behind him. This matter 
of publishing the Gospel is royal business, dignified 
by the weight of regal authority, and demanding 
the utmost power of a trained and consecrated per- 
sonality. It may call for deliberate effort of the 
mind and imagination in order that a Christian 
preacher to-day may catch the practical signifi- 
cance of this thought ; but it is most legitimate for 


him to seek to vitalize the idea in his daily work. 
If he will do so he will find that the old tasks are 
lighted up with new beauty and his whole work is 
dignified and ennobled. 

The word " reconciliation " is a noble one. It 
means to bring together, to harmonize, to over- 
come estrangement. As we look either into our 
own hearts or abroad into the world in which we 
must live so long as God has work for us to do, 
we know that there are discords and estrangements 
which ought to be set right. Division and anguish 
lie all around us. We cannot be permanently 
happy or do good work under such conditions. 
The world is not right. The soul demands that it 
shall be made right. The nobler the human spirit, 
the more urgent and insistent is its demand for 
unity. This demand is not manufactured from 
without ; it arises from within the human spirit at 
its best. We do not need to be educated in order 
to reason this matter out. We cry out instinctively 
for a universe that is harmonized and happy in 
love and good will. The most stupendous and 
glorious enterprise that ever has commanded the 
mind and the active powers of man is the program 
of the Kingdom of God, which is the substance of 
the Gospel of Christ. All dreams of Utopia, all 
programs for social betterment, are less than the 
message of a reconciled world in Jesus Christ. 

The reconciliation is not a change wrought in 
the nature of God. That changeless love did not 


call for any new yearning. The old father in the 
parable of the lost boy did not require a change 
of heart while his eager eyes were peering down 
the road hoping to see the loved figure of the re- 
turning prodigal. But the boy needed to be 
changed; and love was the only power that ever 
could do that. The good news comes with such 
mighty appeal that it does actually change our 

But the reconciliation that the good news pro- 
claims is not simply between man and God; it is 
also and most gloriously between man and man. 
Out of new and right relations with God flow in- 
evitably a whole world of new relations between 
man and man. Indeed, it begins with nature it- 
self. We seldom think that the Gospel has any 
bearing upon the relation which man bears to the 
physical world ; but under the sway of the Gospel 
all nature comes into closer relations with man 
and man with nature. A Christian is kinder to 
his animals ; he works harder and so gets a larger 
return from his farm ; good will is something that 
even the fields and flocks understand. Then a new 
set of social principles unfolds from the publish- 
ing and accepting of the good news. Set the Gos- 
pel at work in the worst moral conditions of a 
great city and it will transform vileness into beauty. 
Men under the sway of the Gospel begin to adjust 
themselves to one another in a new spirit of sacri- 
fice and service. It is an actual reconcilia- 


tion wrought out in concrete forms of mutual 

The publication of a message so searching and 
comprehensive calls for all the resources of the 
herald, trained in the highest possible degree. It 
must be sung and written and printed and preached. 
Every possible agency of publication must be util- 
ized to make so glorious a message known. No 
form of announcement may be overlooked; new 
forms must be searched out and utilized. So the 
message must be put into word and action, into 
spirit and program. One friend must tell another 
about it, as they did in the beginning with exuber- 
ant and convincing joy. This is the simplest way 
in which to give publicity to the good news. But 
this method is too slow. The Gospel must be 
brought to many men and women at a time; and 
the only way in which this can be done is by print- 
ing and preaching. The press is a great pulpit 
whose service to the publication of the Gospel is 
immeasurable. Books and periodicals spread the 
message far and wide. Every language used by 
men must be employed in order that the races may 
hear the message " each in his own tongue." And 
then the assembly must be utilized, with the living 
speaker present, to use the greatest of all agencies 
ever employed to make truth known, namely a liv- 
ing man speaking home to the heart of living men. 

This is preaching. It is the one method that has 
been used most effectively from the beginning to 


make the good news known to men. It is not an 
isolated act. It is carried on as a part of an order 
or service of public worship. The preacher is also 
the man who leads people in social worship near to 
God and to one another. It is inevitable that as 
the centuries have passed and men of many races 
and civilizations have stated the good news over 
and over, preaching has grown somewhat complex 
and formal. But it never has fallen into a period 
of formality and lifelessness without the final ap- 
pearance of prophetic men who have rescued it and 
brought it back to its place of primacy and power. 
And thus the method of preaching has vindicated 
its right and authority as the chief means of pub- 
lishing the good news. As a matter of fact when- 
ever there has been strong preaching the Gospel 
is found to be exerting its strongest influence in the 
life of the age. With the decline of preaching 
there has inevitably resulted the falling off of the 
energy of the Gospel In its command over the peo- 
ple. And the restoration of the good news to its 
supremacy has been invariably wrought by the 
power of preaching. The Christian people have 
trusted this method as the one most certain to make 
the good news known. There have been times of 
criticism and disparagement; but the final verdict 
always has been in favour of preaching. 

The present Is such a time. Preaching Is asked 
to furnish its credentials. Let us meet the chal- 
lenge. We are sometimes told that we must return 


to the simple apostolic method of personal and In- 
dividual contact, by which the knowledge of the 
Gospel was spread from person to person by the 
contagion of friendship and through the medium of 
conversation. One disciple of Christ will bring 
another to the common Master and so the good 
news will be passed along until finally the whole 
world will hear the message. The persuasive 
power of individual appeal from friend to friend 
is certainly a mighty influence in extending any 
cause. All this the advocate of the medium of 
preaching as the agency for publishing the good 
news recognizes and defends. Personal testimony 
is now, however, as it was when Jesus lived among 
His earthly friends, the greatest single agency for 
extending the knowledge of the good news. The 
preacher standing In his pulpit and publishing the 
Gospel to a congregation is only a witness influenc- 
ing many comrades at once instead of one at a 
time. Preaching Is simply the extension of per- 
sonal testimony by adding to the number of hear- 
ers. Also the larger contact of the individual 
preacher with the group of hearers does not ex- 
clude the Individual in contact with the individual. 
On the contrary, the most successful preachers of 
the Gospel to large audiences have also been the 
strongest advocates of " Individual work for in- 
dividuals," knowing that the two methods are the 
necessary complements to each other. 

We are sometimes urged to lay less stress upon 


preaching in the interests of publicity for the Gos- 
pel through pictorial illustration, printing and the 
distribution of literature. Printing has been 
brought to such a high degree of efficiency as the 
means of all kinds of publicity, especially if picto- 
rial illustration be included with it, that it can be 
used more than ever before to make any set of facts 
or truths widely known. And it is being employed 
in every sort of propaganda. But at best utterance 
through the press lacks that which is most power- 
ful in preaching, the person himself speaking, and 
that richest of all instruments ever devised for the 
expression of truth and its impression upon others, 
the human voice. Widely as the press is used, the 
promoters of all movements unite in their testi- 
mony to the superior power of the personal advo- 
cate or pleader and are constantly thus represent- 
ing their causes in public meetings. In the sermon 
the preacher adds himself to his message ; he there- 
fore has the force of the spoken sentences plus his 
own energy and influence. And the paramount fac- 
tor in the publication of the Gospel is the convinced 
and convincing preacher himself. So ()reaching 
still maintains its supremacy as the means of pub- 
lishing the Gospel. It uses the press in every pos- 
sible way; but it still trusts the kindling word of 
the preacher supremely. 

Another claim merits consideration at this point. 
Many earnest and sincere critics of preaching de- 
mand that the Gospel shall be published and com- 


mended wholly by the deeds that it inspires. They 
point out the convincing power of conduct and say 
truly that the good news is approved by the fact 
that it makes good men. They are impatient with 
so much theory and debate; they long for the 
practical proof of the Gospel. The protest is 
healthy and desirable. The power of Christian 
conduct and the testimony of Christian life and 
character in bringing knowledge of the good news 
to the world and leading men to accept it are un- 
bounded. We must be on guard against trusting 
the mere words of the Gospel, apart from their 
confirmation in life, to avail in extending the 
knowledge of the good news to the end of its re- 
demptive mission. The searching question of 
Jesus in Luke 6 : 46 must be borne constantly in 

" Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the 
things which I say ? " 

Thus the testimony of conduct is convincing 
and it must be constantly brought into action ; but 
it is immediately apparent that the Christian char- 
acter is the result and the confirmation of hearing 
the Christian Gospel. Publication of the truth 
must precede both the knowledge of the truth and 
action according to it. Preaching, therefore, is 
the necessary preliminary to the proof of the Gos- 
pel that is furnished by life and character. 

Therefore we conclude that the effective publi- 
cation of the good news depends upon continuous 


and ever improved preaching. The modern 
preacher will not need to spend any time question- 
ing the validity of his credentials. They have been 
confirmed by almost twenty centuries of experi- 
ence. He will study rather how he can improve his 
methods and make his sermons more vital and 
convincing. If he discerns clearly the import of 
his message and the sources of power in his work 
he will be sure that the one supreme factor in suc- 
cessful preaching is to make the sermon a gospel, 
that is, a real message laden with the prophet's 
sense of " burden." No skill in form or grace in 
speech can take the place of this quality in the 
sermon. It must be dominantly evangelistic, that 
is, true In spirit and explicit in statement so that it 
will publish in some fuller form and more con- 
vincing appeal the good news of the reconciliation 
in Christ. 



AS preaching has gone on from century to 
century it has inevitably become complex. 
It has developed a technique and certain 
standards have gradually been established. But 
the outstanding factor in it all is, as it always has 
been, the personality of the preacher. That is 
what makes the sermon so radically different from 
the essay or the scientific lecture. The writer's per- 
sonality is not apparent in the essay or poem. In 
the lecture the subject dominates everything. But 
in the sermon the man speaking is so central and 
potent that in a certain sense the sermon is the 
man. The sermon is truth passing through the 
preacher's personal experience, interpreted by it 
and enforced by it. He imputes himself in all his 
statements. This is why the hearer so often can- 
not tell at the end so much in detail what he has 
heard; even the text may be lost soon from his 
memory; but he is sure that on a certain occasion 
he saw a man who was so sure of a truth which he 
was ardent to impart that he spent his very self in 
making it clear and forceful. This point may ap- 
pear more clearly If we analyze briefly the ele- 
ments that enter into preaching. 



The earliest Christian preaching was simple, 
positive testimony. Turn to the " sermon " of 
Peter reported in Acts 2: 14-36. In the strict 
sense of the word, as it has developed its full mean- 
ing in the course of time, this is not a sermon. It 
is primarily the giving of testimony. Peter and 
his comrades had seen and known something ; they 
told others about it. There was no wavering in 
their minds. They went into the witness-box and 
gave their evidence clearly and with complete as- 
surance. They were not primarily interested in 
argument. They wanted to tell what they knew. 
Their testimony was so definite, so clear, so con- 
vincing that hundreds and thousands believed the 
message on the ground of their witness. Men 
could not help believing the witness of experience 
then ; they cannot fail to accept it now. Straight 
forward affirmation, on the ground of somethin' 
that is positively sure in the experience of some or 
else always carries conviction. 

This is a permanent factor in preaching. The 
modern preacher will not often cast his evidence 
into sentences whose subject is the first personal 
pronoun. That does not mean that his sermon will 
not be based on testimony. His consciousness of 
the fact that he is a witness will form the back- 
ground of all his thought. It will charge the prep- 
aration of his sermon with the temper and accent 
of affirmation. He may not say the words aloud 
as he works ; but his mind will all the time be de- 


daring stoutly. This is true; I know it; I have 
proved it. We often ask why so many sermons 
seem to be weak in their appeal and why a minister 
is sometimes languid in his work. It is primarily 
because the sermon does not ring with the accent 
of confidence and the minister has not confirmed 
his message in his own experience before he an- 
nounced it in the pulpit. The good news is still 
good news. When the preacher is more sure of 
this than he is of any other fact he will fill his 
sermon with happy and whole-hearted testimony 
to the truth which has found him and by which he 
is himself living victoriously. 

Testimony, however, soon passed into another 
stage of development in early preaching. As men 
were convinced of the truth in the good news of 
reconciliation in Christ they discovered that they 
had entered into a life and experience of such 
range and richness that they needed to spend all 
their lives in learning what was involved in the good 
news. Thus arose the ministry of teaching. When 
any one entered into the life of personal loyalty to 
Christ he understood why the earliest followers of 
the Master were called disciples or " learners." He 
discovered that when he accepted the ruling mo- 
tives of Jesus and made them his the whole world 
required re-valuation. The matter could not be 
understood in a day. He must ask those who 
knew more than he to tell him what they had 
learned and known. He must try to state the great 


truth to his own mind and to the intelligence of 
others. That is, the whole truth as found in Christ 
must be deeply studied ; a new kind of experience, 
briefly described as the experience of God in Christ, 
must be interpreted and given some kind of an 
orderly statement so that others could understand 
and appropriate it. This involved teaching in its 
amplest form and its deepest import. 

Teaching is still an integral part of the preacher's 
work. This does not mean that the sermon is a 
lecture. It is something distinct and decidedly 
more. Yet every sermon has in it to some extent 
a teaching purpose. The good news calls for proc- 
lamation; but it also must be expressed in many 
forms and therefore instruction is essential to the 
full preaching of the Gospel. Therefore the 
preacher himself must be a clear thinker and a 
hard worker in the field of Christian theology. It 
is quite common for ministers to fall in with the 
current disparagement of theology. But what his 
appropriate science is to the botanist, the astron- 
omer or the social worker, that theology is to the 
preacher. It is the systematic statement of the 
comprehensive truth in the good news. This must 
be not only an object of respect but a subject of 
study on the part of the preacher. It is no sign 
of superiority or cleverness to affirm that one is 
innocent of the great science which has claimed 
the love and loyalty of many of the greatest minds 
of the world. The preacher must know how to 


teach as well as to exhort. He still must be " apt 
to teach." We shall discuss this more fully in 
Chapter V. 

There is still another factor in the process of 
preaching for which it is difficult to find a name. 
Perhaps the best word to use is passion. Preach- 
ing is a flame, an insight, a forth-telling. It lays 
hold of the deeps within us and it speaks to the 
deeps in others. It is a something that suffers and 
yearns and trembles. This is the element in 
preaching that least admits of formal treatment or 
stable classification. It is reckless in a certain 
sense. It breaks out into new forms. It defies 
the laws that we lay down. It occasionally uses 
the unusual form of the sermon with such power 
that it seems as if the way had been found at last 
to proclaim the Gospel with utter success ; and then 
some one else tries to do the same thing and fails 
miserably. Thus there is something elusive in the 
great mood which we cannot classify or confine. 
Under the spell of the prophetic mood the preacher 
does not think or feel so much as he sees. He 
finds that his mind is rushing under the thrust or 
drive of a power that he dimly understands but In 
response to which he feels great joy and power. 
He has attained the open vision and arrived at the 
direct grasp of truth. The vagueness of this de- 
scription grows out of the elusiveness of the sub- 
ject; but every preacher knows the reality and 
power of this elevation of spirit and release of in- 


tellectual and emotional energy under the influ- 
ence of the impassioned glow of insight. 

We know that this experience came to the 
prophets. It is written large in the precious re- 
mains of their words and work. It is easy to dis- 
cern it in the personality of Isaiah. When it 
comes to ourselves and our modern world we are 
less ready to believe that we, in our plain pulpit, 
among the people who know us so well, may know 
the lift and glory of the prophetic insight and 
power to proclaim what we have seen. We need 
not doubt it, however. We cannot ring up this 
royal servant and have him wait on us at com- 
mand. There are no known methods by which to 
force the advent of lofty vision and flaming speech. 
This is an angel visitor. There are certain ways, 
however, in which we may so prepare for his 
royal coming that he may not be delayed through 
any fault of ours. Jesus showed what these are in 
His wonderful promise, " Blessed are the pure in 
heart: for they shall see God." We cannot per- 
form mechanical exercises that will insure the com- 
ing of the holy passion. But we can keep our 
hearts gentle and our souls keyed to good will. 
Then at least the flame will not be blown out. This 
is the prophetic glow and leap which makes preach- 
ing, under its sway, the noblest, happiest engage- 
ment which can command the spirit of man. 

Thus it will be seen that the task of preaching is 
not the simple work that it might appear at first 


sight to be. It is necessary not only to have all the 
factors that enter into the complex action present, 
but also to have them preserved in their right bal- 
ance. A sermon must not be too dogmatic, too 
didactic, too emotional. It must be like a sym- 
phony, balanced and controlled in full and chas- 
tened harmony. 

The chief factor, however, is the personality of 
the preacher. The truth must be transmitted 
through personality. We have repeated this so 
often because the truth is so often forgotten. The 
conviction and experience of the preacher are both 
absolutely necessary to the true sermon and to 
effective preaching. Therefore at this point arises 
the great question, How deeply has the preacher 
himself experienced the transforming power of the 
Gospel ? And on the basis of this experience how 
valid and tenacious is his faith in the power of the 
Gospel to do for others and for the whole world 
what it has done for him? It is immediately ap- 
parent that this involves something more than an- 
intellectual assent to a set of propositions. The 
kind of confidence which we are now discussing 
arises from the consent of a man's whole being to 
something which he has tried and found true in his 
daily life. The multiplication table never stood by 
him with help when he was in danger of being 
caught by evil; it never comforted him when he 
was sorely stricken with grief. But the Gospel has 
done all this and more for any man who preaches 


it with power. As Rev. Albert J. Lyman, himself 
a great preacher, said, " Preaching is not only an 
* art '; it is an ' incarnation.' " When the Gospel 
actually lives in a man then he can preach a living 
gospel. The man who himself knows the redemp- 
tive love and power of Christ will never need to 
question his credentials. That which the good 
news has done for him he knows it will do for 
other men. His message has not lost its power 
and his Master still lives. 

Therefore preparation for Christian preaching 
is as wide and deep as the preacher's life; indeed, it 
is essentially just this, the preparation of the 
preacher himself. On the academic side it in- 
volves the severest and most constant thought and 
study. No greater mistake could be made than to 
disparage or discontinue study and reflection and 
constructive thought. One of the reasons why 
ministers fail and evangelists do not " last " is be- 
cause they have stopped thinking and taken to 
shouting. These are harsh words; but the situa- 
tion warrants them. Any preacher who thinks 
that he can be safe and not use all his mental 
powers to their highest degree has signed his own 
resignation letter in advance. The Christian pul- 
pit in America to-day needs a mighty revival of 
clear, fearless and continuous study and thought. 
It is a tragedy to see a minister go to seed mentally. 

Then there is the emotional culture of person- 
ality which is imperative if the good news is to be 


given with power. The message is beautiful. So 
is the life that it inspires. Too often the preacher 
becomes so engrossed with the details of his work 
that he fails to lay his spirit open to the loveliness 
of the universe. The preacher's life is a quest for 
beauty. All ugly things must be left out so far as 
they are not necessary to the service that he must 
render to his community and generation. To give 
space to mean and petty ideas and purposes in life 
is to make ourselves dusty attics where spiders spin 
instead of the sunny rooms where all beauty is 
present with love and joy. We must not fail to 
love loveliness if we are to preach a gospel that is 
concerned with the beauty of holiness. 

On the public and social side of the preacher's 
life must be cultivated the widest range of sym- 
pathy and deepest relation with all aspects of our 
bewildering modern life. The good news is a so- 
cial message. It comes into intimate relations 
with every phase of human endeavour. The 
preacher cannot give his message with success un- 
less deeply and honestly he loves " folks " and is 
glad to enter into their loves and sorrows with true 
appreciation. The term " good mixer " has been 
over-worn; but it still represents one of the most 
important characteristics of the preacher. He can- 
not stand in his high church steeple to throw down 
the truth one day in seven. The measure of his 
happy and helpful mingling with men is the degree 
of his effectiveness as an ambassador of Christ. 


Therefore the culture of the social sympathies and 
graces of manner is imperative. 

All these are less, however, than the one domi- 
nant factor in the preparation of the preacher, 
which is the real preparation of the sermon. We 
return to its discussion. Preaching is a personal 
message. No spring will rise higher than its 
source. The message must have behind it the 
preacher's absolutely genuine and moving personal 
experience of the reality and power of the Gospel. 
The Gospel has something to do in the life and for 
the character of the preacher himself before he is 
prepared to do his best work in the publication of 
the good news as the messenger of his Master. 

The objection is often met at this point: How 
can one who has grown up in a Christian home 
and has never passed through the radical change of 
an experience of " conversion," as it is generally 
described in the language of the mission hall, have 
this keen sense of the message and the urgency of 
the Gospel. It cannot be manufactured. 

The only reply to this is something as follows: 
The external conditions of the experience of con- 
version are manifold. There are the deep and 
revolutionary changes: there are the equally deep 
but evolutionary changes. It is possible to turn 
around by swinging through so wide a circle so 
gradually that one is unconscious of the slow 
change of direction. It is also possible to turn 
around at such an acute angle that everything is 


upset. If any one who has come into the Christian 
life by the gradual processes of Christian nurture 
will carefully revive his memories and make an in- 
ventory of his experiences he will find that he 
comes out just where the subject of the more sud- 
den and dramatic change arrives. Both are con- 
scious of a personal loyalty and a glowing love for 
Christ, the Saviour and Lord. So there is no ex- 
ception to the statement that preachers of both 
types of experience have the basis laid for their 
preaching in the fact that there has been something 
done for them of supreme value by the Gospel. 

Therefore every Christian preacher must re- 
peatedly search his own soul and cultivate his own 
inner life with Christ in God. If that fails all 
*' methods'' will be utterly futile. Nothing can 
be learned out of a book or in a conference that 
will take the place of this personal experience and 
conviction. The true sermon does not come into 
being under the study lamp alone. It derives its 
life and power from the deep wells of the preach- 
er's profound knowledge of the reality of the 
Gospel as he unites his life with Christ in loving 
surrender and happy service. 

Let us look at the matter once more. Here is 
the world in bondage to sin and held under cap- 
tivity to injustice, hate and lust. Is there anything 
that can emancipate this world from the horrible 
situation in which it is involved ? The Gospel of 
Christ claims to be able to do just this and to do it 


successfully whenever it is tried. The preacher is 
supposed to believe this — to believe it to the tips of 
his toes, with such utter faith that he is willing to 
pledge his whole life to the truth of the proposition. 
Do we believe it? The doctor trusts his remedy. 
The surgeon believes in his operation. An advo- 
cate has confidence in the justice of his cause. Is 
the preacher " dead sure " of his message ? It is 
charged that the modern pulpit is remote from life 
and that much preaching is perfunctory. If this 
is so, what is the reason? Lack of blazing con- 
viction on the part of the preacher, first of all. As 
the preacher looks into his own heart, into the 
needy lives of the people in the parish, into the 
nation and abroad into the vast world, he must be 
sure, beyond any hesitation or doubt, absolutely 
sure, that he has the message and the power that 
will bring man and God, and man and man per- 
fectly together. This Gospel, the modern preacher 
must know as clearly as Paul knew it, is the very 
** power of God." When he reaches that point 
he is the master of his pulpit, at least so far as the 
initial energy for his work is concerned. He must 
do more than merely to be sure of this. He must 
yearn and pray and toil terribly. But he cannot, 
he simply cannot, fail in the end because he is 
working with the unvanquished and unconquerable 
purposes of God. 

Every preacher knows what it is to have his life 
grow stale and to see the visions fade. Then it is 


time to come back and to renew convictions and 
certainties in a fresh experience of the Gospel. 
Think it through ; respond to it with the glow of a 
deep affection; do something with it by means of 
a practical program. Preachers must let the Gospel 
do more for them in order that they may do more 
for the Gospel. When the truth has wrought in 
us we shall be able to " energize " well in the 
community for the truth. Open your life more 
fully to the influence of Christ by putting all evil 
and selfish thoughts out of it. The more we think 
about Him, study His teaching, imagine Him as He 
actually lived with men, and, chiefly, as we yield 
ourselves to His service, the more we shall be 
brought into an experience of Christ's reality and 
power that will fortify us in our moments of 
weakness and give us a message and a conviction 
against which no attack of denial or scorn will be 
able to prevail. 



FOUR phases of the process of preaching we 
shall study briefly in this chapter. They 
must be understood in their right relations 
by any one who is to preach the good news success- 
fully in the modern age. 

The first is the impression of the good news upon 
the preacher. This has been considered at such 
length in the previous chapter that we only revert 
to it again here. The Gospel must have made a 
deep impression upon the whole life of the preacher 
before he can effectively impress it upon others. 
It must be the greatest truth he knows, the noblest 
engagement to which he can possibly dedicate him- 
self. Thus the Gospel must have been impressed 
upon his very spirit. . It must have laid hold on the 
deepest springs of his action ; it must be translated 
into motives; it must shape the major program 
of the preacher's life. No man who goes into the 
pulpit merely because he is interested in what he is 
going to do or say there, or because he enjoys the 
music, or because he likes the stately order of a 



service, will be a preacher. But something must 
have been impressed upon him so deeply that he is 
under the spell of its mighty urgency and feels that 
he absolutely must do something about it. There 
lies the source of his power. It is the drive and 
the compulsion derived from a commanding truth. 
It is no ground for boasting or claim to glory when 
a man upon whom the good news has been so 
deeply and vitally impressed seeks to preach it, or 
to express it. Indeed, he could not do anything 
else and be true to the deepest that is in him. Paul 
states this fact in one of those little revelations of 
himself that he gives occasionally in his letters: 
" For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to 
glory of ; for necessity is laid upon me ; for woe is 
unto me, if I preach not the gospel" (1 Cor. 
9: 16). 

Therefore we pass to the expression of the good 
news by the preacher. He must do it. There is 
no option about it on his part. When he is once 
sure that here is something that has the power in 
it to save the world he cannot be either quiet or 
calm about it. But note the source of the urgency. 
It is not in response to a command laid upon him 
from without by a Sovereign that the preacher 
publishes the good news. His constraint is from 
within. It springs from his convictions and his 
love. As Peter and John put it at the very begin- 
ning of the days of Christian testimony, " Whether 
it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you 


rather than unto God, judge ye: for we cannot but 
speak the things which we saw and heard " (Acts 
4: 19, 20). 

The impression made by Christ upon a disciple 
to-day is not produced as it was in the days of His 
flesh by contacts in the realm of physical life. It 
is none the less personal and real. While it is true 
that the vast majority of our impressions are re- 
ceived through the physical organs, there are many 
which come to us in delicate and subtle ways. 
Christ is living in our world. He is near us. He 
touches us. Whittier was not writing something 
that had no actual meaning to him when he sang: 

" We touch Him in life's throng and press, 
And we are whole again." 

The expression of this experience is a great and 
beautiful and rewarding task. Preaching is not an 
engagement to be treated lightly. When a citizen 
of the United States is appointed ambassador to 
Great Britain he does not esteem it an empty 
honour. It is a high privilege. It calls out the best 
that is in him. He goes to the court of Great 
Britain conscious of his responsibility and prepared 
to represent his country well. 

No less a sense of joy and privilege should mark 
the temper and the work of the ambassador of 
Christ to the community where he preaches. This 
is not mere rhetoric. It is solid fact and there are 
thousands of preachers, from the day of St. Paul 


to this very moment, who have proved the reality 
and power of this conception of the preacher's life 
and work. 

But let us not shut up the expression of the good 
news to the sermon alone. That would be to deny 
the value of some of the chief agencies for publish- 
ing the good news. The whole order of worship is 
the affirmation of the Gospel. There is not a sin- 
gle item of the service that fails in some way to set 
forth or emphasize some fact in the message. 
Scripture, hymns, prayers, offerings, all unite to 
express the good news to the people. And yet 
when all this is admitted. It remains clear that the 
sermon itself is the chief form of expression into 
which the preacher casts his message. 

Yet there is a determining background that we 
must not fail to appreciate. It Is the whole spirit 
of the preacher. There is something magnetic, as 
it were, about one who is giving oral expression to 
a truth. And if he believes it, if he Is wholly sure 
of it, there will be a sort of confirmatory bearing 
about him which the people will discern and which 
will help his message In ways that he never will 
know. For somehow the truths that we do believe 
through and through get a sort of audience even 
when we express them poorly. And when they are 
set forth In clear and cogent fashion the conviction 
with which we hold the truth we declare takes on 
added strength. 

Therefore the modern preacher will work with 


every possible medium in order that he may express 
the message clearly. He will study the proposition 
of his sermon until it is clear as daylight to his 
mind. It is said that the secret of Lincoln's power 
with a jury lay in the clearness with which he ad- 
dressed his plea to them. In preparing for this it 
was his custom to reduce his case to a series of 
propositions. Every one of these he went over 
again and again until there was not an unnecessary 
or meaningless word in a sentence. He imagined 
himself in the place of the jury and convinced him- 
self first of all. He arranged his propositions until 
they were so ordered that they led from one to an- 
other and reached a convincing climax. This per- 
suasive outline was filled out as the occasions 
demanded; but it was back there as the sup- 
porting skeleton of his plea and he never re- 
garded as lost the time and diligent study put 
upon it. 

The preacher will work hard on his literary ex- 
pression of the good news. The right and beauti- 
ful word is necessary to clothe the clear thought. 
We are sometimes told that the preacher may trust 
the Lord to fill his mouth if only he will open it. 
But on the whole it is the man who has studied 
hardest and worked most diligently whom the Lord 
can use best as His messenger. The English lan- 
guage is too noble and rich to be treated with the 
dishonour to which some preachers subject it. It 
i$ the instrument for the oral expression of the 


good news and it ought to be handled with more 
care than the astronomer bestows upon his tele- 

And in the same way the preacher will be careful 
and earnest in the use he makes of every item of 
the service. Even the little details of his own 
dress and manner are important in order that there 
may be nothing but commendation for his message 
deriving from the whole effort to deliver it. 
Hymns that harmonize with the service are de- 
manded, not merely for the artistic finish of it, but 
because through them some phase of the good news 
will be expressed. 

We come next to the impression of the message 
upon the group or the congregation. This opens 
up a whole new field of study which sometime will 
be carried out to a still greater degree of thorough- 
ness ; we have only made a beginning in our study 
of the pyschological factors involved in preaching. 
As we come to know more of the way in which the 
minds of many individuals react or respond to an 
appeal to a group rather than to an individual, we 
shall learn better how to preach the Gospel in such 
a way that it will be forcefully impressed upon the 

There are certain principles, however, which are 
clear and which the messenger of the good news 
can use with skill to increase the impressive power 
of his gospel. Among those principles are the 


The message must be of such a character and it 
must be given in such a way that it will make con- 
nections with that which the hearers already know 
and fit in with that which they are already doing. 
Otherwise it will be so remote from them that they 
will see no meaning in it all, or else will regard it 
only as interesting theory but will not adjust it to 
their habitual activities. This is what we call 
either vital relation or remoteness. And the Gos- 
pel sermon must not be remote from life ; it must 
make vital connection with the real world where 
the people think and work. Preaching has been 
too much concerned with mansions in the skies and 
not enough with cottages on earth. All this must 
be changed. 

Then the Gospel as a message of new life must 
be presented in such a way that it will not be un- 
reasonable. It must be clear and appealing and 
have a strong factor of common sense in it. 
Hearers are often carried quite away by high 
flights of oratory. It is an interesting spectacle to 
watch a fervid speaker take a captive audience into 
camp. And it is painfully interesting to watch the 
slipping away of that enthusiasm and applause. 
Men often clap their hands at a big noise; they 
generally sit silently under the influence of great 
thoughts. There is no use shouting, either in the 
pulpit or " all over God's heaven/' with the idea 
that it is going to make a deep impression on men. 
In the end it is the clear, sensible and strong mes- 


sage that carries weight and drives home to the 
hearts of the people. 

Then the present value of the message counts 
mightily in impressing the congregation. It is not 
easy to frighten or woo men and women to-day by 
telling them of the pains of hell or the bliss of 
heaven. Strong people are neither scared nor 
coaxed into the Church or the Kingdom of God 
nowadays. But men and women want something 
that will give them comfort and peace and joy 
while they are working hard and trying to find 
some reasonable explanation of the world which 
the vast majority are finding now just a little too 
big and hard for them to manage without some 
help from outside. Our Christian Gospel prom- 
ises that help. When the message is put in 
that way the people like to hear it and they are re- 
spectful to the messenger. Let us always remem- 
ber that the mission of Jesus was to the whole life 
of man here and hereafter. He seeks to save men 
from the sin that is destroying them in time as well 
as from the inevitable issue of those sins in eter- 
nity. This accent of present helpfulness and 
strength has been too much lost out of the preach- 
ing of the Christian pulpit. We must bring it back 
and set it before the congregations of the present 
day in all its charm and power. The Gospel is a 
message of new life to the world now. 

Then there is another factor in preaching which 
we must always regard. The message which has 


been impressed upon the preacher and expressed by 
him in a sermon that impresses the hearers is in 
turn to be expressed by them in new forms of indi- 
vidual and social action. We reckon too seldom 
with this fact, that the real end of the sermon is 
achieved in the working out of its truth in the 
practical activities of living men and women. The 
sermon which expresses the Gospel intends to get 
something done in the life of the individual and the 

It is all expressed in that passage where the 
commas do such a lot of damage in Ephesians 
4: 12. Paul says that Christ gave different gifts 
to the members of His body, the Church, and made 
some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, prophets 
and teachers, " for the perfecting of the saints, 
unto the work of ministering, unto the building up 
of the body of Christ." And when we read those 
three phrases we are accustomed to regard them as 
the three coordinate aspects of the duties of church 
leaders. They are to perfect the saints and to do 
the ministering work of the congregation and to 
build up the body of Christ. But these are not co- 
ordinates. This is an ascending scale of activities. 
Church leaders — and just now we are thinking of 
the preacher preeminently — are to work to make 
the members able to do the service of the commu- 
nity in order that thereby the great fellowship of 
Christ on earth may be built up. Therefore the 
sermon is designed to be something more than a 


part of the preacher's work ; it is the definition of 
the congregation's community task. 

Thus we have a new test of the value of the ser- 
mon. That is not a real sermon which has merely 
presented a phase of the Gospel so clearly that it 
has been made plain to the minds of the congrega- 
tion. Nor is that a real sermon which has moved 
the people to a temporary elevation of feeling. 
But the true sermon convinces the mind, moves the 
emotions, and also gains such a decision of the 
hearer that the truth in the sermon becomes a new 
program for the daily life of the individual and 
for the community. The good news that has been 
impressed or driven home must be expressed or 
driven out into action in all the phases of the com- 
munity life. 

There has been much discussion of the individual 
and the social Gospel, as if there were some per- 
manent contradiction between them. There is no 
more contradiction here than there is between the 
opposite sides of a " nickel " or the concave and 
convex sides of a crescent moon. Each is neces- 
sary to the other. It would be Impossible to have 
the coin if there were not two sides to it. They 
complete one another. The crescent moon must be 
convex and it must be concave. We may admire 
one side more than the other; but we know that 
both sides are involved in the complete object. 

So the expression of the truth in the sermon 
must be wrought out by the individual. The good 


news becomes a ruling principle by which he shapes 
the program of his life. Occasionally we hear 
some one disparage the idea of "saving one's soul/' 
We are told that this is selfish and quite unworthy 
business ; that a man who is bent on saving his soul 
probably has a soul hardly worth saving. And 
there is urgent warning in the statement if one who 
is anxious about saving his soul thinks that he can 
accomplish his purpose in solitude. No man ever 
started out to save his own soul without finding 
that he could not reach his end without the help 
and encouragement of his comrades. There is no 
such thing as sheer individual salvation. Indi- 
vidual salvation demands the aid of the group in 
order to its accomplishment. 

Or suppose we begin at the other side of the 
proposition and stress the social aspect of the good 
news. We make a beginning with the endeavour 
to work out a program for the community through 
which the Gospel will be realized in the life of 
the people. We have hardly taken the first step 
until we discover that nothing can be done unless 
we have at hand a growing number of individuals 
who are trying to save their own souls according 
to the plan of the Gospel of Jesus. All kinds of 
most attractive schemes for community uplift have 
been devised and started into operation; but they 
have not gone far until they have failed. The plan 
was all right ; but there was no driving energy be- 
hind the scheme. Men and women who have 


caught the spirit of Jesus and are ready to give 
themselves to the realization of His program as 
a vital part of the process of saving their own souls 
are the driving force behind all the practical efforts 
that will succeed in the redemption of the com- 

The emphasis upon the social Gospel was timely 
and it ought never to be lost. There is no greater 
folly than to accomplish the ** conversion " of an 
individual and then ask him, with all the struggle 
ahead of him as he seeks to realize his new resolu- 
tion, to go back Into surroundings where all the 
forces of the community will be at work against 
him rather than for him. In fact, the individual 
saves society and society saves the individual all the 
time, when each is engrossed in the process of 
working out the program of salvation which is 
brought to the world in the good news which the 
preacher publishes. 

A wonderful sense of freedom is born in the 
preacher's mind and heart when he catches this 
harmony between these two phases of his message 
and knows that he Is to speak to the Individual and 
to the community, bringing to both a message of 
such mighty moulding power that it will shape to 
better conditions all the life of the generation. 
There is no other person in the community 
who has such a message; there is no other 
business in the community comparable with 
this. The preacher may have a small salary 


and there may be many who disparage his 
work. But when the forces of the community are 
summed up according to their value in making for 
the highest Hfe of all, the Christian preacher, vital- 
ized by the consciousness of his wonderful and holy 
task, is the chief single agent in the whole body 
acting consistently to bring forth all the highest 
and best qualities in the individual and society and 
shaping it all according to the mighty ideal of the 
Kingdom of God. That man, endowed with that 
power and charged with that holy task, is the most 
important and commanding figure in the whole 
complex system of community life. He ought to 
preach with the conviction and power of a prophet 
for he is doing business with eternal things. He 
is the evangelist of God. 


FROM the glimpses we gain of the early 
Christian Church it seems that there are 
several classes of recognized leaders, among 
whom are '' evangelists " and " pastors and 
teachers." Also we know that the distinction be- 
tween the travelling " missionary " and the estab- 
lished *' pastor " has been recognized and realized 
with varying emphasis through the history of the 

The distinction between the evangelist and the 
preacher-pastor is clear and permanent. The 
evangelist has specialized in the publication of the 
message of the Gospel. He may not have a large 
number of sermons in readiness ; but those he has 
have been prepared for the purpose of driving 
home the content of the Gospel as a message of 
new life to the souls of men. Then the evangelist 
is the student and the user of a technique of man- 
aging meetings, carrying on propaganda work and 
in many ways touching the community with the 
challenge of novelty that does not come so natu- 
rally into the work of the resident preacher and 
pastor. The evangelist is the promoter and the 



preacher-pastor is the conserver. Both tasks are 
necessary and therefore honourable. But men of 
different gifts can discharge them with varying 
effectiveness. Each plays an important part in the 
publication of the Gospel 

But while we preserve this historic distinction 
and recognize the validity of the difference in the 
present functions of the two groups, the proposi- 
tion still stands that every preacher-pastor is an 
evangelist. He preaches steadily, in one place, to 
a stable congregation, the message of the new life 
in Christ. This is his great and perpetual busi- 
ness. He must not be diverted from this by any 
other task. He must not let the successful prose- 
cution of this task be interfered with by a mass of 
parish " chores." He must keep it in the fore- 
front of all his thinking concerning his work. The 
presence of the evangelistic purpose is what insures 
the health and strength of the pastor's conception 
of his ministry. 

Every preacher-pastor ought to have a program 
of evangelistic work, fully planned, flexible, 
steadfastly adhered to, and known and adopted at 
least by his official boards. One of the sources of 
weakness and failure In the modern Church is that i^ 
there is no definite program or objective. Aim- 
ing at nothing, a church will hit It with magnificent 
success. The reports of registered gains in mem- 
bership In the Protestant churches In America dur- 
ing the past few years gives us ground for dismay. 


There are actually thousands of churches that have 
made no gain in membership while many have lost 
in numbers. The sign of life is growth and the 
lack of growth is the sign of decay if not of death. 
Searching for the cause of this most discouraging 
situation we find it to lie chiefly in the fact that so 
many preachers and churches have no definite pro- 
gram for evangelistic work. They do not seek to 
present the Gospel, to work definitely to influence 
persons to accept the Gospel, to make the Gospel 
the power of God in the modern community as it 
certainly was in the early days. The chief single 
cure for the desperate condition is an evangelistic 
program for every church. 

The word " program " as we are using it here 
is sufficiently clear to require no elaborate discus- 
sion. It means that the individual church ought to 
have an objective and a method by which to reach 
it, and that the dominant factor in this should be 
the effort to publish the Christian Gospel and 
through it to lead men to Christ and bring Christ to 
the community as the Saviour and the Creator of 
the new life. In order to do this there must be an 
order of activities. Those which directly promote 
this great end deserve the first place and must be 
carried out without fail. Those that merely con- 
tribute accidentally to this supreme objective may 
be done or not as the energy of the working church 
warrants. Their omission Is not destructive ; their 
discharge is not imperative. Thus the recognition 


of the evangelistic purpose of a church and its in- 
corporation into a practical program of action 
gives us a new scale of values and enables a minis- 
ter and congregation to adjust their work accord- 
ing to the importance of the things which really 
ought to be done. 

In thus defining the program of the church 
and making it gather around the principle of evan- 
gelistic service to the community, the minister him- 
self is the most important single factor to be reck- 
oned with. There are cases in which a church will 
rise to the recognition of its supreme business in 
such a way that the minister will catch the vision 
from the people and shape his work accordingly. 
However, in the majority of cases it is the minister 
who sets the pace for the parish. He must do this 
by virtue of the place that he holds in the thought 
of the people. They look to him for the formation 
of the plans that are to be carried into effect by 
their united action. Therefore this is an important 
question: What does the minister, the preacher- 
pastor himself, think about the priority of evangel- 
ism in the work of pulpit and parish ? The answer 
to that question will, in the majority of cases, de- 
termine the church program. 

At this point we are Inevitably driven back to 
another question, namely, What place Is given to 
evangelism In the schools where ministers are being 
trained? The matter Is vital We must recog- 
nize that the prevailing emphasis in any school pre- 


paring candidates for the Christian ministry must 
be academic. Scholarship is vital to the whole 
educational process. The evangelistic value of a 
curriculum cannot be determined by the courses 
that are given on this particular subject or the 
number of hours that the students spend in holding 
meetings of an evangelistic character. It is rather 
a matter of the whole spirit or emphasis of the cur- 
riculum. In college the studies that a student pur- 
sues are to a large degree for the purposes of gen- 
eral culture. In the theological schools of a 
graduate grade the studies are vocational. The 
vocation of the Christian minister is to express and 
to extend the message of the new life in Christ as 
he leads the church committed to his care to mani- 
fest the Christian religion in all the life of the com- 
munity. Now it is possible to be a technical stu- 
dent of the Semitic or Greek languages, a research 
scholar in Christian history, a thorough scholar in 
theology, and have the evangelistic purpose upper- 
most in one's mind and mood all the time. The 
purpose for which the study is carried on is to 
make the student a better preacher of the message. 
The highest type of theological student is a man of 
this temper. And the best theological school is the 
one in which this point of view obtains constantly. 
This is not a mere theory. It has been realized 
with especial excellence in the theological schools 
of Scotland. It is the ideal toward which all such 
institutions ought constantly to aim. 


There is no doubt that the tendency of research 
scholarship and the tasks of the university tend to 
obscure the primacy of the evangehstic purpose of 
the ministry, as we are here defining and discussing 
it. The faculties and the students both need to be 
reminded that they are engaged in something more 
than the work of academic research and training. 
They are preparing preachers and pastors who 
shall realize in their work the principal business of 
the Church in the world, to publish and to make an 
actual part of the environment of living men and 
women the great Gospel of Christ. One should 
call himself back to this truth and adjust his bear- 
ings to it frequently in order that there may 
be no loss of the actual scale of values in the 

The objection is sometimes made that anything 
like a program of church work is too mechanical 
and does not give the room that we need for the 
free movement of the spirit of religion. If any 
minister or church were to make a program so 
rigid that it did not permit the modification of it 
fully and flexibly according to the growing need of 
the church and community this criticism would be 
valid. But in all our discussion we have kept in 
mind constantly such a program as allowed all the 
liberty that is involved in the life of a growing 
institution. There is such a thing as a normal line 
of growth in all developing things. It is the part 
of all self-conscious beings to determine the way in 


which development shall take place, at least within 
the limits of human freedom. 

The warrants for a church program have been 
put so well by Rev. Charles L. Goodell that his 
statement is quoted here as follows: 

" For a successful campaign in the field, every 
general makes a careful plan and every army wheels 
to victory or defeat around the drill-sergeant. The 
captains of industry are men who take an extended 
purview of their work and adopt an accurate and 
far-reaching method and plan. 

'' The Church must be as wise in its greater task 
for the eternities as are men in the challenge they 
face for business or battle. Machinery without 
power is useless, but power without proper machin- 
ery is wasted. It clarifies a man's vision and fires 
his faith to plan means for a desired end. Methods 
forestall waste, method economizes time and men, 
and makes surer and quicker dividends of service. 

" The organization which ought to have most of 
intelligent, intensive and extensive method is the 
Church of God. The man who ought to have a com- 
prehensive, prepared plan is the pastor to whom 
hundreds are looking to find a way in which they 
may best express themselves for the service of God. 
He must know how to utilize and husband eveiy 
fragment of time and energy of his people that noth- 
ing be lost. His flock will have unbounded respect 
for a pastor who takes time by the forelock and lays 
out his work before the rush of the season is upon 
him and drives him from one task to another with no 
real plan through the months and years." 

Turning at this point to a practical program for 
an individual church, or, under most favourable 
conditions, for a group of churches, we find that 


many such have been set up and worked out so that 
it is not necessary to do more than to refer to a 
typical example of such constructive work. "A 
Program of Parish Evangelism "" is published 
by the Congregational Commission on Evangelism, 
287 Fourth Avenue, New York, and may be se- 
cured by writing to the office of the Commission. 
The outline is the result of a careful study of the 
work of successful pastors and there is no item in 
it that has not been tested out successfully. It is 
not adapted merely to the large city church, but 
may be put into effect in the ordinary parish. 
While references to certain Communion services 
reveal the fact that the program has grown out of 
the work of a certain denomination, the structure 
of the plan is easily modified to the work of any 
Protestant church in the country. The plan in its 
most general outline is as follows : 

September — December 

1. A Meeting of the Church Evangelistic Committee: 
To face the whole year's work of the church and to 
map out a year's program. 

2. Church Rallies: To bring the church and its work 
to the attention of all the people. 

3. Parish Visitation: To locate and enlist possible 
attendants and adherents of the church and its organ- 

4. Fall Reception of members at the November 

January — Easter 

1. The Preaching of fundamentals. 

2. An Invitation Committee: To study the best 
methods of winning decisions for Christ and to work 
continuously with the pastor to secure new members. 


3. The Pastor's Training Class: To instruct children 
twelve years of age and older in the fundamentals of 
Christian faith and the meaning of church membership. 

4. The Lenten Prayer Calendar: Extended use of 
"The Fellowship of Prayer" in private devotions, at 
the family altar, in prayer circles and in the work of 
the Church. 

5. Holy Week Services. 

6. The Easter Ingathering: The reception of new 
members at the Communion Service on or near Easter. 

After Easter Conservation 

1. Continuation Plans: To continue evangelistic en- 
deavours in special groups to Children's Sunday, Mother's 
Sunday or Pentecost Sunday, and to enlist new members 
in definite tasks of Christian service. 

2. Absentee Campaign: The locating and reclaiming 
of absentee members who are living in the community 
of the Church though holding membership in churches 

In this discussion we are concerned, however, 
only with the factor of the preaching that is to 
make up a part, and that the principal part, we 
believe, in the program as it is conceived by the 
minister and sanctioned by the church in their joint 
effort to bring the Gospel to the whole life of the 

This proposition we need to consider a little 
more in detail. Is the preaching such an important 
part of the church program of evangelism? Is 
there not grave danger that we shall emphasize too 
heavily the giving of the message by oral address 
and not allow enough weight to all the teaching and 
personal interviews that must mark the program 
if it is to succeed? 

All methods of Christian service depend for 
their success upon the harmonious use of different 


forces and methods. All must be held wisely in 
discriminating balance. So in any evangelistic 
program, the best results will accrue from such a 
use of different lines of influence as will secure the 
most forceful and attractive publication of the 
Gospel possible under the conditions prevailing in 
the community. Therefore when we exalt the 
power of preaching we do not minimize the force 
of all the other methods that are available to carry 
out the program. Certainly the stoutest defender 
of the place and power of preaching would never 
claim for it the entire credit in the case of success. 
Without the use of other methods of expressing 
the Gospel the sermon would, under ordinary con- 
ditions, never accomplish the whole purpose of the 
effort put forth by the Church through its evan- 
gelistic program to bring the Gospel to the com- 
munity. Preaching must be reinforced by all the 
other lines of personal influence that are essential 
to make the Gospel plain and to enable it to accom- 
plish its mission in the community. 

Granting all this, however, the verdict of experi- 
ence as seen in history is clear to the effect that the 
message is made known through preaching. It 
may seem to the worldly wise as the very vanity of 
effort; but successes are finally achieved, and the 
preacher is warranted in expecting that he will re- 
ceive the verdict of his community in favour of his 
cause when he preaches with conviction and clear- 


Therefore we urge once more that the Christian 
preachers of America revive their resolute faith in 
their task and their message and that they dare to 
beheve all the promises of final success crowning 
their faithful work when they preach the Gospel of 
Christ. Results will come in time and no work is 
too hard and no confidence is too great to put into 
the glorious work of preaching the Gospel to a 
community either in the most favoured section of 
America or in the heart of darkest heathendom. 

In affirming as strongly as we have done that 
every preacher is essentially an evangelist, we do 
not disparage or dispute the right to recognition 
and honour at the hands of the Church by that 
group of heralds of the Gospel who are technically 
known as evangelists. Whatever changes may 
have come to pass in time, certainly at the very be- 
ginning of the work of organized Christianity there 
were preachers who bore the name evangelist. The 
record of the work of these men and their suc- 
cessors is too deeply cut into the history of the de- 
veloping Church to warrant any repudiation of 
their name and mission. 

That there has been a growing tendency to dis- 
parage the place of the evangelist in many quarters 
admits of no doubt. There are many reasons for 
this. In some cases the evangelists are themselves 
to blame for the condition In considerable measure. 
It is wholly possible for a good man to become in- 
toxicated by big meetings and conspicuous success. 


It is easy to indulge in caustic criticisms. The 
deadness of the church in many instances lends it- 
self to attack. 

Then it must be admitted that the evangelistic 
" campaign " has lent itself to the use of all kinds 
of methods designed to make the " free-will " of- 
fering for the evangelist anything but free. Criti- 
cism of the financial program of many evangelists 
is warranted by intimate knowledge of the facts. 
Granted that evangelists work under heavy pres- 
sure and that their talents would command large 
salaries in other vocations, it is still true that just 
enough warrant for the judgment exists to make 
the claim of " profiteering " one that plagues the 
cause. There are many unselfish evangelists to 
whose charge no least method of exploitation can 
be laid; the majority of these men belong, we be- 
lieve, in this group. But nothing is gained for the 
cause of Christ by masking the fact that the whole 
matter of ** professional " evangelism has been se- 
riously injured In the minds of devoted Christian 
men and women by the methods that have been 
used to increase the offerings for the evangelist at 
the close of campaigns. Ministers have known of 
these methods and have been estranged from the 
program of evangelism because of them. Laymen 
in the business world have been outraged by the 
forms of pressure to which they have been sub- 

Out of this has grown a humiliating situation. 


Ministers have sometimes been attacked ; occasion- 
ally they have been the offenders. The same is 
true in reference to the evangelists. But both 
types are necessary to the developing church. If 
the preacher-pastor would only become more of an 
evangelist and if the evangelist would occasionally 
try out the experience of having a parish to care 
for rather than to come in on the tide of a cam- 
paign and flow on to another, it would be better on 
both sides. But there ought to be a warmer sym- 
pathy between the two forms of preaching. Each 
is necessary to the other and both are vital to the 
complete proclamation of the Gospel of the new 
life in Christ. 


AS the practice of Christian preaching 
went on and the general principles gov- 
erning it were developed there appeared 
various types of sermons. Two great classes were 
apparent at an early date. There were those ser- 
mons which were designed primarily to publish the 
Gospel as a message to those who never had heard 
it or who needed to hear some new aspects of it 
presented. These were known as evangelistic ser- 
mons. Then there were such sermons as were de- 
signed especially to build up the life and character 
of those who were already adherents of the Gospel. 
Such discourses were called pastoral or edifying 
sermons. In the strict sense of the word, all ser- 
mons are evangelistic, for they are publications of 
some phase of the manifold Gospel and are meant 
to make it more fully known. However, for all 
practical purposes the classification is valid and we 
shall respect it. 

An evangelistic sermon is, naturally, nearest the 
type of the most characteristic Christian sermon. 
For the business of the preacher is to declare the 
Gospel ; and that sermon which most fully declares 



the message, even if it is concerned only with an 
essential detail of it, is closest to the best and 
noblest form of a Christian discourse. Occasion- 
ally one hears the evangelistic sermon disparaged 
as if it were in some way an inferior type of Chris- 
tian preaching. This is not the case and it is a 
mistake to undervalue the sermon that publishes 
the Gospel by preferring any other form of pulpit 
address. Preaching ought to be kept close to es- 
sential form; and the most thoroughly Christian 
sermon is the one that admits of classification as 

We look now briefly at the outstanding marks of 
the evangelistic sermon. The first characteristic 
that appears is the burden of the message in the 
sermon. There is a vast difference between a 
proposition in mathematics, an affirmation sup- 
ported by argument in logic, and a message direct 
to personality on the part of a living speaker. The 
fact that two and two equals four, or that Columbus 
discovered America in 1492 does not make any 
change in the conduct and character of one who 
hears or learns these undisputed facts. They leave 
the conduct of living persons unmodified and bring 
no real news that is either good or bad. But if I 
am far away from home and some one is coming 
from the old town with a message from my mother, 
that is quite another matter. The words take on 
new meaning. They are laden with a beautiful 
content and they are awaited with a wist fulness of 


which we never v/ere conscious as we studied our 
geometry. Love and memory and precious thought 
are all wrought into what is said. There is a mes- 
sage in it. It is not a proposition; it is news from 

Now put all this into the sermon that brings to 
men the message from God and the implications 
are plain. The preacher has something to say that 
is so tender and urgent, so packed with yearning 
love and gracious invitation, that his discourse, 
both as literary form and spoken address, is dif- 
ferent from anything else with which it might be 
classified if this fact of the message in it were dis- 
regarded. This sermon is spoken home to the 
heart of the hearers. It has within it the power to 
make a difference with human lives. It tells us 
news. Something that we ought to know is being 
told to us. There is warning and comfort, there is 
help and hope in it. 

This fact ought to make a real difference to the 
preacher as he works in preparing his sermon and 
delivers it to the people. To debate a question or 
to deliver a formal lecture is one matter; to bring 
a message of life to the soul of one's comrade is 
quite a different thing. What a privilege and joy 
it Is to bear a great, heartening message of redemp- 
tion and new life to the yearning spirit of a genera- 
tion! It Is simply the biggest business that any 
living man can do In his time. 

Because it is a message, the evangelistic sermon 


must be simple, plain and direct. These are the 
qualities that we associate naturally with the ex- 
pression of news. Certainly if one is to convey a 
message that is important he will see to it first of 
all that it is clear and easy to be understood. There 
must be no doubt regarding what the messenger 
means. If he has to take time to explain or to dis- 
cuss or to defend his message we feel that he is not 
a very good messenger. We want to know imme- 
diately what he has on his mind to tell us. The 
best compliment that can be paid to a sermon is not 
to say that it was eloquent or grand but to say hon- 
estly that it was clear and easily understood. We 
want to know what the preacher is driving at and 
we want him to drive at it strongly and swiftly and 
accurately. A lecture may be in an elaborate and 
highly finished style. We expect this form of lit- 
erary treatment also in the essay. But an evangel- 
istic sermon is the burning word of a man who is 
sure of something and feels that he is sent straight 
to men who want to know what he is sure of. 

Since it is a message, the evangelistic sermon is 
directed accurately at the hearer and at life as it is 
being lived now. There is nothing of that " re- 
moteness " from life, which we have noted as a 
characteristic of modern preaching. The mes- 
senger did not shout out his message to any one 
who happened to be within the range of his voice; 
he carried it most patiently and thoughtfully to the 
one to whom it was sent. Now it Is quite possible 


for a preacher to become absorbed in some book 
that gains his attention or to be wrapped up in 
some particular line of study that is proving profit- 
able to him. He is in danger of being so sure that 
this particular book or set of ideas is also interest- 
ing and profitable to the congregation that he will 
give them his book or his cogitations instead of his 
message. The way to avoid this danger is to get 
the consciousness of a great message so inwrought 
into the substance of preaching that it will not 
allow itself to be overlooked. The Gospel is aimed 
straight at life. It has something to do with all the 
ongoings of the most commonplace day of the 
humblest man. So the evangelistic sermon hits the 
mark. Not that any preacher will ever deliberately 
single out any person or group with the intention 
of '' hitting " them in a cowardly way from the 
safety of the pulpit. But the message in the evan- 
gelistic sermon is directed toward the actual life 
of the people and it is expected to find its mark, 
without any desire to do injustice to the personal 
character of any one. 

The evangelistic sermon must be directed to the 
whole hearer, that is, it must seek to convince his 
mind, to move his feelings and to persuade his 
will to the point w^here it registers a new decision 
concerning the dominant motives of his life. It is 
a serious mistake to think that an evangelistic ser- 
mon does not need to be grounded in the soundest 
logic and to be of such a character that it will bear 


searching debate. It is a current notion that an 
evangelistic sermon must be " emotional " prima- 
rily and so make its great appeal to the feelings. 
We are inclined to think that the preacher must put 
the most thorough intellectual preparation upon his 
morning or ** edifying " sermon, but his " evangel- 
istic '* appeal must be directed especially to the 
emotions. This is a disastrous blunder in judg- 
ment. No permanent Christian decision will be 
registered by any one whose mind has not been 
thoroughly persuaded of the reasonableness of 
Christ's claim upon him. Thorough rational con- 
sideration of the Gospel is fundamental in order to 
its acceptance with any hope of constancy in the 

The evangelistic sermon does not stop with the 
rational presentation of the message. While back 
of the sermon must lie the deepest and sinctrest 
thinking that the preacher can give to his great 
proclamation, it must all be warmed and bathed in 
the passion with which he believes and presents it. 
The intellectual content of the sermon will not lie 
apparent on the surface; if it does we shall get 
nothing more than a lecture in divinity out of it. 
But it will be there ; it will not disappear wholly ; it 
will give warrant to the whole appeal. So the 
emotional factor steps strongly forward in the 
evangelistic sermon. The preacher wants to make 
his hearers feel the message; then he must feel it 
himself. Nothing will kindle emotion but emo- 


tion. The preacher whose voice never breaks 
never will see any hard hearts broken by his mes- 
sage. But deep feeling cannot be summoned into 
action at the word of command. In fact, the 
preacher who is not habitually earnest and moved 
in respect to his message will evoke only slight and 
occasional response. So what the preacher feels 
permanently concerning his message will determine 
the emotional content of the individual sermon. 
Thus the best emotional preparation for an evan- 
gelistic sermon will be made as the preacher re- 
views his own indebtedness to Christ, and warms 
his heart once more as he reflects upon the love and 
loyalty that he owes to his Master in consequence. 
If we appraise repeatedly the grounds of our love 
and gratitude to Christ we shall find ourselves 
tuned to the right emotional mood and shall be able 
to kindle others to a similar glow and flame of 

The most important factor, however, in the 
evangelistic sermon is the direct drive for a deci- 
sion in favour of the message on the part of the 
hearers. The evangelistic preacher is a pleader, an 
advocate, a champion. He attacks fearlessly, posi- 
tively and by the persuasive power of love the wills 
of his congregation and he asks for their verdict. 
He expects this. This note of confidence and ex- 
pectation will colour his whole action. He will not 
be timid or hesitant ; he will have what has been so 
aptly called " holy boldness." This is the temper 


in which Peter and Paul preached the Gospel at the 
beginning. It is appropriate to the bearer of the 
message now. The direct appeal may take the 
form of a call to register the decision in some spe- 
cific act, the signing of a card, the raising of the 
hand, coming to the front, attending an after-meet- 
ing, or some other form of expression. This must 
be settled according to the preacher's own judg- 
ment and taste. To some preachers it is difficult 
to call for any register of decision; others do it 
easily and happily. It is not imperative in every 
sermon: it may be omitted altogether. Yet such is 
the urgency in this kind of a sermon that probably 
some kind of an appeal for a definite and registered 
decision is desirable. 

More important than any single act of decision, 
however, is the persuasive character of the sermon 
as a whole. The evangelistic sermon must be 
simply keyed to the note of invitation and per- 
suasion. Here is where many a preacher makes a 
mistake. He feels that it is his duty to rebuke, to 
scold, to chastise, rather than to persuade and to 
invite and to woo. He is more like John the Bap- 
tist and less like Jesus. His task is to persuade 
and invite. Any preacher can provide for this as 
he prepares and preaches his sermon. It all re- 
solves itself into the simple habit of putting the 
element of appeal and invitation into the sermon, 
deliberately and constantly, because it belongs 
there. It is so much better to see men come to 


their Saviour rather than to suffer under their sin ! 
Therefore in taking his very first step of prepara- 
tion, in all his gathering of material, in his prepara- 
tion and delivery of his sermon, let the preacher 
say to himself, I am going to get results through 
this sermon by making it so persuasive that God 
can use it to reach the wills of hearers and make 
them decide for Christ because it seems like a rea- 
sonable and desirable act to them. With this aim 
constantly in his mind, the material going into the 
sermon will be selected and ordered in such a way 
that the persuasive factor will never be lost for a 
moment from beginning to end. 

It must be apparent from what has been said re- 
garding the evangelistic sermon that most diligent 
care must be taken in its preparation. There is an 
element of spontaneous testimony in it; the winds 
of the free spirit blow through it ; but it is thought 
over, felt through, and written and corrected be- 
cause it is the finest expression of the good news 
that the preacher knows how to give, and so noth- 
ing less than the best will answer. 

An item to which great care must be given is the 
selection of the illustrations in the evangelistic ser- 
mon. They are the windows that let in the light 
upon the truth; they are exceedingly important. 
Abstract statements are remembered with difficulty 
even if they are comprehended. The most finely 
finished and incisive sentences may not get them- 
selves understood. A vivid figure or an appealing 


incident will often drive a truth home and fix it 
there quickly and permanently. In selecting and 
preparing the illustrations keep them close to life. 
Jesus is the great example of the effective illustra- 
tion of the good news. If He used a figure it was 
taken from the daily life of the people so that it was 
plain and vivid. If He told a story it was drawn 
from the common experience of men so that they 
saw the analogy and felt its force. Jesus took 
simple things and made them the vehicle of moral 
and spiritual truth. Another principle to be ob- 
served in choosing and working out the illustra- 
tions is accuracy. " Thou shalt not bear false wit- 
ness " is an ancient commandment that is still valid 
even in the making of a sermon. There are many 
illustrations that have been used often and are quite 
current among ministers ; new examples and anec- 
dotes will be met as one reads and observes; and 
every one ought to be subjected to the test of truth- 
fulness. A false or overdrawn illustration, how- 
ever vivid it may appear at the moment and how- 
ever forceful it might be at the time of use will, in 
the end, defeat its own object. Reject the illustra- 
tion that bears the suspicion of exaggeration or 
untruthfulness. Probably the tendency to use 
*' death bed " illustrations or stories of a tragic 
character in order to appeal strongly to the emo- 
tions and thereby produce quick decisions has 
nearly passed away. If it still persists in a 
preacher's habit it ought to be held resolutely in 


check. We do not seek to make men believe the 
good news by frightening them. We are better 
students of psychology than that. The appeal that 
wins the will's consent is cast into the terms of in- 
vitation and of love. Also a preacher will act un- 
der the principle of reserve and repression as he 
uses personal illustrations. Testimony may be 
given in the sermon. The first personal pronoun 
belongs there occasionally. But never suffer the 
lugging in of irrelevant personal details and the 
dragging out of personal experiences. The 
preacher has the right to say " I " in his sermon ; 
but always modestly and with becoming reserve. 

Since it is a message, the evangelistic sermon 
will be delivered with a glowing confidence. The 
method of delivery ought to be carefully worked 
out. Grotesque performances in the pulpit or on 
the platform, extravagant gestures and postures are 
a hindrance in the end to the delivery of the mes- 
sage. That is not the way in which sensible men, 
dead in earnest about anything, act in other places. 
There are always certain persons in a circus who 
specialize in antics ; but the Christian preacher is not 
a clown and the evangelistic meeting is not a circus. 
On the other hand, the Gospel is something to feel 
excited about. If it is the greatest message that 
ever has been given to the world — and it is — then 
the man who knows that message fully cannot tell 
his comrades about it with an unimpassioned mind 
and manner. The preacher simply must throw 


himself into his sermon with his heart aflame. He 
must give himself lavishly in the utterance of this 
truth. He will hold himself within the firm leash 
of good taste and consistent manners ; but also he 
will " let go " without apology. He cannot do 
otherwise. He is telling his fellow men the most 
wonderful story that human lips can frame into 

Of all the sermons that a preacher delivers the 
evangelistic is the one that he commits to the future 
with the greatest confidence in the final achieve- 
ment of its purpose. The evangelistic sermon is 
the object of our faith. It is like the farmer sow- 
ing his seed. He prepares the ground and puts the 
seed into it according to his best judgment. Then 
he trusts the patient and benevolent processes of 
nature to bring the fruit. He does not try to hurry 
it. He believes and waits. The illustration, like 
all others, is not quite suited to the truth, for the 
preacher's personal influence avails more with the 
truth in his sermon than the farmer's skill does 
with the sown seed. But it illustrates the truth 
that the evangelistic preacher implicitly trusts the 
quickening power of the Spirit. When he has 
done his best he must wait and pray and expect re- 
sults in God's own time and way. We are respon- 
sible for the contact between the truth and the 
souls of men ; we are not ultimately responsible for 
the conversion of the souls of men to that truth. 
There is a higher power than ours at work in the 


process. It is the Holy Spirit. We rely upon 
that. If we were obHged to bear the whole respon- 
sibility of quickening our community through the 
power of the Gospel it would crush us. We do 
not. We are agents and voices and messengers; 
but results rest with God. Jesus made that fact 
clear to His disciples. For our peace and power 
as preachers we need to learn the lesson. With 
convincing power, working in manifold ways, the 
Holy Spirit takes the truth, even poorly expressed 
in our sermon, and brings it home with divine 
power to the souls of men. This is the source of 
our joy and confidence as preachers of the everlast- 
ing Gospel. 

What is the relation of the Christian message to 
the Christian theology F We are often inclined to 
think that there is such a difference between them 
that either the one or the other is to be maintained 
or disregarded. Every preacher who sets out to 
realize the supreme purpose of his work, that is, 
to give the Gospel to the community in every pos- 
sible way because it is the very message of life and 
power, ought to be clear in his own mind concern- 
ing the relation between the message and the the- 
ology of the Christian religion. Certain facts are 

The message was first in order of time; the the- 
ology followed as a matter of necessity. The dis- 
ciples and first followers of Jesus did not concern 
themselves with any logical effort to reduce the 


truth that He had taught them to systematic form. 
Their purpose was not interpretation or explana- 
tion; it was proclamation and declaration. They 
had learned something that seemed to them so im- 
mensely important that they immediately gave 
themselves up to the task of letting their new- 
found truth be known as widely as possible and in 
every way at their command. That was their one 
immediate, urgent and almost desperate business. 
The world was in deadly danger; they knew how 
to save it ; they were willing to go through fire and 
water to tell men that there was a way out of peril. 
As we read this story we are sensitive to the hero- 
ism and the power of it. These men were so splen- 
did in their devotion! They shame us with our 
easy-going comforts. They met danger and death 
with superb courage. We growl because the chair 
is not cushioned and the room is not warm. There 
is no doubt that the passion and the heroism of the 
early years of the Christian enterprise are alto- 
gether too lacking in our modern Christian life. 
The days of the message were the days of heroism 
and advance. 

The work of the theologians began early. It 
was imperative and vital. The mind must engage 
with the facts of life and seek to reduce them to 
order. God made us with eager minds as well as 
loving hearts. The young faith was attacked by 
enemies from outside; it was threatened by divi- 
sions from within. Under the strain of this situa- 


tion the defenders of the faith worked out the first 
apologies for it; the champions of one aspect of it 
in contrast with another set forth the details of the 
message with logical completeness. Every active 
mind inevitably set to work to reduce the message 
to a logical unity ; the reason must demand this of 
everything that asks the consent of our wills. So 
came the days of the theologians. And inevitably 
with them there came also a lowering of the degree 
of passion and a diminishing of the apostolic assur- 
ance. Not that they were lost. Far from it. Not 
that the losses were more than the gains. That 
was not true at all. In the end the gains more than 
compensated for the apparent losses. But it is im- 
possible to reduce the work of the messenger to the 
propositions of the logician without the loss of the 
herald's first ardour. It is like a young lover who 
experiences the first chastening of his logic as he 
tries to think out the reasons for his sudden devo- 
tion. In the end he will be a better lover if he sits 
down with himself in the solemn wrestling de- 
manded by his logic and his economic sense. He 
may squander a little less money on roses and en^ 
tertainments ; but he gives promise of being an alto- 
gether better husband because he can give a little 
stronger reason for the love that is in him. 

The question is often asked, Why not return to 
the simplicity of the early testimony? That was 
the method at the beginning. Why not now ? The 
first answer is, Because the conditions have 


changed. There is now a great body of Christian 
truth in our possession, the rich resuU of the expe- 
rience of the past and the thought that has been 
put upon it. This has immensely enriched the con- 
tent of the Gospel. It has not changed its essential 
factors, which are what they were in the beginning ; 
but it has enlarged them until they are more ample 
and appealing. It is easier now to make the appeal 
for Christ because we have the testimony of almost 
two thousand years from which to draw for con- 

And also the age is immensely more complex in 
its interests and demands. Men have the right to 
ask for something more than simply the testimony 
of the disciple or the ardent words of the recent 
convert. Persuasion is a varied art and makes 
many demands upon us. It calls for the accurate 
and reasoned statement as well as for the fervid 
testimony. The Christian pleader and advocate 
cannot afford to spare the formal and systematic 
statement of the Gospel in the form of theology. 
It is the vital complement to the testimony of the 
Christian witness. 

Therefore the evangelist should be a theologian 
as the true theologian ought also to be the evan- 
gelist. Each task is necessary to the other. It is 
a great loss to the evangelist if he disparages the- 
ology. Occasionally one hears an evangelistic 
preacher say that he is no theologian. If this is a 
confession of humility it may be permitted ; but if 


it is a disparagement of theology it is a fearful 
mistake. He ought to be a theologian; or at 
least he ought to try to be one. Back of every 
serious attempt to publish the Gospel lies a review 
and fresh statement of the fundamental theology 
of the Christian religion. It will not be presented 
as a theology, of course; but it will be the sup- 
porting framework of the sermons. They will 
be organized around the great basic truths of the 
Christian religion as these have been wrought out 
by the earnest work of the theologians of the past 
and as they represent the deepest thinking that the 
preacher can do himself. 

In the sermons that are suggested in this study 
of evangelistic preaching the theological sources 
and values have been kept constantly in mind. No 
effort is made to include all the truths that com- 
pose the body of Christian theology ; but the main 
facts have been kept in view and the purpose in 
the sermons is to bring the whole Christian mes- 
sage to the community. 



ONE of the greatest dangers in the work of 
preaching is the tendency to work from 
hand to mouth in preparing the weekly 
sermon instead of having a plan worked out in 
advance by which one great line of thought is 
carried through the church year from autumn to 
spring, inclusive. It never ought to be necessary 
to ask, What shall I preach about next Sunday ? as 
the new week begins. The sermons of the year 
should be so well defined that the preacher will 
be sure what he is to do even three months in 

This organization of the year's preaching around 
some great subject or axis of vital interest we call 
Organized Preaching. It is the way out of un- 
certainty and the path to power for every preacher 
who will work according to some method of this 
general kind. 

There are many principal subjects or centers of 
interest around which the preaching of the year 
may be organized. The life and message of Jesus, 
the proofs of the Christian religion, Christ^s idea 



of the Kingdom of God, essential Christian truths, 
expository treatment of important Bible passages, 
and the social application of Christian principles 
are all vital and full of interest. There is no other 
single subject, however, that affords so much in 
the way of subject matter and variety as the pre- 
sentation in its fullness of the Gospel as a message 
with the purpose of securing acceptance of it by a 
surrender of life to the claims of Christ. Our 
problem is not to find material but rather to select 
wisely from the vast amount of material such sub- 
jects, arguments, illustrations and appeals as shall 
present the greatest of all messages to the world 
in adequate fashion. 

Yielding all the Sundays which must be given 
up to the church occasions and to those interests 
in the community which demand recognition from 
the pulpit, there remain about thirty-two Sundays 
during the year when the preacher may speak on 
the subjects that he chooses. No better program 
can be devised than to present the appeal of the 
Gospel consecutively and with growing emphasis 
during these Sundays. This would not, of course, 
be done every year; but with the variations that 
are possible it is feasible to go over the ground at 
least every four or five years. The time to make 
the program is late in the summer, near the close 
of the vacation. It should be shaped with the ex- 
perience of the past year or years clearly in mind, 
surveyed at such a distance that perspective is pos- 


sible. Let the matter grow quietly in your calm 
reflection concerning the work and problems in the 
field until August or early September. Then take 
time enough for more positive and consecutive 
thinking. This is one of the most important ac- 
tions of the whole year. Do not bring to it either 
a fatigued or distracted mind. Be sure that you 
are at your best when you take up the preaching 
program for the year. Keep the whole problem 
in mind so far as that is possible while you think 
and make notes. Do not work on the matter too 
long; but work with concentration while you are 
engaged with it. Now imagine the community; 
renew in your consciousness the meaning and 
urgency of the Gospel; then determine what great 
aspects of the message you will present during 
thirty-two Sundays, more or less, and broken as 
they must be by the claims of the occasions that 
call for pulpit recognition. It is best to work with 
small cards or slips of paper, noting subjects, texts 
or key thoughts which will express the message to 
the community. If these are jotted down on cards 
they can be arranged at will. Finally, at least the 
major part of the year's sermons ought to be in 
hand, well arranged, with many notes already in 
shape for the fuller study. A preacher can go 
back to his autumn task with a happy sense of 
certainty and freedom If he has this little package 
of material with him. He will not be feeling out 
after subjects during the year. He knows where 


he is going and he is sure that, so far as he has 
been able to shape his program, the preaching will 
be unified during the year and will tend steadily 
toward one supreme objective. It is like a blue 
print to the engineer and contractor. It shows 
what is to be done ; it keeps the relationships clear ; 
it is the standard to which the work conforms from 
day to day. 

This organization of the year's preaching 
around the presentation of the Gospel as a message 
is based on the idea that the preacher-pastor is an 
evangelist and that he can do this work while he 
carries on his regular duties as the organizer and 
administrator of parish activities and the pastor of 
the congregation as well. But it may be that the 
needs of the community cannot be met without the 
carrying on of a series of evangelistic services, 
apart from the regular appointments for public 
worship and preaching. There are many names 
for this series of meetings: evangelistic services, 
revival meetings, special services for the religious 
life. On the whole the term " mission " is grow- 
ing in favour. It stands for the purpose of the 
meetings. They may be organized and carried out 
by a church with its own preacher and lay work- 
ers. There h help enough to be had if the plans 
are well made and the people will work. It is bet- 
ter in many cases to have such a church mission 
with the people themselves carrying the responsi- 
bility than it is to bring in an evangelist and staff, 


for the people are inclined to shift their burden of 
responsibility under these conditions and put it 
wholly on the evangelist and his organized cam- 

We now take up an outline of thirty-two sermon 
subjects which are organized around the evangel- 
istic message. These are simply texts, titles, and 
certain suggestive " seed thoughts," which are de- 
signed to stimulate the preacher in his thinking. 
They are not sermon " outlines " which are to be 
followed in the development of the subject. They 
are intended for three possible uses: 

1. These suggestions show how a preacher 
may organize his year*s pulpit work around the 
evangelistic subject and preach steadily on the 
great message. Let it be clearly understood that 
we do not advocate the use of any of these sub- 
jects and texts just as they are given. And it 
would probably be quite impossible for a preacher 
to follow the order as it is given. The purpose 
of the course is not to present a plan to be followed, 
but rather to show how it is possible to draw up 
such a plan and carry it out during the church year. 
We cannot stress too strongly the point that the 
material that follows is simply in the way of sug- 
gestion, to provoke thinking rather than to fetter 
it. and that so far as it may be used by a preacher 
it must be worked over and adapted to his own 
methods and to the needs of the community. 

3. It is hoped that the suggestions that follow 


will be of use in the conduct of a church mission. 
We have in mind a series of meetings beginning 
on Sunday and lasting fifteen days, excluding 
evening services on the two Saturdays. Out of 
the thirty-two subjects given, sixteen are to be se- 
lected for these meetings, namely, two for each of 
the three Sundays, and one for each of the five 
week days during the fortnight of meetings. These 
subjects may be developed according to the char- 
acter of the services; but the suggestions will be 
useful, it is to be hoped, whatever kind of service 
is used in the meeting. 

3. In making these suggestions it is also our 
purpose to propose an order of sermons that would 
be fitted to use in a regular evangelistic campaign. 
Every evangelist has worked out his program with 
such care that little is needed by him in the way of 
suggestion as to the unity and the progress of his 
messages from day to day. Yet every fresh ar- 
rangement has in it some value, and therefore we 
hope that this plan of sermons may have some- 
thing of worth in it because it presents another 
arrangement of the subjects into which the great 
message may fall. The preaching task of an evan- 
gelist is not an easy one. There is the danger on 
the one hand that his messages will become stereo- 
typed; on the other, that they will lack cohesion 
and will not reach any real climax. Possibly the 
plan outlined in the following pages will be of 
service in escaping either or both of these dangers. 


A Program of Evangelistic Preach- 
ing, with Sermon Outlines 


ON the basis of what has been said in the 
preceding chapters we now undertake to 
set forth thirty- two texts and subjects 
which present the Gospel as a message to the com- 
munity. They rest on a certain definite theolog- 
ical basis which seems to us the simple evangelical 
foundation of the New Testament, interpreted and 
illustrated by the best results of modern thinking. 
This theology is not that of any particular school 
or name. It is the most consistent statement that 
we can make of the simplest Christian message. 
It gathers about the fact of the living Christ and 
the possibility of the soul finding its complete reali- 
zation in allegiance to Christ. It involves the 
teaching of Jesus concerning the Kingdom of God 
which was perfectly exemplified in His own life of 
love and service among men. 

This Is a message. Every preacher will organize 
his own subjects and material according to his own 
ideas, taste and sense of adaptation to his com- 
munity. But his message he must give. The com- 
munity needs and the Church demands evangelistic 

That this is the supreme business of the Chris- 


tian pulpit requires no detailed discussion or de- 
fense. It has been thus from the very beginning 
of Christian activity. The disciples rallied their 
faith in their living Master and then went out to 
tell all the world that they knew Him as the Saviour 
and Lord. This testimony was simple, direct, and 
positive at the beginning, and, in spite of the way 
in which the content of the message has enlarged 
as time has gone on, it still remains the great and 
permanent business of the preacher. The increased 
meaning of the message and its application to the 
whole life of mankind has made the work of 
preaching the Gospel more complex and exacting; 
but it never has changed its warrants or released 
the preacher from his obligation to be a herald and 
a witness of the message of good news that Jesus 
brought to the world and for which He lived and 

There are certain fundamental convictions that 
are imperative before a preacher will undertake 
this program. He must renew his ardent convic- 
tion of the truth of his message and the worth of 
his task as its herald. Christian preachers need to 
study their charter often in order that they may 
not lose their accurate sense of the work that it is 
their first duty to carry on in the community. 

The tendency of parish work is to crowd to the 
wall the primacy of preaching and especially the 
supremacy of that kind of preaching which is con- 
cerned with the giving of the message to the com- 


munity. There are so many errands to be run ; so 
many entries to be made on cards; so many inter- 
ests to be served ! But there is only one dominant 
purpose in the minister's pulpit work; it is to give 
in every possible phase and accent the old message 
that Jesus first announced in Palestine and which 
the apostolic succession of Christian preachers has 
perpetuated ever since. In the midst of the be- 
wildering demands of the modern parish the 
preacher needs to reaffirm this principle daily as 
he prepares for his preaching. 

The idea prevails widely that the work of the 
resident minister in his pulpit is to lay emphasis 
on the teaching aspect of preaching and delegate 
the more purely evangelistic task to men who spe- 
cialize in this form of the sermon and who travel 
among the churches holding evangelistic meetings 
or conducting campaigns. There is a permanent 
place for the technical evangelist; there are times 
and communities that demand the organized move- 
ment carried on by the evangelist and his staff of 
workers. But there is a far larger place for dis- 
tinctly evangelistic preaching and action in the 
program of every congregation. It Is what Is 
sometimes called Evangelism Church-wide and All 
the Year Through. It means that the preaching is 
organized around the purpose to present the Gospel 
to the community as a message of life; that the 
people are united and directed In the support of 
the program so that they will make personal and 


persistent efforts to introduce men and women to 
Christ. It involves a movement of the whole 
Church steadily and steadfastly toward the impres- 
sion of the Gospel upon the total life of the com- 
munity. It defines the chief business of the Church 
in this endeavour and calls for all the possible re- 
sources of the people, drives us to new consecra- 
tion and prayer, and fuses the energies of the 
faithful friends of Christ into one supreme loyalty 
and service. The organization of the church for 
this purpose is the highest privilege of the pastor. 
As a part of this program the preaching of the 
year will be planned to present the Gospel with 
new force and conviction. Therefore it is neces- 
sary to define again in one's mind and restore in 
one's experience the pristine meaning of the mes- 
sage which Jesus brought to the world and which 
was experienced by His earliest followers. A re- 
reading of the New Testament with this purpose 
in mind will be the best single way in which to 
gather the material for the sermons and to deter- 
mine what subjects should be preached upon. 
What is the Gospel F The word has been used so 
long that its first clear-cut meaning has been worn 
away like the face of a coin that has suffered hard 
usage. We must review and renew our conscious- 
ness of this noble word. It was good news in the 
first century ; it is still good news where men strive 
with the underlying sins of the spirit; our work 
is to make it good news to ourselves and to others 


in spite of the commonplace character that time and 
custom have given to it. 

Then, having selected the requisite thirty-two 
subjects which seem to be concerned with the pub- 
lication of a real message to the modern commu- 
nity, a message which has *' found " you and in 
which you believe with all your powers, the work 
of sermon preparation will begin. Of all the 
preaching to which the minister has devoted him- 
self he will find that this is the most stimulating, 
delightful, and rewarding. The happiest business 
in life is to set forth with all the powers at one's 
command the Gospel of the reconciliation in Christ. 

In attempting to give the message which we call 
the Gospel, with what shall we begin ? Perhaps the 
most familiar point of departure is the doctrine of 
God. Certainly this is the underlying truth that 
warrants the message and it must never be allowed 
to become obscured. Occasionally a preacher 
starts with the nature of man, his yearning for 
God, his essential religious character. This is vital. 
We must be sure that religion is an integral part 
of man's normal life. If it is something artificial 
or accidental, then there is no reason to expect that 
there will be a permanent response to the message. 
Preachers sometimes begin with the fact of Christ. 
He was the Messenger; in certain respects it is 
true that He is the Message. If we gain at the out- 
set a clear idea of Jesus, if we are warmed by the 
appeal that comes from His radiant Person, we 


shall be disposed to accept the Gospel and to trust 
in it as the way into a new life for ourselves and 
for the world. 

The place that Jesus has occupied in the Chris- 
tian experience of the world makes it seem reason- 
able to begin with a brief setting forth of Christ 
as the object of faith and love, with the expecta- 
tion that through Him we shall come to know God, 
to understand the meaning of sin and repentance, 
shall appreciate the new life that begins when we 
unite ourselves in obedience to Christ, and shall 
bring out the practical results in conduct that are 
the issue of this allegiance to Christ as Master 
and Saviour. Therefore we begin this series of 
sermons which is to present the Gospel to the com- 
munity as a claim upon their surrendered wills with 
a presentation of Christ as the object of love and 

In preparing these sermons the New Testament 
is the primary source of material. To read and re- 
read its records of the life and message of Jesus 
is the first privilege of the preacher. In addition 
two books will be found of great value. The first 
is Outlines of the Life of Christ, by William San- 
day (2d ed. New York: Scribner's, 1912). 
Among the numerous books on the life of Christ 
this is on the whole the most satisfactory as a 
working manual for the preacher. The second is 
The Pact of Christ, by P. Carnegie Simpson 
(Revell, about 1900). This is a study of the char- 


actcr and work of Jesus in a constructive way and 
is especially valuable because it sets forth the mean- 
ing of the Christian life in terms of a personal 
relation to Christ which is peculiarly adapted to 
preaching. There are many other studies of the 
character of Christ that will be of value; but we 
mention only these two because we do not wish to 
load our pages with references to books. And the 
most valuable material which the preacher will use 
in his sermons on Christ is that which will come 
hot from his own affectionate reflection on the 
record of the matchless life of the Master and the 
" wonder of his gracious words." 

The purpose of these first sermons is to present 
Jesus in such an attractive way that those who hear 
will be disposed to receive His message favourably 
because they admire and love Him as the Mes- 
senger. Therefore we shall seek to bring out the 
lovely character of the Jesus of the New Testa- 
ment, who is the basis of the Christ of the doc- 
trines. We shall avoid at the outset any divisive 
doctrine in order that we may come with open 
minds, as the first disciples did, to the virile, noble, 
winsome Man of Nazareth. 


The first seven sermons are devoted to the char- 
acter of Jesus and His claim upon our allegiance. 
The purpose of this first division of the sermons is 


to get the call of Christ clearly before the people. 
It is necessary to show the way in which that claim 
may be recognized and responded to. Especially 
must we show that the Christ whom we love and 
serve is not a dead Example but a living Lord. 

We begin with the human life of Jesus. In this 
first sermon the preacher will do his best to set 
forth the consummate beauty of the Great Life. 
Read and think and even wonder and adore in the 
presence of the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. Use 
the imagination until His personality is vivid. 
Ponder on His words until their searching and 
painful beauty sinks into your soul. Do not preach 
this sermon until you are actually glowing with 
your renewed appreciation of Jesus. Let your 
emotions play around the scenes from His life until 
those qualities which you have selected to present 
in the sermon are radiant and vivid. Do not be 
afraid that there will be any loss to the divine 
Christ as a result of the intensity with which the 
figure of the historic Jesus is presented. Remem- 
ber how Phillips Brooks brought out the figure of 
Christ by stressing the human perfection of Jesus. 

In preparing this sermon it may help us to 
read again the poem by Sidney Lanier entitled 
" The Crystal," found in his Poems at page 29. 
He reviews the names and characters of the 
great spirits of the ages, in each of which some- 
thing imperfect is found. Then he comes to 


" But Thee, but Thee, O sovereign Seer of time, 
But Thee, O poet's Poet, Wisdom's Tongue, 
But Thee, O man's best Man, O love's best Love, 
O perfect life in perfect labour writ, 
O all men's Comrade, Servant, King, or Priest, — 
What if or yet, what mole, what flaw, what lapse,' 
What least defect or shadow of defect, 
What rumour, tattled by an enemy, 
Of inference loose, what lack of grace 
Even in torture's grasp, or sleep's, or death's, — 
Oh, what amiss may I forgive in Thee, 
Jesus, good Paragon, thou Crystal Christ." 

This is the way that Jesus impresses the devout 
and honest student of His matchless life. Having 
gained this impression it is the preacher's glad priv- 
ilege to seek to impress it upon others. This we 
undertake in the first instance by means of a ser- 
mon on The Man of Nazareth. We want to create 
a presumption in favour of Jesus that will make 
the favourable response to His divine claims natu- 
ral and imperative. 

The Man of Nazareth 

Behold, the man! (John 19: 5). 

An exclamation of contempt becomes the highest 
tribute that could be given to a human being. Jesus 
is the one supreme Man. The way to know Christ 
is to know God. His life and experience furnish the 
base line from which we run our survey of life and 
chart the moral and spiritual universe. 

His complete and glorious humanity commands 


our admiration and discipleship. We are sure when 
we are in His presence that we are in contact with 
everything that is noblest and best in our humanity. 
What we would like to become in our highest mo- 
ments Jesus was constantly. 

His courage commands our trust and confidence. 
Courage is admirable in all men under all circum- 
stances. The brave man is the defender of truth, the 
champion of justice, the guardian of the weak. Jesus 
never showed the white feather. 

His loyalty commands our allegiance. It crowned 
His courage. He never once failed His God, His 
comrades, or His Cause. It cost Him labour and 
watching, pain and death. He kept faith with His 
ideals; He stood steadfast with the unpopular truth. 

His unselfishness commands our service. Jesus 
was endowed with wonderful personal gifts. Men 
and women loved to be in His company because He 
was so friendly and so kind. He was utterly un- 
selfish. He never put His own interests first. 

His joy kindles our yearnings and invites our de- 
cision in His favour. Jesus was a happy man. The 
so-called " Beatitudes " are the assurances of happi- 
ness ; and Jesus realized all of them in His own life 
from day to day. Men never would have inferred 
from the life of Jesus that the world was a gloomy 
place or this life a " vale of tears." Men asked 
Jesus to be their guest because they liked to have Him 

On each of these counts the life of Jesus commends 
His message to us. What He was creates a presup- 
position that what He said is true and that it is de- 


sirable. Therefore Jesus Himself is the best final 
warrant for accepting the Gospel which He brought 
to the world. 


The name by which Jesus was commonly known 
was Rabbi, which means Teacher. Therefore it is 
natural that we should take this aspect of His work 
and character as the subject for the second sermon 
that is to present Christ to the community. 

We remember that the subject matter of the 
Master's teaching is different from that with which 
the academic teachers are concerned. He gave men 
truth by which to live ; He was neither a scientist 
nor a philosopher as we understand these terms 
now. Also His method was simple. He put the 
truth in the plainest form and then illustrated it 
perfectly by His own life. This conformity of His 
words and deeds makes Him supremely great as a 
teacher ; we learn quite as much from what He was 
as from what He said. 

It is only within recent years that attention has 
been turned to Jesus as a World Teacher. We are 
fortunate in having a book now which sets forth 
the subject in the form of studies for class or dis- 
cussion groups and which ought to be worked 
through carefully by preachers. We refer to Jesus 
the Master Teacher, by Herman Harrell Home, 
N. Y.: Association Press, 1920, price $2.00. 

The very fact that this is a book for study rather 


than for consecutive reading, with every page 
bristHng with questions that provoke thought and 
study makes the volume especially valuable for the 
preacher who must work diligently and for a long 
time on this sermon concerning Jesus the Teacher. 
If it is impossible to give sufficient time to the 
study to carry it through to the end, at least the 
contents of Chapter XXV on " His Qualities as a 
Teacher " ought to be worked through carefully. 
Prof. Home indicates the following as the essen- 
tial qualifications of a World-Teacher: 

1. A vision that encompasses the world. 

2. Knowledge of the heart of man. 

3. Mastery of the subject taught. 

4. Aptness in teaching. 

5. A life that embodies the teaching. 

In selecting the points to be presented in the 
sermon we must use our own best judgment and 
treat the items that appear to us most vital. How 
do these strike you? Are they arranged in the 
right order for the climax of the sermon? What 
practical illustrations of them occur to you as you 
reflect upon them ? 

This will be one of the sermons that will grow 
with brooding upon the subject and It will be a 
great pleasure to perfect it gradually through re- 
flection and formal preparation. 

The Great Teacher 
And every day he was teaching in the temple. • . • 


And all the people came early in the morning to him 
in the temple, to hear him (Luke 21 : 37, 38). 

We all must learn to live. Somewhere there must 
be found a teacher who can give us the truth. Jesus 
can meet this need. 

The Teacher. — Jesus was a simple, natural, sym- 
pathetic Teacher. The scribes were dull, technical, 
out of touch with life. They argued at weary length 
about laws, ceremonies, and abstruse speculations. 
Jesus understood men, set forth the truth vividly, 
transfused it with warm human affection. 

The truth. — As Jesus taught it truth bore directly 
upon life. The Sermon on the Mount is not a formal 
discourse on a religious subject; it is a workable 
program for individual and social living. Every 
principle that Jesus taught connects directly with the 
common work of the average man. 

The method. — Jesus used homely figures and simple 
stories to express truth. He did not give detailed 
definitions or carry on elaborate discussions. For 
example, the stories of the Prodigal Son and the 
Good Samaritan make the truth plain, vivid, and 
commanding. They are descriptions rather than 
definitions or debates. 

The learners. — They were of all kinds. Little 
children heard Him gladly ; old men listened eagerly. 
Tired toilers stopped to take in His words ; rich men 
asked Him to dinner. He had a message for every 

The results. — Those who became Christ's disciples 
found that their lives were changed. The truth 
began at once to do something with them. They did 


not receive merely a new set of ideas from Jesus; 
they found a new way of life in listening to His 
words. The whole content of their relation to God 
and to one another was changed by what they learned 
from Jesus. The old scenes and duties remained ; but 
the disciples of Jesus became new actors in the midst 
of old engagements. The result of learning in the 
school of Christ was a new practical life. 


In preaching the third sermon in this series we 
propose to present the claim of Christ as the moral 
Master. He demands a transformed moral stand- 
ard; He insists upon action on new and higher 
ethical levels. This is the peculiar characteristic 
of the truth that He taught: it demands that we do 
something with it; it changes our lives; it works 
moral transformations. 

We think first of all of the way in which the 
message of Jesus differed from that of the religious 
leaders of His day. They were constantly insist- 
ing upon some refinement of the ceremonies or the 
detailed legal conformities which were supposed 
to determine the religious character of a man. 
And Jesus went instantly far beneath all this and 
discovered the underlying motives of life. He 
wasted no time in fruitless discussion of the exter- 
nals of life. He wanted men to act from the right 
motives that produce the true life. 


A suggestion for this sermon may come from the 
following quotation: 

" It is not too much to say that the very warp 
and woof of the ethical life of the contemporary 
man comes from Jesus. Even the man least 
friendly to the Church, even the man least respon- 
sive to the ministries of religion, cannot avoid look- 
ing upon multitudes of problems of right and 
wrong through the eyes of Jesus. This is true be- 
cause the eyes of Jesus have become the eyes of 
civilization itself. And all the while, in ages bright 
and in ages dark, individual lives have been 
moulded and refashioned by the influence of Jesus. 
A multitude which no man can number has found 
the way into purity and integrity and brotherly 
love through the power of the Man of Galilee. In 
the darkest ages He has produced white lives. 
. . . Slavery went down before the spirit of 
Jesus. Every reform has received wings of power 
from Him. The great movement for making the 
lot of all workers fairer and more secure has a 
pressure back of it from the spirit of Jesus which 
many men have never realized. The movement 
for more democratic government has had an ally in 
the thought of every man as a possible son of God 
through the touch of Jesus Christ which has under- 
mined slavish political conservatism and has has- 
tened the coming of the new day." * 

*Lynn Harold Hough, The Productive Beliefs, 1919, P« 


Jesus the Moral Radical 

For from imthin, out of the heart of men, evil 
thoughts proceed (Mark 7:21). 

Jesus went to the root of the moral and spiritual 
life in His teaching. His claim was asserted upon 
the ruling motives which actuate us in daily life. 

Jesus affirmed the primary importance of purpose. 
— The old law dealt with actions; Jesus, with the 
ideas and purposes that inspire them. Jesus dealt 
with causes ; the law, with effects. Jesus demanded a 
transformed life; the Pharisees, a conformed life. 
The conduct and character demanded by the law were 
mechanical and superficial; Jesus called for radical 
changes of purpose and a vital religion. 

Jesus proposed a supreme standard. — Men were to 
be good as God is good and because God is good; 
loving as God loves. The standards of the Old 
Testament seemed high and difficult to reach; the 
standard proposed by Jesus was higher and more 
difficult. This makes it challenging and attractive; 
we are won by the fact of its difficulty to attempt to 
reach it. No other program of living compares with 
that which Jesus sets before His disciples. 

Jesus provides resources to help us attain His 
standard. — This makes Jesus and His message dif- 
ferent from any other teacher or truth. Other 
ethical and religious masters and systems propose 
ideals and standards; but they leave their disciples 
without help in attaining them. The Christian Gospel 
brings with it a new, resident energy which rein- 
forces our highest human powers in our struggle to 
reach the standard set by Jesus. God takes a part in 
the problem. Help comes to us from the unseen. 


God breaks through. We are furnished with fresh 
troops. We may not be able to explain it; but we 
can feel and know it. It is a fact in our conscious- 
ness. There are millions of witnesses to it. God 
does not mock us with the definition of a purpose 
that we may never attain. With His help we are 
bound to win our battle. 


The purpose of the fourth sermon is to present 
the claim of Jesus the Man, Teacher and Moral 
Master upon us. It is taken for granted that we 
cannot come into the presence of such a character 
without feeling the demand that it makes upon us 
and desiring to respond to the upward pull of it. 

The great principle that lies in the background 
of the sermon is that every friend and every situa- 
tion exerts upon us a definite influence either for 
the lower or the higher. There are some friends 
and some situations that depress and degrade us; 
we may not be keenly conscious of the fact, but 
the influences are silently and ceaselessly at work. 
On the other hand there are comrades and circum- 
stances which elevate us. They lay a silent claim 
upon all that is best in us and call it Into action. 
We cannot remain the same in the presence of 
these Invigorating forces. 

The greatest single energy that can possibly act 
upon our moral and spiritual resources evoking 
their response to all that is good and noble is the 
Personality of Jesus. In the presence of His im- 


perial claim it is impossible to remain neutral or to 
allow ourselves to be passive if we are conscious 
and alert to the meaning of His life and message. 
Jesus lays His strong hand upon us and claims us 
for a higher life than the one we are living now. 
The best way in which to prepare for this sermon 
is for the preacher himself to feel this demand and 
to yield himself to it in a new dedication of spirit. 
The sermon that has power on this subject will 
grow out of a preacher's enriched experience of 
the truth. We do not need to make an inventory 
of our literary resources, but rather to increase our 
own spiritual resources. 

An interpreter of the character of Peter has 
written : 

" Beyond high aims and burning enthusiasm it 
is not easy to say precisely what Peter saw in 
Christ. But we are sure to love the highest when 
we see it, and it is a common experience that we 
yield to the magnetism of a personality when ex- 
planations are altogether beyond us. It is not so 
much the doctrine of Christ that masters us as it 
is the story of His life; and while we are baffled 
by His nature and must continue to be we are 
conquered by His love." * 

Christ Claims Us for the Highest Life 
Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt he 

called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter) 

(John 1:42). 
* Albert J, Southouse, The Making of Simon Peter, p. II. 


There is something better in us than we have yet 
realized. — We are two persons: the one that is and 
the one that we may become. This '* potential bet- 
ter " and " possible best " is our true self. The task 
of life is to bring this out into complete expression. 

Christ claims the best in us. — Peter was only a 
fisherman to the people who knew him ; he was a 
great, durable foundation-man to Jesus. Thus Jesus 
always sees the best in every one. He claims us for 
our highest life. We may decline to yield to this 
claim ; but we dare not ignore it. Certain comrades 
bring out the worst in us; Christ always evokes the 
best in us. 

Christ joins forces with us to enable us to realize 
our highest life. — It is possible to catch so lofty a 
vision of life that we are disheartened by it. The 
challenge is so great that we lose hope of attainment. 
But Jesus does not leave us there. He is with us 
and on our side from the beginning. 

The new character. — When Simon had become 
Peter he had not simply added more of the qualities 
of old Simon to his character. He had added Christ. 
The equation of his life was Simon-|-Christ=:Peter. 
The same change may take place in us. The old 
self+Christ=the new self. That which has been 
added in the process of development has been the 
very Person of Christ, actually entering into our 
thoughts, feelings, and actions, and helping us to 
realize our highest life. 

Our response to the claim. — It is therefore su- 
premely important that we recognize Christ^s claim 
upon us, yield to the mastery of His motives and 
spirit, and work in friendly partnership with Him to 
accomplish His purpose for us. 



We must now show in what ways it is possible to 
estabHsh vital relations with Christ, whom we 
think of as living although invisible and within 
spiritual reach of every one who will respond to 
His claim upon them for the highest. We must 
show that there are ways of approach and acts to 
be performed or we shall leave the whole matter 
in the realm of the mystical and unreal. This re- 
lation with Christ is as actual an experience as is 
the beating of our hearts. 

The approach to this subject is through psy- 
chology, which is a long and technical word to 
describe what we know of the way in which the 
non-bodily part of us works. We do know how a 
great friendship is established and maintained; we 
understand how a child becomes a member of the 
family group, not merely by his physical presence 
in it, but by the way in which he blends his own 
purpose with that of the family as a whole, and 
thus becomes the possessor of his true rights and 
privileges as a child. 

Now it is clear that the most important fact 
about any human being is not the physical condi- 
tions in which he lives, his personal appearance or 
social prestige. The supreme matter is the mo- 
tives which steadily actuate him in his daily con- 
duct ; it is his dominant desires and his ruling pur- 
poses. These really count in determining the 
worth of a person to himself, his family, societj^ 


and God. This group of motives from which a 
person acts habitually is called by William James 
the habitual center of his personal energy. It is, 
essentially, his religion, which Carlyle said was the 
principal fact about any man. Now when the 
group of ideas from which one acts habitually 
center in loyalty to God and Christ we are Chris- 
tian. When that set of ideas escapes to the region 
of the dim and unreal instead of remaining warm 
and vivid at the center of our habitual action, we 
have suffered a commensurate loss in our Christian 
life. When no such set of motives has swayed us 
habitually we are not Christian. When we take 
the ruling motives of Jesus and deliberately place 
them at the center of our habitual action and hold 
them there we are Christian. The rise and fall of 
our Christian experience is determined by the 
loyalty and conscious deliberation with which we 
put the motives that ruled the life of Jesus at the 
center of our " habitual center of personal energy." 

This involves, it will be readily seen, a moral 
and spiritual union with Christ. When we are 
" motivating " our actions habitually by His ruling 
motives we are one with Him in the spiritual pur- 
poses that swayed Him in daily life. In this way 
He is in us, as He promised that He would be. 
And we are in Him, as becomes our privilege when 
we yield ourselves to Him in such a personal union 
of purpose as we have described. 

This is a general description of what happens 


in the beginning and development of the Christian 
life ; but it is not and cannot be a full account of the 
forces at work in the accomplishment of the mighty 
change in purpose and character which makes up 
the whole process of conversion to Christ and 
growth into the likeness to His character and spirit 
which is the goal of the Christian experience. 
We know that there are deeper energies at work; 
we cannot analyze them or classify them fully. 
But for practical purposes this surrender to the 
mastery of the motives of Christ is the step that 
opens the way for the following experiences in 
which the relationship of loyalty to Him is com- 
pleted. It shows us what we may do on our side 
to avail ourselves of the new life in Christ. 

The Master's Motive Our Master Motive 
Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ 
Jesus (Phil. 2:5). 

How shall we respond to the claim that Jesus the 
Man, the Teacher, and the Moral Master makes upon 
us? By acting constantly from the motives which 
controlled Him habitually. 

The importance of motives. — William James said 
that the group of ideas to which a man devotes him- 
self and from which he works habitually, not spas- 
modically, is the most important fact about him. It 
is the habitual center of his personal energy. George 
Bernard Shaw said that what a man believes may 
be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the 
assumptions on which he habitually acts. Therefore 


the way into moral and spiritual union with Christ 
is to make our own the " group of ideas " from 
which He acted habitually. 

The Master's motives. — At least three are clear: 
Jesus was constantly sure of the love, nearness, and 
care of the Father God. No failure could shake 
Him from this working principle. He was true to it 
" as the needle to the pole." It was more real to 
Him than the dusty roads or the boats on the lake. 
Again, Jesus never failed to have faith in His fellows 
and to believe in the worth of life. He was no cynic, 
no pessimist. There was no selfish motive or mood 
in Him. He gave Himself in boundless love and serv- 
ice to others and He helped them so much because 
He believed in them so greatly. Again, He had perfect 
confidence in the final full triumph of His Cause. He 
was sure that man could finally be brought back to 
the Father from whom his sin was separating him. 
He was sure that the Kingdom of God, which He 
proclaimed and to which He gave His life, not only 
was worth while but that it would surely conquer the 
world in the end. He gave up His life when He was 
a young man; but these great working convictions 
He never abandoned. 

Accepting Chrisfs motives. — Can we act habit- 
ually from such high motives as these? Yes. They 
are as valid now as they were when Jesus lived in 
Galilee. They are the very foundations of the moral 
and spiritual universe. If they seem reasonable, if 
our affections are warmed toward them, we need 
only to choose them resolutely and firmly act accord- 
ing to them and we shall experience the new life in 


Christ. This is the great choice by which we become 


We now reach the point at which we must bring 
out the distinctive item of faith that rests upon 
Christ as its object. It is clear that when He was 
living with His friends in the intimate contacts of 
daily duties He made the relation that they bore 
to Himself the dominant fact in the relations of 
disciple and Teacher. He did not ask men to ac- 
cept truths about Him or even principles that He 
taught; He asked them to become loyal personal 
friends to Himself. He tested men by the character 
of their allegiance to Him. Now the same condi- 
tions obtain. We cannot see Christ; but we can 
know the full value of His friendship as we 
identify ourselves with Him by adopting as our 
own the personal motives according to which He 
acted habitually. 

Remind yourself again how true it is that the 
sweet and blessed friendships of life do not in- 
sistently demand physical contacts; some of the 
holiest comradeships that ever have been known 
have been almost entirely in the realm of the in- 
visible. And it is precisely as reasonable to cherish 
a friendship with the Christ whom we may love un- 
seen as with a friend to whom we may be loyal in 
spite of separation. 

We think now of a love and devotion that has 


existed since girlhood between two women. They 
have not seen each other for half a century. It is 
altogether likely that they might pass each other on 
the street and neither recognize the friend of the 
long ago. But the beautiful loyalty has grown 
rather than diminished as the years have run 
swiftly by. They have not written many letters; 
they have seldom exchanged greetings through 
mutual friends. All this has not been necessary; 
they loved each other ; years ago they promised that 
they would forever be true to each other whatever 
life might have in store for them. And they have 
kept the faith. 

This is a poor parable of the way in which Christ 
may become the object of a personal devotion that 
nothing ever can extinguish. The writer of the 
text which we are to unfold was sure about this 
experience. He admitted at the outset that it was 
loyalty to an invisible Friend ; but he insisted that 
the allegiance was none the less real and profitable. 
He got deep satisfaction out of it. It brought him 
nothing less than the salvation of his soul. 

Christ the Object of Love and Faith 

Jesus Christ: whom not having seen ye love; on 
whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye 
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: re- 
ceiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of 
your souls ( i Pet. i : 8, 9) . 

The unseen but living Christ, whom the disciples 


knew and trusted, is still the object of love and faith 
and the source of our salvation. 

The unseen Christ is the object of love. — Every one 
who responds to the appeal of nobleness and beauty 
of soul loves Jesus of Nazareth. He was all that is 
admirable in His relations with others. What He was 
when He was living on earth He must be still in His 
eternal life. Therefore He is still the highest object 
of our affection, even if we do not see Him or talk 
with Him. 

The unseen Christ is the object of faith. — Men gave 
their utmost loyalty to Jesus of Nazareth ; they " left 
all " to follow Him. They did not defend a theory 
about Him ; they yielded their lives to Him. The un- 
seen, living Christ is worthy of a similar surrender of 
life to Him. We accept what He tells us to be true 
and we give ourselves up to loyal allegiance to Him. 

The unseen Christ is the source of joy. — The dis- 
ciples of Jesus of Nazareth were happy. Others saw 
this and were attracted to them by this fact. Hu- 
manity yearns for happiness. It is eager for joy. 
The unseen, living Christ still has power to come 
into our hearts, homes, and all our social relations 
and give us the deepest joy and satisfaction. The 
consciousness that we are united with Christ in the 
supreme motives of life gives us a kind of happiness 
that no other source can possibly provide. 

The unseen Christ is the ground of salvation. — 
When Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine He brought 
a new vision and standard of conduct to those who 
loved and trusted Him. It was a new life, as if He 
had created them again. He helped men realize 


God's purpose for them. Thus He saved them from 
their sins and into wholly new realms of thought and 
action. The unseen Christ still does this for us when 
we love and trust Him. A higher set of ruling 
motives is permanently established at the center of 
our habitual action. Thus Christ becomes Saviour 
and Master. 


What is the very essential truth or fact of the 
Christian religion? We seek not those doctrines 
or experiences which Christians share with those 
who belong to the other great religions of the 
world, but rather that which is distinct and peculiar 
to Christianity. As we press our search we find 
that there are many respects in which the religions 
of the world are one ; but there are certain respects 
in which each one is distinct. The distinctions may 
generally be reduced to one or two. If we try to 
bring the essential and the distinct character of the 
Christian religion into one item it may be stated 
thus: Personal relations, invisible but most real, 
between living persons and Jesus Christ, loved and 
obeyed as Saviour and Lord, which issue in a 
transformed life for the individual and society. 
That is, the true Christian religion consists es- 
sentially In an experience. It Is a relationship, a 
friendship, a loyalty between persons. Jesus did 
not simply live and die In Palestine centuries ago. 
He lives and bears personal relations to us now. 


He did something unspeakably important for us 
by His perfect life and sacrificial death on earth 
in physical relations with living men and women 
in the past; but He is doing something unspeak- 
ably important with us and in us by His invisible 
presence and power in spiritual and actual rela- 
tions at this very moment if we will join our wills 
with His to let Him accomplish His purpose for 
us. This is the fact of the Living Christ which 
ought to be the most wonderful and commanding 
truth that the Christian minister preaches. 

Into this sermon we must put all the insight and 
passion at our command. All the preceding ser- 
mons have led up to it. It must not be simply a 
mystical treatment of the subject. Back it up by 
evidence. Make it concrete. Start with the text. 
The man who said that the very center of his life 
was Christ was alive to his finger tips. He did one 
of the most virile and constructive pieces of work 
that any man ever accomplished. He had the mind 
and the practical genius of a modern captain of 
industry. He was a statesman and builder. 

Then draw on all the resources of Christian 
biography. Use Livingstone and Mary Slessor. 
Call into the witness box teachers like Mark Hop- 
kins; business men like Samuel B. Capen; the 
wonderful type of young Christian students like 
Hugh McA. Beaver; the men and women rescued 
into a new life, like the characters In Harold Beg- 
bie's Twice Born Men, Other Sheep, and Souls in 


Action. The testimonies must be brief and direct, 
for the time is short. But there are milHons who 
will confirm the statement that Christ has become 
for them, not a doctrine but a Friend, not a theory 
but a Saviour. 

The Living Christ Our Constant Comrade 

It is no longer I that live, hut Christ liveth in me 
(Gal. 2: 20). 

The Christian life is a ceaseless friendship, an 
actual comradeship, between the soul and the unseen, 
personal Christ. 

Physical presence is not essential to the highest 
friendship. — It is highly desirable. It is the condi- 
tion of the vast majority of our human friendships. 
But it is not absolutely essential. The highest rela- 
tions of life are maintained on the plane of spiritual 
sympathy, union in noble purpose, and the fusion of 
ideals in the supreme quest of life. 

Jesus promised continued comradeship with His 
disciples. — His death separated Him from His 
friends; but He prepared them for this separation 
by the definite promise to be with them in spiritual 
union. "And lo, I am with you always, even unto 
the end of the world." " I in them, and thou in me, 
that they may be perfected into one." This was more 
than vague spiritual influence ; it was such a personal 
comradeship that those who experienced it could be 
sure of it. 

Millions of men have attested the experience. — 
The records of the race show that Jesus' promise 
has been realized in millions of cases. It is just and 


logical that we should believe that the ground of this 
experience is what the Christians have said it was, 
the positive union of the personal Christ with them- 
selves as living beings. They have not been able to 
explain it; but they have affirmed it and have con- 
firmed their testimony by their life and, often, by 
their death. 

This fact satisfies our deepest yearnings. — We 
know that we hunger and thirst for the satisfaction 
of spiritual desires. We cannot live by bread alone. 
And Christ comes into the eager heart with a peace 
and joy that cannot be described or defined. He 
meets the deepest desires of the spirit for certainty 
and power. We know what help sometimes comes 
to us from the great inspiration of a human friend. 
All this derives from Christ when we meet Him in 
the intimate union of the spirit. 


We have proceeded thus far to present Christ as 
the one living Lord and Master, since He is the 
revelation and the reality of our Christian faith 
and practice. We now go on to lay the basis for 
the full realization of this religion. 

There may be preachers v^rho prefer to begin 
with the more general fact of religion and to bring 
the subject of Christ In after the disaster of sin and 
the meaning of salvation have been discussed. In 
this case, sermons one to seven could be used logic- 
ally after sermon eleven, and the sermon we are 
now describing could be used as number one. 


Having shown that Jesus Christ is the Fact and 
the Doctrine of the Christian rehgion, we now go 
back to the fundamental proposition that a rehgion 
of some kind is the possession of every person. It 
may be most vague; it may seldom rise into con- 
sciousness; but it is there and it exerts ceaseless 
influence in daily life. Note carefully the method 
of approach in this sermon. It does not come at 
the congregation with a criticism or attack. It is 
positive and conciliatory. It begins by revealing 
to every hearer depths in his own nature of which 
he may not have been aware. It tells men, not that 
they are renegade or void of native and noble im- 
pulses; it reveals the yearnings and the answering 
hearts of men in a way that encourages them to 
respond to the voice of God. We shall come to the 
fact of sin soon and shall stress it with all our 
power. But we start with the possibihties and the 
encouragements in the situation. This is good 
pedagogy and good pleading. 

We connect this sermon with those that have 
preceded by bringing out the primacy of Christ as 
the Word of God to the yearning souls of men. 
Therefore the method is logical. 

This universal yearning for God was put in the 
familiar words of Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha 
as follows: 

" Ye whose Hearts are fresh and simple, 
Who believe in God and Nature, 
Who believe, that in all ages 


Every human heart is human, 

That in even savage bosoms 

There are longings, yearnings, strivings 

For the good they comprehend not, 

That the feeble hands and helpless. 

Groping blindly in the darkness. 

Touch God's right hand in that darkness 

And are lifted up and strengthened; — 

Listen to this simple story. 

To this Song of Hiawatha ! " 

Religion Inevitable 

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said 
unto thee. Thy face. Lord, will I seek (Ps. 27:8). 

Religion is the soul's instinctive and inevitable re- 
sponse to God. It is a part of every normal life. It 
exists whenever God is made a conscious factor in 
one's environment. It is a communion with the 

How has God spoken? — In nature, in which He 
clothes Himself with a living garment and through 
which shines His beauty and power. In human ex- 
perience, as it is reported and recorded in history and 
literature. The past is not the record of chance 
events but the register of God's purpose for our 
highest good. In our inmost souls, where in our 
highest and best moments we are conscious of the 
reality and movement of something higher than our- 
selves. Finally, God has spoken to us in Christ, the 
Word of the Father. In that perfect life and match- 
less character we hear most clearly God's voice 
speaking to our yearning and answering spirits. 


How shall we answer God's voice? — First, by seek- 
ing in every possible way to hear it more clearly. 
We must keep in touch and tune with the holiest and 
noblest facts and forces in the universe and open our 
hearts to the great avenues of revelation noted above. 
The highest answer to God's voice is the happy and 
constant obedience that we render to every truth we 
know or discover. When we make the revelation of 
the Father's will the supreme law of our daily life 
we discover still more fully the meaning of His pur- 
pose. Thus an obedient life becomes " an organ of 
knowledge." It is like a musician learning to master 
his instrument; only as he practices constantly and 
gives himself up to the art that he is seeking to 
acquire will he become the skilled musician. The 
way to seek God's face is to yield our lives to the 
doing of His will with full devotion. Religion is 
learned by doing, as are all other great endeavours of 


It is apparent that no religion can be satisfactory 
or enduring that does not rest upon a clear idea of 
God. This does not demand a definition of God; 
but it calls for some kind of a description of His 
character that will furnish the basis of our hope 
and confidence in the relationships which compose 
the experience of religion. The Christian Gospel 
finds the adequate description of God in Christ. 

This represents a new appreciation of the revela- 
tion of Christ. The Christian Church has been 


eager to publish the fact of the Godlike Christ. 
It must also proclaim the Christlike God. It has 
been put in the following words: 

*' How He [Jesus] strove to present the vision 
of the heavenly Father in terms of moral char- 
acter and human experience, not absolute philoso- 
phy and metaphysical definition. If you want to 
know what God is like, look at me ! He said : ' He 
that hath seen me hath seen the Father.' What 
did He mean by that? Not that He, Jesus, was 
like God, but that God was like Him. . . . 

" Jesus said : Read me into God. So far as man 
can know and understand Him, what I am He is 
like. In short, it was in the terms of human ex- 
perience, moral and spiritual, experience, not of 
a priori reasoning, that He declared men could best 
approach Him. How modern and intelligible that 
sounds. The characteristics of Jesus are not im- 
perial power, absolute understanding, for all His 
intellectual subtlety and courageous and acute 
dialectic. He is greatest in His moral splendour, 
His ethical sublimity, and if we speak of Him, and 
of His God and Father, in these terms, we are on 
comprehensible grounds.'* * 

This statement, however, that God is like Jesus, 
or that the Gospel is concerned with a Christlike 
God, must not be stressed to such an extent that 
we lose also the idea of the Almighty Father. 

* Albert P. Fitch, Can the Church Survive in the Changing 
Order f 1920, p. 66. 


Clearly the God of whom Jesus was aware every 
moment was the Infinite and the Adorable. Our 
Gospel gathers around the idea of a great God; 
nothing less than this ever will issue in a great 
salvation and a great religious experience. We 
use the phrase " a Christlike God " to make the 
thought of God clear and sublime. Be sure that 
the God of Jesus was a Sovereign Lord before 
whom we bow our hearts in reverence and adora- 

What is God Like? 
He that hath seen me hath seen the Father (John 

For centuries men have defended the proposition 

that Jesus is like God. Now we are learning also 

that God is like Jesus. We come to the Father 

through the matchless human consciousness of Jesus. 

There we find out what God is like. 

How can we see Jesiisf — Not with our physical 
eyes, since He lives no longer on earth. But we may 
see Him in the reports of His life and words as they 
are given to us in the New Testament. By the use 
of our imagination, picturing Him vividly, we may 
see and understand Him. Also by observing the re- 
sults of His influence upon men now we may come to 
sense His life and character. But most perfectly by 
yielding ourselves to His service we feel His pres- 
ence and power upon us and understand Him. 

What we discover when we see Jesus. — Complete 
moral integrity. There is no sense or taint of fault 
in Him. His most common acts bear successfully 


our closest inspection. Perfect service to the needs 
of the world in which He lived. There is not a single 
failure to give His best to every human need as He 
perceived it. Perfect love for all His fellows marked 
His human life. He realized completely all the most 
exacting requirements of the Serm^on on the Mount 
and the Golden Rule. 

God is like what we discover in Jesus. — God is 
good. His moral integrity is the warrant for all hu- 
man goodness. God desires the highest welfare of 
all His children. He gives us nothing less than Him- 
self in order that this may be realized; He takes a 
part in our development into the character that He 
desires for us. God is love. He loves us in spite of 
our sins; He loves us out of our sins; He loves us 
into a new life that must finally conquer all sin and 
weakness. God is nearer to us than the very beating 
of our hearts. God is the chief factor in our sur- 
roundings and the supreme item in our conscious- 
ness. God was all this to Jesus ; He can and will be 
all this to us. Our highest name for God is " the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." 


We now run straight into a universal human 
experience which calls for our utmost insight and 
skill in understanding. Why does not the Father 
God of Jesus win an immediate and unqualified 
response from the yearning soul? Why does not 
religion become at once the dominant and blessed 
experience of every human being? It is due to the 


fact of sin, which in some form holds us all in 
bondage and which must be forgiven and eradi- 
cated if we are to enter into abundant life with 

Preaching on sin has always been one of the dif- 
ficult tasks of the pulpit, not because the fact is 
not apparent, but because it is difficult to set it out 
in such terms as will bring conviction and peni- 
tence to men. We suggest the following approach 
to the subject. The terrible character of sin is 
due to the worth and beauty of that which it des- 
troys. For example, if one were to spill ink over 
an old mop-cloth it would not be a serious matter. 
But if one were to pour the same amount of ink 
down the length of an exquisite lace dress the de- 
struction would be irreparable. It was the same 
ink in both cases; the difference in the havoc 
wrought was caused by the worth of the fabric 

If two beasts in the jungle fly at each other's 
throats and one of them dies it is not a terrible 
loss to the highest life of the human race ; but when 
Booth shoots Lincoln the disaster Is beyond esti- 
mate. The difference in the quality of the life in- 
volved makes the difference in the character of the 

Now this is the way in which to get a true con- 
ception of the meaning of sin. It Is because the 
soul of man Is so precious and its preservation in 
all the wealth of it so imperative that the thing that 


destroys it must be fought and exterminated. It 
is claimed that we have lost the old intensity of at- 
tack upon sin, that the perils of hell are no more 
dwelt upon in the pulpit, that we are so urgent in 
our statement of the love of God that we have 
made Him an indulgent " grandmother/' If this 
is so, the way to a recovery of the old emphasis is 
through a fresh appraisal of the worth of man and 
the divine value of human life. By as much as we 
exalt the worth of the soul do we intensify the 
peril of that which destroys it. So a true sense of 
sin must come from a fresh emphasis upon the 
priceless and eternal worth of that which it des- 
troys. Concerning the havoc that sin brings 
about in the individual and in society there is no 
doubt. Therefore sin is the awful and ultimate 
enemy of mankind. 

The deadly damage that sin does in the soul is 
well illustrated by the following paragraph from 
Men in War by Andreas Latzko : 

" I remember a trip I took before the war from 
Munich to Vienna on the Oriental Express. I 
looked out upon the autumnal mellowness of the 
country around the Bavarian lakes and the golden 
glow of the Wiener Wald. But across all this 
glory that I drank in leaning back on the comfort- 
able seat in luxurious contentment, there steadily 
ran an ugly black spot — a flaw in the window- 

That is the way in which sin, deep and deadly. 


rooted in our nature, degrades everything to the 
quality of the background that it makes, warps all 
the beautiful landscape of life and twists into ugly 
contortions the fair shapes of a world that would 
be surpassingly harmonious without the flaw. 

Sundering Sin 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of 
God (Rom. 3:23). 

Why do we fail to answer when God speaks? 
Why do we not quickly and completely respond to 
the Father whom we discover in Jesus ? It is due to 
the fact of sin, which sunders us from God. 

Sin is universal. — In its grossest forms we are 
aware of it and shrink from it. It finds expression 
in hate and robbery and lust. But even those whom 
the world regards as saints are also most keenly con- 
scious of their sins. The literature of the Christian 
people reveals this deep penitence for the sins that 
make Christ mourn. Sin clutches all human life in 
its fell grasp. 

Sin is disobedience to God's will. — This is not a 
definition of sin but the description of one of its most 
apparent aspects. We ought to live habitually under 
the reign of God's will of perfect love. This de- 
mands our obedience. Its purpose is our highest 
welfare. To thwart that purpose is to miss the true 
aim of life. The New Testament word for sin 
means " to miss the mark," that is, to lose the high- 
est achievements of life by disobedience. 

Sin is selfishness. — Another fundamental aspect 
of sin. It consists in preferring our own interests 


to those that are higher, either the will of God or the 
welfare of our comrades. It refuses to accept social 
obligation. It acts either from pure selfishness or 
the " herd instinct " rather than from the motive of 
unselfish love which Jesus made the supreme law of 
the Kingdom of God. So it makes us cold and vain. 
It narrows the range of life and kills all altruism. 

Sin is destruction. — Such a selfish and disobedient 
motive destroys all the finer responses and powers of 
the human spirit. It cripples our own loyalty to the 
motive of sacrifice, which has developed all the 
noblest traits of humanity. It injures others, whose 
well-being is in our keeping and whose welfare we 
ought constantly to seek. It sunders us from God, 
whose moral demand cannot be satisfied by a sinful 
life. If the disaster goes on unchecked life swings 
into growing chaos and ruin. Is there any way of 
escape ? 


Now we are ready for the full publication of the 
good news that theu'e is a way in which man, whose 
sin has sundered him from God, may be brought 
back to right relations with the Father. In pre- 
paring for this sermon the preacher may saturate 
his mind with the Parable of the Prodigal Son, as 
it is reported in Luke 16 : 11-32. We have already 
noted this in Chapter I. It is so familiar that it 
seems almost unnecessary to cite it again as the 
great expression of the Gospel in story form. But 
the very fact that it is so familiar makes it all the 


more necessary for the preacher to review it and to 
dwell upon it so reverently that he will sense again 
its wonderful meaning. It was one of the focal 
points in the preaching of Phillips Brooks, who 
used it repeatedly and who found in it the most 
illuminating expression of the message and the 
mission of Jesus. It will reveal new meanings con- 
stantly as we reflect upon it. It is one of the most 
exquisite and forceful stories in all literature. 
And the greatest truth that ever has been given to 
humanity is perfectly enshrined in it. 

The point to be kept clearly in mind is that noth- 
ing was necessary to be done to the father to 
change his attitude toward the boy who had gone 
off into the far country. Any objection to the 
word '' reconciliation " is perfectly met by the con- 
ditions set forth in the parable. We have heard 
the idea of reconciliation criticized severely on the 
ground that it involved a mutual change of disposi- 
tion and relationship. But no fair consideration 
of the gospel of reconciliation as it is presented in 
the New Testament can possibly warrant this criti- 
cism. It is not the father, gazing eagerly down the 
road day after day with his tired eyes longing for 
the sight of his returning boy, who needs to have 
his heart changed; it is the boy at his miserable 
business In the far country who must have a new 
heart. And when that came he set out for home; 
the reconciliation was brought about in the arms of 
his forgiving father. 


Good News 

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto him- 
self (2 Cor. 5: 19). 

This is one of many interpretations of " the Gos- 
pel." The meaning of this word has become so 
frayed and worn that its early meaning is almost 
gone. To its early users it was a kindling and holy 
word. What does it mean? 

God and man, sundered through sin, may he recon- 
ciled. — God's love is strong enough to find a way to 
the citadel of man's will and change its supreme de- 
cisions. Selfishness can be overcome, lawlessness 
can be conquered, and the course of life, which has 
been missing the mark, can be so changed that its 
true objective will be reached. Thus man may be 
brought back to God. This is good news. 

This reconciliation is wrought through Christ. — 
God wanted to prove His love for man and His pur- 
pose to save him from sin. So God took on, or 
clothed Himself in human form in order that His 
compelling love and saving purpose might be clear 
beyond doubt. Christ is the world's Saviour. In 
Him alone is the way to a new life. That way is 
easy to find. This is good news. 

By trust and obedience we receive the reconcilia- 
tion. — On our part we must trust the good news so 
fully that we yield ourselves to it. We must be- 
lieve to the extent of personal loyalty. Obedience 
to the good news means that we make it a way of 
life. The Gospel comes with a command. It calls 
for changes in conduct. Thus the ruin of sin is re- 
paired. This is good news. 


The reconciliation is for the whole world. — Not 
for a selected group of persons; not for a particular 
race or religious class ; not for humanity alone/ but 
for all the world. The scope of the Gospel is the 
reach of all creation. This is good news. 


When Jesus told the story of the sower He was 
labouring under a deep concern for the result of 
His message in the lives of the people who were 
crowding around to hear Him. He knew that the 
result would be conditioned by the way in which 
they heard His words and understood their deep 
meaning. He wanted to have them understand 
and respond; but this would depend upon the at- 
tention that they gave, the kind of ideas with which 
the truth in His message was able to connect, and 
the response by appropriate action that they re- 
turned to the message. 

Precisely the same conditions obtain now in any 
community where the preacher of the Christian 
Gospel is publishing the good news. He will get 
varied responses; and these responses will deter- 
mine the results of the message in the lives of those 
who hear him. This is the warrant for a sermon 
at this point on the right response to the Gospel. 
The Parable of the Soils furnishes the best of texts 
for this purpose. 

Our warrant for this sermon lies in the fact that, 
while the soil of the field, which Jesus used for an 


illustration of His great principle, was c[uite power- 
less to change its character, the human mind can be 
changed by the action of the person himself. The 
hard and shallow and preoccupied soil was no more 
responsible for its condition than was the fertile 
ground. But men and women can change the 
character of their response to the claim of the 
truth. This must be borne in mind as we prepare 
the sermon. Every parable breaks down some- 
where, and all analogies which attempt to describe 
human life according to that of the lower kingdoms 
in nature fail at the point of volition. 

Therefore this sermon must lay great emphasis 
upon the power of the individual to control the in- 
fluence of the truth upon him. There is a cow- 
ardly tendency in all men to shift the weight of 
personal responsibility upon either heredity or sur- 
roundings. It is undoubtedly a fact that our re- 
sponse to truth is conditioned upon our inheritance 
and our circumstances; but on the whole we are 
equipped to bear the responsibility of making deci- 
sions and we can choose the loyalties which will 
master our lives. We are able to decide for Christ. 
Make this option clear in the sermon and press for 
the decision of the supreme question which every 
individual is able to make for himself. 

Parable of the Soils 
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mark 4:9). 
What kind of a response will the good news re- 


ceive? This depends on the kind of mind with 
which we attend to it. Jesus set forth this truth in 
the story of the four kinds of soil into which the 
good seed of the Gospel fell. 

The hardened mind. — Like the pathway, beaten 
down by daily work and the pressure of heavy bur- 
dens. No response to deep appeals or high enthusi- 
asms because the mind has been rendered inert 
through ceaseless pressure by the beating of routme 
labour. We must break up the hardened areas of life 
by cultivating imagination and vision. 

The shallow mind. — Like the rocky soil with thin 
earth over the ledge, responds quickly to any stimu- 
lus. Easily moved by an emotional appeal. Cannot 
carry out its decisions in sustained action. No re- 
liance to be placed upon it for permanence or en- 
durance. Deceives through its lack of power to 
" carry on." We must train the will so that it will 
make permanent decisions. .Strengthen our resolu- 
tion and persistence by holding on stubbornly when 
we might easily let go. 

The preoccupied mind. — Like the soil, full of the 
old roots. As soon as natural conditions cause the 
seed to sprout the old brambles appear and the young 
plants have no chance. We are congested with in- 
terests and activities in these busy days. We allow 
so many to take up our time and strength that the 
supreme matters are crowded out. We must dis- 
criminate more carefully and put first things first. 

The fertile mind. — The larger part of the field is 
good soil. It responds to the seed with the resources 
which cause it to spring into life. The Gospel tends 
to find root; to grow steadily; to yield fruit. We 


must increase the fertile areas. We must cooperate 
with God to make our life rich in Christian fruitage. 


The right response of the mind to which the 
Gospel is addressed is the act which we commonly 
give the name repentance. At this point in the 
publication of the good news in the community, 
therefore, we ought to consider what this action is 
and how radically it involves all the powers of the 

It is most accurately described in the words " a 
new mind." But we must define carefully what 
we mean by " mind." It is a word of vital signifi- 
cance in the vocabulary of the Christian religion. 
We have discussed it in sermon five. There we 
saw that it does not mean merely the set of ideas 
with which our minds are furnished, but rather the 
set of motives according to which we act habitu- 
ally. The ruling purposes of daily living are the 
real content of the " mind " as we use it here in 
reference to repentance. 

In preparing this sermon we must stress the 
place that the will occupies in the process of re- 
pentance. It is a clear conviction, backed by a pro- 
found feeling, and all cast into a resolute decision 
that issues in a complete change in the motives 
which ordinarily govern our conduct. This makes 
repentance an act of such thoroughgoing intention 


that it brings nothing less than a shift in the center 
of interest and desire. It places new objects be- 
fore us as the goal of endeavour. It is revolution- 
ary in the deepest sense of that word. 

G. H. C. MacGregor has a clear study of re- 
pentance in his little book Into His Likeness. He 
describes the legal call to repentance in the familiar 
words, ''Amend your ways and your doings." 
This is the command of the law. But there is a 
deeper call than this, which is characteristic of the 
New Testament. It was " uttered first in its full- 
ness when our Lord, taking up the Baptist's work, 
proclaimed, * The Kingdom of God is at hand ; 
repent ye, and believe the Gospel.' It concerns it- 
self with the inner thoughts and feelings. It 
strikes at the life ere it manifests itself in action. 
It keeps close to the etymology of the Greek word. 
It cries not, * Change your actions,' but * Change 
your minds,' It does not say, ' Thou shalt not take 
the name of the Lord thy God in vain ' ; it says, 
* Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart.' It does not say, * Thou shalt not kill ' ; it 
says, * Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' 
Its demand is not so much ' Do new deeds,' as 'Act 
from new principles.' I call it evangelical, because 
it springs out of that doctrine which is the founda- 
tion of all evangelical religion: * Except a man be 
born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.' " 

Therefore repentance means a change of mind 
toward God, toward duty and also toward Christ. 


We must think differently about sin. We must 
not only hate it but we must also with the deepest 
resolution turn away from it. This includes also 
a change of mind toward the Saviour from sin. It 
means that we are ready to let Christ do something 
for us. This involves a fundamental decision. 
We shift the whole balance of our life to the side 
of a new set of ideas which govern us habitually in 
our conduct. Toward this decision the sermon 
should point the congregation. 

A New Mind 

The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, 
(Rom. 2:4). 

Sin separates men from God. The Father's mighty 
love, revealed in Christ, brings him back. This in- 
volves a deep, inward change, repentance. What 
is it? 

Negatively. — It is not simply sorrow for the fact 
that we are caught in the mesh of our sin and dis- 
graced. Repentance sometimes goes no deeper than 
this. No lasting change results. It is cowardly. 

It Is not simply sorrow for the wrong act or mo- 
tive that led to the act. This Is deeper than sorrow 
for consequences. It tends to hold us from com- 
mitting the same wrong act again. Not radical 

It is not simply a resolution not to cherish the evil 
motive or do the wrong act again. This Is a neces- 
sary part of repentance ; but It is not the root of it. 

Positively. — Repentance Involves a complete 
change of mind or ruling pui-pose of action. It re- 


verses the scale of values according to which we 
have acted in the past. It is the resolute decision 
to regulate our conduct by a new set of principles. 
Repentance sets new objects before us and enthrones 
a new series of positive purposes at the center of our 
habitual activity. The word for repentance means 
a new mind, that is a complete change in the funda- 
mental convictions with which we do regular busi- 
ness in the control of daily life. 

God's goodness leads tts to repentance. — We are 
not frightened or forced into this new way of living. 
We are won to it by the compelling power of the love 
of the Father. God's goodness is the one final force 
that makes us good. 


We follow up in sermon fourteen the central 
idea in the discussion of repentance, namely, that 
it is an act of such profound and inclusive meaning 
that it involves a practical dedication of life to a 
new set of ideals and principles. This calls for 
surrender or obedience. 

The first impression made upon us by the idea 
of surrender is not a happy one. It stands for the 
yielding of our liberties; and this Is something that 
does not find ready consent. Therefore the prin- 
ciple to be cleared up In our thinking Is that the 
path to the largest freedom Is through the accept- 
ance of obligation. It Is summed up In the famil- 
iar words describing the Christian life of loyalty 


to Christ, *' whose service is perfect freedom." 
How can service, which must consist in yielding to 
obHgation and devotion to practical efforts of min- 
istry, be consistent with freedom and actually re- 
sult in the highest freedom? This is one of the 
paradoxes of life; but there is no truth that finds 
more constant confirmation in our daily life than 
this. We see it illustrated in our homes every day. 
The member of the family who accepts the com- 
mon purpose of the group and makes it most fully 
his is the one whose life in the home is the freest 
and happiest. Take so apparently trivial a matter 
as getting out of bed promptly, sharing the fellow- 
ship of the family cheerfully at breakfast, and go- 
ing about the day's duties in the right spirit. This 
seems to be the path of surrender; it is actually the 
only path to freedom. 

It is like the planets in the solar system. Their 
beauty and permanence are the result of the yield- 
ing of each to the ordering pull of gravitation. 
Each does not go its own way ; but all go the ways 
that together make up the " system " of the plan- 
etary universe. 

The tyrant Nero tried to degrade some of the 
great Roman nobles to as low a level as his own, by 
making them appear as actors in the arena on the 
stage. To disobey was death. Florus was bidden 
thus to appear, and, doubting whether to obe}^ con- 
sulted the virtuous and resolute Agrippinus. " Go, 
by all means," answered Agrippinus. " Well, but," 


replied Florus with astonishment, '' you yourself 
refused to obey." " Yes," answered Agrippinus, 
" because I did not deliberate about it." The cate- 
gorical imperative, the naked, absolute imperative 
of duty must be implicitly, unquestioningly, in- 
stantly, obeyed. To deliberate about it is to be 
secret traitor ; and the line which separates the se- 
cret traitor from the open rebel is thin as the 
spider's web. 

Obedience the Test of Love 

Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things 
that I say? (Luke 6:46). 

It is easy to announce one's loyalty by one's words. 
The final act of allegiance consists in obedience with 
the changes in conduct and character that issue 
from it. 

Obedience is the universal test of life. — In master- 
ing the world we must obey its laws, as a child learns 
to walk by conforming to the laws that govern the 
physical world. In study we must obey the prin- 
ciples learned and the propositions proved in order 
to make progress. In industry, as we learn a trade 
we use the skill acquired as the means of further ad- 
vance. In personal friendship we always have to 
submit ourselves to the needs and desires of others 
in order to make the friendship strong and lasting. 
In moral relations it is not enough to know what is 
right ; we must submit to the right and do it. So in 
the Christian life obedience is the test of love and the 
condition of growth. 

Christ commands us. — Jesus is an Example ; but He 


is also Lord and Master. Christ brings new laws to 
govern the daily life of men. These principles make 
a practical demand upon us and effect a difference in 
our behaviour. It is serious business to follow Christ 
because we must yield ourselves so completely to the 
principles which He proposes. We must give our- 
selves up to Him in the joy and devotion of a per- 
sonal surrender. 

Obedience is the supreme item in our confession 
of Christ. — Words are easily spoken. It is not dif- 
ficult to unite with others ii. an institution or to 
carry out a program of religious activities. The test 
of all our theories and creeds is the kind of life that 
issues from them. They are the inspiring sources of 
action ; but the action itself is the proof of the quality 
and power of the principle. The community right- 
fully demands that we shall not only reflect but re- 
peat the spirit and the conduct of Jesus. We cannot 
do this unless we yield ourselves completely to Him. 
What did He say about the cultivation of our per- 
sonal character; our daily dealings with men; our 
practice of justice ; our willingness to follow Him to 
the limit? Are we obeying our Master's commands 
in these and other respects? 


Few religious ideas are more constantly misused 
than the conception of faith. It is commonly 
made to connote the acceptance of something that 
is unreasonable and even absurd. It Is set over 
against reason and one Is asked to choose whether 


he will be governed by his rational faculties or his 

But as a matter of fact faith is trust in an object 
which is worthy of confidence although it may not 
be capable of proof or demonstration. Faith is 
essentially an act of the whole personality in which 
we commit ourselves to the object defined by the 
faith. It is what Horace Bushnell called "the 
faith of a transaction." This great preacher set 
the matter forth so clearly that we quote from his 

" The Christian facts are stored in history, and 
are scarcely more significant to us than if they 
were stored in the moon. What is wanted just 
here in the case of Christ, and what also is justified 
and even required by the facts of His life, is a 
faith that goes beyond the mere evidence of propo- 
sitions or propositional verities about Christ, — the 
faith of a transaction; and this faith is Christian 
faith. It is the act of trust by zvhich one being, a 
sinner, commits himself to another being, a Sa- 
viour. It is not mind dealing with notions or na- 
tional truths. It IS what cannot be a proposition at 
all. But it is being trusting itself to being, and so 
becoming other and different by a relation wholly 

" If a man comes to a banker with a letter of 
credit from some other banker, that letter may be 
read and seen to be a real letter. The signature also 
may be approved, and the credits of the drawing 


party honoured by the other as being wholly reli- 
able. So far what is done is merely opinionative 
or notional, and there is no transactional faith. 
And yet there is a good preparation for this; just 
that is done which makes it intelligent. When the 
receiving party therefore accepts the letter and in- 
trusts himself actually to the drawing party in so 
much money, there is the real act of faith, an act 
which answers to the operative or transactional 
faith of a disciple. 

"Another and perhaps better illustration may be 
taken from the patient or sick person as related to 
his physician. He sends for a physician just be- 
cause he has been led to have a certain favourable 
opinion of his faithfulness and capacity. But the 
suffering him to feel his pulse, investigate his 
symptoms and make the diagnosis of his disease, 
imports nothing. It is only the committing of his 
being and life to this other being, consenting to re- 
ceive and take his medicine, that imports a real 
faith, the faith of a transaction." * 

This is the aspect of Christian faith that we seek 
to present so clearly that it will no longer appear as 
simply the assent to something undemonstrated by 
the mind, but an act in which the whole being is 
committed to a new relationship with Christ. 

Faith That Saves 
By grace have ye been saved through faith (Eph. 

^Sermons for the New Life, p. 94. 


When we speak of " salvation by faith " we mean 
only that faith is the means by which the result is 
realized. The source is the gracious love of God. 
We are put into relations with this source, however, 
by the act of faith. 

Faith involves an idea about Christ. — In analyzing 
the complex act of faith we cannot always affirm 
which factor comes first; but all are present in the 
complete transaction. There is an approval of the 
claims of Christ by our minds. He has created a 
favourable impression upon us. A decision to follow 
Him seems logically valid. 

Faith involves a feeling toward Christ. — Our emo- 
tions follow our minds. There is a warmth and glow 
of feeling. Christ seems to be lovely. He is desir- 
able, like any object that has evoked our love. This 
draws us toward Him. We are happy in the ap- 

Faith involves a decision for Christ. — The will ap- 
proves by a positive decision what the mind has ac- 
cepted and the feelings have desired. This decision 
embraces the whole personality and commits one to 
a personal relationship. It is often called " the faith 
of a transaction." It is trust. It calls for loyalty. 
It is like the highest human friendship of which we 
are capable. 

Faith grows through experience. — Faith is like all 
vital experiences; it develops and is perfected 
through its exercise. The faith of maturity is not 
the faith of childhood. Courage and confidence come 
from the exercise of faith. It is necessary to trust 
more fully in order to have the power of trusting in- 



In the sixteenth sermon we come to the matter 
of an open confession of allegiance or loyalty to 
Christ. In preparing the sermon we will think 
through the fact that Jesus has a claim upon us 
which we simply cannot ignore or decline to con- 
sider. It has been put in the following way by 
P. Carnegie Simpson in The Pact of Christ: 

" The more we candidly keep our hearts and 
minds and consciences open to the impression that 
even an historical appreciation of the fact of Christ 
makes upon them, the more does that impression 
turn to moral issues within us. We had thought 
intellectually to examine Him ; we find He is spir- 
itually examining us. . . . We study Aris- 
totle and are intellectually edified thereby ; we study 
Jesus and are, in the profoundest way, spiritually 
disturbed. The question — apparently so inno- 
cently historical and morally non-committal — of 
'What think ye of Christ?* passes into the most 
morally practical and personal of questions: ' What 
shall I then do with Him? ' And this presses for 
an answer. ... A man may study Jesus with 
intellectual impartiality ; he cannot do it with moral 
neutrality. If the words, the character, the person 
of Jesus at all awaken within us such issues as 
these, we cannot go on, nor can we even leave off, 
as if they never had been raised. Such questions, 
once raised, do have their answer ; to try to ignore 


them is an answer as real as any other. And thus 
it is that, as I say, we are compelled to take up 
some attitude toward this fact of Christ." 

Therefore the purpose of this sermon is to make 
clear the inevitable decision which must be reached 
by any one who faces the moral and spiritual claims 
of Jesus. It must appear that to postpone a deci- 
sion or to ignore a decision is really to make one, 
since neutrality is impossible and the whole issue is 
too great and urgent to be allowed to go by default. 
There are some truths that are so imperative that 
they must be met and action in reference to them 
settled; this fact of Christ and His mighty claim 
upon our love and service is such a truth. The 
sermon on Confession of Christ must be filled with 
this urgency and keyed to the note of confident ex- 
pectation that when men actually face the claim of 
Christ they will yield to it. 

True to the Colours 

Every one therefore who shall confess me before 
men, him will I also confess before my Father who 
is in heaven (Matt. lo: 32). 

Open loyalty is a practical test of love. Our " con- 
fession of faith " is the affirmation of our loyalty to 
Christ and His Kingdom. He asked His disciples 
to be true to their standards. 

Why should we confess Christ? — In order to de- 
fine our position before our comrades. The world 
has the right to know where we stand in reference to 
the supreme problems. A "trimmer" never is re- 


spected. We must prove our loyalty to Christ by 
expressing our allegiance to Him and recording our- 
selves as champions of His Cause. Our confession 
sets a standard toward v^hich we strive and there- 
fore gives us precise aims and positive purposes. 

How shall zve confess Christ? — By our loyal 
words. Men estimate our loyalties first by what we 
say. Therefore it is the right thing to speak out 
boldly our inmost loyalty to Christ. We prove the 
reality of our words by our conduct. Therefore our 
actions are confessions of faith. When we do what 
Jesus commands out of loyalty to Him we are true 
to the colours. Then we confirm our loyalty by the 
personal and specific service that we render to Christ, 
especially in introducing others to Him as Master. 
The first disciples were made in this way. We could 
not try to bring others into an allegiance in which 
we ourselves had no confidence. The greatest need 
of the churches now is a more constant and loyal 
testimony to Christ on the part of His disciples. 

What are the results of confessing Christ? — It de- 
fines and strengthens our own faith and practice. 
When we openly take a stand for any truth we are 
clarified in our thinking and sustained in our prac- 
tical duties. The best way to appreciate any idea Is 
to make some positive statement and perform some 
service in its behalf. Open confession Is the surest 
proof of the claims of Christ upon others and the 
greatest human Influence to lead them to Him. 
Other disciples are always made as a result of brave 
and loving testimony. Open confession gives the 
highest honour to Christ as Saviour and Lord. When 


we stand squarely for Him and speak and act boldly 
in His behalf we show Him the highest honour. 
Loyalty is the key to the Christian life. 


Up to this point we have been concerned with the 
presentation of the Gospel as a message and the 
way in which it is to be appropriated through the 
yielding of the whole personality in a new rela- 
tionship with the living Christ. This acceptance 
of His motives as ours marks the beginning of a 
life that is so new and beautiful that Paul in sheer 
joy called it " a new creation." The best descrip- 
tion of this experience is to call it the " Christian 

Like all forms of life, therefore, the Christian 
experience is subject to the laws of development. 
There is an ideal toward the realization of which it 
steadily works. 

The briefest statement of this supreme objective 
of the Christian is to say that we seek to be con- 
formed to the character of Christ. Christians can 
be fully satisfied with nothing less. We shall de- 
vote two sermons to the definition of the goal of 
the Christian life ; but both are simply an enlarge- 
ment of the proposition that the Christian is to 
seek to become like his Master. 

In preparing these two sermons the preacher will 
keep clearly in his mind the value of the objectives 
that we must deliberately set out to vv^in in life. 


*' Life toward a clear-purposed goal/* Matthew 
Arnold called it. Such a definition of the domi- 
nant purpose of life is imperative if we are to suc- 
ceed in making our work in the world count. 

The best way in which to make this Christian 
ideal vivid and commanding is to show how it has 
actually been the objective and the passion of Chris- 
tian men and women ever since the time when Paul 
defined it for the first time. A conspicuous ex- 
ample of this is Arthur Frame Jackson, who died 
in China in 1911 when he was only twenty-six 
years old, giving his life for the people during a 
terrible attack of plague. The Viceroy, a follower 
of Confucius, said concerning Jackson: 

" We have shown ourselves unworthy of the 
great trust laid upon us by our Emperor. We 
have allowed a dire pestilence to overrun the sacred 
capital. His Majesty the King of Great Britain 
shows sympathy with every country when calamity 
overtakes it; his subject. Dr. Jackson, moved by 
his Sovereign's spirit, and with the heart of the 
Saviour, who gave His life to deliver the world, 
responded nobly when we asked him to help our 
country in its need." 

To this wonderful tribute from the official. Dr. 
Jackson's biographer adds: 

" To me the remarkable fact about these tributes 
is this — that they all get behind his sacrificial act to 
the central fact of the Christian religion. The 
eyes of these men were opened, and they saw an- 


other Man, and He was on a Cross. Thus in a day 
Christ Crucified was preached to milHons, for the 
eyes of China were upon Moukden at that hour." * 
There are scores of similar illustrations to be 
found. The essential Christian ideal is being real- 
ized now as it has been steadily from the beginning. 
We are too slow to bring the evidence forward in 
its convincing power. 

The Christian Ideal of Life 

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet 
more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 
so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; 
that ye may he sincere and void of offense unto the 
day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of right- 
eousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the 
glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9-11). 

This was Paul's ideal for his friends in Philippi; 
but it is still an adequate ideal for the friends of 

Abounding love. — This is the first essential for the 
Christian life, as it has been from the beginning. 
Christ was the resistless and undiscouraged Lover 
of men. His disciples must follow Him in this re- 
spect. We must love abundantly; love all kinds of 
persons; love at the cost of service and sacrifice. 
This is the spirit and habit of the followers of 

Knowledge and discernment. — Christian love is not 
ignorant or reckless. It calls for knowledge and 

'Alfred J. Costain, The Life of Dr. Arthur Jackson of 


discernment or insight. Each is necessary to the 
other. The surest way to know is to love; the best 
way to love is to use insight and wisdom. Love is 
saved from sentimentality by wisdom; wisdom is 
saved from coldness by love. Wisdom is the sub- 
stance of our acquired knowledge; discernment is 
the accurate vision into the true character of life 
that is given us by love. 

Approving the excellent. — Ordinarily we waste a 
vast amount of time and energy on things that are 
not worth while and let more important aims go by 
default. The Christian ideal approves those pur- 
poses which are excellent and so makes our labour 
rewarding. The way in which to decide what is 
worth while is to see how Jesus lived. That which 
He sought is worth our seeking. 

Righteous. — Three aspects of Christian righteous- 
ness are defined: Negatively, it consists in being 
void of any valid charge of evil. This is good so 
far as it goes ; but it is merely negative. Therefore, 
we seek the positive life, which is full of the fruits 
of right living. Finally, this righteousness is not 
something that we gain by struggle; it issues from 
our allegiance to Christ. 

Bringing glory and praise to God. — The Christian 
life does not seek its own honour and praise alone ; it 
seeks to yield honour to God. If this is achieved our 
reward is sufficient. 


Christian salvation has been regarded as the 
putting of a warrant into one's hands by which he 


would be assured a blessed eternal life. This is a 
poor and inadequate conception of what it means 
to be brought into a new life through faith in 
Christ. It is a development, lasting through all the 
years of our earthly living and demanding for its 
completion the life immortal. It is a movement 
into the larger achievements of Christian enter- 
prise, the pursuit of a " flying goal." It is a 

Prof. Luther A. Weigle has given the following 
description of growth in the Christian life: 

*' How shall we describe the natural growth of 
religion in a human life? It seems almost an im- 
possible task. For religion is more than a natural 
growth. It is a living, personal relation with God. 
It cannot be described in terms merely of ' laws * 
and ' periods of development.' It depends upon 
God's uncounted, resourceful ways, as in love and 
mercy He seeks to reach the minds and hearts and 
to enlist the wills of His children. And it depends 
upon their ways — ways sometimes reasonable but 
often ignorant, capricious and self-willed — to 
which He adapts His measures of redeeming grace. 
The growth in the soul of real religion — as distin- 
guished from pious convention — is a matter su- 
premely individual. One touches here upon the 
inmost secret of each separate life. 

" In a general way, three stages may be distin- 
guished through which most persons pass as they 
grow in religion. There is the stage, first, of nur- 


ture in religion and learning about religion ; second, 
of getting religion as a conscious personal posses- 
sion; third, of using and understanding religion in 
maturing Christian service and experience. Char- 
acterizing each by a single phrase, we may speak of 
the stages of Christian nurture. Christian decision 
or conversion, and Christian experience. The first 
stage corresponds in general to childhood ; the sec- 
ond, to adolescence; the third, to mature life."' 

In these sermons v^e have not dwelt upon the 
matter of Christian nurture in childhood, having in 
mind the second item, conversion, and especially 
those who have passed the adolescent time, to 
whom we have been seeking to bring the Gospel as 
a message of new life. We are now seeking to 
define the standards and discuss the aspects of that 
Christian experience which follows the surrender 
of the will to the claim of Christ as Saviour and 

Growing a Soul 

But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3 : 18). 

The Christian life, like all life, is subject to the 
law of growth. We are Christians; but also we are 
becoming Christians. This text shows us not only 
the end but the sphere of Christian development, the 
grace and the knowledge of Christ. 

Grow into a deeper knowledge of Christ. — Read, 
study, and think about Him. Imagine Jesus as He 
* Talks to Sunday-School Teachers, 1920, p. 93. 


lived with His friends in Galilee. Reflect on His ac- 
tions. Ponder His teachings. Make these real and 
concrete. Compare them with the words and deeds 
of Christians now. 

Try to make yours the knowledge that Jesus pos- 
sessed. — He knew more fully than any other man 
who ever has lived the truth about God, about man, 
and about their right and normal relationships to 
one another. We can master this necessary knowl- 
edge only as we obey the principles contained in it. 

Grow into the Master's gracious life. — Jesus was 
the most unselfish, loving, and gracious Comrade who 
ever lived. " Manners make men." We must be- 
have as He did in our contacts with our fellows. If 
the world could rise to the level of the chivalrous 
life of Jesus the day of the Kingdom of God would 

Grow into the grace of Christ's personal sacri- 
fice. — The grace of Christ does not appear alone in 
His courteous life; it is the very substance of His 
spirit and motive. Christ gave Himself without 
reservation to all mankind. He showed unmerited 
favour to all mankind. This involved sacrifice. The 
grace of Christ appears in the cross. Until we rise 
to the height of personal sacrifice for the Master we 
have not attained the grace of the Master. 


There has been endless discussion especially 
within the past generation concerning the individ- 
ual and social aspects of the Gospel. On the one 
hand have been the defenders of the proposition 


that the salvation of the individual soul was the 
goal of Christian preaching and of the work of the 
Christian Church; on the other hand line up the 
champions of the claim that the world is the sub- 
ject of redemption and all preaching and church 
work are designed for the salvation of society. 
Two books of comparatively recent date represent 
these two accents or programs: 

The Social Gospel and the New Era, by John 
Marshall Barker. The Individualistic Gospel and 
Other Essays, by Andrew Gillies. Both books 
were published in 1919; both are by well-known 
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Each is clear in the note that it sounds. Prof. 
Barker affirms that " the superlative duty of the 
Church is to teach a correct notion of the Kingdom 
and keep it alive in the hearts of men. The con- 
ception should never fall below the social vision of 
Christ. The Church is to help shape the mind of 
the world about the Kingdom ideal." Dr. Gillies 
cites the work of Wesley with approval, showing 
clearly that " a great deal that is made primary to- 
day was made secondary by him because he was 
convinced that the only way to bring these reforms 
to pass was to get individual men soundly con- 
verted, and that the only way to get hardened sin- 
ners and smug hypocrites converted was not by an 
altruistic appeal, but by a solemn summons to get 
right with God." 

Now what might seem to be a sharp difference 


here resolves itself into no difference at all when 
we bring the matter into the light of the radiant 
character of Jesus. The text that we take for the 
sermon unites the two accents perfectly. Begin at 
either side and you come to the other. Suppose we 
seek to save the soul of the individual: it cannot be 
accomplished apart from the fellowship of com- 
rades. Suppose we try to save the community: it 
is impossible apart from the service and devotion 
of a group of saved men and women. So the two 
processes go on mutually strengthening each other. 
Individual and social salvation are seen to be two 
sides of the one truth. The coin has two sides; 
each is necessary; both make the complete coin. 
The apparent contradiction is thus perfectly re- 
solved in the life of Jesus, the great statement of 
whose purpose in life is found in the text that 

The Purpose of Christian Character 
And for their sakes I sanctify myself (John 17 : 19) . 
There has been wide discussion as to whether the 
Gospel is designed for the individual or for society. 
In this verse Jesus reveals His own attitude toward 
His life and answers the question as to the indi- 
vidual and social values of the Kingdom of God. 
Both are involved; there is no essential conflict be- 
tween them. 

The duty of self-development. — The word trans- 
lated " sanctify " means to perfect or to make whole. 
Jesus thinks of Himself as the Son of God whose 


sacred obligation is to make Himself complete in 
every possible way. In one sense of the word this 
is a doctrine of unrelieved selfishness or of the self- 
hood. It contemplates one's self as worth every 
possible effort in the way of self-culture or develop- 
ment. It insists upon the supreme worth of the 
whole personality, body, mind, and spirit. These 
are to receive constant attention and culture in or- 
der that the individual may become perfect or com- 
plete. The most powerful instrument that God can 
use to make the world what He designs it to be is 
perfected and consecrated human personality. Such 
development of completeness of personality is im- 
possible, however, without the discipline and culture 
of service to others. 

The duty of service to others. — A perfected per- 
sonality that is not employed for an unselfish pur- 
pose may be a curse instead of a blessing. So 
Jesus perfected His own life in order that He might 
give it lavishly for the good of others. All gains in 
individual character are for the purpose of using 
them in a wider ministry to others. It is the inten- 
tion of the gift that warrants the struggle to possess 
it. So we do not ask merely what a gain in Chris- 
tian character is; we ask what it is for. If it is for 
the welfare of our comrades and for the highest good 
of the community we are warranted in seeking it 
with all our strength. This constant and beneficent 
reaction goes on all the time in the building of Chris- 
tian character : Do we want to serve our age ? Then 
we must perfect ourselves. Do we want to perfect 
ourselves ? Then we must serve our age for we can 
reach perfection in no other way. 



The idea which we are to bring out in sermon 
twenty is that the Christian life is a beautiful har- 
mony of singing virtues, a chorus of qualities 
which is prepared and trained and renders the very 
music of God in an earthly life. The first step in 
the preparation of the sermon is to grasp the full 
meaning of the figure used in the text. It comes 
from a people who loved music and who knew 
what was involved in selecting the singers for a 
chorus, in training them, and then, under the direc- 
tion of the leader, in rendering a great composition. 

Study carefully the meaning of this interesting 
and illuminating analogy as it is seen in the work 
of a modern orchestra or chorus. In the first place 
the Christian character is more beautiful and satis- 
fying than any other fact or experience in life. 
No oratorio or symphony is so rich in all loveliness, 
so elevating in its influence, so strong in its uplift 
as a true Christian character. The Christian life 
has sometimes been regarded as a stern and un- 
lovely experience; but it is the contrary. The 
character of Jesus is the proof that the normal 
Christian way of living is full of strength and 

Now study the assembling of the Christian vir- 
tues. This is one of the highest privileges that can 
come to us. We are given the duty of calling into 
being and expression the finest, noblest qualities of 


the human spirit. No chorus leader ever was per- 
mitted to assemble such select and beautiful agents 
for the expression of a great musical theme. Then 
note the way in which the various qualities are 
unified and balanced. Just as a great chorus must 
have enough but not more than enough singers for 
the different parts, so the Christian character con- 
sists in a balance of qualities which insures har- 
mony in the rendering of the music. 

Then review the matter of the discipline or the 
training of the assembled parts to the chorus. 
How much must be done to modulate the loudness 
of some and to increase the strength of attack and 
tone on the part of others. Time and again the 
score must be rehearsed and every time the trained 
ear of the leader will discover some point at which 
more practice is necessary. 

But the most important item in the figure is the 
music that is to be rendered by the harmonious life. 
The great privilege of repeating the majestic music 
of the character of Jesus is given to us. There is 
no other vocation or possibility that can compare 
with this. It is the supreme privilege of existence. 
This fact ought to inspire us with the determina- 
tion to live well as never before. 

The Choras of Christian Character 

Yea, and for this cause adding on your part all 
diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your vir- 
tue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; 


and in your self-control patience; and in your patience 
godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; 
and in your brotherly kindness love (2 Pet. i : 5-7). 

The verb translated " supply " means to " furnish 
and train a chorus." It involves all possible skill 
and diligence and patience. It is like gathering, re- 
hearsing, and conducting an orchestra. These eight 
graces of Christian character — an octave — are to be 
furnished by the disciples of Christ. 

Faith. — We begin here logically. By our volun- 
tary trust we come into a league of love and loyalty 
with Christ. Faith is not a single, finished act; it 
is a constant attitude and activity of the spirit. 

Virtue. — This refers to the tested strength and 
proved powers of the soldier. It is gained in the 
process of struggle. It can be relied upon because 
we have won it under stress. 

Knowledge. — This is the practical fruit of experi- 
ence. We do not gain it from books or theories ; we 
attain it in the great school of experience. Chris- 
tians are always learners. 

Self-control. — This is another word for temper- 
ance. We must know ourselves and master our- 
selves. This is the first step in knowing and master- 
ing the world around us. 

Patience. — This extends self-control to the whole 
of life and makes us long-suffering. It takes time 
to lift a continent. God is patient in making the 
world; we must be patient In making our character 
like that of Christ. 

Godliness. — This is the true name for goodness. 
The highest manhood is divine. We propose the 


noblest ideal to ourselves when we seek to become 
like God. This is the highest reverence. 

Brotherly kindness, — Every one is fighting a hard 
battle. The souls of men need kindness. True 
brotherhood defines the sort of kindness that we are 
to show to others. This issues from our knowledge 
and experience of God's Fatherhood. 

Love. — This is the inclusive and crowning virtue 
of the Christian life and character, God is love; 
this is the reason why we are to love others. No 
other point of view will reveal our duties to others 
as love will show them. 

These eight qualities of Christian character we 
must assemble and train and use in complete har- 
mony. They will render God's music. 


In this sermon we are to take up the message of 
Christ to the physical life. The Gospel has some- 
thing to say to the physical man. It does not con- 
template saving the soul and letting the body go. 
It means the salvation of the physical man. 

By this we do not mean to claim that the Chris- 
tian experience insures the healing of all wounds 
or the assurance of freedom from disease. We 
mean that the Christian Is a better Insurance risk 
and that on the whole health comes with the deep- 
ening of the Christian life. The gifts of Christ 
are peace and joy; these are directly concerned 
with the whole matter of physical well-being. 


Back of this sermon must lie a clear idea of the 
Christian view of the physical body. It is not an 
enemy of the spirit to be crushed ; it is the helper of 
the spirit when it is rightly regarded. We do not 
think that the body is to be scourged ; we think that 
it is to be developed and disciplined until it shall be 
the instrument and temple of the immortal spirit. 
As Josiah Strong once said: 

" There cannot be a high intellectual and spir- 
itual growth without an adequate physical basis. 
Man is the most perfect animal in the world. It 
was the highest physical organism which received 
the double crown of intellectual and spiritual life. 
In human experience, the higher is conditioned by 
the lower, as the superstructure is limited by the 
foundation. But it is quite possible to develop the 
lower life at the expense of the higher. The splen- 
did physique of the prize-fighter does not imply a 
corresponding intellectual and spiritual develop- 
ment, but quite the contrary. As an animal, he is 
admirable ; as a man, he is monstrous." * 

Therefore our emphasis is to be on the value of 
the physical as the basis of the spiritual. The 
body is to be cultivated and honoured rather than 
neglected or despised because it is the warrant for 
all advance in the mental and spiritual achievements 
of man. There are some conspicuous examples of 
superb attainments in spite of physical limitations; 
but in general it is the person who has a clean and 
* The Twentieth Century City, p. 13. 


strong body who can do the best work for Christ 
in the Kingdom of God. 

The House of Man's Soul 

Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the 
Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from 
Godf and ye are not your own; for ye were bought 
with a price: glorify God therefore in your body 
(I Cor. 6: 19, 20; see also 3: 16). 

The Gospel is good news to the whole of life and 
therefore it has a message to the body. It does not 
despise the physical; it exalts it as the organ of 
the spirit and the temple of the divine. How shall 
we treat our bodies as the temple of God? 

The honour we pay the temple. — A sanctuary is 
the place which we honour both for its own sake and 
for that which resides there. The body is the spirit's 
sanctuary. Every organ and function is to be 
highly regarded on this account. The highest re- 
spect that we can pay the spirit is to provide for 
it the cleanest and most beautiful temple possible. 

The care we take of the temple. — We must give 
ceaseless care to the building of the temple that it 
may be strong enough to serve the needs of a strong 
and deathless spirit. The soul is here to do great 
deeds ; it must have an instrument fitted to this end. 
We must take great care to keep the temple clean. 
Nothing coarse or vulgar has the right to be there. 
No foul thought or base motive may be allowed to 
take its place in this physical temple. It must be 
made beautiful with every possible adornment of 
loveliness. The spirit is exquisitely beautiful; its 
house must be of the same kind. 


The services rendered through the temple. — ^We 
speak of the " services " in a church or temple. This 
indicates the real business of the body ; it is to serve 
the needs of the spirit as it in turn serves the needs 
of the community. The whole business of the body 
is summed up in this idea of service. When the 
body is being used by the spirit rather than existing 
for itself it is discharging its highest function. 
Therefore we think first of the resident spirit. What 
use is it getting out of the body? Is our physical 
equipment of such a kind that the spirit can express 
itself without hindrance through it? If not, how 
can we change the relation so that we shall make our 
bodies the residence and the agent of the spirit? 


Since the Christian experience is a part of the 
whole life of the individual who is living in rela- 
tion with the complete world where he perfects his 
life, it must be subject to the tests and trials of that 
world. It cannot claim immunity from the com- 
mon lot. If it should It would miss one of the 
principal sources of its power and growth. Temp- 
tation is only another name for test. And tests 
are of the utmost importance for the proving of the 
worth of anything. 

The subject of this sermon, therefore, is the 
place of test or temptation in the development of 
the Christian life and the place of God in our test- 
ing. It calls for a clear idea of the method of de- 


velopment and the power of God in the growth of 
the spirit. In other words, God does not make us 
complete Christians all at once by an act of miracle 
or magic. He takes time. The process is the 
same as that by which we make advances in the 
cultivation of our physical or mental powers. 
Take the familiar example of the training of the 
athlete. It is necessary for the candidate for an 
athletic team to submit to all kinds of tests and 
training. The readiness with which one is ready 
to surrender his private interest or his selfish desire 
is the first indication of his fitness to be a candidate 
for the team. And his initial act of surrender to 
the training and denial must be followed by a series 
of tests that will last all the time he is in the par- 
ticular group to whose success he yields his indi- 
vidual taste or desire. 

Or think of the way in which we acquire an edu- 
cation. The test or examination must be success- 
fully met during the entire time of discipline. 
Oral and written examinations are only the neces- 
sary test by which we determine our mastery of the 
truth which we are seeking to grasp. They are 
sometimes Irritating; but they are vitally neces- 
sary, at least In some form. 

This lays the foundation for the reasonableness 
and the kindness that are both Involved In tempta- 
tion. It IS God's way of testing us. Therefore a 
temptation Is, In a real sense, a privilege. It Is no 
sin to be tempted; the sin can be only in the yield- 


ing to the temptation. This we need not do if we 
will give God the place in the struggle that Jesus 
has promised that He will take. It is the purpose 
of this sermon to show what that place is and to 
enable us to meet our tests as Jesus met His. 

Temptation — And God 

There hath no temptation taken you hut such as 
men can hear; hut God is faithful, who will not 
suffer you to he tempted above that ye are ahle; hut 
will with the temptation make also the way of es- 
cape, that ye may he ahle to endure it (i Cor. 


The function of tests in the realization of the 
Gospel life, — Tests are imperative in building and 
manufacture. All materials are proved before they 
are built into enduring structures. In mathematics 
and logic we demand that propositions shall be sub- 
jected to proof. In the development of life accord- 
ing to the form and laws of the Gospel we make the 
same demand. Tests ought to be welcomed and 
their results uised. Temptations are tests; they 
prove the worth and durability of the materials of 
Christian character. 

The endurance of tests. — Tests involve strain and 
suffering. They call for the utmost resolution, 
patience, and courage. They are not welcome at 
the moment. How are they to be met? Not by 
seeking to avoid them. No problem is ever solved 
by running away from it. Face the temptation 
squarely. All difficulties generally look largest at 
a distance, as a hill appears steepest before we 


actually begin to climb it. A determined stand is 
the only Christian way in which to submit to a test. 
God's part in our tests. — At the moment when we 
seem nearest the point of breaking God comes in 
with help. Millions of witnesses confirm this state- 
ment. They have fought until it seemed as if they 
must surrender, and then, at the moment when de- 
feat seemed inevitable, something has broken the 
power of the temptation. Energy from God has 
rushed in, reinforced their feeble powers, given them 
the help they needed. We can rely upon God. He 
will not fail the soul. Strength will come to match 
the trial. 


The Great War has given an added impetus to 
discussions on the subject of prayer. The whole 
question was thrown into prominence by the prac- 
tical situation In which millions of people were in- 
volved; they prayed against the coming of the war 
and they prayed for victory; they prayed for the 
safety of their friends, and often it seemed as if 
their prayers were Idle mockery. What did It all 
mean ? What was the use of prayer ? 

On the other hand there appears as never before 
the soundness of the fundamental principle that 
prayer is of the very nature of religion. The 
statement of William James at the conclusion of 
his Varieties of Religious Experience Is more than 
ever timely and true: 


** 1. That the visible world is part of a more 
spiritual universe from v^hich it draws its chief 
significance ; 

" 2. That union or harmonious relation with 
that higher universe is our true end ; 

" 3. That prayer or inner communion with the 
spirit thereof — be that spirit * God ' or ' law ' — is a 
process wherein work is really done, and spiritual 
energy flows in and produces effects, psychological 
or material, within the phenomenal world." * 

In preparing this sermon let us emphasize cer- 
tain factors in this statement of Prof. James in 
our own minds. Prayer is the noble name for 
the whole range of communion between the soul 
in man and the Eternal Spirit which we call God, 
and which, as Christians, we name the heavenly 
Father. It does not consist simply in certain for- 
mal acts ; it is the entire attitude of the personality 
in reference to God ; it is every expression of love 
and service as well as words and postures. It is 

And in this communion work actually gets done 
or energy is released and applied to specific ends. 
This is what Sir Oliver Lodge calls " an engine of 
achievement." We must be sure that through 
prayer " more things are wrought than this world 
dreams of." It is not simply a satisfying emotion 
or experience. God joins forces with man through 
prayer to accomplish the great ends of the divine 
^Page 485. 


will. He adds strength to us. He breaks through 
with power for our help. It takes great faith to 
be sure of this; but there are unlimited proofs of 
the reality of the finding of Prof. James in his 
great study. What we need in our present bewil- 
dering generation is to be sure of this fact and act 
upon it with joy. Put this confidence behind the 
people in this sermon. 

Prevailing Prayer 

The supplication of a righteous man availeth much 
in its working (Jas. 5: 16). 

Prayer is communion between the soul and God. 
It has as many forms of expression as a human 
friendship has. Sometimes it is silent, consisting 
entirely in the joy of "togetherness." Sometimes 
it is audible, consisting of praise and adoration and 
petition. It always is a vital and beautiful part of 
the Christian life, the " vital breath " and " native 
air " of Christian experience. 

The righteous man's prayer. — While men pray be- 
cause they are good, they also are good because they 
pray. The promise of achievement in the life of 
prayer is not indiscriminate and unconditioned. It 
is realized fully by those whose life merits the bless- 
ings that flow from communion with the Father. 
Just as a child's fellowship with his earthly parents 
Is made profitable In the end by the character of his 
relations with them, so the life of prayer depends 
for its rewards and satisfactions upon the rightness 
of our life. 

The gradual results. — Note the phrase, "in its 


working." The results may be delayed. They may 
not come as swiftly as we could wish. God takes 
time to bring about the results which we desire. It 
is necessary to enter into partnership with Him and 
to share the long processes by which His great ends 
are gained. This tests and trains our patience and 
endurance. It is desirable. If everything were ac- 
complished in a moment we would not receive the 
discipline that is necessary for our highest welfare. 
Prayer an engine of achievement, — It finally 
" availeth much." Prayer does actually get results. 
We may not be able to explain this ; but in some way 
through communion with God union is effected with 
the higher powers outside ourselves and energy 
comes in to give the resources w^e need in the en- 
deavour to lead the Christian life. It is like the re- 
sult that is derived from a talk with some one 
stronger than ourselves when help is actually given 
to match our need. We do not wait perfectly to un- 
derstand all the reasons that warrant the action. We 
simply take the help that is offered and thank God 
for it. 


When the lawyer asked Jesus the test ques- 
tion reported in Ltike 10 he received an answer 
from the Bible and then a story from real life. 
This is one of the most wonderful of all the par- 
ables, the tender and searching story of the Good 
Samaritan. The inmost meaning of this we are 
to interpret in sermon twenty- four. It shows us 


the grounds of true brotherhood and the meaning 
of Christian service. It leads in the end to the 
conception of human Hfe which is summed up in 
the noble phrase, ** The Beloved Community.'* 
Concerning this a recent book says: 

" Jesus sought to lead His followers on to the 
full stature of the perfect man and woman. There- 
fore He set before them the ideal of the beloved 
community. It included all who, like themselves, 
were intent upon doing the will of God. These 
Jesus implied were not only His but their brothers 
and sisters and mothers. This beloved community 
was the larger family, capable through their united 
efforts of unlimited expansion, to which He di- 
rected their supreme devotion and loyalty. Jesus 
sought to build up about each individual an eager, 
kindly, fraternal group, ever growing until it in- 
cluded all members of the local community. In 
this each found not only friendship, sympathy, and 
help but ample opportunity for self-expression and 
growth through service. This was the only type 
of church that Jesus ever founded. It was the 
family ideal expanded until it included all members 
of the local community who were responsive to the 
feelings of brotherhood and then expanded again 
until it bound together, through common loyalties, 
all men of all races who accepted Jesus' principles 
of living. Like a mother bird, He longed to 
gather all of the scattered sons of Abraham under 
His enfolding wings. The Gospel of John also 


reminds us that the great Shepherd had sheep not 
of the Jewish fold under His care." ' 

This is the inevitable conclusion to which the 
Parable of the Good Samaritan leads. It may not be 
wise to stress the universal application of the story 
strongly in the sermon; but no preacher can handle 
it accurately and draw out the full values in it un- 
less he works from this fundamental place that the 
beloved community held in the thought and action 
of Jesus. The simple incident on the Jericho road, 
told with such exquisite sense of its application to 
individual life, is universal in its application. To 
give this impression is essential to the purpose of 
this sermon. 

Who is My Neighbour? 

Exposition of Parable of Good Samaritan (Luk& 

The cynical question that called out the story. 
The telling force of the answer ; not a discussion but 
a story, the meaning of which admitted of no de- 
bate and enforced the truth with wholesome direct- 

The wounded man. — In the unsettled condition of 
the country the event would be readily understood. 
This hurt, plundered man stands for every kind of 
human need that is constantly pressing upon us. 
Sin has robbed men of their treasures and left them 
hurt and bleeding along all the highways of the 
world. They need help ; they need neighbours. 

' Kent and Jenks, Jesu^ Principles of Living, 1920, p. loi. 


The priest. — His business was the representation 
and administration of religion. Mercy and helpful- 
ness were his function. The care of bleeding men 
should have been the very technique of his daily 
life. He saw the wounded man but apparently did 
not even break his walk. He passed along on the 
opposite side of the road. 

The Levite. — He also was trained in the exercise 
of religion. The ceremonies were the object of his 
study and devotion. He would not have conducted 
one inaccurately; a stickler for form. He saw the 
wounded man plainly. But he did not stop to help 

The Samaritan. — Remember that Jews and Sa- 
maritans were bitter enemies. Their ancestors had 
quarreled; that was enough to keep the quarrel hot 
for centuries. This Samaritan had every racial 
prejudice against the Jews. He might have said, 
" Good enough for him ! There is one less Jew 
to abuse me and my people." But this Samaritan 
was a true neighbour. He did not inquire for names 
and relationships. He broke his journey; got the 
wounded man on his horse; took him to his own 
room; watched the man personally; took the re- 
sponsibility of providing him a room and board. He 
stands for the true neighbour who will never give up 
a permanent relationship of love and service to any 
needy soul anywhere at any time. 


This sermon is based on the fundamental Idea 
that we cannot complete our Christian life apart 


from the fellowship with others which is absolutely 
necessary. No person can be a Christian alone; 
we require one another to perfect our life in union 
with Christ on earth. 

The great realm of this fellowship is the Church, 
which is here represented as an organism or cor- 
poration of Christ. This is St. Paul's definition of 
the Church and no more satisfactory one ever has 
been given. Concerning this conception of the 
Church Bishop Charles H. Brent says: 

" The Church has a visible body ; it is an organ- 
ism rather than an organization ; there is one Body 
and one Spirit. It is perhaps rather difficult to 
make clear the difference between an organism 
and an organization, but there is a difference which 
is fundamental. An organism is a unitary form ; 
life is inherent in it and energizes and permeates it 
fully. An organization is an assembling and co- 
ordination of congenial elements, a communicating 
of life as the life. Organization is, so to speak, 
manufactured. The family, the nation, and the 
Church are all organisms, and every voluntary as- 
sociation, such as the Christian Association, for in- 
stance, is an organization. The Church is the only 
eternal society, and all voluntary associations, if 
they fulfill their complete functions, pour their life 
into the Church, finding their highest and fullest 
realization In giving themselves in all their com- 
pleteness to the Church. . . . Man Is not body 
aione: body without soul is corpse. Neither is he 


soul alone: soul without body is ghost. Man is 
body and soul." * 

Now what the soul is to the body of man, that 
the living Christ is to His body the Church now on 
earth and forever in union with Him in the unseen 
world. This figure is one of the most clarifying 
symbols which we could possibly use to make clear 
the eternal value and the present importance of the 
Christian Church. There is no theory or doctrine 
of the Church that ever has been framed that lets 
us into its very inner meaning so surely and com- 
pletely as this. The more the preacher ponders it 
the more he will see its consummate and revealing 
beauty. The sermon will grow swiftly around this 
central figure. 

The Living Church 

The Church which is his body (Eph. 1:22,23). 

This is a description of the Church according to 
an analogy which we all appreciate and understand. 
The Church is at this moment the organism, or group 
of living persons, in whose daily life the purpose of 
Jesus works so radically that it gets its will done 
through them. We note: 

The unity of the Church. — Just as any living plant 
or animal Is a diversity of organs unified and con- 
trolled for a common purpose, so the living Church 
is composed of a great number of persons and pro- 
grams, united and directed by the unseen Christ, 
resident within them. The ground of unity in the 
* The Inspiration of Responsibility, 1915, pp. 98, 100. 


living Church is the will of Christ. It is working 
to accomplish its purpose now as it did when Jesus 
lived in Palestine; only it now uses a vast number 
of living persons as it then used His physical body 
and His comrades in daily life. 

The diversity of the Church. — The highest organ- 
isms are those which have the greatest diversity of 
organs blended into a common purpose, e. g., the 
wider the range of variety the greater the useful- 
ness, provided they are fused in a common pur- 

The Church and its environment. — The organism 
derives its sustenance from its environment, which 
it serves in return. The organism exists for the 
environment. The Church has the right to expect 
support from the community; the community has 
the right to demand service from the Church. 

Organ and organism. — This alone insures a living 
Church. Life must animate the organism; Christ 
must animate the Church. Only thus can it func- 
tion in its environment and reproduce its own life. 


There are many ways in which to describe the 
Christian life. It is so varied that figures and il- 
lustrations of many sorts are required to set forth 
its characteristics and activities. Among the in- 
teresting and picturesque descriptions of the Chris- 
tian experience are the two figures that we have 
taken for the text of the twenty-sixth sermon. 


Only one caution is necessary. In developing a 
sermon from an illustration or likeness we must 
remember that no figure ever can be pressed into 
details without its failing at some point. *' No 
example can go on all fours." So the preacher 
must select those factors in the figure that are es- 
sential and which bear upon the subject to be inter- 
preted by the analogy and hold steadfastly to them 
in his treatment of the proposition. Whatever we 
say about the citizen and the athlete must be valid 
in its application to the Christian life and experi- 
ence. Not many items are to be brought forward ; 
those which are selected must be carefully handled ; 
their bearing upon the proposition must always be 
legitimate. Beware the temptation to rush into 
fanciful comparisons; never let details clutter up 
the treatment of the analogy. We are trying to 
make an unfamiliar truth plain by the use of one 
that is familiar. Confusion comes from too many 
" points." 

Citizens and Athletes of the Gospel 

Only let your manner of life he worthy of the 
Gospel of Christ; that, whether I come and see you 
or he ahsent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand 
fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the 
faith of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27). 

The meaning of the text is clarified by two fig- 
ures : the word translated let your manner of life he 
means literally act as a citizen; the word translated 


striving for means literally being an athlete. To be 
a Christian means to be a citizen and an athlete for 

Citizens of the Gospel, — Consider the rights or 
privileges of Gospel citizenship. Membership in the 
commonwealth of Christ involves the right to know- 
God; the Father is discovered and appropriated 
through Christ. It involves the privilege of know- 
ing what right is and how to do it; we derive our 
moral insight and energy from Christ. It involves 
the right to immortal life; the commonwealth of 
Christ embraces earth and heaven. Consider the 
duties of Gospel citizenship. These are more im- 
portant than rights. There is the duty to perfect 
our personality ; to serve our generation in the spirit 
of Christ ; to know and do God's will. Consider the 
mutual loyalties of Gospel citizenship. No man 
lives to himself. We must sympathize with each 
other; help each other; sacrifice for each other. 

Athletes of the Gospel. — Loyalty to Christ Is not 
negative or puny; it Is martial and athletic busi- 
ness. It calls for red blood, for daring, for train- 
ing, for resolution, and for persistence. Consider 
the athlete's purpose: he means to win. He means 
to win honourably. He loses in fine spirit as a good 
sportsman. Consider the athlete's disclpli'ne. No 
denial is too great to put him In fit condition. He 
plays the game with the team, merging individual 
desire In the victory for the group. Consider the 
athlete's determination. He does not give up even 
when he Is apparently beaten. These characteristics 
are called for by the Gospel. 



We draw near the conclusion of this series of 
sermons in which we have attempted to set forth 
the good news of the reconciHation in Christ before 
the community. The message is concluded with 
the statement of Christ's doctrine and program of 
the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Two books of fairly recent date are recom- 
mended: What is the Kingdom of Heaven f by 
A. Clutton Brock. 1920. Scribner's. The Chris- 
tian Adventure, by A. Herbert Gray. 1920. As- 
sociation Press. Each of these books handles the 
great subject with a fresh and suggestive style. 
They will stimulate a preacher's thinking most 

It must be admitted that the idea of the King- 
dom of God has been sadly neglected in the teach- 
ing of the Church and the work of preaching. The 
following statement is most important, coming 
from an investigation of the religious ideas and life 
of the soldiers in the Great War: 

" Should we not include education in the idea of 
the Kingdom of God? I found when It came to 
this that I had to begin at the beginning and lead 
men gradually to the idea. Not one in a hundred 
had apparently ever heard of it. I mean among 
the churchgoers. Religion was to them a personal 
and individual matter. Of course there must be 
the foundation, but it ought not to stop there, and 


as far as I can see ministers in general have been 
letting it stop there, or have been so vague about 
the Kingdom that men haven't caught the idea at 
all." ' 

Dr. Gray confirms this opinion in the following 
paragraph : 

" It may be doubted whether two per cent, of the 
people who attend churches have any clear concep- 
tion of the meaning of this phrase which was so 
constantly on the lips of Jesus. It might have been 
expected that it would have been the very first 
thing to be explained to children in connection with 
Christianity, and that church members would re- 
ceive abundant instruction about it. It would have 
been natural if it had filled a central place in cate- 
chisms, and in confessions of faith. But as a 
matter of fact, it hardly has any place at all in 
creeds, or catechisms. A man might read a great 
deal of ordinary Christian literature and never 
come across the expression." ^ 

Every preacher will wish to frame his own defi- 
nition of the Kingdom of God. There are many 
discussions of the idea to be found. We give here 
simply the one proposed by Dr. Gray: 

" What, then, did Jesus mean by the Kingdom 
of God? I think a partial answer at least is to say 

* Religion Among American Men, 1920, Association Press, 

p. 15- 
^Ihid,, p. 20. 


that He used that phrase as a description of what 
human life becomes when it is lived under the con- 
straint of two truths — the Fatherhood of God, and 
the Brotherhood of man. Those were the two 
great truths He came to reveal both by life and by 
death, and when any man fully receives them and 
lives under their dominion he enters the Kingdom. 
When any group of people live in that way the 
Kingdom appears as a social fact in this life. 

* 'Another way in which Jesus put the same truth 
was to say that there are only two great command- 
ments — to love God and to love one's neighbour. 
And when any man begins to obey those command- 
ments he enters the Kingdom. The Kingdom 
means human life dominated through and through 
by love. To a certain extent the Kingdom comes 
into being when even one man achieves this kind of 
life. It began to come when Jesus Himself came, 
and individuals can realize many of its blessings in 
their own lives even though they are isolated indi- 
viduals. And yet the Kingdom cannot fully come 
for any individual until others also have entered it. 
It means a society of a certain kind. Indeed, it 
cannot fully come until all men have entered it, and 
life the wide world over is life dominated by its 
principles." * 

It will be immediately apparent that this idea of 
the Kingdom of God is consistent with the message 
that we have been giving in these sermons thus far. 
^Religion Among American Men, pp. 2i, 22. 


It gathers about Christ ; it involves loyahy to Him ; 
it is a matter of choice and decision; it is a practical 
endeavour for the individual and it includes the 
whole of his life. On the basis of these truths we 
proceed to unfold the first text of the five devoted 
to this primary Christian doctrine. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom 

And Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in 
their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the 
Kingdom (Matt. 4:23). 

The message of Jesus was expressed in the 
analogy of a kingdom. It was the only analogy that 
could have been understood. It was a heavenly or- 
der of earthly life; it represented the reign of God 
in the whole life of man. 

The reality of the Kingdom. — This is more than a 
clear and forceful figure of rhetoric. The King- 
dom has reality. We cannot see its regal head, its 
court, its palaces, its splendour; but there are actual 
facts in the spiritual Kingdom that correspond to 
these temporal things. There is vast energy in the 
Kingdom; its laws are valid; its rights and duties 
claim our power and loyalty as much as those of the 
civil state. Jesus established a real order of life. 

Our neglect of the Kingdom. — Strangely, this 
truth was central in all the teaching and action of 
Jesus; but It has been given scant place in the 
thought and life of the Christian Church. Other 
doctrines and duties have usurped Its primary place 
and claim. Jesus exalted the reality of the King- 
dom of Heaven as an order of life meant for the 


world; we have thought of it chiefly as describing 
the Hfe after death or a far-off consummation of 

The reaffirming of the Kingdom. — This is the day 
in which to affirm and realize the doctrine of the 
Kingdom of God. The Great War has revealed 
depths of sin and hate never before expressed by 
men; it has uncovered yearnings for unity and lov- 
ing service never defined before. The conception 
of the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus made plain 
in His words and life shows us the only workable 
program that can meet these aspirations of the hu- 
man spirit in the modern age. Therefore the pulpit 
must publish the good news of the Kingdom and it 
must be made the program for the world. 


We now pass to a study of the conditions on 
which we may enter the Kingdom of God. It is 
not difficult. The terms are easy to understand 
and we can fulfill them if we will without any 
heavy external conditions being imposed upon us. 
We have given in the suggestions connected with 
sermon twenty-seven a statement by Dr. Gray con- 
cerning the way in which the conditions of en- 
trance may be met. 

If the condition of entrance into the Kingdom is 
self-surrender or meekness or humility, we must 
consider this fact in reference to another promise 
of Jesus, where He said, " I came that they may 


have life, and may have it abundantly." The doc- 
trines of self-sacrifice and self-realization are the 
two opposite sides of the one truth that the way of 
entrance into the Kingdom of God was the attain- 
ment of life through the yielding of life. 
It has been put by Dr. Gray as follows: 
" What, then, of this call to self-denial? Well, 
it was a call to self-surrender, but not a call to 
world renunciation. Men and women were to go 
on living in the world, and were to continue to ex- 
ercise their gifts and talents there, only all now 
with a new motive. They were to be busy not for 
self but for all men. The statesman was to be 
busy, not that he might rise to some supreme place 
of power, but that national affairs might be well 
administered. The fisherman was to catch fish, 
not that he might make a corner in the fish market 
and so become rich, but that the people might have 
fresh and wholesome food. . . . The trader 
was to go on with his business and put all his brains 
into it, not that he might make a pile and retire 
early into idleness, but that he might help the free 
exchange of the world's goods, and bring ease to 
lives that were straitened. ... In fact the 
self-regarding element was to pass out of every 
life, and so each life was to be set free to become 
something finer and larger and happier. It does 
in literal fact turn out to be true, that he who loseth 
his life shall find it, and none but those who have 
so lost life can ever imagine what a great and satis- 


fying and romantic thing life may be through all its 
course." ' 

So let us present the truth in its whole measure. 
The self-sacrifice is necessary; and the self-realiza- 
tion follows. The self must be more fully realized 
before it may be sacrificed. Both truths are vital 
and they support one another. 

Entering the Kingdom 

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; hut he that 
doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 

Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye 
shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven 
(Matt. 7:21; 18:3). 

We come voluntarily into the Kingdom of Heaven 
rather than becoming its members by the accident of 
birth or environment. 

Humility and trust. — These are represented by the 
attitude and action of the child, who came to Jesus 
happily and confidently when he was asked to do so. 
Jesus does not make childishness the condition of 
entering the Kingdom, but the childlike spirit of 
humility and trustfulness. The Kingdom is the 
realm of service; therefore humble hearts alone can 
share it. The Kingdom is the realm of loving 
deeds; therefore mutual confidence alone can meet 
its obligations. The child did not stop to argue or 
protest when Jesus placed him among the disciples; 
he put himself into the care of Jesus immediately 
and happily. Thus we enter the Kingdom. 
* The Christian Adventure, p. 32. 


Obedience to God's will. — The laws of the King- 
dom of Heaven are determined by the will of God, 
which is dictated by personal love. When love de- 
cides the program of life it must be good. To yield 
our lives to the program which infinite love and 
wisdom have determined is to be sure of all the best 
satisfactions which can possibly come to us. Obedi- 
ence is an unwelcome proposal to all proud and 
self-conscious men. They do not like to submit 
their wills to a higher will or to subject their hves to 
a program that they did not shape. Like the lowly 
entrance to a lofty room; however, obedience is the 
way by which we enter upon the Christian life. The 
act of surrender is one of yielding; but the gain is 
eternal in its rewards and satisfactions. 


Every kingdom must be founded on established 
laws and programs of orderly procedure. The 
Kingdom of Heaven is no exception to this. Jesus 
laid the foundation of the new order of life in 
certain profound principles. Three of these we 
are to treat in the sermon of the day. 

The first point to be borne in mind is the exceed- 
ing simplicity of the three laws. They are so well 
known, so plain, so practical that we do not regard 
them as seriously as we might if they were not a 
part of the very fundamental morality and relig- 
ious training which is in our best homes. These 
three laws are much like an axiom in mathematics ; 


they do not admit of discussion. They are ac- 
cepted without dissent. The reason approves at 
least the first two with no debate. 

Now this makes it all the more difficult to handle 
these great laws. Of course, the instinctive reply 
is, we believe in the law of love and the Golden 
Rule and the great rules of life contained in the 
Sermon on the Mount. And it is the task of the 
preacher in this sermon to make these old and ac- 
cepted laws glow with new meaning and drive 
home to the practical life of the congregation with 
new power. This sermon seems to be easy to 
prepare; as a matter of fact, it is difficult to inform 
these old and familiar laws with new content. We 
must gather illustrations and make application that 
will bring the laws out of the abstract and make 
them live in the daily lives of men. 

Some years ago Samuel M. Jones of Toledo 
gained the name of " Golden Rule " Jones because 
of the way in which he tried to run his business and 
the affairs of the city of which he was Mayor. He 
wrote a great many letters to all sorts of people 
connected with his corporation, and many of these 
are gathered in a volume rare now but worth many 
times the price of some of the " best sellers." Here 
is one of his illustrations of one of the laws of the 
kingdom : 

"A recent instance of heroism in every-day life 
indicates the growing power of the Golden Rule. 
A couple of months ago two negroes in Indianapo- 


lis were inside a steam-boiler cleaning it, when some 
one who was not aware that the men were inside, 
opened a cock and turned scalding hot steam from 
another boiler in on the men. The only way of 
escape was up a ladder through a manhole. In- 
stantly both men jumped for the ladder; the man 
reaching it first had ascended two or three steps ; a 
thought struck him and he stepped down ; he turned 
to his companion and said : ' You go first, Jim, you 
are married/ Jim was saved to his family and the 
other black-skinned hero was cooked to his death 
by the boiling steam." 

There are scores of similar stories that illustrate 
the power of the great laws of the Kingdom. 
They do actually work. Men are saved from sin 
and selfishness by the power of the ruling principles 
of the Kingdom. We must be careful not to use 
what is commonly called the " sob stuff " in our 
sermons; but a piece of honest narrative like the 
foregoing drives the truth home and makes the 
laws of the Kingdom glorious. 

Laws of the Kingdom 

Every kingdom is an " order " of life, a practical 
way of living. Therefore it must have Its laws, in 
obedience to which freedom is found. The har- 
monious relationships of life are Imperative to wel- 
fare and progress. 

The law of love. — See Matt. 22 : 35-40. Summed 
up briefly, this says: Love God with all your being. 
There must be nothing partial in the loyal affection 


that we render our God. He must be given an in- 
telligent love. We are not to love blindly or vi^ith 
bigoted tenacity. Christ wins the approval of our 
minds as well as of our hearts. Our wills must go 
into it as well as our emotions ; the whole personality 
must answer God's claim. Then we must love our 
neighbour as we love ourselves; we must love our 
neighbour in order to increase our love for our own 
best selves; we must love and perfect our best 
selves in order to love and serve our neighbour. 

The Golden Rule. — See Matt. 7 : 12. Summed up 
briefly this means that we must perform for others 
all those acts which, done to us by others, would 
promote our highest welfare. We want just treat- 
ment; then we must treat others justly. We want 
to be forgiven; then we must forgive others. We 
want to be dealt with patiently; then we must deal 
patiently with others. Setting the standard by 
which others are to determine their conduct toward 
us, we set the standard by which our conduct to- 
ward others is to be determined. 

The Sermon on the Mount. — See Matt. 5-7. 
Summed up briefly this offers a simple program for 
daily conduct which would issue in such a just, kind 
world as humanity never yet has known. Here the 
great motives of life that lead to noble action are 
set forth simply. It begins with the promise of 
earthly happiness and closes with the promise of 
eternal satisfaction. It is the greatest program of 
human joy and well-being that ever has been of- 
fered to mankind. Jesus proved by His own life 
that its principles could be successfully carried out. 


It is worth our highest endeavours to attain it; it is 
God's way for us to follow. 


We now come to study the rewards and perma- 
nent satisfactions of the Christian life as they are 
realized in the relationships of the Kingdom of 
God. Too little has been said about the durable 
gifts of this relationship as they appear in daily 
life. Three of them are to be considered ; but these 
are only examples of the gifts which come to men 
in the service of Christ. 

The one that we emphasize at the conclusion of 
the sermon ought to be stressed more often in our 
preaching. The world sorely needs the gift of joy 
and men are seeking it in all kinds of ways. There 
is only one true source of happiness. It is found 
in the service of Christ. Every other ground of 
satisfaction fails; this never ceases to be the firm 
foundation. No disappointment or disaster can 
possibly overwhelm us when we are in personal 
union with the living Christ. Men have proved 
this with apparently every obstacle against them 
and have sung their hymn of victory in the face of 
those experiences which have struck others dumb. 

The great expression of this truth is in the life 
of Jesus Himself. We have represented Him so 
long as the Man of Sorrows that we have missed 
the fact of His perfectly glorious happiness. He 
met the hardest experiences that can come to a 


human being; but in the very crisis of His Hfe He 
talked about His joy. 

Not only was He happy Himself but He shared 
the happiness of others. He understood the for- 
gotten aspect of sympathy, " rejoice with them 
that rejoice." Jesus entered into the happiness of 
a wedding feast and He shared the joy of the ban- 

His happiness was grounded in His conscious- 
ness of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

"As Chesterton has said, we cannot in the end 
rejoice in anything less than the whole scheme of 
things. The profoundest truths which theology 
has ever tried to handle are involved in the issue as 
to whether life can be happy. In the last resort it 
depends upon God, and upon the kind of God He 
Is, whether we can rejoice. But Jesus was quite 
sure of God — quite sure that the best we can think 
or imagine about Him is not so good as the reality. 
He exhausted Himself in finding words and simi- 
lies to suggest the greatness and splendour of God, 
and seems to have felt that He had never managed 
to convey the truth. Of course He was a happy 
man. And He holds the supreme secret for all 
who want to be happy." * 

The Privileges of the Kingdom 

For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drink- 
ing, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy 
Spirit (Rom. 14:17), 

*Gray, The Christian Adventure, p. 18. 


Membership in the Kingdom of Heaven brings 
many duties; but also great privileges and rights 
that are highly desirable. 

Righteousness. — The result of allegiance to Christ 
and loyalty to the Kingdom is a changed life. Good- 
ness, honour, integrity, take the place of the old, 
mean, and selfish motives which formally controlled 
our actions. A good life is not gained by the 
mechanical addition of virtues one by one; it issues 
from the habitual practice of the ruling principles 
of Jesus which we accept in faith and obedience. 
A good life is therefore the effect of union with 
Christ in the master-motives of life. 

Peace. — The only way in which the world ever 
will unite in the covenants and institutions that will 
end war and conflict of all kinds will be to make the 
laws of the Kingdom of Heaven the laws of indi- 
vidual and social life. There is no permanent " bal- 
ance of power" that can insure the world's peace. 
Love and self-sacrifice and justice, recognized and 
obeyed as the fundamental laws of life, will bring 
the day of peace. 

Joy. — The race demands happiness with eager 
hearts. We have the right to be happy. But our 
joy often rests in shallow and passing experiences. 
The joys of the Kingdom are deep and permanent. 
Our profoundest happiness Is secured when we are 
investing our lives in the general program in which 
Jesus found His joy and satisfaction. We know 
His happiness, which nothing could prevent; it 
rested in His loving service to others, which noth- 
ing could discourage or stop. We are to do as Jesus 
did in order to be happy as Jesus was happy^ 



Now we close the series of sermons on the King- 
dom of God as expressing the message of Jesus and 
summing up the Gospel of the reconciliation of 
men to God through union with Christ. 

What is the essential fact in the peace and per- 
manence of a kingdom? It is loyalty. Without 
this the administration of the kingdom is impos- 
sible. When loyalty breaks down the kingdom 

The book which sets this truth forth in its re- 
ligious bearing is The Philosophy of Loyalty by 
Josiah Royce. The essential meaning of this great 
human trait is interpreted by Prof. Royce and it is 
clearly explained that this truth applied to the re- 
ligious life gives seriousness and effectiveness to 
the great experience. 

When we pass into the distinctly Christian life 
we recognize how valid this great principle is. 
Christianity consists essentially in loyalty to a Per- 
son. Perhaps there is no better way in which to 
prepare for this sermon than to review the situa- 
tion in which we all live and see how central loyalty 
is to the joy and permanence of the highest human 
relationships. The whole business world is 
founded upon it. Loyalty to one's work and em- 
ployer is fundamental to industry and will be what- 
ever changes may come into the relations be- 
tween labour and capital. Every friendship is 


founded in loyalty. Unless we can rely upon one 
another in all kinds of weather we cannot be real 
friends. Every home is based on simply trust- 
worthiness on the part of each member of the 
group. The neighbourhood depends for its wel- 
fare upon the loyalty to the common interests of 
the families that compose it. That which will pro- 
mote the commonwealth lays its imperial claim 
upon the interest and the loyal devotion of the 
members of the community. The Church is also 
founded upon the same principle. Allegiance to 
creeds that are to be defended must be crowned by 
personal loyalties of the finest type if the Church is 
really to become the corporation of Christ. The 
political order depends upon loyalty. Every civic 
institution calls for the exercise of this high virtue. 
The betrayal of public trust is only a sign of the 
breakdown of loyalty. And thus the background 
is prepared for the truth that the Christian religion 
consists in loyalty to a Person. As we have main- 
tained from the beginning, it Is through personal 
relations with a divine and living Saviour that we 
complete the Christian experience. The supreme 
test is loyalty to the Master Christ. 

Loyalty to the King 

Ye call me Teacher, and Lord; and ye say well; 
for so I am (John 13: 13). 

Jesus did not hesitate to affirm His place of su- 
preme authority in the Kingdom of God. He placed 


His own Person at the center as the object of loyalty 
on the part of all Christians. The test still is that 
of loyalty to Christ. 

Loyalty to the King's truth. — Jesus brought the 
truth by which men may live well and presented it 
plainly so that all may xmderstand it. But under- 
standing is not enough. We must take the truth 
that Jesus taught and exemplified and make it into 
workable principles to guide us in daily living. It 
has a sacred claim upon us; it is not a merely ab- 
stract truth. Test life by what we are doing with 
the King's truth. 

Loyalty to the King's spirit, — More important and 
imperial than all that Jesus taught was the spirit in 
which He lived and served His age. There is per- 
fect union between His words and His spirit ; but it 
is the spirit that is supreme. This spirit also comes 
to us with a personal claim. It demands that we 
shall bring our own lives under the sway of the 
same high mood and sacrificial temper. When we 
do this we are sure that our life will be useful and 
happy. We may miss the attainments that the world 
calls fortunate; but we shall have the inner peace 
and joy that the world cannot give or take away. 
Test life by what we are doing with the King's 

Loyalty to the King's Person. — Either Jesus was 
the rightful Commander of men's lives or He was 
the most audacious of proud leaders ; for He dared 
to make loyalty to His Person the test of life in the 
Kingdom of God. He said, Follow me. He put 
Himself at the center of the love and the service that 


men should seek to render to God and to one an- 
other. It is still so. Christians are those who have 
yielded their wills to Christ and are utterly loyal to 
Him as well as to His truth and spirit. They think 
of themselves as still the followers and disciples of 
a Person. Jesus does not walk at their sides but 
He reigns in their hearts. He is not with them at 
the table or in the street; but He is actually with 
them in their inmost purposes and endeavours. When 
they are sure of this and loyal to all that the truth 
involves they are strong and happy. Test life by 
loyalty to Christ Himself. 


In this last sermon of the series in which the 
Gospel is presented to the community we undertake 
to show the practical meaning of the truth concern- 
ing eternal life. One of the most serious charges 
made against Christians is to claim that, whatever 
they may believe about the immortality of the soul, 
they behave as if they were simply mortal. The 
great truth may be in their theories; but it is not 
active in their lives. Now if this is so, it is a most 
serious fault. We need not discuss the validity of 
the charge ; we must present the fact of immortality 
with such clearness and conviction that men will be 
ready to make practical use of the truth and regu- 
late their conduct according to it. 

The matter has been put vividly as follows: 


" The truth is, we must live, and we must Hvc 
by some kind of beUef or disbeHef. Now either 
the soul persists after death or it does not. These 
are the alternatives, there is no other. You may 
ignore the whole question, and even pour contempt 
on those who expend thought upon it, but you do 
not thereby get rid of either horn of the dilemma, 
the great Either-Or on which hang interests un- 
speakably momentous. Immortality is either a fact 
or it is a falsehood. Do you say: Granted, but I 
am in no position to prove it to be either one or 
other, therefore I can make no affirmation either by 
way of belief or disbelief. Very well, but you are 
living as if one or the other were true. Logically 
you may be entitled to the name ' agnostic,' but in 
actual practice you are a believer' or a disbe- 
liever." ' 

This is the point that we are seeking to bring 
out in this sermon. Dr. McComb speaks of our 
action as " the ethics of an eternal being." 
The ordinary standards and the great life ob- 
jectives of the Christian must be those of " an 
eternal being." We are not here as citizens of 
time only. The work that we do is not carried on 
as if it were to cease or to come to its full fruition 
within the scope of an average human life. There 
are far deeper values in it. We must not act ac- 
cording to mortal but rather according to immortal 

* The Future Life in the Light of Modern Inquiry, by 
Samuel McComb, 1920, p. 25. 


standards. This is a truth that we can apply in 
the busiest day and from which we can derive in- 
spiration and hope in the darkest hour. 

Sons of the Resurrection 

Sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Luke 

Christians have been well called the Children of 
the Resurrection. The Christian life is accurately 
described as the practice of the life eternal. The 
peril attending our belief in immortality is that it 
will be immortal in our theories but dead in our 
lives. The urgent obligation upon all Christians is 
to live day by day as if each were a part of the 
eternal life, imparting immortal meaning to mortal 
life. Four principles are valid: 

All acts have eternal value. — No deed is some- 
thing simply done and ended. It goes on forever 
in its influence. It must reach its conclusion some- 
time and bear its inevitable fruit. We cannot say 
good-bye to our deeds; we shall meet them again! 
Therefore the fact of immortality adds the greatest 
possible meaning and worth to all our deeds and 

All souls have eternal worth. — If the soul is en- 
dowed with immortal value how can we injure it 
whether it be our own or that of a comrade. It is 
more durable and precious than anything else we 
know. True respect for ourselves and for others is 
derived from this fact of the deathless value of the 
human spirit. Kindness and social obligation find 
their highest warrant in this truth. God's image 


in man and the fact of immortality make our earthly 
life significant and beautiful. 

God's highest purposes for man's welfare involve 
eternity. — We know how short the span of human 
life on earth is. But the resources of eternity are 
in God's hands. We may see only the broken arc 
here ; but there is still possible the " perfect round " 
in the eternal world. We might easily despair if 
the span of mortal life and the small resources of 
earth were available for the perfection of God's pur- 
poses. But when we reckon with eternity we take 
courage and join more eagerly in partnership with 
God to realize our supreme good. 

New power for daily life issues from this truth. — 
The treasures of hope and fresh resolution open 
from this truth. Immortality does not remain a 
doctrine about which to speculate but a truth by 
which to live. It brings confidence and joy into 
even the hardest situations, for heaven and earth 
are one and eternity will see time's task completed. 


Talks to Children and Young 


APART of the work of the preacher or 
evangeUst in a church mission or campaign 
will be concerned with the children and 
young people, to whom he will seek to bring the 
Gospel as a message of life, suited to their needs 
and designed to bring them into such a natural 
and deliberate union with Christ as will make them 
happy and victorious Christians. 

It will be necessary at the outset to present the 
Christian message to them in such ways as will 
show them that the Christian religion has some- 
thing to do with their lives in home and school and 
as they begin their business careers. That there is 
need of this admits of no doubt. After a talk to a 
group of High School pupils an earnest girl said: 
" I never supposed before that religion had any- 
thing to do with my home or school work." When 
she was questioned she added that she had thought 
of religion as something that involved going to 
church and saying prayers and not doing certain 
things which the church people were supposed to 
object to. But she never had thought that religion 
had any power to determine the quality of the 
work one did at school, the kind of a game one 



played and the sort of a friend one proved to be 
in the week-day relationships of an office. When 
she saw that this was just the world in which the 
fact of her loyalty to Christ was to be tested and 
proved she had a new conception of religion. 

It is this old problem of remoteness that we have 
to reckon with. The message of Christ had been 
connected up in her mind with certain duties car- 
ried out on Sundays, with distant rewards and 
punishments in a far-away heaven, with certain 
denials and restraints. She never had seen that to 
be a Christian meant to gain power to become 
what she ought to be as a child of God. 

Therefore if it is possible in the church mission 
to gather the children and young people for meet- 
ings by themselves, let the subjects be such as suit 
their particular problems and surroundings. The 
same message that is brought to the adults may be 
brought to them ; but it must be in different terms 
and with a different approach. 

The following suggestions are therefore offered 
for the meetings of the children and young people, 
in the hope that, as in the case of the sermons, they 
may be freely adapted to the occasions and fitted to 
the temper and the problems of childhood and 

The nine talks that follow are grouped around 
the idea of Loyalty, which is one that all children 
and young people understand thoroughly. It is 
fundamental to their action. It figures in their 


groups and gangs. The whole matter of " snitch- 
ing " or " tattHng " gathers around a conception of 
loyalty for which they will often suffer intensely. 
The subjects chosen are those that have to do 
with the daily living of those to whom the talks 
are addressed. This seem.s better than to take 
anything at all remote from life. One need not 
fear to be specific and to hew to the line in talking 
with children and youth about the fundamental 
problems of life. They are willing to listen to 
plain speaking. Therefore make the applications 
of the truth clear and do not flinch. They will 
respect complete honesty of statement. They like 
to have the truth put with perfect impartiality, and 
above all things they do not like to be patronized 
or talked down to. Respect their intelligence, their 
honesty and their willingness to respond to the 
claims of a truth even if it involves some sacrifices. 

Loyal to Christ 

''Follow me" (Matt. 9:9). 

We all follow leaders and are loyal to those who 
command our respect and friendship. We ought 
to be loyal to the noblest and best leader. Jesus 
is the best Leader whom we possibly could follow. 
These are some of the reasons: 

Because of the happy, useful life that He lived. 
We catch glimpses of Him from the time He was a 
child until He died when He was a little more than 


thirty years old, and always He is helping others, 
living in a brave and happy way, and being the kind 
of a person that we would like to be. It is worth 
while to be loyal to such a Leader. 

Because of the noble rules for life that He gave. 
There is no other great teacher whose rules for liv- 
ing are so lofty and so simple and so possible to 
carry out. Take the so-called Sermon on the Mount 
in Matthew 5-7 as an example. If we would prac- 
tice these principles steadily the whole world would 
be changed. It would prevent the sins and the wars 
that make life miserable for mankind. It would 
take away the strife from our homes, the conflict 
from our labour world, and give us peace and good 
will everywhere. 

Because of the character which His friendship 
creates. No one would claim that the followers of 
Christ have been perfect men and women. Many 
have come into the church claiming to be loyal to 
Him who have not been worthy of the relationship. 
But on the whole, during all the course of Chris- 
tian history, there has been a type of people who 
have been the loyal followers of Christ; and these 
have been the best, the bravest and the happiest peo- 
ple that the world ever has seen. The leaders in 
all the movements for the uplift of mankind have 
been the followers of Jesus. The men and women 
who have made the greatest sacrifices for others 
have been Christians. The finest ideal characters 
have been created through loyalty to Christ. 

This is the warrant for accepting Jesus as Master 
and giving Him the first place in our lives. 


Loyal to Christ at Home 

*'And he went down with them, and came to Naza- 
reth; and he was subject unto them: and his mother 
kept all these sayings in her heart'* (Luke 2: 51). 

One of the places where we are to show our 
loyalty to Jesus is in our home life. Every glimpse 
that we have of Jesus shows Him to have been true 
to all the relations of His home in Nazareth. Are 
we also happy and comfortable to live with? Make 
the following tests : 

Getting the unselfish family spirit. Jesus had 
this: He was " subject unto " his father and mother. 
He obeyed. He fitted His life into the life of the 
home. He gave up His individual rights and pleas- 
ures for the higher duties and privileges of the 
home. We cannot have our own way all the time 
if we are to live with others. The unselfish spirit 
of Jesus is the only one that ever will produce a 
happy home. 

Doing our part of the family work. This tests 
the unselfish spirit. No home can be happy and 
prosperous unless the labour is divided and each one 
according to his ability does his fair share. The 
family does not exist simply to serve its members; 
the members are to serve one another in the family. 
The same faithfulness and happy temper that we 
put into some great work we must also put into the 
little duties that are our part of the home life. 

Being patient in home life. We know each other 
so well in our homes that it is difficult to get along 


with one another and be sympathetic and patient. 
It is so much easier to be poHte at a party or when 
others are looking on than it is to keep from quick 
answers and provoking acts with our own brothers 
and sisters. But courtesy to our own home folk is 
essential in being loyal to Christ. He was consid- 
erate of His mother and always a gentleman, even 
with those who knew Him best. 

Bringing out the best in others. So many times 
members of the same family irritate and nag one 
another! So they bring out the worst in one an- 
other instead of the best. But people were always 
aroused to be and do their best when they were 
with Jesus. We must see the best in each other 
and try to bring it out. This tests our loyalty to 

Loyal to Christ in School Life 

" Give diligence to present thyself approved unto 
God, a workman that needeth not to he ashamed, 
handling aright the word of truth " (2 Tim. 2: 15). 

The way in which we prepare our lessons, meet 
our friends, prove our loyalty to the highest ideals 
of our school, is a true test of our sincerity In fol- 
lowing Christ. 

Christ and our lessons. Has our loyalty to Christ 
anything to do with the way in which we prepare 
our school work? Yes. If we are honestly loyal 
to Christ we shall do our hardest home work with 
all our might, and work as faithfully when we are 


not being watched as we would when we sit in study 
period with the teacher present. If we are sure 
that Christ is our Master we will not need to be 
watched or prodded to work hard. He was a 
worker who did not need to be ashamed. We shall 
be if we follow Him. 

Christ and examinations. The tendency to cheat 
is one of the hardest temptations that we meet in our 
school life. We have no more right to steal each 
other's thoughts and knowledge than we have to rob 
the gymnasium lockers. To gain information by 
whispering and looking over the papers of others, to 
use " cribs " in an examination, to be dishonest in 
any test is to fail Christ. Nothing less than com- 
plete honesty in school work will meet the conditions 
of being loyal to Christ. 

Christ and the spirit of the school. Every school 
has what we call its " spirit." It is the sum of its 
ideals, its enthusiasms and its noblest loyalties. 
Every member of the school makes or hurts the 
school spirit. Our individual honour, courtesy, 
faithfulness contributes to the spirit of the school 
as a whole. The greatest gift we could make to our 
school is to put the spirit of Christ into all our acts. 
It would raise the whole temper of the group. Christ 
is the supreme example of what loyalty to others in 
a group will do. He changed the whole life of each 
disciple by what He did for him as a Friend. The 
spirit of the Twelve Disciples was the finest that 
we can discover. Jesus wants us to do for the 
spirit of our school what He did for His friends. 


Loyal to Christ in Our Friendships 

"/ have called you friends" (John 15: 15). 

There is a place for our reHgion in the working 
out of our friendships. The help that we give to 
one another is of the greatest importance in the mak- 
ing of our character. To be the kind of a friend 
that Jesus was is to measure up to the highest stand- 
ards of help and happiness. 

Appreciating the best in others. We are always 
happy when our friends find out the best that is in 
us and appreciate and approve it. It encourages us 
to try to be what those who love us think we are 
able to become. If we do to others as we would 
like to have others do to us we will also find and 
appreciate the best that is in our friends. If there 
are faults in them we will give our friends the bene- 
fit of the doubt. 

Being kind and patient with our friends. How 
patient Jesus was with such disciples as Peter, who 
did not understand Him, and, in the hardest hour 
of His life, denied Him ! It looked as if there were 
nothing left of Peter but a miserable traitor and 
failure. But Jesus stood by him and in time he be- 
came one of the great apostles and gave his life at 
last for the Master whom he had denied. If we 
are loyal to Christ we are ready to be patient and 
kind with our comrades and daily work and school. 
They make mistakes ; but so do we. They need an- 
other chance; so do we. They generally will make 
good; so shall we. 


Taking a real part in the personal problems of our 
friends. The way in which Jesus added His per- 
sonal influence to the struggle of His friends to at- 
tain their ideals points out the way in which we may 
be of the greatest help to others. It is more im- 
portant that we should give our friends the force 
of a right example, the strength of real encourage- 
ment, the lift of a high ideal than that we should 
take them to parties, give them rides in our auto- 
mobiles or do any other pleasant thing that will 
simply make them happy and comfortable. 


Loyal to Christ in Play 
"And if also a man contend in the games, he is not 
crowned, except he have contended lawfully" (2 Tim. 


Is sport religious ? Is it not " worldly " ? Does 
being loyal to Christ have anything to do with the 
way we play? 

The secret of true sport is the game, not the victory. 
Start with this fact. It is not supremely important 
whether or not we win ; it is all important whether or 
not we play fair. A victory won by foul means is a 
real defeat. Many a man carries a foul conscience 
because he knows that he won by an undetected trick. 
We cannot be loyal to Christ and use any dishonour- 
able method even to gain a most desirable end. 
Christian players have white consciences and clean 

Fair play is a Christian art. It starts with self- 


control. One must gain mastery of himself before 
he can control a group play. Jesus was always in 
command of Himself. He never let go in fits of 
passion. He never let His vanity get the upper hand 
so that He preferred an individual play to a team 
play. The success of the whole was put ahead of 
His own reputation or advantage. Then fair play 
goes on to a clear sense of comradeship and loyalty 
to the group. Fair play is always social. It brings 
the action and the interests of others into considera- 
tion. Jesus was a perfect example of this sense. He 
thought of the interests of every member of His group 
of friends and He sought first the welfare of the 
whole company. Thus fair play sometimes involves 
the sacrifice of the individual to the success of the 
game as a whole. It is what is known as the prin- 
ciple of the " sacrifice hit," where an individual 
player, for the sake of the runners on bases, places 
his hit and is put out in order to give running time 
to his comrades. The team is always more than the 
** star " player. Sometimes the " star " is a nuisance 
to the team. To blend our own interests with those 
of the group and then to yield them willingly to the 
success of the whole Is one of the best tests we can 
make of our loyalty to Christ. 


Loyal to Christ in Daily Work 
"Is not this the carpenter? " (Mark 6:3). 
The way in which we do our daily work con- 
stantly tests our loyalty to Christ. 


There is a Christian standard for labour. It 
grows out of the Golden Rule. If any one were 
working for us we would feel that he should give an 
honest return for the wages he was paid. Any one 
who does less than his best, therefore, in working for 
others is not doing to others as he would have others 
do to him. Also, out of loyalty to the work itself, 
we ought to do our utmost and best. All work is 
done, not for wages alone, but for the work itself f 
If it is worth doing it is worth doing in the best 
possible way that we can do it. 

There is a Christian spirit in labour. This demands 
more than just the amount of work that we do; it 
has to do with the temper or mood in which we 
work. One may do all that is required, but accom- 
plish it in such a temper of grudging complaint that 
the beauty of it is quite spoiled. To whine through 
a job may ruin it, even although we succeed in 
getting it fully done on time. Christian work is 
happy work. That is the way in which Jesus threw 
Himself into labour. 

There is a Christian reward of labour. It ought to 
be first a fair return in wages, based not merely on 
the price in labour in the market, but upon a just 
division of the product of the work done. But the 
greater reward comes from seeing a piece of neces- 
sary work done and done well. One of the highest 
joys we know is to look at something that we have 
done and feel the satisfaction of knowing that we 
have put our very best self into it and that it is a 
credit to us. If this is an office job, or a task on the 
farm, or something done around the house for the 


good of the family, or a hard lesson in school, the 
principle holds in each case. This reward cannot be 
estimated in dollars and cents. It is the inner satis- 
faction that comes from knowing that our hands 
have shared in the doing of something that makes it 
easier and better for others to live. This is to be 
loyal to Christ. 


Loyal to Christ in Our Personal Example 

"Let no man despise thy youth; but he thou an 
ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of 
life, in love, in faith, in purity " (i Tim. 4: 12). 

The power of personal example is almost bound- 
less ; we begin our life as imitators of others and we 
never cease to be swayed by personal example. Our 
highest duty in setting an example to others is to 
represent Christ to them. Five aspects of personal 
example are indicated in the text : 

In our words. Note the power of speech. What 
we say not only reveals the quality of our lives; but 
it exerts deep and strong influence upon others. To 
speak the right word in the right way at the right 
time is a Christian art. We must guard our words 

" Boys flying kites pull in their white winged birds ; 
You can't do that when you are flying words." 

In daily action. What we do speaks louder than 
what we say. There is no such thing as a trivial 
deed. It may escape us with little thought of its 


power; but it may exert the deepest influence upon 
another. We know that some of the greatest men 
have had their lives swayed by the smallest acts of 

In love. We cannot all be famous or rich ; but we 
can all love and be kind. The strongest forces in all 
the world are those that spring from a loving pur- 
pose. Love is not easy. It takes all the strength and 
decision of the strongest character to love good 
causes and all one's comrades truly. But it is the 
only life that is worth while. In the end our worth 
and influence are both measured by our love. 

In faith. The way we believe in God, in goodness 
and in one another exerts a mighty influence. Some- 
times the highest duty that comes to us in school or in 
business is to stand true to a noble and unselfish 
principle, having faith in it when others refuse to 
believe. We must prove that we believe in goodness 
and truth and will stand by them whatever the cost. 
Such an example counts. 

In purity. This means a clean heart first of all, 
one that cherishes no hatreds and harbours no coarse 
thoughts. It means pure talk and courteous action 
with our friends. It scorns stories that have an un- 
clean meaning and suggestions that easily may be 
turned into impure suggestions. It stands for the 
noblest treatment of boys and girls by one another. 

Loyal to Christ in Personal Habits 

" / do always the things that are pleasing to him " 
(John 8:29). 


It is said that we all are bundles of habits. That 
which we do regularly, habitually, without thinking 
about it, is the real index of our character. The 
finest example of personal habits is Jesus. We 
ought to work hard to grow like Him in our habitual 
action. Study these four habits: 

The habit of hard work. Industry and diligence 
lay the foundations of success and are the sign of 
our religion. Only a few men and women succeed 
by what seems to be genius or especial talent. Even 
genius is nine-tenths hard work. Laziness is im- 
moral. It is one way to deny God when we loaf and 
shirk. Christ was a worker. We must follow Him. 

The habit of kindness. Hard work alone may 
produce a hard character. Kindness is the force 
that binds the family group together and makes the 
whole home cheerful. It comes into business life 
with the richest blessings. It seems only a slight 
thing to be kind; but it is one of the noblest of 
habits. It means that we put ourselves into the 
place of another and try to use generous judgments. 
It brings help and courage to others quite beyond 
the apparent power of the kind act or generous word. 

The habit of helping. We all need help. We 
are neither wise enough nor strong enough to live 
wholly by ourselves. So we must gain the habit of 
lifting loads for others as we need help ourselves. 
A divided task brings greater joy to both who share 
the burden. We all like to be independent and we 
must not thrust ourselves upon others; but we need 
help and we must learn to give help in the natural 
and beautiful way in which Jesus did. No person 


ever met Jesus without gaining new strength in some 
way for the work that he was doing. 

The habit of faith. What a large place is occu- 
pied in life by faith or trust! We must trust na- 
ture, of which we are a part. We must trust our 
comrades, with whom we have to work out the 
problems of our common life. We must trust ideals 
and hopes, which inspire us to high and noble living. 
Most of all, we must trust God, the great object of 
faith, and Christ, the great Master. We can learn 
to do this so steadily that it grows into a habit. So 
we shall live well because we trust great principles 
and are loyal to Christ. 

Loyal to Christ in Personal Ambition 

"My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, 
and to accomplish his work " (John 4: 34). 

Our personal ambition is, like the chart and com- 
pass to the navigator or the base line to the surveyor, 
essential to our success or failure in life. The high- 
est ambition that we possibly could have is that 
which controlled Jesus. There are different aspects 
of it. 

The ambition to live the best life possible. Jesus 
had this ambition. He was eager to " sanctify " or 
" perfect " Himself for the good of others. This 
means simply that He yearned to live the best possi- 
ble life. See John 17:19. He took care of His 
body, trained His mind, made His will power strong, 
entered into the largest number of available rela- 
tions with others, all in order that He might live a 


complete life. This outlines our ambition for the 
best life possible. 

The ambition to make the world better. Jesus had 
this ambition. He was ready to help the sick and 
the poor; He gave every kind of aid to those who 
were missing the meaning of life as a result of their 
sin. He tried to make it a more joyful and satis- 
factory experience to live. When He had ended His 
life it could be truly said that He had made this 
world a better place to live in as long as it should 
last because He had given His best to it. There is 
a real approval of this kind of an ambition in all 
honest hearts ; the way in which to realize it is to be 
loyal to Christ in our daily thought and action. 

The ambition to please God. Our ambition to use 
our lives for the highest purpose and to help others 
is summed up in our desire to know and do God's 
will in such a way that we may please Him. It is 
like a child's relation to his own home. Parents 
have high ideals for their children. When those 
ideals are taken up and carried out by their children, 
parents are pleased. That is, the purpose of the par- 
ents for their children becomes the highest ambition 
of the children themselves. To follow Christ in our 
personal ambitions, therefore, means to do what He 
did : learn in every possible way the will of God and 
then make it the law of our lives. We know what 
God's will for us is, namely, that we should be the 
kind of a person that Jesus was, true and brave and 
trustful, making the utmost of ourselves and giving 
ourselves at our utmost to the world in which we live. 

Special Gatherings 


AS a part of the church mission, the evan- 
geUstic campaign or even the year's 
preaching organized around the evangeHs- 
tic message, there will probably be meetings for 
men alone, for women alone, or at least for such 
adult meetings as will call for addresses of a dif- 
ferent type from that required in the sermons that 
we have proposed. 

In view of this need we make suggestions of 
texts, subjects and expositions of Scripture (which 
we have called Bible Talks for lack of a better 
name) suited to these group meetings. The hear- 
ers will generally be men and women who have 
been Christians for some years and whose experi- 
ence may be trusted to afford the necessary back- 
ground for edifying and interpreting addresses on 
the great characters, doctrines, promises, and as- 
surances of the Bible. Mr. Moody used to give 
these as " Bible Readings," and those who remem- 
ber his directness, his knowledge of the Bible, his 
sense of the needs of his audiences will know what 
power lay in these simple studies of Bible truth. 

The same adaptation of these suggestions to the 
needs of the situation will, of course, be made by 
the preacher or evangelist as are expected in con- 
nection with all the texts and subjects that have 



been proposed. The topics are proposed more as 
examples of what may be done than as things to 
be done as they are suggested. But with the pro- 
gram of the meetings in mind as we have proposed 
it these and similar subjects seem to be suited to 

Addresses for Men's Meetings 
In selecting the subjects for the addresses we 
have kept in mind the particular problems of the 
religious life of the men of a community. We 
have had clearly before us the informal character 
of the meeting, and have aimed at the directness 
of style and address that are characteristic of the 
vigorous thinking of groups of men. 

There has been no change in the message that 
we have been trying to give ; the only modification 
has been in the close adaptation of the subjects and 
method of treatment to a particular group. 

Make the applications of truth close; seek con- 
crete and forceful illustrations ; speak with direct- 
ness and great frankness. The one characteristic 
of effective addresses to groups of men should be 
complete sincerity. No artifice is tolerable. 

Being a Man is a Man's Job 
" Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like 
men, he strong" (i Cor. i6: 13). 
The greatest task ever given to any man is simply 


to live a manly life, to be a complete man. Our 
supreme business is the development of our own per- 
sonal character so that it may please God and serve 
our generation in the highest possible way. 

We have to Fight for Manhood. Character is not 
a gift ; it is an achievement. It costs more to attain 
it than it does to secure any other good in life. The 
whole world is marked by struggle. It begins with 
the lowest forms of life and ends with the endeavour 
to attain a Christlike character. Therefore this is 
not an exception in the order of life. Our own mo- 
tives are weak and unworthy ; outward circumstances 
drag us down. Obstacles would force us to yield 
the fight; our friends sometimes lose faith in us. 
This is the fight before us. 

Our Determination to Win is Half the Battle. 
The text is a command addressed to the will of the 
individual. It recognizes the fact that determination 
is a large factor in the fight. Therefore we are told 
that we must determine to win our battle for Chris- 
tian character. The decision to press the fight to 
the end is the greatest single assurance of victory. 
Without it the fight is lost at the outset. Our de- 
cision must be positive and tenacious. We must hold 
to the decision to win by God's help in spite of every 
circumstance and failure that would divert or dis- 
hearten us. 

Manly Action is a Warrant of Victory. Not only 
are we summoned to firm decision by the text, but we 
are encouraged to definite and manly action to 
achieve success. The problem must be worked at 
with specific and constant action. To will is not 


enough ; we must carry out the decision in a specific 
program of service. Duties must be assumed and 
responsibiHties accepted. Hardships must be met. 
Surrender of that which we would Uke to enjoy must 
be often made. Ridicule must sometimes be experi- 
enced. Patience is also necessary. It is a man's 
fight and a man's achievement. This fact makes 
the challenge of Christ all the more attractive. We 
are not offered a primrose path and something for 
nothing. We are summoned to hard fighting. 

Christ the Helper of Men 

" For verily not to angels doth he give help, hut he 
giveth help to the seed of Abraham" (Heb. 2: i6). 

Note the tendency to remove Jesus from our real 
human world. We think of Christ in some far-off 
heaven. But Christ is not remote from life. He is 
in the midst of our daily, common life. Study the 
areas of our daily needs where Christ is present to 
help us. 

In our Moral Struggle. We recall the fact that 
there is an inevitable and fierce struggle on for char- 
acter. We cannot win this fight alone. It is the 
testimony of millions of men and women since the 
beginnings of Christian history that Christ does 
actually bring fresh resources to the soul in its 
struggle and turns the tide of battle in favour of 
goodness and truth in the conflict with sin. Through 
trust and prayer the ener^^^ arrives ; our spent souls 


may be given new courage and power. Christ is our 
helper when the hour of crisis comes. 

In Determining the Meaning and Worth of Life. 
It is not easy to be sure either what the world means 
or what life is worth. In hours of dismay we some- 
times question seriously whether the order of life is 
good or whether living is worth while. But Christ 
has solved this problem. His own life is the answer 
to the question. Our human life is the opportunity 
for God's love and wisdom to find its results achieved 
through human cooperation. This world is the place 
in which the Kingdom of God is to be realized. So, 
however long or short our life may be, it is good and 
glorious to live. 

In ovir Fear of Failure and Death. Men always 
have lived under the grim foreboding lest somehow 
God's plans should be thwarted. Death is a for- 
bidding experience at best. On both these points 
Christ brings us practical help. We feel sure that 
sometime God will bring His Kingdom into realiza- 
tion since the eternal life is assured through Christ. 
We need not fear death since we have seen that it 
is robbed of its terror in the case of Jesus. We 
know that death Is an episode in the continuous life 
of the spirit and because Christ lives we shall live 

The Flame of New Life 
" Stir up the gift of God that is in thee " (2 Tim. 
The figure in the Greek word is vivid and pictur- 


esque. It means to fan and to kindle into flame liv- 
ing embers. So the text really reads: Kindle into 
flame the smouldering life of the soul. 

The Flame of our Life often Burns out. Our 
early enthusiasms wear away and leave us; the 
freshness of our dreams often fades. The abrasion 
of daily work is hard on the finer texture of the 
spirit. Selfish ambitions invade our purposes and 
the nobler visions of former days wane. Unless we 
are constantly on the watch we see the flame dwindle 
and finally even the glow cease in the embers. We 
must stir and fan the coals and kindle the spark to 

The Spark of Life is still there. In spite of all 
the loss of our higher ideals, there still remain the 
glowing coals of aspiration and yearning in our 
souls. In our deepest and sincerest moments we 
know that we are the children of the Eternal. We 
are sure that we are built too large for earth. We 
cannot be wholly satisfied either with our highest 
human attainment or the best of our earthly suc- 
cesses. We want something more. We yearn for 
higher levels of life and our spirit goes out in a 
quest for God. All these are indications of the 
smouldering sparks of the new life. We must kindle 

The Live Coals must he Fanned into Flame, How 
can this be done? We must get into touch with new 
truths that have power to inspire and strengthen the 
soul. We can find these in Christ. We must sec 
the world in finer and holier aspects. This we can 
do when we look at it through the eyes of Christ. 


We must discover .new duties and get into touch 
with new comrades. These are furnished to us 
when we come into vital relations with Christ. 
Nothing causes our life to break into flame more 
quickly than to confront it with great opportunities 
for service. When we sense a big task for Christ 
we feel that there is something in us responding to 
it. Just this task Christ presents to us now. It is 
nothing less than the redemption of the whole world, 
including ourselves, from sin into a new life of love 
and joy and peace. That is the biggest program 
that ever was set before American men. We must 
meet it, 

Wind for Seed: Whirlwinds for Harvest 

"For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the 
whirlwind" (Hos. 8:7). 

Note the principle, Whatsoever a man soweth that 
shall he also reap. The seed sown in the field and 
the harvest reaped from it are identical in kind. 
This is universal law. Study some of its applica- 
tions : 

Evil Seed. In this include some of the sinful pur- 
poses and actions that are characteristic of Amer- 
ican men to-day. 

Violent Passion. Surrender of our self-control 
and yielding to outbreaks of temper lea'd at last to 
fury and violence, with rash and profane speech. 
We must learn to control ourselves. 

Coarse and Unclean Ideas, Language, Stories. 
Vulgar jests, stories with double meaning, dwelling 


on unclean subjects finally and often quickly bring 
the habit of vicious thought and action. In the end 
whirlwinds of sensual emotion sweep over and over- 
whelm us. 

Small Dishonesties. The temptation to indulge 
in small dishonesties, the result of which will ac- 
crue to our immediate advantage, crowd upon us. 
We are certain in our minds that we never shall be 
caught. But one deception demands another and 
still greater fraud; so before we know it we are 
hopelessly involved in ruin. 

Doubt of God's Love and Goodness. We begin 
sometimes by yielding to the doubts that arise when 
we study modern science or attempt to explain all 
the experiences of religion. Slowly we give up the 
faith of a simple, childlike heart ; prayer and church 
relationships are slowly abandoned. Finally we do 
not make Christ the chief factor in our environment. 
The whirlwinds of doubt and denial sweep over us. 

Good Seed. The subject must not be left in this 
negative condition. It is equally true that whoever 
sows the good seed of self-control, purity, honour, 
reverence, faith, love will reap an abundant harvest, 
also of the same kind. The text is one of encour- 
agement as well as of warning. The way to be 
happy and prosperous is to change the kind of seed 
we are sowing. 

For Women's Meetings 
During the course of the Mission there will be 
several occasions on which addresses must be 
given to meetings for women. In choosing the 


subjects for these we have especially in mind those 
problems and experiences of the Christian life that 
are appropriate or peculiar to women. It is not 
difficult to determine at least some of these and to 
speak of them. 

There are certain reactions that are especially 
pleasant in addressing groups of women. They 
are generally quite eager listeners and their re- 
sponse is often more apparent than in the case of 
men. Perhaps they do not think so deeply when 
they give themselves to a religious problem or sub- 
ject; but they at least present the appearance of 
more general thought fulness than will often be ex- 
perienced in speaking to men. 

We have generally found that the opportunity 
for conversation following the meetings is readily 
given by women, either singly or in small groups. 
Women know how to state their difficulties clearly ; 
they are quick to respond to a suggestion of spiri- 
tual direction. 

The following subjects are suggestive of others 
that will quickly come to a preacher's mind and 
grow out of his experience in evangelistic preach- 


The Treasury of a Mother's Heart 
" But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them 

in her heart" (Luke 2: 19). 

The great men probably soon forgot all about what 

had taken place; but Mary remembered and laid up 


each reference and suggestion in the treasury of 
her heart. 

The Sayings. They indicated wonderful things in 
store for the child. He was a helpless baby; but 
there were such great promises and prophecies 
wrapped up in Him that one hardly dared to dream 
of what would unfold in time. Every little life 
is a prophecy of great achievements. We must 
dare to believe great things for our children. When 
we expect much from them they tend to rise to the 
level of our ideals and desires. 

The Memory. Selfishness soon forgets; but love 
always remembers. The tablets of memory are 
made sensitive and the images impressed upon them 
are fixed by affection. So love is tenacious. We 
must remember the good and try to forget the bad. 
In the end it is the kind and the right that remains 
in our minds. Try to give loving memories to 
others to keep of you. Try to find the good and the 
loving to keep in your memories of others. 

The Pondering. Mary went over the details 
again and again. Each time some new beauty and 
suggestion flashed forth. That is the result of 
brooding on beautiful things. When life was full 
of hard work, Mary went back in her memory and 
lived over the blessed experiences of those wonder- 
ful days. She heard the music about which the 
shepherds had told her above all the monotony of 
her daily toil. It is a blessed thing to have a glori- 
ous memory and a great ideal to stand by us while 
we work. It lifts us above the monotony and the 
complaint of dreary days. 


The Result. It was twofold. It gave Mary a 
new view of life and filled dull days with beauty. 
It set a song going in her soul. And it cast a glory 
around Jesus that made His hfe more wonderful 
in her eyes. It made her expect more of Him ; and 
He inevitably rose to meet the expectation. We are 
lifted by the hopes and ambitions that others cherish 
for us. Even if He never defined the matter to 
Himself, Jesus knew that He was destined to a 
great character by His mother's ideals. He could 
not fail her. He did not 

Our Utmost 

"She hath done what she could" (Mark 14:8). 

In the house of Simon of Bethany a woman 
anointed Jesus at the cost of her chief treasure. 
She did what she could for Christ. Have we done 
as much? 

With our Money and Material. The precious 
nard was expensive; the woman had saved it for 
a long time. But she never hesitated; she gave it 
all to Christ. Are we ready to sacrifice our posses- 
sions for the Kingdom? Are we honest and ac- 
curate stewards of God's gifts? 

With our Time. " Time is money." Every min- 
ute is valuable in our crowded days. Some are 
spendthrifts of their time; others, misers. We must 
give time every day to Christ. How much did we 
spend yesterday for Him? 

With our Thoughts. The world needs clear and 
honest thinking. Christians must be leaders in 


thinking out the problems of the day. We must 
also think about Christ and the meaning of His 
message for the whole of life. What mental con- 
tribution are we making to the Kingdom of God? 

With our Love. The world is hungrier for love 
than it is for bread. We cannot command others 
to come to Christ. The Kingdom of God cannot be 
brought into being by violence. We must love men 
to Christ. Good will alone will make a new world. 
The Master has first claim on our loyalty and love. 
Are we giving these to Him? 

With our Personal Influence. Every one pos- 
sesses a certain power over his comrades which is 
sometimes called personal *' magnetism." It is the 
ability to sway the lives of others to higher or lower 
levels. We ceaselessly and for the most part con- 
stantly influence each other. Are we devoting this 
wonderful power fully to Christ? 

With our Prayer, Aspiration and Spiritual 
Energy. We are endowed with all these gifts by 
God. The world needs the uplifting power of these 
energies. Our comrades must have our prayer. 
We must aspire to higher levels ourselves and help 
others attain them. Our supreme gift to our gen- 
eration is ourselves. Such a gift honours Christ. 
Are we devoting these highest powers to Him? 

Leaking Cisterns 
** For my people have committed two evils: they 
have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, arid 


hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can 
hold no water" (Jer. 2: 13). 

The broken cisterns are a symbol of a human life 
that leaves out Christ; the spring of running water 
is the symbol of a life in which Christ is given the 
first place. 

The Leaking Cisterns. These are the selfish am- 
bitions, the lower purposes, the passing pleasures 
and talk with which we tend to fill our lives. We 
work hard for them. We "hew them out." Such 
a life costs labour. " It is hard work to be tough." 
Then the cisterns leak after we have worked hard to 
hew them out. It is a vivid figure of the way in 
which all the material side of life fails to satisfy 
the deepest needs of the soul. In the mad rush for 
pleasure we go on stimulating the jaded senses until 
at last there is no excitement quite keen enough. 
The whole effort fails. Our own self is not a big 
enough object on which to spend our lives. If we 
start out simply to be comfortable we quickly come 
to the place where nothing makes us quite com- 
fortable. The cistern is leaking again. If we try 
to make money we are never quite satisfied with 
the pace ; we want more. 

The Fountain of Life. Over against this symbol 
we set the thought of God as the Giver of life. It 
is not something that we work for; it is something 
that is given to us. God does not work for wages; 
neither do we earn His bounty. Then the spring 
is constantly flowing. There is no end to the good- 
ness of God. It is life-giving. We could not live 
without water. It is absolutely necessary to the 


keeping up of life. God is necessary. The spirit 
fails without Him. We are trying to keep up life 
on all kinds of food and exercise; try Christ and 
the service of the Kingdom of God. It will not 
fail. This life is pure and beautiful, like the run- 
ning spring. Stagnant waters grow putrid; running 
streams are fresh and fair. They bless all the land 
through which they flow. This also is a symbol of 
Christ and the service and character which He cre- 
ates. Dig no longer on a leaking cistern; drink of 
the water of life. 

The Water Jar by the Well Curb 

" So the woman left her waterpot, and went away 
into the city" (John 4:28). 

A woman came from the village to Jacob's well to 
fill her heavy jar with water and carry it home for 
her house work ; but when she met Jesus, she gained 
such a vision of truth that she left her waterpot 
and ran to the village to share the good news with 
her people; she probably came back later and took 
up the old burden; but she carried her load in a 
new spirit. 

The Waterpot, an old Burden. Woman's work 
is never done. There is no end to housekeeping. 
Day after day the woman carried the heavy jar. 
The song died from her lips and the colour faded 
from her cheeks. She felt no high joy to help her 
sustain the pressure of the load. She could not 
sing, Blessed be drudgery; for there was no up- 


lifting spirit in her heart. Hard and unchanging 
work kills in time if there is no relief. 

The Good News. At the well this woman found 
Christ. He was kind and firm and assuring. He 
met all the secret yearnings of her soul. He was 
just the kind of a Master that her spirit had craved 
through all the dreary years. He had told her the 
truth. He had been willing to be her Friend. She 
could do nothing less than hurry up to the town and 
tell every one that she had found the Christ. It 
was such a wonderful discovery! Now there was 
something to work for. Now there was a new life 

The Old Water pot and the New Song. After a 
little time she took up her housekeeping as usual. 
Daily she went to the well and lifted the heavy 
bucket; daily she filled her jar and carried it up to 
her house. But it was not so heavy any more. She 
had found Someone who said that His burden was 
light. And so it proved. To be a Christian does 
not mean to he released from labour. It does not 
mean, necessarily, to have even an easier or a dif- 
ferent job. But it means to have a new faith and 
courage with which to do the old work. Christ 
honours us most when He sets us to doing the 
familiar work in His spirit and joy. Just as a 
young mother can do work that she never dreamed 
possible when it is for her child ; so we can take up 
services that seemed impossible when we do it for 
Christ, who has done so much for us. Christians 
sing while they work. Underneath them is the sus- 
taining strength of Christ's mighty love and power. 


Bible Talks 

There is undoubtedly a better name for that 
which we have in mind. Mr. Moody used to call 
them *' Bible Readings." That may be a better 
term. What we have in mind is not precisely Ex- 
pository Sermons, for a sermon is more formal 
and is given generally as a part of an order of 
worship, which adds to it a certain stateliness. 
The address which we are describing is less formal. 
It may often be interrupted by question and an- 
swer. It is adapted to the simple assemblies that 
gather in an evangelistic Mission. 

The great value in these addresses lies in the fact 
that they help bring the Bible back to the lives of 
the people. The Bible is our most praised and most 
neglected book. Christians are constantly told that 
they should read and study it; but, in spite of all 
the effort that is put into the Sunday Schools, the 
real study of the Bible is neglected in a shameful 
degree among Christian people. 

The Bible is the most interesting book in the 
world. If it is read and studied honestly it yields 
such results in life and character as come from no 
other source. People love to hear it interpreted. 
When they are guided in the right way they will 
give time to it and will enrich their experience from 

One fruitful method in evangelistic preaching is 
to read and comment upon the Bible in public meet- 
ings in such a way that the Bible will appear in its 


true light as a principal factor in the development 
of the Christian life. It is not only necessary to 
do this in order that the truths in the Bible may 
be clarified and pressed upon the attention of the 
people, but also in order to show by the addresses 
how the Bible may be interpreted and used. The 
method of the talks is quite as important as their 

In giving such talks it is necessary to be pictorial, 
graphic and vivid in style. The imagination must 
be used. Let the preacher dwell upon the scene 
until it is so clear in his mind that he sees every 
person moving through the scene and catches every 
detail plainly. Use pictures and travels and de- 
scriptions of all kinds to make the events in the 
Bible narratives actual and moving. Do not be 
afraid of the dramatic. The Bible is preeminently 
a dramatic book. Romance is in it, and tragedy 
and comedy. The characters are brilliant with 
human interest and value. Get them out of the 
past and into the living present by the use of your 
imagination. Then represent them with loving 
pictorial earnestness. 


Religion in Action 

This is an interpretation of Micah 6, especially 

of verse 8 : "He hath showed thee;, O man, what 

is good ; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but 


to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk 
humbly with thy God ? " 

Huxley said concerning the ideal of religion con- 
tained in this chapter: "A perfect ideal of religion! 
A conception of religion which appears to me as 
wonderful an inspiration of genius as the art of 
Phidias or the science of Aristotle." 

The Ceremonial Conception of Religion and its 
Failure. This does not mean that there is no place 
in religion for the ceremony and the sacrament. 
There is a great and essential part for them to per- 
form in the expression of religion. But they are 
not able alone to give utterance to the deepest im- 
pulses of religion. They can do their part; but not 
all. The danger is that the ceremonies will become 
simply an end in themselves and therefore become 
a menace to religion instead of a help. " To say 
our prayers is not to pray." The form must be 
constantly vitalized by the spirit or it is worse than 

The Vital Conception of Religion and its Satisfac- 
tion, Religion must come into practical and social 
expression. It must add social action to ceremonial 
expression. It must take the beautiful form and 
fill it with beneficent service. 

Christianity consists in doing Justice. Nothing 
can take the place of righteous living. The per- 
formance of ceremonies is not a substitute for the 
most rigid justice. The ritual is justified by the 
kind of life it produces. It is folly to repeat a creed 
in public worship declaring that we believe in God 
the Father Almighty if we go out and treat our 


fellow men as if there were no God. At that mo- 
ment we have become practical atheists. 

Christianity consists in a loving life. To love 
kindness means to take hold practically and do some- 
thing to set the hatreds and the sufferings of the 
world right. Misery is so abundant that all the 
energies of the Christian people are called for to set 
them right. Especially is this true as we set about 
to repair the damage of war. 

Christianity consists in a reverent relation of 
loyalty to God. To walk humbly does not mean to 
cringe and fear; it means to bear ourselves nobly 
and to share the very nature and joy of God. It 
is the life of fellowship and power. 

A Song of Good Courage 

This is a study of Psalms 42 and 43 for the par- 
ticular purpose of seeing the way in which the dis- 
couraged soul wins its victory over despair through 
its faith in God. We first study the structure of 
the poem. It consists of three stanzas each fol- 
lowed by a chorus. Each stanza is a monologue. 
The lower or disheartened soul speaks in the mono- 
logue. The higher or encouraging soul tries to 
bring help and hope to the disheartened in the 
chorus. There is a most interesting parallel in 
Tennyson's The Two Voices, 

Stanza i. This shows the soul in the very depths 
of depression. Tears are its food. The taunts of 
its enemies ring in the gloomy spirit's ears. Even 
the memory of happier days and former blessed ex- 


periences becomes an instrument of torture. Yet it 
is a faint suggestion of comfort and peace, dimly 
heard among the disheartening voices. 

Chorus I, The nobler soul commands the de- 
pressed soul to hope in God, affirming that it surely 
will finally triumph through its resolute faith. This 
is a positive, glad and most confident note of cheer. 

Stanza 2. In this stanza the two moods of hope 
and fear are nearly balanced. Despair has held the 
field almost wholly in stanza i. Now the balance 
is gradually shifting. Neither quite wins over the 
other ; but hope has gained so much that it begins to 
be sure that it will win in the end. There is no 
effort to deny the despair; it is like the waterfalls 
and the engulfing billows. Yet the love of God is 
greater than all these. God is the rock on which the 
soul rests, even if it seems for the moment as if he 
had failed. 

Chorus 2. Once more the braver soul affirms the 
wisdom and love of God and appeals for the do- 
minion of courage. 

Stanza j. We now hear the song of good cour- 
age fully sung. Hope has conquered fear. It 
rings like a great bell, proclaiming the victory. God 
is the giver of strength. The confident soul will 
go singing back to the old experience that was once 
so beautiful. Hope has insisted upon the reality 
of the divine love and wisdom and so has con- 
quered. There will be no more despair. God is in 
His heaven and the world cannot be lost in gloom. 

Chorus J. Finally God is acclaimed again as one 
who will save those who keep faith in Him, 



The Vision and Mission of Life 
This is a study of Isaiah 6. It was an experience 
from the Hfe of a young man. The hour when one 
sees the vision of hfe and hears the call to service 
is a supreme experience. We shall seek to give 
modern meaning to this old record. 

1. A Young Man's Vision of God. It can be 
described only dimly; but it was vivid and mighty 
as it came to him. 

A. In a Time of Upheaval and Crisis. The 
death of an Oriental despot was a tremendous 
event. Young Isaiah saw the ostentatious funeral; 
he heard all the expressions of sorrow and fear; 
but he saw also the Lord. 

B. The Vision of Holiness. It was a vision of 
splendour and majesty; also a vision of power. Su- 
premely, a vision of holiness, perfection, complete 
moral beauty. This was the real grandeur that 
abased while it lifted the young man. 

C. The Resultant Vision of Sin. Out of the 
vision of God's holiness grew the inevitable convic- 
tion of human sin. We never know how weak or 
wicked we are until we see ourselves in the light 
of God's holy strength. Then we are driven to 
penitence and the plea for pardon. 

2. A Young Man's Cleansing, Call and Conse- 

A. The Cleansing Fire. It stands for the purga- 
tion of life. Evil must be stripped away In order 
that the mission of life may be carried out. We 


cannot do God's will when we are crippled by sin. 
Only the pure in heart see God. 

B. The Call. It is personal— " whom," ** I," 
" us." It is urgent. It is specific — " go." There 
is no guesswork about either the need or the work. 
They are on every side. 

C. The Answer. It was immediate. No time 
was spent in debate. It was definite and positive. 
It was cheerful; there was no rebellion or com- 

3. A Man's Report of his Life Work. The ap- 
parent problem in the passage is explained by un- 
derstanding that here the mature Isaiah writes the 
result of his later experience as if it were a specific 
item in his call. 

A. Truth makes Slow Headway. E-very cham- 
pion and defender of truth finds this out. We can- 
not hasten the coming of the Kingdom of God by 
rash means or by violence. 

B. God's Final Judgments are Inexorable. 
There is no escape from the divine program. It 
can be hindered, not stalled. 

C. The Hope in the Remnant. Generally it is 
a minority that sees the divine vision and stands 
true. But one with God is a majority. 


Following the Ideal 
Study Phir ians 3. This is a tenderly personal 
chapter from the heart of St. Paul. It Is the re- 
port of his experience as a Christian, given largely 


in the terms of explanation. We may agree or dis- 
agree with his interpretation; but we must feel the 
genuineness of his report of his experience. 

The Past (vs. i-6). The invitation to happiness 
is an introduction to what he means to say in the 
chapter. The warning to avoid enemies leads him 
to review his own life. There were abundant 
grounds for his boasting: his Hebrew lineage; a 
Pharisee; zealous to the point of persecuting those 
who differed from him; so far as moral integrity 
was concerned, blameless before the law. That 
was a record of which one might justly be proud. 

The Present (vs. 7-11). A wholly new idea of 
life has become his. Instead of trusting to the law 
and obedience to it in order to achieve righteous- 
ness, he now- trusts Christ. A new standing is 
given to him before God. He becomes righteous, 
not because he has achieved a character by obedi- 
ence to law, but because he has been granted a new 
relationship to God through his faith in Christ. It 
is all so different that it cannot be described in any 
other way than a new life or a new creation. Christ 
has laid hold on him and he has laid hold on Christ. 
In that mutual grasp his soul wins a new life. 

The Future (vs. 12-21). It is like a foot-race 
in the great stadium; there is a goal ahead, toward 
which the runner presses with every nerve tense. 
He lets nothing divert him from that one objective, 
on which he has fixed his gaze. His citizenship is 
not merely on earth; it is also in heaven. He is 
living in two worlds at a time, in one of which he 
keeps up his strenuous pace and in the other of 


which dwell his hopes and from which he looks for 
the final fulfilment of his great desires. He dares 
to make this attitude of such moment that he can 
commend it to others as one to follow. To him the 
final achievement is safe and sure because he has 
committed himself to Christ in such a complete 
abandonment of devotion that he trusts Him fully 
to bring the desire of his heart to pass. 

Pfinttd in the United States of Amtric* 

Date Due 

F 9-'39^ 

P 28'3f 

, ■*•■■■■ 


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jiff €\ 'm *rw\ 


H xi ^ 

S 4 t» 

S 19 3a 

'ASH 1 51 


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puui^ ' 

«re •4« 

r:r 1 9 '40 

M" ' ' 

AMI '41 

.A 6^ 


JI T 2 -4 


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