Religious Items

In an editorial The Congregationalist says: "It has been apparent for some time to admirers of John Watson, D.D., that he was something more than a clever story writer and interpreter of humble life. Again and again he has revealed a power of insight in penetrating to the heart of shams and follies, and a courage in rebuking them with shafts of irony or open wrath which have set him forth as having proportions like unto the prophets of old who rebuked Israel. Of this sort was his sermon on Middle Class Pharisees, just preached to the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in England, in his official capacity as moderator. Acknowledging freely that he was a middle class man preaching to other men of his class, and first pointing out distinctly the virtues of his class, he proceeded to strip naked the smug egotism, the worship of respectability and the aversion for the outcast and the poor of the middle-class Christians of his time. With Frank T. Bullen, he says that the average church to-day is altogether too respectable for an artisan or laborer to venture in it."

In an article in the (Methodist) Christian Advocate on "The Relation of the Church to the Poor," Thomas Blake says: "So far as the Church of Christ is concerned there ought to be no middle wall or partition between the rich and the poor. The failure of the Church to reach the masses may be due largely to the fact that such a barrier exists. The up-town movement of the churches into more fashionable neighborhoods, together with the select audiences attending these churches, indicates a state of things at variance with the true spirit of the Gospel. It was the crowning feature of Christ's work here on the earth that the poor had the Gospel preached to them. It was preached to them by one who, though rich, had made himself poor for their sakes, that they, through his poverty, might be made rich. No wonder the common people heard him gladly."

June 6, 1901

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