Religious Items

Beyond this is the truth that men come into the kingdom of God not by the way of any old established man-made system, or even by the way of superseded methods of divine origin, but in the way that fits their need and their circumstances—the way of faith, of immediate relation to God, in whatever form the communication may come. There are people to-day who doubt whether a man is a Christian if he has not had the particular kind of religious experience which they had, or which was regarded as essential fifty years ago. Even though the man speaks the language of faith and lives the life of faith and of love they look askance at him and whisper behind his back because they think there is some doubt whether he came into the kingdom in just the conventional way. Such critics are less tolerant than the conservative party in Jerusalem in Peter's day; and that is saying a good deal.—The Standard.

There are other considerations that emphasize the claim of even the sinful to that uniform kindness and fraternal solicitude which our religion enjoins upon all. While we are amazed and shocked at the revelations of guilt and shame seen around us, we should remember that every human record has more good than evil in it. We are apt to survey character in the worst lights and will only see its defective side. Not even the vilest are totally depraved. There is a degree of health, morally speaking, in every life, and of light in every career, and possibly more health than disease and more light than darkness. Our estimates make short work of the sinful, but let our own short and harsh estimates be supplemented from the records the angels keep, and they will be more just and generous. Let us see with the divine eye and we shall find something good in all.—The Universalist Leader.

Teachings which are calculated to explain away the witness of the Spirit, to destroy the cardinal significance of conversion, and to abolish the distinction between lost sinners and saved saints in this world are making their appearance in Methodist literature. Men and women are no longer to be born of the Spirit into the kingdom of God, according to these new doctrines, but they are to be developed into Christian character by a slow process. Conversion is not a sudden change of character which one may know at the time for himself, but a gradual process of evolution. This is the scientific theory of salvation. The foundation on which Mr. Wesley builded Methodism is to be relegated to the lumber room where all outgrown notions rest after having served their generation.

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May 15, 1902

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