Neglect of the Weightier Matter

The history of ethical movements is usually the chronicle of a body of earnest adherents to some vital idea who band themselves together for its advancement. Organization, formulas, and propaganda methods are instituted, and as attention is thus centered upon prescribed lines of activity, the many drift, all unconsciously, from the substance of their impelling thought to its symbol, from essentials to their imperfect expression, from faith to formalism.

None will question that man's salvation, his entire emancipation from sin, sickness, and death, has given character to all prophecy and purpose to all revelation. All Christian sacrifice and endeavor has been prompted by the hope and assurance of its realization, and every true follower of the Master has repeated the Psalmist's joyous proclamation: "All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." This fundamental idea regarding the end and aim of our religion has never been questioned as an ultimate attainment, but its compass and practical relation to present human experience has been very much forgotten. In the thought of the early church this salvation was to be comprehensive and immediate, the realization through Christ of individual supremacy over sin and all that sin has wrought, all that impedes in any way the consummation of an ideal life; but the assertion of the naturalness and possibility of a present spiritual dominion such as Jesus exercised and assured his disciples in the memorable words, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do he shall do also,"—this assertion awakens no less protest to-day than its denial would have incited in the apostolic age, and of this strange anomaly our Leader has said,—

The Power of the Press
June 4, 1904

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