The traditional attitude of the Church to the world is altogether wrong. The Church has stood outside and tried to influence the world from a vantage-ground of superiority, instead of serving as the leaven which mixes with the lump. And the world takes its revenge by holding strictly aloof from the Church, and refusing to accept its words as authoritative. The existence of a Church, still less the establishment of a Church, does not make a nation religious. The nation claims the right to judge even the churches, and to test their ideals by those of the religion which they profess. The churches can do much to make the nation religious, but it must be in the way of education and persuasion, and not by any show of authority or privilege. The position just now is critical, not because there is any fresh alienation from religion on the part of the people, but because the churches are not representing religion as they ought to do. Their intense conservatism and their bitter partisan spirit alienate all men who love truth and charity. The churches are too selfish, too intent on their own ends and the maintenance of their own position. They forget that they are only the handmaidens of that kingdom of heaven which means society organized for spiritual ends. Unless they serve these spiritual ends with the utmost zeal and self-sacrifice they are not worthy of their vocation. The religious nation is the nation that seeks these ends also. The nation may find the churches its allies and leaders in the quest, or they may be the greatest stumbling-blocks in the way. How to do the one and avoid the other is the great question of the future for the Church of Christ.

The British Congregationalist.

The great difficulty with those who believe only in nature and reason, that they are not able to see spiritual things, is that they require evidences to the natural [physical] senses, instead of truths addressed to the spiritual understanding. As our knowledge of sensual or material things depends to a great extent upon our coming into relation or contact with them, so, spiritually, we must come in contact with spiritual truth and goodness, that is, must have experiences of them, before we can really know them. Hence we read, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." As one must place himself in communication with natural things, become obedient to the natural laws of his senses, before he can see or hear, so he must obey the spiritual laws of his being, which are the precepts of the Word, if he would be brought into assurance of spiritual realities; and he will soon realize that what seemed improbable has now become a reality of personal experience and conviction. Spiritual insight does not depend upon intellectual culture, the ability to reason, or upon learning of any kind, so much as it does upon the state of our will, or love. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine."

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November 24, 1906

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