[From the Toronto (Can.) Globe.]

The conclusion of the whole matter is that the trouble with the modern Church is not its penury, not its obstacles, not its persecutions, not the martyrdoms to which its members are exposed, but rather its very wealth and luxury and ease in Zion, which have engendered the spirit of commercialism in its enterprises and produced in its membership fatty degeneration of the soul. The high lights of the picture are strong, sometimes almost lurid, but the man in the street who stands near enough to the Church to estimate its doings, but too far off to appreciate the smothered yearnings of its deepest life, thinks the picture a photograph of the Church as he knows it. The man in the street may be wrong,—he usually is prejudiced or one-sided—but that to him there should even seem to be a likeness is itself significant, and that the picture should be drawn by a preacher of Methodist training and Congregationalist standing and evangelical faith is almost startling. The man in the street may have little interest in theology, may care nothing at all for the pros and the cons of Bibical criticism. ... but as never before he does care for the things in religion that are real and vital and most like what the Man of Nazareth talked to men. Materialism is not the lifecreed of any intelligent man to-day. It may be the rule of life for the money-slave and the libertine, both within and without the Church, but they do not really believe it, and the very energy they put into their life of the senses is sometimes only an evidence of the unslaked thirst and the quenchless idealism of their souls.

[Rev. R. J. Campbell, M.A., in The British Congregationalist.] Like the Pharisees we are taking for granted to-day that our duty to our fellow-men is a sort of addendum to the gospel, rather than the very pith and marrow of it. Is not this so? When we talk about being saved what do we mean? We mean, in the first place, that we have made sure of our individualist heaven. When we talk about trusting in the redeeming work of Christ what do we mean? We mean that we are accepted of God on quite other grounds than that of our conduct to our fellows. When we talk about the imputed righteousness of the Redeemer what do we mean? We mean that we are legally clear of transgression, no matter what our deserts may have been. In all this there is not so much as a hint that our only real individual merit consists in our value to the common life and our contribution to the common good. And yet this was the very thing upon which Jesus insisted most strenuously. None of these theological fictions had any place in his teaching.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

December 21, 1907

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.