[Congregationalist and Christian World.]

The church never needed stronger or braver leaders than she does today. The ministry never offered a larger scope for devoted and prophetic men. A large part of the world today lies in a slough of materialism. We imagine there are as many good Christians as ever in the churches, and many more outside. Nevertheless, there is nothing gained by denying the fact that our civilization is not a spiritual civilization. Thousands are wholly absorbed in business and the pursuit of wealth. Europe is staggering under militarism. Many of our great cities seem at night only huge pleasure palaces. The masses are outside the churches. Trades unionism and socialism constantly show trends toward the stomach only. Even the best of us are oppressed by the continued impact of material things, and are much more interested in the construction of vast insurance buildings, high-hung bridges, long-distance airships, and Panama canals than in the things of the Spirit. Even in our colleges, insurance and banking courses are fast supplanting philosophy and the humanities. A lot of deadening materialistic philosophies, creeds of fatalism, of the worthlessness of life or the worship of the senses, are getting a tremendous hold upon our youth, more especially in Germany and France, but also here. One has only to read the novels of the last ten years to see how true this is. The effect of all these things is seen in a certain drying up of the spiritual nature, that makes idealism and the life of the soul seem illusions.

There is always, however, a speedy end to this sort of thing. Things never satisfy humanity long—not even pleasant things. There is always a rekindling of desire for the bread of life. Signs of this awakening are rising just now in every sky. Science is tending toward a spiritual interpretation of the universe. Philosophers are becoming idealistic. The brutality of Nietzscheism is becoming disgusting, even in Germany—as is the kind of young men that type of philosophy has produced. In our own land there is a decided renewal of interest in religion among business men, as witnessed by all the recent men's movements. We believe that the young men of America have not lost power of response to the call to leave all this money-grubbing and the service of Bacchus and Venus—yes, even the worship of our modern god, "Success"—to follow him who offers only high manhood, a passionate enthusiasm for humanity, and a chance to give rather than to get.

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December 16, 1911

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