"What insures the integrity of the church?" "The life of Christ in the lives of Christians." O excellent and comfortable sentiment—for times of quietude and concord! But when suspicion is abroad—when jealous churchmen think they see defection, disintegration, and apostasy threatening—is it enough to tie to then? In a real crisis will a merely spiritual defense prove sufficient defense for a visible church in a palpable world? With vital factors of religion at stake, does not loyalty call for something more humanly strenuous and militant? It is very natural, certainly when concrete dangers seem to loom over the church, that men should want to resort to safeguards that are concrete too—to the creed, the appointed ceremonial, the denominational organization, the ecclesiastical court.

Nevertheless, this disposition, however natural, is a snare and temptation. If hazards of false teaching and mistaken ideals multiply, the church's need is not to rear higher its external defenses, but most solemnly to renew its reliance on the invincible and infallible spiritual leadership of the Master who dwells within it. When the presence of Jesus Christ in the church seems less potent for its protection than measures of ecclesiastical authority, the mood cries to heaven for a livelier realization of Jesus Christ.

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June 10, 1911

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