PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY

Among the things which no intelligent person would question, is the fact of a serious lapse of present professional Christianity from the standard of simplicity and spiritual power reached and maintained in the early Christian church, and that this lapse is causally related to much of the poverty, wretchedness, and degradation which is no less heart-burdening to all who love their fellow men than discreditable to so-called Christian civilization. It is well for us to think of what would certainly have come about had Christ's Christianity been continuously preached and practised during the past nineteen hundred years,—of the peace and plenty, the health and happiness, the rule of right and of good will which must have become universal; and then place this picture over against the indescribable facts pertaining to a large proportion of the poor in all our centers of population, dotted though they be with Christian churches.

When one thus brings himself face to face with these facts, he acquires a new sense of what the loss of the true "faith" has meant for mankind, and of the imperative nature of the call for a return thereto. This sense is further intensified by the appeals which are being made today in all the Christian world for the better administration of economic justice. Surely love cannot reign apart from that right doing which ends the rule of selfishness and thus secures to every man the fair chance which in the presence of natural abundance would remove every vestige of involuntary degradation and need. The history of civilization has been marred on every page of its record by the association of poverty with progress. Gaunt want has walked side by side with superabundance for so many centuries that men have become accustomed to it, and the remembrance that the gospel came to solve every human problem, the vision of a life of comfort and joy for every honest, industrious man, every deserving mother and her little ones, has somehow faded from sight, and men have grown to be content without it.

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LECTURE IN THE MOTHER CHURCH
April 13, 1912
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