[British Congregationalist.]

We are faced, not by the failure of any particular church system, but by the apparent breakdown and failure (let the words pass) of religion itself. The people in ever-increasing numbers are neglecting the churches as if they had no interest in them or use for them. How are we to account for this state of things, and what can we do to remedy it? It has been said again and again that what we are really suffering from is the prevalence of the materialistic spirit. Ours is an age that has its heart set on the things of this life. The two great objects of its pursuit are money and pleasure. Sacred things are at a discount. The Sunday is rapidly becoming the weekly holiday. Even our politics are materialistic. And in so far as our present distress is due to the crass materialism of our day. we must be content patiently to bear it, and wait for the time of revival, which is sure to come. For man cannot permanently satisfy himself with bread; his soul cries out for God, the living God, and by and by he will turn again with wistful desire to those places where the word of the ever-living God is to be heard—by which word alone man's spirit lives. But is the present distress entirely due to the prevailing materialism? Is there no fault in ourselves? That is the business to which the publication of statistics ought to drive us—the humbling but salutary task of self-examination. It is a cheap expedient to lay the blame on things outside ourselves; the more profitable way is to betake ourselves into our Lord's presence and ask, "Is it I?"

[Rev. Charles Stelzle in Christian Century.]

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

February 8, 1913

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.