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[Rev. Russell Henry Stafford in The Advance]

Despite the pettiness of many lives, there is nothing petty in life itself. It is a great thing and splendid, brilliant in opportunity, bewildering in its complexity. The most absorbing business and the finest art under the sun is just living—an art often grossly misused by people who have not cared to become skilful in it, but in which every human being can be a genius if he will. Life is an affair of strange variety and startling contrasts,—youth and age, joy and sorrow, peace and struggle, virtue and that abnormal, sinister thing we call sin; these and many more, all bound together in one personality, in every personality, for all the experience of the race enters into the life of each member of it. And so intricate are the combinations of these divers ingredients that the same proportion has never occurred twice; the component parts of humanity are as widely different as the sum total is uniform.

The gospel of Jesus Christ was given to men by their creator to meet their needs in all the changing conditions and at every side of their life. It is not a religion for the happy only, or the good, or the young; nor is it alone harmonious with the darker tones of life. It is for every moment of every hour, for rich and poor, for wretched and for blessed. And the church, which is its medium for reaching the world, has adapted itself as well as it could to all the calls thus made upon it. It has striven to be all things to all men; and the measure of its success is one of the strongest evidences of that divine Spirit which we know to be resident in it. But at times it has been forced by unusual developments in society into overemphasis of some departments of its activity, to the neglect of others equally important.

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November 13, 1915

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