The rich heritage bestowed by a Washington, a Lincoln, a Lee, a John Eliot, a Charles Sumner, a Marcus Whitman, a Sheldon Jackson, a Harriet Beecher Stowe, a Frances Willard, and a host of others, constitutes the infinitely precious treasury of our national life.
Bayard Taylor expresses the peculiar genius of America in his national ode:
From the homes of all, where her being began She took what she gave to man. Justice, that knew no station, Belief as soul decreed, Free air for aspiration, Free force for independent deed.
She takes but to give again As the sea returns the rivers in rain And gathers the chosen of her seed From the hunted of every crown and creed.
In one strong race all races here unite. Tongues meet in hers, hereditary foemen Forget their sword and slogan, kith and clan. 'Twas glory, once, to be a Roman: She makes it glory, now, to be a man!
Our ideal for America is summed up in this—that it may increasingly become the kingdom of God. What do we mean by "kingdom"? St Paul says "the kingdom is righteousness and peace and joy" which being interpreted might read, the kingdom—Christ's rule on earth—will bring to all the Father's children the opportunity of knowing Him and His saving love expressed through Jesus Christ; it will mean the transforming of human society so that ignorance, greed, disease and injustice shall be overthrown; so that "the bitter cry of the children" shall no longer be drowned by the whir of the wheels of industry; so that the sisterhood of women shall be established and that through the dominance of righteousness men shall cease to invoke war and strife, and, released from crushing burdens, into life and labor shall come joy and an increasing sense of spiritual values.
Another source of power is to know the factors that enter into our problem and the facts of our undertaking. That we may intelligently synthesize the influences that bear powerfully upon the church as it seeks to meet its present day task, apprehend the effect of these influences upon the religious ideals and thought of our young people, and realize the atmosphere which Home Missions must permeate with its saving faith, we must take account of the moulding thought-life of our day.
It is always difficult to separate the apparent from the underlying and more subtle causes and influences. Within the outer and more obvious is usually hidden an inner current of thought and movement that must be sought and realized in order that the whole content may be obtained. Until quite recently—and we are still feeling its effects—the tendency of our time strongly emphasized material accomplishments. The world has been "intently and almost exclusively occupied with subduing natural forces and material matter to humanity's growing physical and mental needs." Thus have been given us the wonders of scientific triumph which make possible the civilization of our day.
In America, especially, material development has appeared to receive an exalted value and place. We have become familiar with the charge made against us by Europe of being a nation of materialists.
The transforming of a continent from a wilderness to a land of homes and highly organized industry in the brief space of three centuries; the marvelous and rapid development of the vast material resources of our land; the hastening here of eager recruits from other lands, passionately seeking and needing material betterment, have magnified in this country the feverish acquisition of material wealth and accentuated the hard, calculating business spirit; and has seemed to place undue value upon the worth of material success and the things of which it is made.
John Burroughs from his quiet vantage point of observation says—"The present civilization arms us with the forces of earth, air and water, while it weakens our hold upon the sources of personal power.
"It gives us great intellectual riches but it deadens our finer spiritual faculties, our clear conception of the higher values of life. Where there is no vision, no intuitive perception of the great fundamental truths of the inner spiritual life, the best and the highest must perish."
Before seeking to discover the hidden ethical motives and forces that animate and elevate our national life, let us consider the very real effect of the apparent predominance of the materialistic upon our college students.
Our young people are exposed not only to the pressure of the materialistic atmosphere which throbs and beats about us all, but they must also meet the same force from a different and very direct contact in their classrooms at college, and in the universities.
Few of us realize the difficult adjustment of mental and spiritual outlook young people of Christian training must face as they enter college and university, or the shock to their Christian faith received through the contact with rationalistic and materialistic philosophy.
The professors presenting these subjects speak from a large experience and wide information to those of limited experience and immature thought, who are unable to give a mental margin for faith and all that it implies; though this wider understanding may lie in the mind of the lecturer mitigating his personal view point, it is not presented to the student.
Without intention often, and because the subject lies in the realm of speculative thought, the presentation apparently leaves no room for faith or for those vital qualities which lie beyond the realm of reason and deduction and can be apprehended only through spiritual perception, and which are infinitely precious because they constitute the soul life. Here is found the source of those finer feelings and impulses—love, faith, reverence and the response to the Divine.
Of greatest value in the promotion of the spiritual life among the students taking these subjects, is the fact that the later philosophers, of whom William James, Josiah Royce and Henri Bergson are prominent, give place to the spiritual and to the power and inspiration of the unseen. [Footnote: The following, which appeared in the Outlook of March, 1915, though recording a special occasion at one university, is true in showing the tendency which obtains in varying degrees at many others:
"To understand the significance of this religious awakening at Yale (February, 1915), there is needed a brief explanation of the genesis of this 'new evangelism' of the second decade of the twentieth century, which is transforming our colleges, and which makes it natural and normal for students to desire a period set apart for special meetings each year when they can 'come across,' as they put it.
"The teaching of Professor William James, of Harvard, showed how useless it was to get men to listen to appeals if they were not energized to act on them. This gave a scientific basis for registered decisions. As soon as John R. Mott and G. Sherwood Eddy dared act on this the results were so remarkable that the conservatives no longer opposed it."]
Very wisely must the Christian influence of the home and the church be exerted during this period so as not to seem or wish to limit the freedom of thought and research, yet at the same time to hold the eager, questioning young life true to the highest and best, that with the development of the mental life may go also a deepening and widening of the spiritual.
Home Missions, too, must be watchful and efficient in its attitude toward the student body and recent graduates, that it may offer the special presentation of its scope and appeal, and the concrete objects of interest to which the students may contribute service best fitted to meet their peculiar requirements.
With the superficial dominance of the materialistic in our civilization has come also a marked relaxation of standards in social and religious life.
Into both have crept a lenience toward tendencies that are vicious and destructive. In social life certain dances, amusements, styles of dressing, have been tolerated even by Christian women, that savor only of the lowest and most vulgar practices and places. As we desire the triumph of what Home Missions stands for, our influence as Christian women should be exerted powerfully to maintain standards in these matters that will be helpful rather than hurtful to the ideals and Christian development of our young people. We can not escape a heavy responsibility along these lines.
The relaxation of standards in religious matters invites the growth among people of Christian up-bringing of the many modern forms of ancient non-Christian faiths which are gaining wide acceptance in our land. Mormonism, Theosophy, Bahaism, New Thought and other cults because of their apparent intellectuality, mysticism and spirituality appeal to hundreds and thousands of women who do not think deeply, and who are carried away by the seeming depth and power of the appeal of these new faiths.
If devotees declined to accept the literature furnished by these organizations for their delusion and would go to the libraries and ascertain for themselves the origin, beliefs and accomplishments of these religions and their ancient prototypes as they flourished in India, Persia, Arabia, they would learn the facts as to the faith to which they are giving their allegiance.
A sample of the destructive teaching to which many indifferent, thoughtless and curious people are exposed was furnished to the writer at a crowded Theosophist meeting in New York City where one of their lecturers spoke on the theme of sin.
With many variations and much eloquence he said in brief, "There is no such thing as sin. The doctrine of vicarious atonement is ridiculous. There was nothing sublime in Calvary. Many an unknown miner has done all that Calvary suggests in giving life to save others. Those whom we term sinful, sensual or criminal are simply young souls which have not evoluted far enough. When they have passed through the seven or more incarnations they will have attained beauty and perfection of character."
Some of the leaflets and literature distributed were dangerous in their suggestiveness. This was one meeting only, and hundreds of the same order were held throughout our land that day. What of the need of the pure standards and ideals of which Home Missions is the exponent!
The inner and true spirit of America can not be found, however, in the emphasis upon material wealth and welfare, however dominant that may appear to be in our civilization.
The spirit of America is expressed in the passion for liberty and opportunity, in the "sense of moral order and responsibility, faith in God and man, love of home, courage and hope, and in the ineradicable and controlling idealism which have been the strongest elements in America since the first colonists braved the dangers of a new world for conscience sake" [Footnote: Hamilton Mabie—American Ideals, Character and Life.] and gave to this country the impulses that have held true through all its national history.
The ships carrying America's gifts of food to starving Belgians, the ship laden with the Christmas gifts of America's children to little sufferers across the seas, the hospital and Red Cross ministry given to mitigate the devastation of a war in which America has no part, express the real spirit of America. Whether a controlling Christian impulse is to continue in this land, the church of Christ—Home Missions—must answer.
We can not fail, also, to recognize the significance, for national righteousness of the urgent demand of to-day that business, social conditions and politics shall conform to an ethical standard.
This eager effort toward a standard of social righteousness is not regarded by people generally as having its source and power from within the church, though we of the church know that the impulse which gave birth to this movement and the ideals and standards sustaining it are the product of the church of Christianity. More and more, organized Christianity is realizing its obligations along these lines and is seeking to render the fullest social service. Emile de Laveleye, the Belgian economist, says, "If Christianity were taught and understood conformably to the spirit of its founder, the existing social organism could not last a day."
A source of power necessary to the effectiveness of missionary service is found in organization.
In all lines of human activity the eager effort to-day is toward efficiency through highly developed organization. This is shown in the realm of philanthropy in the great Sage and Rockefeller foundations, and in the splendidly equipped charitable societies and multitudes of others.
In the business world the Standard Oil Company, the United States Steel Company and the Ford Automobile Company are conspicuous examples. The past ten years has also witnessed combinations of religious and missionary organizations, such as the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, The Home Missions Council, The Council of Women for Home Missions, The Federation of Foreign Missions Boards, and a number of others which exist for the purpose of obtaining the fullest information on all aspects of their particular fields of activity and to secure the execution of important lines of endeavor which can not rightly be undertaken by one Board.
"The Council of Women for Home Missions, formed in November, 1908, was organized that there might be a medium through which National Woman's Home Mission Boards and Societies might consult as to wider plans, and, co-operatively, do more efficient work for the Homeland." [Footnote: Annual Report, Council of Women for Home Missions.] Seven standing Committees are the direct agencies through which most of the work of the Council is done. These committees are Home Mission Study Courses and Literature, Home Mission Summer Schools, Home Mission Interests in Schools, Colleges, and Young People's Conferences, Home Mission Interests among Children, Home Mission Comity and Co-operation, Home Mission Interests among Immigrants, Home Mission Day of Prayer. The Council is a greatly needed clearing-house for the multitude of matters of first importance to efficiency of service and to all Home Mission Boards, which are not the particular responsibility of any.
Another important source of Home Mission inspiration and information are the interdenominational study classes which have been formed "to bring the local Women's Home Missionary Societies into united service for Christ and our country; to encourage devotional fellowship and mutual counsel concerning the spiritual life and Home Missionary activities among women's Home Missionary organizations in local communities."
The Home Mission summer schools are also valuable in promoting the study of the textbooks from year to year and in providing the opportunity of hearing from missionaries concerning their service and fields. A background of prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship adds much to the helpfulness of these special summer assemblies.
"Let us try to realize the significance of the fact and in these eight summer schools that are affiliated with the Council and in the Home Missions institute conducted by the Council itself at Chautauqua, nearly 5000 women devote a week or more of their precious summer vacation to perfecting themselves as leaders in missionary work in the local churches. We should never cease to feel the inspiration of this, and to welcome the promise of great things for the spreading of the kingdom of God held out in the full consecration of the highly developed powers of such a goodly company of Christian workers."
Women's national Home Mission Boards and Societies are of primary importance, for upon them rests the responsibility of the administration of all women's Home Mission activities. The earnest, prayerful planning of the Boards provides the methods of work for societies, the literature and the effective forwarding of the many lines of service on the field.
The Boards with painstaking, loving care seek to meet the constantly growing requirements of the fields committed to them, many times attaining almost the impossible in erecting buildings and responding to the appeals from people and places lacking the gospel ministry, and needing desperately the provision of a school or a hospital. Let us remember that the Boards can be strong and effective for the kingdom only as the societies and churches through their vitalizing prayers and their strengthening gifts make it possible.
The most important and basic place in all this organization structure must be assigned to the women's, young women's and children's missionary society, auxiliary, or mission band, in the local church. Here in the local society each one finds her particular place and work. Here loyalty for the denomination of our choice finds scope and nourishment. Here through prayers, letters, leaflets, the presence of missionary speakers, we come into close fellowship with those consecrated ones of our own household of faith who stand in the lonely, difficult places as our representatives, ministering of the things of Christ to those in need. Here our responsibility for maintaining the special work committed to our society is found.
To obtain a renewal of purpose, a vitalizing vision either of a personality or an enterprise, to create a fresh enthusiasm, we must turn from the familiar aspects of the subject to a first-hand thought, or view. We need to be freshly introduced, as it were. For this purpose let us renew our thought of the essential task of Home Missions. It is to Christianize our home land-Christianize, shorn of the formal services and forms of activity with which we associate the word means simply to reproduce in our own lives and strive to bring to others as accurately as possible the spirit and method of the life of Jesus, the Christ.
The source of power which will make possible the Christ-life in us, and the dynamic for all missionary service and power will be found only in Him; "Ye in me and I in you"—"That ye may be witnesses unto me," are His words.
Let us then each seek Christ afresh, that we may know and realize Him as if finding Him for the first time. Let us read the Gospels as if we had never before heard the story of His life. Let us come again to Calvary. Let us by prayer and communion open all the avenues of our being to His presence and spirit.
Let us seek a new realization and understanding of His character and purpose. For what did Christ live? Ringing in His every word and expressed in his every deed is the key note of His life—Love. He lived to express, to incarnate love—the love of the father for His children. We see Him turn from honor, riches, from what others value and strive for, that he might manifest His love and teach others how to love. The love of Jesus embodied more than it is possible for us to comprehend in the height and depth and fulness of its meaning.
His love expressed perfect understanding and sympathy. "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."
His love was filled with compassion and tender pity for the needy and suffering. "Jesus, moved with compassion, touched him and saith unto him, Be thou clean."
His love felt human sorrow. At the tomb of Lazarus "Jesus wept."
His love shared human joy. "These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full."
His love held redemption—was a saving love. "He that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."
His love knew fullest forgiveness. He said to the woman taken in sin, "Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more."
His love brought friendship. "Ye are my friends."
His love gave new meaning to justice. "Her sins which are many are forgiven-for she loved much."
His love gave inspiration, "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done." "Greater works than these shall ye do."
His love held the promise of eternal companionship. "All mine are thine and thine are mine. I will come and receive you unto myself, that where I am ye may be also."
"Outlawed men, criminals and lepers and madmen, became as little children at His word, and all the wrongs and bruises inflicted on them were healed beneath His kindly glance. This is how He lived and this Gospel was the Gospel of a life He lived in such a way that men saw that love was the only thing worth living for—that life had meaning only as it had love."
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe That in thine ocean depths its flow May richer, fuller be.
This many-sided, all-embracing love is the type of love His followers are pledged to yearn for and to seek earnestly to express. The love of Christ found three great expressions—in giving, in service, in sacrifice.
If we, Christian women, are to reproduce Christ's spirit of love, then giving, service, sacrifice must be dominant in our lives.
How wonderfully and fully the Christ gave of all that He had—Himself. He needs our gifts to-day, ourselves, our talents, our money. Home Missions means a life to be lived, the full, glad giving of thought, prayer, money, that His love may be made known to all the weary, oppressed, ignorant, waiting, suffering ones in our land.
"Christ gives the best. And in His service as we're growing stronger The calls to grand achievement still increase. The richest gifts for us, on earth or in heaven above, Are hid in Christ. In Jesus, we receive the best we have."
The Christ-love was expressed in service. From the time that He went forth to be "about His Father's business" we see him always serving to the utmost of His strength with no thought of rest, or comfort. We recall the long, hard day in Capernaum when after having spent Himself in teaching He came to Peter's house; the news of His presence there spread through the city; quickly were brought unto Him the sick, the crippled and possessed; forgetful of His weariness He healed and ministered unto them until the shadows lengthened and night closed in. All along the way, as He journeyed in Galilee, Judea or Samaria, he gave help and healing to the sick and sinful. When He heard the sad cry of the lepers, He drew near them and gave them cleansing. Those possessed of evil spirits, the blind, the soul sick, the unrealizing, hardened woman at the well, the beautiful, loving Magdelen, all found in Him a response to their utmost need. He said truly, "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister." He says to us, "As the Father sent me, so send I you."
"The final purpose of knowledge is action."
Grant us the will to fashion as we feel; Grant us the strength to labor as we know; Grant us the purpose ribbed and edged with steel To strike the blow.
Knowledge we ask not—knowledge Thou hast lent, But, Lord, the will—there lies our bitter need. Give us to build above the deep intent The deed, the deed.
Knowledge must find expression in action or it is harmful and vicious in its reaction. Having learned of Home Mission conditions and needs, "word and deed must become one witness in action," else our knowledge will mean a hardening of sympathy, the atrophy of some spiritual impulse. The Lord calls us and sends us forth to serve.
Let us also remember that now is the time to begin a larger service. "To-day is your day and mine, the only day we have, the day in which we play our part. What our part may signify in the great whole we may not understand, but we are here to play it and now is the time."
"Whittier tells us the story of the day in Connecticut in 1780, when the horror of great darkness came over the land, and all men believed that the dreaded Day of Judgment had come at last.
"The legislature of Connecticut, 'dim as ghosts' in the old Statehouse, wished to adjourn to put themselves in condition for the great assizes, Meanwhile Abraham Davenport, representative from Stamford, rose to say:
"This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits; But be it is so or not, I only know My present duty and my Lord's command To occupy till He come. So at the post where He hath set me in His Providence I choose for one to meet Him face to face, Let God do His work. We will see to ours."
[Footnote: David Starr Jordan—The Call of the Twentieth Century.]
The Lord's love found its supreme expression in sacrifice. He walked not only the Via Dolorosa—the way of pain and sorrow—which led through Gethsemane to the green hill far away beyond the city wall; and to Calvary—the pathway of His life was marked by daily, hourly sacrifice.
He knew the full measure of loneliness, of misunderstanding, of cruel malignity. He of the most sensitive perceptions and feelings suffered from the brutality and coarseness of those who hated Him. He knew the anguish of homelessness. Listen to the cry that escaped Him: "The Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." If we are following Him we too will share in the sacrificial life. "He that would come after me let him take up his cross and follow me." But there is joy in sacrifice, deep and true, and things highest and best come to us only through the life laid down.
Out of the deep of sacrifice The pillars of the future rise.
It was a regiment that had volunteered for sure-death service at Port Arthur, and the Japanese captain addressing them as they were about to march said, "I send you forth as my loved children. If as you discharge your duty, you lose your right hand, fight with your left; if your left, too, is lost, serve with your feet; if your feet also are lost, you can help with your head, giving cheer and encouragement to others. Do not be reckless of your lives for they are needed."
Joyously seventy-seven earnest, willing ones went to live that message—gloriously they did their part and won the day, though not one of them ever returned to tell of victory.
God calls us to live for the saving of America.
Ethics of Force H.E. Warner Future of War Jean de Bloch New Peace Movement William I. Hull War Inconsistent with Religion of Jesus Christ David Lowe Dodge American Addresses at the Second Hague Conference Edited by James Brown Scott Moral Damage of War Walter Walsh Newer Ideals of Peace Jane Addams Bethink Yourselves Leo Tolstoi Blood of the Nation David Starr Jordan The Gospel of the Kingdom (Magazine) Edited by Dr. Josiah Strong The Call of the Twentieth Century David Starr Jordan Social Forces Edward T. Devine American Ideals Theodore Roosevelt The New Humanism Edward Howard Griggs The Gospel of Jesus and the Problems of Democracy Henry C. Vedder Home Missions and the Social Question M. Katherine Bennett Social Advance Rev. David Watson Poverty Robert Hunter A New Basis of Civilization Prof. Patton Jesus Christ and the Social Question F.G. Peabody The Social Teachings of Christ Shailer Matthews Sin and Society Prof. Ross The Influence of Jesus Phillips Brooks (Bohlen Lectures) Ideals and Democracy Arthur H. Chamberlain Democracy and Empire Franklin Henry Giddings
Hospitals W. Gill Wylie, M.D. The Christian Ministry and the Social Order Charles S. MacFarland Christianizing the Social Order Rauschenbusch Horizons of American Missions I.H. McNash Missions from the Home Base McAfee Missions Striking Home McAfee The Church and the New Age Henry Carver American Social and Religious Conditions Charles Stelzle The Church of To-morrow J. II. Crooker The Social Task of Christianity Samuel Zane Batten The Christian State Samuel Zane Batten
The Indian Dispossessed Seth K. Humphrey The American Indian on the New Trail Dr. T.C. Moffett The Indian and his Problem Francis Leupp In Red Man's Land Francis Leupp
Under the Prophet in Utah Cannon and O'Higgins Story of the Mormons Linn Riders of the Purple Sage Zona Gale Mormonism, the Islam of America Bruce Kinney
Southern Mountains S.T. Wilson Southern Highlanders Kephert Blue Grass and Rhododendron John Fox Sons of Vengeance Malone The Shepherd of the Hills Wright
The Day of the Country Church J.O. Ashenhurst The Country Life Movement L.H. Bailey The Country Church and the Rural Problem Kenyon L. Butterfield Rural Denmark and its Lessons H. Rider Haggard The Rural Life Problem of the United States Sir Horace Plunkett The Church of the Open Country Warren H. Wilson The Evolution of the Country Community Warren H. Wilson
The Souls of the Black Folk W.E.B. Dubois Following the Color Line Ray Stannard Baker The Negro, the Southern Problem Page From Darkness to Light Mary Helm In Black and White L.H. Hammond
The New Home Missions H. Paul Douglas Parish of the Pines Whittles Spiritual Conquest along the Rockies Sloan The Story of Panama Gause and Carr
Alaska, an Empire in the making John J. Underwood A Study of the Thlingets of Alaska Jones Life of Sheldon Jackson Stewart Alaska, the Great Country Higginson Alaska and its Natural Resources Dall Kindashon's Wife Willard
Cuba and Porto Rico Robert Hill Due South M.M. Ballou Cuba and her People To-day Forbes Lindsay American Bride in Porto Rico Marion Blythe The American Mediterranean Stephen Bonsal Our Island Empire Charles Morris
The Immigration Problem Jenks and Lauck Races and Immigrants in America John R. Commons Our Slavic Fellow Citizens Emily Balch The Immigrant Invasion Warne Immigrant Forces Shriver On the Trail of the Immigrant Steiner The Cup of Elijah Steiner The French Blood in America Lucian J. Fosdick The New America Mary Clark Barnes and Dr. L.C. Barnes