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Mr. World and Miss Church-Member
by W. S. Harris
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"Those are exactly my sentiments, and I here offer my protest against this manner of procedure," said one as he looked approvingly at the minister.

"And so do I." "I am most emphatically of the same opinion." "I stand here, a true temperance man, to express my indignation at that Kansas prodigy," were some of the expressions which came from temperance men who were not willing to be classed with the seven thousand.

Then upwards of one hundred women rose to their feet and indignantly rebuked the Kansas man for his misjudgment in starting this factional display. This provoked some radical leaders of the W. C. T. U. who chanced to be there as detectives or visitors. They also arose in defense of the Kansas man.

I saw the tumult rising. Disorder was pre-dominant. Hundreds tried to speak at once. Saloon-keepers, brewers, whiskey politicians, and the professors on the stage were smiling in ghoulish glee. They enjoyed it more than a prize fight, and the results were at once more disastrous and more deplorable.

As the conflict waxed hotter some men and women were screaming, and some fainting, and some resorted to blows. Others scrambled to get from the room. The elevators were put in quick service, and I saw Mr. World and Miss Church-Member, with thousands of others, running from the scene of the fight.

"Let us go to another building," suggested Miss Church-Member.

A very short time after this I saw them enter the largest building of all the Temperance College. It stood centrally amongst the great group, and was devoted to "Hygiene and Temperance."



After learning that they came as visitors, a director advised them to pass the many medical wings on separate flats and go to the great auditorium on one of the higher floors. Proceeding, in obedience to the advice given, they soon beheld a room of greater size and magnificence than the one which they had just left, and as they were taking seats they fixed their attention on the lecturer who had already been speaking for an hour. He was discoursing on the relation of strong drink to the stomach.

"It must be remembered," affirmed he, "that the stomach was made to serve man. The appetite is the true criterion by which he may know what his body needs. If he feels a thirst for alcoholic drink, it is akin to a hunger for any special class of foods. He is not to ask his servant, the stomach, whether it is willing to do the work of transformation. He is to give it the work to do. The stomach will do it, unless that particular digestive function is lost. It is claimed by some who know more about ditch-digging than about physiology, that alcoholic beverages ruin the lining of the stomach, creating ulcers, and other disorders. This kind of teaching reminds me of a conundrum. 'Why is a scientific temperance man like a dead man in his coffin?' Who can answer it?"

"Because each one ought to be buried," guessed a liquor-merchant from Paris. (Laughter.)

"A good guess," said the speaker, but you have not yet hit the mark."

"Because needer von dem is vert any ding," said the proprietor of a beer-saloon from Germany. (Increased laughter.)

"You are still away from my idea," spoke the lecturer.

"I know it," said a rum-lawyer. "It is because they both lie." (Applause.)

"That's exactly the truth of the matter. These so-called 'scientific temperance men' are accountable for more lies imposed on a credulous public than can be corrected for many years to come. Any sensible man knows that moderate drinking is healthful to the stomach. If a man drinks too much, he is liable to trouble, just like a man who eats too much, or sleeps too much, or even talks too much about temperance. (Applause and laughter.) I tell you, my good friends, a little of that elixir of life is just as good for my stomach as it was for Timothy's, and the good man Paul would say the same thing if he were here to-day. (Cries from the world of "that's so!" and "hurrah for Paul!") I am satisfied to have a great man like Paul on my side, even if I must know that some of his pigmy disciples are against me." (Increased applause.)

This speech was especially enjoyed by Mr. World who himself was addicted to a moderate use of alcoholic beverages. An announcement came from the platform that in an hour the eminent Dr. Strauss of Europe would discourse on "The Effect of Malt Liquors on the Heart," and those who wished to remain might spend the interim in social intercourse.

In consequence of this announcement the major part of the audience dispersed in varying groups, and discussed the merits of the lecture just ended.

Every creed was there represented by a few or more of its members, many of whom were favorably and deeply impressed by the argument of the Devil as it was given in the address.

Others I saw, not a few, who laid bare this iniquitous scheme of presenting the untruth, and declared that they would no more give ear to any teaching that came from that source.

This gave rise to endless quibblings and contentions between church-members of the same faith and those of separate creeds. These disputes continued with increasing bitterness until the hour had passed.

All eyes were fixed upon the stage as the portly Dr. Strauss arose to speak. His voice at first was slow and deep, and in all he was the personification of dignity. The first part of his lecture was a very convincing argument in favor of what is called the "Normal Use of Malt Liquors." He declared that moderate drinking could have no evil effect on the action of the heart, except in rare cases. To prove his general statement and to win the confidence of his hearers, he quoted over forty printed and written extracts from eminent physicians of the world.

After this general survey of his argument, he entered into details and illustrated the second division of his lecture by the use of pictorial charts. In this manner the construction and action of the heart were concretely shown.

In the third division of the lecture the Prince of Darkness showed his skill in manipulating the utterances of the speaker. By a second series of illustrated charts the lecturer intended to show how alcoholic beverages, in coursing through the human system, benefited the heart rather than injured it. In trying to establish this point he used the subtlest sophistry of Satan.

Through the three divisions of the discourse I heard vigorous applause, and when, in the smooth language of his final climax, he uttered the last word and was returning to his seat, there was a deafening roar from all parts of the vast hall. To the mind of Miss Church-Member the argument of Dr. Strauss was unanswerable, and consequently she was obliged to revise her radical opinions on the temperance question; and not only she, but a host of others from the ranks of the Christian church were influenced similarly.

After leaving this hall the happy pair spent a long time in passing through some of the other buildings of the group. Miss Church-Member was so filled with the doctrines of the Devil that she thought of going as a missionary to the pilgrims of the Narrow Way.

During their visit at the Temperance College Mr. World conducted his ever-faithful friend through some of the fashionable temperance-saloons connected with the institution.

Miss Church-Member would not have entered and much less indulged in the questionable beverages, had she not been so strongly influenced by the prolonged visit at the section of the group devoted to the study of "Temperate and Intemperate Drinks."

I was sorely vexed at the operations of this whole college and, looking at Blackana, I said impatiently:

"How can your comrades find delight in such an impish work—covering truth and scattering hellish sophistry abroad?"

"Delight?" repeated Blackana. "This world is but the Devil's Heaven, and those in his kingdom find chiefest delight in thorns, and not in flowers; in spinning sophistry, and not in dead things like truth and logic."



CHAPTER XV.

INFERNAL SCHOOL SYSTEM.

1. A general view of the vast University of the World with all its subordinate operations. All working in harmony to destroy the good that God would do in the world.

The University of the World is so extensive that one could not visit all its parts during the course of a life-time, but there is a place called the Magic Observatory whence an observer can have a bird's-eye view of all the principal scholastic operations of the Broad Highway.

The Observatory is owned and controlled by careful agents of Satan who will allow only certain persons to get the benefit of so extensive a view.

Mr. World and Miss Church-Member left the ground of the Temperance College and proceeded to get permission to rise to the glorious heights of the Observatory. Mr. World secured permission, but his companion, not having had sufficient experience in the service of Satan, was refused a pass. The difficulty was settled by a happy thought. Miss Church-Member suggested that while he should improve the opportunity and rise to see the sights, she would visit the College of Fashions, for which privilege she had been yearning.

I saw that Mr. World spent a long time in viewing the endless proportions of the noted Observatory, and finally stood on the lofty viewpoint with an interpreter at his side.

He was then directed to a seat on a mechanical device that moved in a circle; and as he sat there he looked through the powerful glasses of the immense telescope.

He first beheld the Schools of the Fine Arts, with their myriad students who swarmed through a group of buildings so large that it covered the first sweep of the telescope.

At the next turn of the magic device Mr. World saw the Special Schools of Mathematics whose prevalent tendency was to destroy faith. Here the mind of each student was taught to submit everything to the tests of proof, so that by the time one's training was finished he would believe only what could be scientifically demonstrated. In this way Satan induced many a student to disregard the Bible because he could not reduce all its teachings to the cold and rigid rules of human reasoning.

Thus does Satan manipulate affairs so that many of the Christian schools of the earth have imbibed a similar course:—first exalting Reason, and doing nothing to correspondingly develop in the student the functions of Faith.

When the telescope again turned Mr. World saw the Schools of Metaphysics where Satan operated in harmony with the limitless scheme of the whole University.

Next the College of Theology came within the range of vision. Here the clergymen of the Broad Highway are prepared to teach the doctrines of Hell under the guise of "Broad-Minded Theology." I envied not Mr. World's position, for I could also see what his wondering eyes beheld. As I took a transient view of this vast group of Theological Halls, and saw how many human beings resorted hither for information, I could the better understand why the world is kept so full of perverted truth. There is a daily inflow of ecclesiastics into this College, even such as become dissatisfied with the Theology as taught on the Highway of the King.

At the next turn of the telescope Mr. World saw the extensive Business College whither so large a number of merchants go to learn how to advertise, and also how to get rich quickly. One hall alone is set apart for the purpose of teaching a merchant how to practice fraud without injuring his good standing in the church; another hall teaches how far a business man may venture into prevarication without lying; while a still larger hall is devoted to the wholesale trade, and is intended to teach the best methods of adulterating foods while yet allowing them to be sold for genuine goods.

Mr. World was deeply interested in the view afforded by the next turn of the telescope, for the magnificent groups of buildings comprising the College of Fashions now lay before his admiring vision. He knew that his beloved friend was somewhere amongst the moving throngs that ever kept the College astir.

I looked in wonderment upon the far-reaching operations of this Satanic center. The teachings of this College were so far-reaching that the seeds of endless follies were planted in the generations yet unborn.

In one of the larger halls of this imposing group I saw an endless and popular variety of the gods of Fashion. They were worshiped by the slavish legions who were willing to sacrifice their all rather than forsake their chosen idols.

Mr. World plainly saw the connection between this College of Fashions and the Devil's Pawn Shop. The next item in the weird program was the Devil's Optical College which Mr. World and Miss Church-Member had visited in the earlier days of their companionship. Satan's Medical Schools also lay in the same line of vision, and were intimately connected with the Devil's Hospital which had numberless branches in all parts of the world.

And next the vast College of Literature flashed before the admiring eyes of Mr. World. As seen through the telescope this section presented a most beautiful picture.

The surface Schools of Law next attracted the attention of the spectator who was surprised to get so large a view of these operations.

Mr. World still moved in the magic circle, and saw the whole program as revealed at the angle at which the telescope was inclined. When the first circle was completed, the telescope dropped to a new angle and started on its second revolution, disclosing to the observer a new world of schools, all of which were also comprehended in the University of the World.

The Missionary College proved to be an interesting sight, as did also the Devil's Temperance College.

One of the most surprising sights that greeted Mr. World in this second revolution was Satan's Modern College of Narcotics which is a series of schools built and operated with great care, intended to counteract the special efforts ever being put forth by the devotees of the King's Highway to teach the relations of narcotics to the nervous system. Formerly Satan did this branch of work in one of the wings of the Temperance College, but on account of the great stress put on this subject by the Surpassing Schools of the Christ, Satan has built this modern institution, and now the church is in confusion because so many of its members have such an indistinct vision that they cannot discern between the wool of the sheep and the hair of the wolf, even when each animal is wearing its own hide.

The most mysterious schools revealed by this second revolution were called the Schools of Emergency. These required the skill of the interpreters to give Mr. World an idea of their work.

This is also a modern idea of the Evil One, and since their erection the schools have been patronized by an astonishingly large number of disappointed church-members who receive instruction more readily from the modern methods here in vogue than from the old-time system.

Then did Mr. World behold a new line of schools in course of erection, but the interpreter refused to give him satisfaction when he asked the purpose of these new schools.

When the great telescope had finished the second revolution, Mr. World was surprised to see that it commenced on the third round as the outer end of the telescope pointed more directly toward the base of the Observatory.

Startling scenes were now laid bare. The underground schools of this Great University seemed to be greater than the surface operations.

Mr. World first saw the Opium Schools, built in the form of large dens. After this came the Schools of Iniquity, operated in darkness. Here all forms of evil are taught and made to appear justifiable under certain conditions. Many of these underground schools could not be clearly seen by Mr. World, but ere the telescope completed its third revolution he saw the Schools of Suicide more distinctly than during his visit, and got a glimpse of the limitless Law Departments Underground, and the terrible pictures of sadness and sin as seen beneath the Devil's Hospital.

Mr. World raised his eyes from the telescope and looked towards the interpreter. "What lies beyond those vast elevations?" he asked as he pointed to a rugged mountain range farther down the Broad Highway.

"Back of those mountains lies the beautiful Wizard City, shut in from all the world. Ask nothing more about it."

"But may I not enter it?"

"Not unless you are fortunate enough to discover one of the paths that lead to the Summit. From thence one can see the City."



CHAPTER XVI.

EXPERT INVENTORS OF THE BROAD HIGHWAY.

1. Mr. World and Miss Church-Member fail to see the Ways and Means Committee at work.

2. They are directed to the city where expert inventors are constantly employed in devising weapons and all kinds of devices.

3. They see a few inventions which are just being perfected to facilitate the services of the churches along the King's Highway.

After Mr. World's remarkable experiences on the Observatory, he gladly called for his friend, Miss Church-Member, who accompanied him on another branch of the Mountain Trolley.

They alighted at a station called Progress, and proceeded on the Broad Highway. Neither of them became wearied in listening to the experiences of the other during their brief separation.

Ere long they came to a large hall which was used by the Ways and Means Committee of the Broad Highway.

They obtained permission to visit the interior of the hall, hoping thereby to see the famous committee in session. But, after being escorted from room to room by a guide, they were informed, upon reaching the main auditorium, that the committee was holding a secret session, and that no visitors would be allowed to enter during that day.

"How soon will visitors be admitted?' asked Mr. World, with a shade of disappointment in his tone.

"Not until the matter now under consideration is settled. It may be two hours, perhaps two days," was the indefinite reply.

"And where can we spend the interim with most profit and interest?" further interrogated Mr. World.

The guide, looking through a window, described a path leading to a lofty summit. "When you reach that elevation," explained he, "you will see, in the busy vale beyond, the Wizard City.

"Most of the experiments performed in that wondrous vale are closed forever from the view of mortal man; but so much of the work as you are allowed to see will interest you for many days."

"In my opinion such a privilege is greater than the one we are here denied," smilingly spoke Miss Church-Member.

"True indeed, my friend, unless the climbing of the hill should prove to be a more arduous task than you imagine," cautioned Mr. World.

"Each of you will be pleasantly surprised," promptly affirmed the guide, "for they only can climb to that summit who do so willingly, and by them it is easily accomplished."

"Is there no shorter way thither than by that winding path?" slowly asked Mr. World.

"There is but one shorter route, and that is underground. No one is permitted to go that way until he has passed the summit and has reached the seventh degree in the secret service of our Master."

"Ah! so there is an underground connection between this place and the Expert Inventors?" said Miss Church-Member in a low tone, and with a look of suspicion.

"Be not in the least alarmed. The Ways and Means Committee and the Expert Inventors work in harmony, each supplementing the work of the other. It is therefore essential that between them there be as close connection as possible, not only for convenience of travel, but for insuring secrecy."

"Then why are the two places so far apart?" queried Miss Church-Member.

"Everything is perfectly arranged. If you could see the underground world between the two sites you would readily observe the logical relation of all parts. But the bell rings; I must go," continued the guide. "If you wish further information you may obtain it at the office," and with a courteous bow he withdrew.

That same day I saw the two travelers climb with ease to the summit from whence they beheld the most curious sight that had yet met their gaze since their fellowship had begun.

Down in the long and deep sloping vale before them, shut in from all the world, lay a large city of fantastic structures.

The weird outlines of this marvelous city extended downward into the darkness of the earth, while the height of its buildings varied from the common even unto the amazing.

The form of the city, and the shape of its buildings, were the most bizarre features of all. Only a few of the edifices bore resemblance to any which the travelers had ever before seen.

Toward one end of the city they saw a cluster of buildings which, taken as a whole, resembled a gigantic tree towering to a great height and covered with strange foliage.



At the other end of the city the structures were divided into more than a hundred groups, resembling somewhat variously-shaped balloons of monstrous size.

The sides of the city were constructed somewhat after the manner of immense Ferris wheels, of amazing diameter. The compartments therein actually moved up or down according to the range of vision desired by the Inventors in their experimenting.

The central part of the city was the most notable of all. Here, with an average diameter of ten hundred feet, rose a circular structure tapering irregularly until it settled to a point six thousand feet in the air. Around this, as a center, ranged terraces, hanging gardens, aerial boulevards, and spiral electric railways.

After viewing this wonderful valley for many hours, the companions took one of the perfected automobiles and covered the long gradual descent to a depth of ten thousand feet perpendicular.

As they neared the base, I looked at Blackana, and asked: "How long have those Schools of Invention been in operation?"

"Since the creation of man."

"What is the real purpose of their existence?"

"To invent devices and weapons helpful to our cause in peace or war, and more particularly to concoct new schemes for the use of the churches along the King's Highway and the Way of the World."

"Oh! that the earth might see all this foul inwardness, and discern aright the bland deception with which those subtle plots are executed!"

A Satanic smile covered the features of Blackana as he assured me that the earth does know of these things, and has known of them for ages, but is too well pleased with them to offer serious opposition.

In disgust I turned from Blackana and saw that Mr. World and Miss Church-Member had reached the suburbs of the Wizard City where they read this unexpected notice over a large brazen gate:

NONE ADMITTED EXCEPT THEY TO WHOM THE PORTER OPENETH.

"Ah! all our toil may be in vain," sighed Miss Church-Member.

They stood for a brief time in a quandary, discussing how one may know whether or not the Porter will open the gate. Finally the stalwart Porter approached them and spoke: "With what motive and for what purpose would ye enter?"

Mr. World, with native tact, was ready with an answer: "I am in full sympathy with the work done in this city and have with me my friend who is still a member of a church standing along the King's Highway."

The Porter advanced with graceful bearing and bowed to Miss Church-Member. "Perchance," said he, "you have come to receive some new ideas for the benefit of the church?"

"You have surmised it," she blushingly replied. "The church to which I belong is sadly behind the age in its methods of work. I am hoping that the inventive genius of this city can give me some features new and attractive, that I may, in my missionary work, help to introduce them into antiquated churches."

"Yours is a worthy mission," politely said the Porter, "and I herewith hand you a card which will admit both of you into the department of the city, number seven hundred and seventy-seven."

Instantly the gate flew wide open, and the happy couple passed through joyfully. They walked by the many fairy-like buildings, closing their eyes to all the special scenes so that they might give their first attention to the department indicated by the Porter.

With little difficulty they found the place desired, and handed the card to a curator who conducted them to the general manager.

"I infer, by this card," said the manager, "that you are hoping to find some new schemes to facilitate the work and service of the church."

"That is our aim," answered Miss Church-Member.

"I am glad that you are so ambitious to keep apace with the times. In this marvelous age of mechanism all things are done by devices and machinery, and the church that would keep step with the spirit of progress must also be run by mechanism. The services of such a congregation should be controlled by a rigid methodical law, so that everything will move like clock-work. The church of to-day, in its movement towards form and ceremony, is approaching the highest laws of universal harmony. This hopeful tendency is most helpful to the soul of man and most pleasing to God."

"Just my idea exactly," chimed in Mr. World. "The churches along the King's Highway are stubbornly fighting these modern improvements. They are very slow in catching up with the spirit of the age. Does that not seem true, Miss Church-Member?"

"I must confess I see it more clearly now than ever. Nature is run by unerring, unchangeable law; why should not all spiritual operations come under the same principle? Formality, after all, is the highest point to be reached."

"Your mind easily grasps the truth, I perceive," responded the manager. "What can bring things into better form than to get as much machinery as possible into church worship? In this building a thousand experts are constantly employed in devising and perfecting mechanical arrangements to facilitate the services of the church. Perhaps you would be pleased to see some of the results of our work by passing through some of the sub-departments?"

"For my part," replied Miss Church-Member, "I am more than passingly interested in these things, and if Mr. World does not object to accompany us, I will be grateful to improve this opportunity to look upon your work."

After completing preliminary arrangements I saw the manager conduct his two visitors on the easy running elevator to the floor which was devoted especially to singing.

"As it is your wish," said the manager "to see the latest, we will not tarry at these lesser rooms, but proceed immediately to the corner of the chief experts where I will be pleased to show to you the best novelty on the floor." They walked down the long room, passing on each side of the aisle one set of busy workers after another. They stopped at one of the far corners and beheld, in advance, the latest novelty to be used for singing in church service.

It was an artificial woman, neatly attired and filled with a complicated mechanism so constructed that when certain electric keys were touched by the unseen operator, articulate sounds like unto a human voice issued forth, while the expression of the whole face, and the natural-like heaving of the breast, all moved in harmony with the artificial sounds. The invention so much resembled a living creature of beauty that Miss Church-Member at first thought it was really human.

Mr. World was so well pleased with the novelty that he unconsciously seated himself upon a couch and looked on in amazement. The beauty of the female form attracted his attention as much as the voice that pealed forth bewitchingly from the lips.

"The greatest thing in the world!" he said after a period of ecstatic silence. "The church that gets such a singer into its choir will have a packed house at every service."

"I never so much as dreamed of such a thing before. Have any of the churches yet tried the experiment?" wonderingly asked Miss Church-Member.

"The time has not yet come," replied the manager. "Our experts have been perfecting this fine piece of mechanism for many years, but it is not yet quite satisfactory. We shall continue until it is well-nigh perfect. In the meantime we are trying to prepare the way so that the people will gladly receive such an addition to their church machinery. It is our intention to be able to supply angelettes, (for that is the name by which this invention will be known) of any size, and with apparel suitable for any special or ordinary occasion of church worship. The angelette is to be so perfected that it will render vocal music without a break. That will be a happy day when people can worship God without aging themselves hoarse or without being annoyed by the discords so prevalent in congregational and choir singing and, moreover, have none of the evil effects that come from choir quarrels."

"I can plainly see," commented Miss Church-Member as they moved toward another floor, "that the church is only in the morning twilight of its progress. The wonders of today will pale into insignificance at the coming of the greater things." They dropped to a lower floor and stepped from the elevator.

"This floor is devoted to the 'Order of Church Service'" explained the manager. "It is indeed surprising to see what a variety of devices are here suggested to get the churches to pin themselves down to a fixed law of service in such a way that all else must bend to it or appear ridiculous. Some churches, claiming to be led by the Spirit, are constantly out of order. One cannot even imagine what is coming next. That is a foolish, haphazard way of conducting a religious service. We are doing all we can to correct these errors. I will take you at once to the expert's room and let you see the latest piece of mechanism which we hope very soon to offer for public use."

Far out in one end of the building I saw the three enter a room where men were busily engaged at work.

"Will you kindly show these two visitors the workings of your new invention called the 'Service Regulator,'" requested the manager as he looked at the chief inventor.

A large curtain was raised and there it hung. No larger than a family clock. The inventor opened a door of the Regulator, and carefully explained its works. He called their attention especially to a roil of blackboard canvas that passed from an upper to a lower cylinder when the Regulator was running.

I heard the inventor, in explaining, use these words: "The minister arranges the program in advance and then marks the whole order of service on the canvas roll, allowing as much time for each part of the service as he thinks proper. The canvas is then replaced and the Regulator hung on the wall. When the minute comes to commence services, the Regulator is wound with a key and it starts to run. The canvas, in passing down at a fixed rate, informs the congregation of every change in the service, just as it had been previously planned."

"What think you of it?" asked the manager, after the partial explanation.

"I do not believe that the church of the King's Highway to which I belong could use it. It would tend only to confusion," said Miss Church-Member.

"Only till they become accustomed to it," explained the inventor. "After a few weeks of use its value would be demonstrated. Then the congregation would not part with it under any consideration. You see, Miss Church-Member," he continued as he offered them easy chairs, "there would be a definite time to close the service. The Regulator would move with the precision of a clock, and nobody would complain about the preacher speaking too long, for he would stop at a fixed time. It is so arranged that a little bell rings five minutes in advance of the time to stop preaching. It is sometimes a great satisfaction for the hearer to know when the sermon is nearly ended, and the Regulator would be a blessed boon to some preachers who find it difficult to stop talking after they get 'warmed up,' as they call it."

"How beautiful the thought that the bells of the Regulator would call the congregation to prayer, and a bell bid the time to change the devotion from prayer to song. You must not forget that this device is intended to educate the minister, choir, and congregation to a fine degree of accuracy in all their public devotions. See what opportunity this device offers for the display of ingenuity and tact on the part of a minister! He can, on the blank spaces, have a few pictures drawn. These will be interesting to children who cannot comprehend his sermon, or to an adult who loses the thread of the discourse. Does it not seem like a good thing for the church?" he asked, as he turned his gaze upon Miss Church-Member.

"It seems more and more that way, and no doubt it will prove helpful if it gets a fair trial. How does it suit your fancy?" she inquired of Mr. World.

"It seems to me that all churches who know a good thing when they see it will get it at any cost. It just meets my idea exactly. I like to see things done decently and in order in the church. It always makes me nervous to get into a church where enthusiasm runs away with the meeting. It makes me feel somewhat as if I were in a trolley car that is running down grade while the motor-man has lost control of the brakes. It makes it uncomfortable to stay or to run."

"Have any of the churches introduced this novelty yet?" inquired Miss Church-Member.

"None as yet. We are waiting for certain developments before placing this device on the market. The agents of our Secret Service will inform us when the time is ripe."

The manager then offered to conduct them to another floor which was devoted to the interests of the Prayer Meeting, but Miss Church-Member, having lost her interest in such kind of services, expressed a desire to visit some other part of the city.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE WIZARD CITY.

1. The weird city of inventors described.

2. Its ultimate overthrow predicted in a realistic climax.

I saw that Miss Church-Member was anxious to visit the vast tower in the central part of the city. So Mr. World, in deference to her wishes, and agreeably to his own desires, escorted her in that direction.

Standing away at some distance, they were soon gazing upward at the awe-inspiring spectacle. Its grandeur and proportions now appeared to be greatly increased.

They could see, with more distinctness, circling around the massive wizard cone, the aerial boulevards, ever alive with private conveyances, and the trolley cars each carrying a variety of passengers.

"Will you accompany me on the trolley to the first series of hangings gardens?" cheerily invited Mr. World.

"If we are permitted, and you think it safe to ascend," she answered in a tremulous voice. He calmed her fears and led her to the central passenger room at the base of the tower. Here they saw a system of interior elevators carrying throngs of people to the numerous stations between the base and the highest dizzy view-point.

Leading off to the right ran the double trolley system, and to the left the equally wide boulevard, each on the exterior of the massive tower.

I saw the obliging Mr. World, with more than usual courtesy, conduct his friend to a seat on a trolley car bound for the aerial gardens.

The ascent was smooth and afforded delightful opportunities to view, at every desirable angle, the surrounding city and its suburbs.

"This is the most exhilarating ride of my life!" triumphantly cried Miss Church-Member as they circled higher and higher so gradually that more than ten miles were traveled ere the objective point was reached one thousand feet from the base.

Here lay the variety gardens, suspended from the rigid side of the tower by a feat of architectural engineering surpassing anything in the natural world.

Around the gardens the boulevards and the trolley lines circled horizontally, and also passed through some of the huge corridors which, on this level, diverge from the interior elevators toward the exterior gardens.

When the trolley car reached this height Miss Church-Member at once fixed her eyes on the ponderous pillars on each side of the converging corridors, for she knew that more than four thousand feet of the tower's amazing weight rested on these defiant granites.

Mr. World and his pleasing friend meandered amongst the multitude from one to another of the hanging gardens, drinking in all the vain glories that this aerial world afforded. At last, wearied by the endless succession of extraordinary sights, they stole away to a quiet retreat on the outer edge of a garden farthest from the tower's center. Reclining in hammocks, they conversed of all the greatness of the world.

Looking upward they saw, fifteen hundred feet above them, the next series of hanging gardens; and during the lull in the music near by, they caught the strains falling from the upper orchestras like music from Heaven.

"Will you go with me still higher to taste the sweetness of a more ethereal level?"

Intoxicated with the charms already felt, Miss Church-Member was ready for any height. Upward they went on the venturesome trolley, admiring the phenomenal ride and the scenery it opened to their view in panoramic splendor. Their course wound round and round until they came to the horizontal circle twenty-five hundred feet above the base.

This was a place of more refinement and beauty. The touch of the finer artists was seen in all the arrangement and style of the terraces and hanging gardens, but especially in the rich variety of flowers and plants that added their wealth to the novel combinations.

Mr. World carefully guarded his much esteemed friend during their sight-seeing from garden to garden, for at times they encountered throngs of people.

I saw them eventually seek rest on rustic chairs where their conversation deepened into the relations they sustained one to the other, succeeded at last by a tender, thoughtful silence.

In the midst of their reveries they noticed a little spider, swinging on its silken thread, floating in the air between them.

"You rude little creature! Why do you come, at such a time, between my friend and me?" said Miss Church-Member in a half humorous mood.

"It may be for a purpose, dear. Perhaps the little insect poses here to remind us that we can never escape the foe that seeks to separate us."

"Quite an ingenious explanation," she said with deepening seriousness. "But who is that lurking foe who seeks our separation?"

"'Tis better to learn to know your enemies than to be told of them. Hence look through your eyes askance."

Just at this instant Miss Church-Member raised her hand and caught the little intruder, placing it alive into a locket which she had secretly carried ever since she had visited the Pawn Shop.

"What can be the meaning of that?" queried Mr. "World as he saw, through the glass of the little lid, the struggling insect.

"So may it be to any foe that seeks to separate us," she explained.

"Then let me carry the locket," he suggested. "You have captured the foe; allow me to keep him imprisoned."

There was a happy exchange of glances as she pressed the little prison into his hand. "It is yours forever," she pledged under the sway of her rising emotions.

And he, accepting it with a warm heart, spoke thus in glowing words: "I accept the endless task and also pledge to the utmost of my power to keep any foe imprisoned that seeks to rob your life of any passing happiness."

"Shall we go still higher?" he soon asked as he fixed his eyes on the dizzy terraces two thousand feet above them.

"In your presence I fear no height," was her confiding response.

The trolley cars ascended no higher, so they proceeded to the interior elevators. But they were told that no visitors were allowed above that point that privilege being reserved alone for the inventors.

"Are we permitted to visit the interior apartments of this tower, even below us?" asked Mr. World wistfully.

"They are all doubly sealed. No one but an expert inventor, true and tried in our master's service, ever passes through these secret chambers."

"May we know what particular branch of work is done in this tower?"

"It is devoted alone to the invention and testing of weapons of warfare for the armies of our master, especially for the sharp-shooters stationed along the so-called King's Highway."

Miss Church-Member trembled at this announcement and urged Mr. World to conduct her to the base of the tower that they might visit other parts of the city.

As I was looking at all these things, a flash of light, coming from one side, blinded my vision, and as I turned I saw a heavenly messenger in a blaze of glory.

"Hither, hither!" beckoned the sweet-faced angel.

I was instantly at his side without effort, except an act of volition. He transported me almost instantaneously to the apex of the great tower in the Wizard City.

There I stood without fear under the sweet charms of my angel guide who floated gently about me in the air.

"O mortal man," calmly spoke the angel, "thou shalt now be privileged, for a brief space of time, to gaze upon this Wizard City as angels do. Thy memory shall be strengthened so that thou shalt not forget the vision of these carnal things."

Then, in a manner surpassing all things human, scales fell from my eyes, and I was struck with horror at the awful sight that lay before me.

"Look thou first into the interior of this tower," bade the angel, as he pointed downward. All things were open to my view, and I saw many of the bright geniuses of the world in league with the imps of darkness, all busily engaged in the secret service of Satan.

I saw how Satan used the ingenuity of man to carry forward his infamous schemes. Instead of the old rifles used in the earlier days of Christianity I saw in this tower almost numberless kinds of fatal weapons which send forth their poisonous and deadly discharges without smoke or sound, so that the wounded, not knowing whence the missiles come, might imagine that they were smitten of God.

The angel informed me that every year this fiendish tower puts out into the hands of its agents many new devices, either for poisoning or wounding the disciples who travel on the King's Highway, and who by any kind of negligence come within reach of Satan's forces. "Seest thou," continued my guide, "with what cunning Satan hath builded this tower? By its exterior beauty he gaineth the confidence of the unwary, and thus winneth countless thousands to his cause. And seest thou the depth to which it reaches, not six thou sand feet below us, but ten times six thousand feet, into the bowels of the earth?"

Then could I see, at a glance, the whole under-ground dominions stretching their borders far, wide, and deep. There was a small empire of groveling imps, each bent on the work of his particular branch.

"Look thou now into the apartments of those ponderous wheels," directed my glorious guide.

Neither metal nor granite obstructed my vision. I saw delicate and complex machinery, and half-human creatures in league with mortal man, all bending to their tasks.

"They all work in league with the Devil's Optical College. The inventive genius of Hell hath contrived, in these graded departments, all the modern lenses that are so terribly warping the vision of an alarming number in the church and the world.

"And seest thou," continued the angel, as he pointed to a far section of the city, "those inventors plying their ingenuity in behalf of Satan's Medical Colleges and Hospitals?

"And also witness, in that nearer section, the viler groups at work inventing snares and traps for Satan's allies to use in catching Heaven-bound pilgrims.

"Also behold," he continued, turning to another part of the city, "that special class of geniuses who work for Satan's general emissaries as they journey far and wide to do exploits. How terribly they influence the weaker servants of our King!"

Then I stood gazing, as the angel continued his interpreting, until I had seen the foul workings of this whole city.

I was so filled with a mixture of grief and indignation that I cried out in painful anguish: "Why does not God send thunderbolts from his eternal throne, and smite this city to fragments?"

Then the sweet angel calmly answered: "Not until the worm ceaseth to crawl, and thistles no more infest the ground. Till then the patience of God endureth and his sunshine falleth on the temples of Virtue and of Vice."

"And what comes at the end of patience?"

"Then shall the taint of sin be purged from the earth, for every temple and pest-hole of Satan, including this whole Wizard City, will be consumed by an awful fire whose lurid light will glimmer long after the metals and granites of this great Tower shall have been reduced to ashes amidst the general ruin."



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE FESTIVAL.

1. The whole scheme of merchandising in the church is laid bare as Satan explains the origin of the word "Festival."

Looking once again through the open door, I saw that Mr. World and Miss Church-Member, after leaving the Wizard City, had gained admission to the auditorium where the Ways and Means Committee was in session.

Miss Church-Member at once retired to the waiting-room in the rear, and sat quietly perusing a book while her companion remained in the large hall and listened to the proceedings.

An agent of Satan occupied the chair. He was dressed in pleasing costume, and controlled the assemblage with parliamentary dignity.

When Mr. World took a seat the large committee was engaged in a warm debate over a certain piece of ground occupying a space midway between the King's Highway and the Broad Highway. This eligible site had been used for holding church-festivals to raise funds for the maintenance of gospel work. A few wealthy friends of Satan wanted this location to erect on it a club-house wherein they might revel and carouse as they wished.

The question arose among the members of the committee as to which of the two uses would best subserve the purpose of their master who held a claim on the land.

The chairman arose, after listening to the arguments at length, and addressed the audience with great coolness and deliberation: "Most worthy members of this committee," commenced he, "you have spoken many words of truth this day. Your interest in this matter only shows your loyalty to our cause. 'Club-House or Festival?' that is the question. Surely we cannot dispense with either, but rather must we maintain both at any cost. As for this place in question, I am decidedly in favor of holding it for the use of the church. The Club-House will find a location elsewhere, but this ground is so favorably situated for church-merchandising that I urge you to hold it for such purposes. Have we not seen how eagerly the two classes mingle here? This place, being so accessible to all parties, makes it possible for the church to gather larger numbers and thereby reap greater financial results— which is the principal object of the church in holding these delightful affairs. Since the church is well supplied with everything it needs except money, let us do it a favor by rendering some assistance in that direction. Then we may reasonably expect that the church will, in return, do us a favor by being less hostile to our methods of operation, which, as you will admit, are highly honorable."

This speech had the desired effect. A resolution was quickly passed in harmony with the opinion of the chairman.

The curiosity of Mr. World was now satisfied, for he had seen this famous committee in session. Therefore he repaired to the waiting- room, and while conducting Miss Church-Member from the building their attention was arrested by this announcement written in bold letters near the exit:

ANY ONE WISHING REFRESHMENTS CAN FIND THEM AT THE FESTIVAL ON THE CHURCH GROUNDS.

"How does that announcement suit you?" interrogated Mr. World.

"It comes at an opportune time," she answered, her face brightening, "I had been hoping that we might soon have lunch."

They had gone but a few steps from the door when they heard cheery voices and strains.

Here the Church receives money for souls from the Devil, while the Devil gets souls for money from the Church of music lending attractive life to the festival. Urged on by the thought of a pleasant hour, they quickened their pace unconsciously and were soon within sight of the grounds.

I saw the multitude gathering in the grove. The mingling of the church and the world was so complete that one could scarcely tell from which path many had come.

On this intervening ground everything appealed to the appetite, and the patrons knew that the more they ate or purchased the greater would be the success of the festival. Therefore some ate even unto gluttony for the benefit of the church, while the agents of Satan with skillful aim were sending poisoned arrows into the heart of true benevolence, and also endeavoring to arrest the minds of Christians so that they might pursue the Broader Path after their routine at the festival was ended.

Thus I saw, falling into the coffers of the church, filthy lucre not sanctified by prayer or sacrifice, and from this seed the church hoped to reap a holy harvest.

Mr. World and his companion spent a delightful season with the company and, thanks to Mr. World's plethoric purse, proved themselves pleasingly generous in their patronage. Finally Miss Church-Member excused herself from Mr. World and joined a company of young ladies who were engaged in joyous pleasures.

Mr. World, now alone, was walking leisurely about the grounds when Satan appeared and sauntered at his side "Are you not fearful," asked Mr. World in the midst of a conversation, "that many of your subjects will be led into the Narrow Path by tarrying at this place and associating with so many Christians?"

"Not in the least," he replied, "for at such places as this I gain more subjects than I lose. So I expect to encourage forever sacred-merchandising all along my route. The churches are glad to use this ground even though it belongs to me, for I concede to them all the money. Naturally I prefer souls to money."

"How did this word 'festival' originate?" queried Mr. World after a brief pause in the conversation.

"With pleasure I will explain. Once upon a time I called together my generals to determine upon new methods of winning converts to our cause, and promised to confer upon the one who should suggest the best plan, the honorable title 'Fast Devil.'

"A long intermission was granted to give my aids time to use their ingenuity in planning. All Hell was filled with students, each one striving to win the title.

"At a given signal my cohorts re-assembled. Thus before me lay a vast army of anxious faces. I gave each one, who desired, an opportunity to speak. The sun revolved on his axis seven times ere the argument was finished. During this debate there was comparative peace on earth."

"Pray tell me," further asked Mr. World, "What was the trend of their suggestions?"

"I could relate it all, for I have every word recorded, but I shall not weary you."

"But at least give me a general idea."

"Willingly. One of my generals arose and said: 'We can change some of our tactics without loss to our cause. The sword and torture only strengthen our enemies. We should resort more to the 'wolf- in-sheep's-clothing method.'

"He could speak no more. A thundering sound of voices drowned his utterances. Thousands of my loyal leaders seconded his plans.

"At last one of the speakers, who indeed won the prize, earnestly proposed a grand scheme, and the vast multitudes listened with rapt attention. His speech was short but fiery, and, rising to the occasion, he demanded that all his comrades should unite to destroy the simple voluntary spirit of Christian benevolence so that the church might go begging before the world and even resort to all manner of mercantile business for its support. The speaker declared that if the church could be induced to adopt such measures it would tend to divert her mind from interfering with the work to which he and his auditors were all loyally pledged.

"This speech had a marvelous effect, and there was a deafening roar of voices in the applause which continued for a long space of time.

"Then followed an animated discussion in which a host of trusted leaders engaged. Each one commented on the winning speech and offered suggestions how to awaken a trading interest in the church. It was conceded that first of all the church must feel the necessity of resorting to business. Accordingly a large committee was appointed to work systematically amongst the churches on earth, inducing their members to depart from the customs of the early church.

"This committee did yeoman service and shrewdly prepared the way for the more complete work in harmony with the views of Fast Devil. Through the ages it succeeded in gradually influencing the church to engage in all manner of performances and trading schemes to gain support. The work of this committee is not yet at an end, for nearly every week we hear of some innovation which has crept into the church, or some new form of merchandising into which it has fortunately entered.

"It is indeed gratifying that the church is casting off her unsightly spiritual robe and putting on the costume of merriment and trade. I hope the day will soon come when the church will have still less of the spiritual nonsense and more of these up-to-date methods to secure funds for its support."

As Satan spoke his last words he bid a brief adieu to Mr. World and hastened away to the side of a young man who was almost persuaded to yield to some elevating influence. I suddenly looked at Blackana whose presence I had well-nigh forgotten.

"Have you been taking your ease in sleep?" I asked as an involuntary shudder shook my frame.

"I never sleep. Suns may wax and wane, nations rise and fall, peoples live and die, but I am awake forever."

"Did you hear the conversation between Satan and Mr. World?"

"Every word of it."

"Were you present when Satan held that great convocation to devise plans for more efficient work against the church of Jesus Christ on earth?"

"I attended every session."

"And did you hear the speech of Fast Devil?"

"I heard every word."

"And did Satan give to Mr. World a true account of the address?"

"He gave only a condensed and garbled rendering of it."

"Then I command you, O Blackana, to give me a full reproduction of Fast Devil's speech as far as you are able to translate the language of Hell into words that are intelligible to me. Can you remember each thought?"

"I must remember, for I have not the power to forget," and Blackana groaned aloud. "Oh, that I could bury in oblivion the myriad thoughts that sting me with remorse!" He paused a moment. "Am I to give you the whole—speech as Fast Devil delivered it originally?"

"Thought for thought, and gesture for gesture," I answered with authority.

Ere the last syllable fell from my lips Blackana was suddenly transformed into a more terrifying creature than he was himself. I was paralyzed at the sight of the weird monster which I learned was the image of Fast Devil.

There he stood, tall and erect, seven times the height of man, with sinews like iron-rope and with a face defying human description. His eyes were fiery with life, and determination marked every movement as he stepped forward to speak.

Notwithstanding my consciousness of being sustained by supernatural power, I trembled as Blackana reproduced this noted speech of Fast Devil:

"Most honored chief and glorious master," he commenced, "be thou indulgent as I speak to thee and unto these my comrades who lie in anxious posture over this vast expanse of Hell. I am here to state an issue of which we have heard murmurings for many an age. To prepare for this hour I have taxed my ingenuity to its utmost."

Then with striking gestures of his awful arms he passionately continued: "Hope is no more crushed within me as I view the wide and measureless field of our possibilities, for I see empires within our reach if we but cease brooding over our dismal past and let this bright prospect kindle its flames within us. What spur need we to move us on but to look up and see the resplendent regions whence we fell, till hatred starts afresh within our beings and our every passion moves to its control."

With an outward swing of his great right arm he asked in strong appealing tones: "How can we best succeed against the church in which our enemy glories so unceasingly? What inroads can we make? In what manner shall we advance?"

He vigorously seized a book. "Here is a Bible, borrowed from a saint. I turned its pages over and over that I might learn what pained the heart of Christ most grievously, vexing his inmost soul with indignation. What was it?" vociferously interrogated Fast Devil as he flung the book to the scorching winds of Hell. "'Twas that which hindered the cause of Christ most efficiently—prostituting the house of God to worldly purposes. Have we forgotten the vehemence with which this arch-enemy drove the money kings from His sacred abode, saying unto them: 'My house is a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves,' and how we like sneaking cowards crawled away, and thus our glorious scheme went by default?"

Then Blackana uttered his final appeal with all the swing of his mighty body and the low vibrant thunder of his voice. "Back to your forts! Oh, back! ye dormant hosts around me! Not in the strength of arms, but with the subtlest webs that Hell can weave, and with the snares of silent treachery. We need no stronger weapons, and for our dress we will don sheep's clothing of the finest wool. Thus who amongst the church can tell that we are not seeking her highest good? Then as we strike at the heart of voluntary offering in the church, so shall we kill the spirit that gives it birth. The carcass of this dead spirit unburied we shall drag through the church for ages, and the germs of disease arising therefrom will bring more death into the ranks of our foes than all our weapons of warfare ever did."

Blackana instantly resumed his former shape, and "while I was musing the fire burned." I then looked out toward the festival ground and saw that Satan had returned to Mr. World and was explaining to him how helpful these festivals were to Christians.

"Aside from the moral and religious influence," he remarked, "how could the church defray her expenses if she did not engage in some innocent forms of merchandising, or use some novel scheme to decoy money from her admirers. Surely there can be no better way," continued the Devil with an unholy grin. "If the church would maintain her honor before the world, she must not do differently. I am satisfied if wily thee old way of voluntary giving is more and more discarded by the church."

"But you began your former recital," reminded Mr. World, "to inform me how the word 'Festival' originated. You have not yet succeeded in making it clear to me."

"It originated from the phrase of honor which was given the prize- winner, Fast Devil, but we changed the wording somewhat so that it might not seem obnoxious to the church."

Then, by a peculiar method of concrete marking, Satan continued: "The following is the process of development from the phrase to the word: 'Fast Devil;' 'Fest Evil;' 'FESTIVAL.'"



CHAPTER XIX.

THE MISSIONARY COLLEGE.

1. Mr. World and Miss Church-Member visit the great college and are strongly influenced in favor of Satan's teachings concerning missionary work.

The fellowship of Mr. World and Miss Church-Member grew increasingly delightful as they journeyed forth from the Festival. In their company were a few church-members who had also enjoyed the physical pleasures of the Festival and who preferred to reach Heaven by the most convenient path.

The merry band of companions soon reached a certain Missionary Station which was controlled by pilgrims from the King's Highway. The travelers were all very much amused at seeing tracts and other pieces of literature scattered over the Highway in front of the station.

"How much one can get for nothing!" sneeringly remarked Mr. Bigot, as he pointed to the literature strewn across the way.

"Surely there can be no harm in looking at such pieces of paper," said Mrs. Lucre-Love as she lifted a booklet from the path and commenced a quiet perusal of it. "And what is it all about?" queried another who saw the eyes of Mrs. Lucre-Love fixed intently on the pamphlet.

"Oh, it is nothing new! Only the old monotonous story of the heathen, followed by the usual appeal for funds. Evidently it is some sharper's scheme to rob the people of their money."

Mr. World was near enough to hear her answer and with evident disgust he asked: "Where can one get reliable information on this subject, anyhow?"

"At one of the Missionary Colleges, of course," answered two or three in unison. "Yes, and I know from past experience that you will soon be at one. This station and this literature is all the evidence we need," added Mrs. Lucre-Love.

Mr. World and Miss Church-Member thence walked alone and soon beheld the great Missionary College whose higher domes kissed the lower clouds of heaven.

"Surely some great missionary enthusiast must have erected these edifices," said Miss Church-Member as they were turning to enter the section devoted to Home Missionary Work.

The entrance ways were so crowded with students and visitors that Mr. World escorted his companion with difficulty to the plaza toward which the twenty-one halls of this section converged.

The view of this part of the College from the plaza was at once beautiful and inspiring.

Hall No. 4 was the first place they decided to enter. Over the door these words were hung:

HOME MISSION WORK FINANCIALLY CONSIDERED.

Having reached the interior, Miss Church-Member, in particular, was surprised to see the many busy thousands in the large rooms of the hall, and to note with what carefulness every item of expense was kept of all the Home Mission Work of the world.

Then they sought the main lecture-room whose large seating capacity was already well taken with a motley crowd of students and visitors.

The lecturer was a woman of shrewd appearance. Her face was void of sympathy and her voice somewhat masculine. Her address was over one-half finished when the two companions entered, They listened carefully to her words which were in part as follows:

"We are not to worship money, yet we are to guard against squandering it. The person who wastes one dollar sets a bad example to others and brings injury to himself. Woman is criticized for wastefulness in dress. I stand here to defend her, not because she is altogether innocent, but because her accusers are equally guilty in the same and in other directions. The money wasted in Home Missionary Work would feed the starving of all the world. Where does this money come from? The greater part of it comes from the purses of those who are burdened with all manner of financial obligations. What right have such people to rob others of their dues in order to support Home Mission Work? O, that the time may soon come when consistency will be manifested, and so much money no longer wasted in this sentimental manner!"

The speaker proceeded, but the interest of the two listeners was flagging; so they quietly left the room.

They next entered Hall No. 17, devoted to "The Results of Home Missionary Work." But after remaining a very short time Miss Church-Member declared that she was interested more directly in Foreign Missionary Work.

In deference to her wishes he at once accompanied her to the second section of the Missionary College, which was much larger than the first. Miss Church-Member led the way into one of the large halls where Satan, through his agents, gave special instruction concerning "The Condition of the Heathen." They listened to four speakers from whose brief addresses they received food for thought.

The first speaker expounded the theory that "Ignorance is Bliss," and declared that the heathen were happy and comfortable in their present condition.

The second lecturer argued, at greater length, that the heathen were free from all responsibility as long as they were left alone, and that if God held them accountable, then their vague worship answered for a good conscience, and therefore they would reach Heaven by a simpler path.

The third speaker declared that the heathen were now as God had made them, and therefore just as they should be. To establish this theory he used garbled arguments of predestination.

The fourth assured the audience that the heathen, in due order, would rise to loftier conceptions by the same natural processes as the civilized peoples of to-day have risen from their rude primitive conditions.

After examining some heathen relics the two companions spent some time near-by in a hall of the same section devoted to "The Effects of the Gospel on the Heathen."

Its teachers were very emphatic in their utterances. They affirmed that the Gospel did not benefit the heathen, except that it brought to them civilization with all its attendant responsibilities and vices.

One lecturer to whom they listened was very fiery. In a scathing manner the speaker pronounced censure on the Christian church for her ill-advised policy in Foreign Missionary Work.

Mr. World and his close friend left the second section of the College without pausing to visit the recitation rooms where Satan's Missionary Experts were constantly teaching graded classes. In a few moments they entered the largest edifice of the Missionary College which was erected for the special purpose of teaching "The Comparative Need of Home and Foreign Missionary Work."

Upon entering, Miss Church-Member was surprised at the interior arrangements of the rooms and the exceptional beauty of their finish.

After a much needed rest in one of the sub-departments, they went to one of the higher floors, hoping to hear another lecture on some missionary theme.

Mr. World smiled as they entered the room and saw that a woman occupied the platform. In a jovial manner he remarked that "women must be the best missionary orators."

The speaker was keen-eyed and shrewd, and well knew how to use sophistry in pathos and wit. She expounded to the audience the doctrine of Satan under whose service she was pledged to loyalty.

"We are all missionaries," she commenced, "and cannot escape the responsibility which is imposed upon us. Our duty is imperative. We stand at the open door of opportunity and enter so slowly into the fields of work all around us. When one sees rank bigotry and narrow-mindedness on every hand, he feels like blushing that he ever sent money to convert the heathen in far-away lands. The heathen at our own doors are more blood-thirsty than the cannibals of distant climes. I appeal to you all, noble women especially, to rid your minds of the fallacy of foreign work and do the foreign work at home, even inside your own doors. (Applause, principally among the men, in which Mr. World heartily joined.) I must confess that, at one time, I was almost overcome by this craze of evangelizing the world. My delusion went so far that I could see visions of China, Africa, or the remote islands of the sea, and even imagine that I heard voices calling me thither. One night I dreamed a dream, the kindest of them all. I saw a woman standing on the shore of a river, her children drowning at her side. But she, unmindful of her own blood, was hastening to launch a boat into the stream that she might rescue a sinking dog on the farther shore. "Ungrateful wretch," I cried aloud on my bed so that I was awakened by my own voice. I was so moved by the dream that I could sleep no more that night, but sought for some one to make known unto me the interpretation thereof. I soon learned, to my personal shame, that I was that woman. I then and there vowed that I would no more be guilty of so great a crime. (Great applause, with cries of "noble decision!" "common sense!") From that hour I assure you that I have been trying to evangelize the world—not the one across the river, (applause) but the one on this side. (Applause.)

"I have been working at my own home and find a task almost too great for me to do. If I should ever see the day when I get through with my own family, including my husband, (great applause among the women) I can then commence busying myself with my neighbors' affairs and tell them also how to become perfect. (Laughter and applause.)

"God never made a greater world than when he instituted the home. The woman who becomes inspired with international evangelization would do well if she would learn how to season victuals and cook them aright (shouting and applause among the men) and to give proper care to her home and her children. This is home missionary work." (Continued applause.) The speaker was about to be seated, but the applause was rising, so she stepped forward again. "If this kind of missionary work be adopted, then the church will no longer be drained by repeated collections for missionary work, and that money will flow into better channels and prove an impetus to trade." She stepped quickly from the stage while the final burst of applause rang loud and prolonged.

"That was the greatest and most sensible missionary speech to which I have ever listened in my life," chuckled Mr. World as he was moving toward the door with his companion.

I learned from Blackana that this Missionary College of the Devil has wrought great mischief in the missionary operations of the church, ad that Satan glories in the fact that he has succeeded in sending these nefarious doctrines to the hearts of so many church-members and thereby kept a large part of the world in spiritual darkness.

Then I took a passing glance at the King's Highway and saw a shining pilgrim communing with God and casting his eyes over the hills of Time, looking for the coming of his Redeemer. From his lips this prayer arose, like sweet incense to Heaven: "O God, hasten the day when thy church will unite and go forth into all the world to preach the Gospel, instead of so large a part of it giving ear to the teaching of Satan's missionary schools, thereby delaying the coming of thy dear Son!"



CHAPTER XX.

THE RIVAL CHURCHES.

1. The two companions visit a church on the By-Path and are disgusted.

2. Then they are delighted with the services of the Church of the World whose minister they visit.

I saw the two happy companions leaving the Missionary College and proceeding on the Broad Highway. They were engaged in censuring the church for what they conceived to be its waste of time, talent, and mean in trying to convert the heathen.

This harmony of opinions was most pleasing to Mr. World. It was in sweet contrast to what he had previously experienced in his earlier acquaintance with Miss Church-Member. Her likeness to him and her love for him were becoming more noticeable as their fellowship continued, for she observed through her faithful lenses that his moral purity and refinement were above par.

While they were yet criticising the church, Mr. World espied, not far ahead of them, another path leading to the right. "Behold the narrow path yonder," he exclaimed in a somewhat surprised manner. "If it were not for a happy change in you, I would now be subjected to a score of sickly sentiments as to leaving this way and going with you to a harder one. Have I conjectured rightly?" he asked in a cheerful vein.

"It is all too true," she confessed. "If people could but see their folly before placing it on exhibition, what a blessing it would be to all around them!"

On the By-Path stood a small church within easy reach of the Broad Highway. As they came nearer to the place of worship they heard music which attracted them to the very door of the church.

"Let us enter," she suggested.

"I shall enjoy your pleasure," he courteously replied. "Only see to it carefully that your glasses are properly adjusted, lest some strange glimmerings of light should bring pain or ruin to your eyes."

I saw Miss Church-Member re-adjusting her lenses while they were entering the church and taking seats in the rear of the room.

The minister led the congregation in a fervent prayer which seemed to be altogether too Puritanical in the estimation of Mr. World and his friend. The preacher began his sermon. As he proceeded his countenance became more radiant. His clear eyes sparkled aright, and as he preached Christ and Him crucified even his raiment seemed bright and shining.

It proved to be a memorable meeting. A few who evidently intended to ridicule were pricked in their hearts and, much to the disgust of some, cried out: "What must I do to be saved?"

"Fools who came to scoff remained to pray."

"This is affectation in the extreme," whispered Mr. World scornfully.

"Quite enough of it, indeed," she returned.

The whole affair seemed to her so unreal that her mind could scarcely believe that she was ever connected seriously with such a method of worship.

Still worse than all, through her warped vision and the aid of her eye-glasses well adjusted, she was led to discern a wicked motive in the mind of the minister. His utterances also appeared miserably narrow.

At the request of Miss Church-Member they left the room, congratulating themselves that they were not compelled to remain longer.

"All this reminds me of how simple and foolish I once was," she said plaintively as they descended the front steps. "Is it possible that I was ever seriously connected with such a kind of worship? Yet ignorance is the mother of endless follies. Can we find no better place of worship than this?"

"Better by far! I can easily lead you to a church where great varieties of truthful and yet comfortable doctrines are preached, pleasing to the ear, and fascinating to the senses. No blunt fellow stands in its pulpit, but rather a cultured and highly refined gentleman of modern type who delights to keep apace with the customs of the age. If you desire, I will gladly accompany you thither. It would be sad indeed were you to be turned away from religion altogether just because your own church is so unsuited to your advanced ideas."

The face of Miss Church-Member brightened, and she quickly expressed her desire to accompany him to such a church. Therefore Mr. World improved the first opportunity and conducted her to a large and beautiful edifice.

"Here," he said, "is the kind of church to which I am inclined. I give very liberally to the support of the Gospel as here preached. I like the broad-mindedness and liberal spirit which is manifested within the domain of this denomination."

"In what else does this church differ from the one to which I belong?" she asked. "In this denomination your conscience is not always pricked and you can do many innocent things without being called a sinner. You may also consult your personal feelings relative to church duties. One is not bound down by a galling yoke of ecclesiastical tyranny. Best of all, this is an up-to-date church. You can learn something about science, philosophy, and civil government. In your church one must listen to the thread-bare doctrines of the Bible, much to his personal discomfort. Your minister exercises a censorship over the consciences of his members from which I prefer to be excused. In fine, I can say that nothing is developed there but a long face and a sanctimonious soberness."

They entered the church, and were conducted to a front pew.

The opening services were enrapturing to Miss Church-Member, and seemed unlike anything she had ever heard. The operatic rendition of the music, the ritualistic cast of the prayer and the soothing effect of the rhetorical essay which took the place of a sermon, all exercised a fascinating influence.

As the minister neared the close of his essay, he said: "Christ intended that man should enjoy liberty in this life, and that he should educate himself in the best schools of art, science, and literature. Therefore one has a right to seek, in this infinitely great world of ours, for such things as will best educate his natural and spiritual being. If the theatre can supply part of this demand, let him go, as a student, and drink into his soul through the senses of sight and hearing. If the dance can elevate him somewhat in demeanor and classical grace, let him go there as a student. If some milder types of indulgence can bring him into a more thorough knowledge of the weaknesses of human nature, let him indulge, but only as a student with sincerest motives. In general, I would say, that your conscience is a reasonably safe guide and you cannot go far wrong by obeying its dictates. Be a student all the days of your life; familiarize yourself with both the virtues and the vices of human kind that you may be better qualified to defend the right and resist the wrong."

At the conclusion of the services I heard the minister announce that the church would hold a "razzle-dazzle" party on Friday evening, at which he hoped there would be a good attendance, as the church treasury was in sad need of replenishment. He also announced that all the prayer-meetings would be discontinued for two weeks, so as to permit a thorough practice for the coming Cantata. After the dismissal of the congregation the two continued on their journey, which was ever opening to them new avenues of delight.

Miss Church-Member expressed supreme satisfaction regarding the scholarly sermon to which she had listened, and confessed that she had never heard a preacher in her own church take such advanced positions concerning the nature of human liberty.

Mr. World felt elated because his companion had found such exquisite delight in the worship of the same church to which he adhered. He also remembered, with pleasure, that they had safely passed the little church on the By-Way, which represented the same doctrines as the church to which his now confiding friend belonged.

"Would it not be more in keeping with your advanced Christianity if you were to withdraw your membership from your present connection and join a church more fitting to your degree?" were his suave words of invitation.

"That would be a natural question to consider after I know the rules and regulations of the church to which I intend to go."

"That only indicates your wisdom," said Mr. World insinuatingly. "Since you desire more congenial Christian fellowship, why not give your attention to the church toward which I lean?"

"An agreeable suggestion," she said. "Where can I get the desired information?"

He answered the question by taking her to the home of the minister, and there introducing the subject.

She was very favorably impressed by the courteous reception accorded her by so great and dignified a person.

"You come seeking knowledge of the church. I assure you, my young friend, that I will gladly answer any questions. May I take the privilege of asking you whether you have ever belonged to any church?"

She flushed with shame. "I will be true and tell you all. I had a great experience some years ago, when I was seeking Christ. In answer to my earnest petitions, I saw the most welcome beams of light that ever touched my poor soul. I knew I was converted to Christ and continued in his service ever since, although somewhat differently since I came into fellowship with Mr. World. I joined the church in which I was converted and still hold my membership there."

"How did you get so well acquainted with the happy Mr. World?"

Miss Church-Member answered half in quaint humor and half in pathos: "I, at one time, thought he was a very wicked fellow, and in a prayerful mood I endeavored to rescue him. I knew he would not come by his own effort to my way of thinking, so I entered into an alliance with him for the purpose of quietly leading him unto the King's Highway. I soon saw the bigotry of my former self, and through the kindness of Mr. World I have already been aided in my vision and improved in dress, and, better than all, I have enjoyed the privilege of worshiping my God in a more fitting temple, where true freedom is preached and practiced."

"Then it is your purpose to continue being a Christian, although you have left the King's Highway?" asked the delighted clergyman.

"As long as I live I will hold to my religion," she said emphatically.

"Then you are sound indeed both in purpose and doctrine. Did you wish to be visibly connected with our church?"

"I wish to know first its rules and conditions of entrance."

The minister opened his Guide Book and, duly adjusting his spectacles, read in a pleasing manner: "Anyone wishing to unite with this church must comply with the following rules and regulations:

"RULE I.—He must reach a reasonable degree of respectability, or endeavor to do so.

"RULE II.—He must not wear clothing so plain as to attract undue attention.

"RULE III.—He must not tolerate or countenance the common nuisances so prevalent in the churches of the King's Highway.

"RULE IV.—He must ever manifest a liberal spirit so as to keep in touch with the progress of the world.

"RULE V.—He may engage in any practice that will give enlightenment on either the dark or the bright side of life. Members of this church ought to have a well-rounded education.

"RULE VI.—He must never take advantage in buying or selling, except in such cases like Jacob's, where he can bring good to himself or profit to the church.

"RULE VII.—He must never give way to his temper, except in such cases where his personal liberty or his church is attacked.

"RULE VIII.—He is to cultivate grace and etiquette through whatever channel possible.

"RULE IX.—He is to be faithful in attending the services of his own church, except in cases of sickness or disinclination.

"RULE X.—It must be his constant aim to reach Heaven by traveling diligently on a way wide enough to hold the attention and respect of an enlightened age.

"These are our general rules. We have several thousand regulations covering every phase or avenue of life."

"What I have just now heard are certainly not as iron-clad as the rules of my church. Nothing is said of conversion, or spirituality, or of the Holy Spirit, or of the other Persons of the Trinity," commented Miss Church-Member.

"No, not of anything that is antiquated or, in other words, 'out of date.' The main church on earth must deal with practical things."

"What do you call 'conversion' in your church, or do you not believe in it?"

"Beyond any doubt we believe in conversion. Just as soon as a person confesses his faith in our general rules he is converted, and is at once a good Christian. The Bible says that if one will only believe he is safe: or 'saved already' as the true Greek rendering has it."

"Then you hold to the Bible strictly?"

"We are the only church that does really and truly hold to the Bible. We believe and teach it as it is preserved for the ages in the original Hebrew and Greek."

"But I notice that many of your rules seem to be at variance with certain parts of the Bible," she boldly declared.

"True enough, but those certain parts of the Bible do not belong to the genuine Scriptures. Whatever you find in the Bible contrary to our rules and regulations you can safely conclude is an interpolation and does not form a part of the inspired Word. Let me assure you, Miss Church-Member, that our discipline was written with great care by eminent scholars of the Hebrew and Greek; therefore how could there have been any error in it?"

Miss Church-Member was slightly confused, and evidenced by her manner that she was ready to depart.

"May I ask before you go," continued the minister, "whether you are willing to join our church?"

"I have been thinking," she replied, "that I could do more good in my own church, not by fighting it, but by using my influence quietly in trying to get some of its members to be more like I am. I have always had a missionary spirit. In that way I might satisfy my earlier ambitions and lead some one out of the mist into a better light."

"A very bright idea," testified Mr. World, advancing with Miss Church-Member toward the door.

"And may you succeed in your plans," added the minister as they were stepping from the room. "There are millions who belong to my church in spirit, but who hold visible connection with some radical church of the King's Highway. They are doing great service in eradicating old-time methods and planting the banners of a new liberty such as we three enjoy."



CHAPTER XXI.

FROM THE VALLEY OF CONVICTION TO THE DEVIL'S AUCTION.

1. Depression of Miss Church-Member

2. The Merry Village.

3. The Famous Cross Roads.

4. The Devil's Auction.

As Mr. World and Miss Church-Member proceeded on their journey they were frightened by a man who, with his hands uplifted and agony pictured on his face, came running toward them, shouting: "Let good sense control you and go no farther! Enchantment, spirits, witches, and unnamed hobgoblins dwell in every part of this hideous valley!"

"Oh, terror! What can this mean?" nervously asked Mr. World, as the stranger stood panting for breath.

"All a mystery! Even the air is filled with poison and weird music. I am thankful that I have escaped with my life."

"Come, come, Mr. Sin-Sick, tell us more about it. We may thereby profit greatly," said Mr. World with more composure.



"I had just been traveling farther down the valley of Thoughtfulness and Conviction when I heard multitudes shouting praises to One whom they called their Redeemer, each waving aloft a banner bearing the imprint of a cross. On the cross I saw these words: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' When I came nearer to the confusion I was suddenly seized with a peculiar conviction which brought grief to my soul; and, had I not made this timely retreat, I might have been brought under the power of those strange creatures. Oh, take heed and go with me some other way."

Mr. World readily consented, but Miss Church-Member was inclined to continue, confessing that she had once been a singer in such a valley, and surely no harm could befall them there. Mr. World thought it was the part of wisdom not to oppose her at this time, although he feared that she might be induced to leave him. He consented to go, pretending that it made no difference to him which way he traveled; but, as they walked on, the wary fellow was very careful not to step from the Broad Path.

When they came in sight of the valley Miss Church-Member lifted her glasses to test the strength of her eyes. Memory brought stinging grief to her heart. She commenced sighing for the old paths and also wept that she had for so long a time abetted her former enemies.

Her companion became alarmed at the new turn. "Be not so fool-hardy," he warned. "Your eyes are being needlessly ruined. Quickly replace those glasses lest you become totally blind."

She obeyed promptly and thus the intensity of conviction passed. Had her spiritual ears been open, she might have heard an angel sadly singing:

"Oh, hear the song of love that fills the air! Oh, heed the voice that pleads in touching prayer! Both fall upon your conscience now in vain, Through vile deceit your nobler self is slain."

In this vale she heard the word of God preached powerfully, and the calling of the Holy Spirit in unmistakable sweetness, but how could it affect one who wore such treacherous glasses and who considered her condition so favorable?

She passed through the valley with her faithful friend without being lured from the Broad Highway.

On the verge of the valley I saw a curiously shaped building and read these words over it:

TONS OF LAUGHTER: CHEAP ADMISSION.

A man with a strong voice stood along the path and cried out: "Whoa! Whoa! Ye travelers of this way! Come hither and drive away your cruel cares. Here is the greatest exhibition in the world. Smile and walk lightly, laugh and grow fat!"

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