« PreviousContinue »
to say, becomes an intellectual phase of redemption itself. Christ is the supreme Mediator, the supreme 'Peace,' because he stands as truly for the fine freedom of rational justice as he stands for love." Referring also to the condition of conflict in religious thought, the preacher says that it is conflict in the interest of a wider freedom and a nobler
peace: “For is not this very relation of initial controversies to final harmonies the distinguishing mark of the time in the fields of religious thought ? Our debates are as strenuous as ever, but something new is underneath them. Gladstone lies sleeping at last 'under the wings of renown' in the venerable abbey which Macaulay, you remember, called “That temple of reconciliation, where the enmities of twenty generations lie buried.' Are we not beginning to see the rising walls of a temple of reconciliation for the living, wherein Christ stands at the open door?” The questions in controversy are, it is true, imminent and wide. Old enmities' which are in the domain of ordinances' still divide even Christian men, Not only the supreme question of the age confronts us, What is the relation of the world of nature and scientific truth to the field of faith—but sharper issues are urged. A critical intellectualism, on the one hand, restating the origin and content of the biblical literature, meets on the other hand a profound renaissance of fa the authority of the irenic creeds, as articulating something of that Spirit of Christ which was promised to be always with his people; while, on the arena of practical affairs, in the Church and out of it, the field to the horizon is tumultuous with the stimulating though rather bewildering claims of the new sociology. Then, too, there are questions, more specific still, already enunciated in the papers to which this council has listened. The relation of our Churches, for example, to current ethical and public reforms; the question, than which none other is more imperative, of more practical federation of interests in our denominational field, as well as that magnificent and prophetic question of the closer federation of all our Protestant communions, in common Christian work and even worship. Questions such as these, instant and insistent, are at our doors, and concerning them our best and wisest men are not all agreed. But although the century is thus closing in our religious arena with such tumult of interrogation and debate, everywhere beneath the surface one feels the straining muscles of a double passion, not only that passion for intellectual liberty which was the bequest of the eighteenth century to the nineteenth, but the still deeper passion for a more spiritual and practical fraternity which is to be the bequest of the nineteenth century to the twentieth. And this deeper impulse toward fellowship is associated with a freshened and loftier sense of Christ. A more spiritual alliance is discoverable between freedom and faith. Men 'loose' are yet walking together in the intellectual furnace of the time because with them walks the "form like the Son of God.'* Dr. Lyman holds that the spirit of mediation is increasing in all our great Protestant bodies; that it is more and more illustrated in the actual
temper, the personal endeavor and achievement of representative Christian men and schools. He thinks, for example, that Principal Fairbairn's temper is expressed in his words, “The society of the Son of God is a family of brothers.” He says there are many men of similar temper on both sides of the sea. To Professor George P. Fisher, of Yale, this is his fitting reference: “If this were the fitting moment, one would quickly speak the name, for example, of our own noble scholar and Church historian, the enthusiasm of forty classes of students in yonder Divinity Hall beneath the elms, who, in the environment of a great university and fearlessly sympathetic with its spirit of literary and scientific criticism, has yet illustrated with singular breadth and constancy the spirit of fidelity to the ancient faith.” Referring to Dr. Richard S. Storrs and his great mediating, reconciling, unifying work in the American Board, during his eight years' presidency over it, are these just words: “One would speak that other name, which seems to shine across the land with a certain serene splendor, of him who sits crowned in our Congregational fellowship, about whose honored head the shadow of a supreme bereavement fell with last winter's snows; who, for more than fifty lustrous and devoted years, has proclaimed the pilgrim's faith; who, while inheriting and maintaining the traditions of a conservative ministry, yet stretched his two hands to the tips of both 'wings' of our American Board, interpreting each to the other, and steadily uniting them, until the threat of division passed away, and he was able to lay in the hands of a successor of kindred spirit, suaviter in modo fortiter in re,' the tested precedent and accomplished authority of a policy of Christian mediation, of union and of progress. In such instances and offices speaks the genuine and typical Mediator—the Peacemaker.” The following appeal to the ministry of his own Church is equally suited to other denominations than his own: “Let every Congregationalist, then, resolve to be himself plus something of his antagonist, in the spirit of that phrase of Burke, 'Our antagonist is our helper.' It is a peculiar attitude and temper which we need, I imagine, a certain air of intellectual and Christian chivalry. Let us especially avoid partisan polemics in Church councils, as well as in preaching, in writing, in denominational discussions. In a word, let us not carry the cudgel in front of the lantern, but the lantern in front of the cudgel. Let us be genial in little matters and fair in big ones. Polemics may speak the truth, yet not speak it in love.' Let us strain toward the common centers of things. Why should it be thought hopeless to practically unite a conservative liberalism and a liberal conservatism? I love the magnificent, manly splendor of that double thickness, suggested in such mutual extension and overlapping of complementary sentiments." Dr. Lyman's sermon closes in the same noble wisdom of spirit which warms and sweetens its whole course: “Christianity on its human side is comradeship raised to the level of consecration. Let us not fing stones at fossils; we have other work to do. Let us be marching men, not sitting too long by last
night's camp fires. With a certain buoyancy of purpose let us carry the flag of Christ, the double flag of liberty and faith, through the splendid opening twentieth century doors. And if the hands must ache and even bleed which hold that standard steady, let them ache, let them bleed. God is with us in the rocking time. If he were not, it would not rock so nobly. God is with us, because Christ is with us. Things are mor. ing, on the whole, not from good to bad, not from bad to worse, not from bad to good, but from good to better. This is the creed of the reverent evolutionist and the Christian; it is the inspired optimism of St. Paul: ‘For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. I plead for a definite and supreme endeavor everywhere among us to illustrate with an utter gallantry the spirit of the Christian mediation. I plead that freedom shall count itself bound under Christ's law of service. I plead that if any man or body of men dares to assume the awful and splendid rôle of freedom at the foot of the cross, that man or body of men shall be mediatorial as well as free, that so speaking truth in love (we) may grow up in all things into him, which is the head, even Christ, from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.'” Luxury and Sacrifice. By CHARLES F. DOLE, author of The Coming People, The
Golden Rule in Business, The American Citizen, etc. 12mo, pp. 63. New York and Boston: T. Y. Crowell & Co. Price, cloth, 35 cents.
Luxury is a relative term. Some may think the author's remonstrance against some degrees and forms of luxury not strenuous enough. His own view is put with clearness and consistency. His definition and doctrine of sacrifice are clear, wholesome, and practicable. We quote: “From all our experiences we read a profound law of life. The law of man's life is to march erect, with his face to the front. To look backward, to live regretful over the past, to contemplate its disappointments and reverses, and to stay in the evil company of one's mistakes and sins, is to thwart and spoil life. If a man were his own master he might have a right thus to live in the past, to beat his breast as much as he pleased, to shut himself up in the grim castle of his egotism. The truth is, he is not his own master. He is like a soldier under orders to hasten forward. Lame, wounded, beaten, blinded, he is still in the service; he must add his little to the help of the rest. While life lasts, it is all for the sake of the great cause. Pleasure and personal success become, therefore, incidental. The man's work is larger than to get pleasure or success for himself. His work is to put his whole life out in the service of the beneficent powers. He may seem, like William the Silent, never to win success in his immediate undertakings. It is enough that God's life flows in him. If God's life is his, joy is his too. He takes it as the soldier takes his rations, his rest, or his furlough, or, on occasion, the tremendous ventures of battle. ‘March on,' is the voice of the Master.
Trust him for more joy and new life as you go. Real life is here and now; it meets you as you move on. As Browning says:
Was it for mere fool's play, make-believe and mumming,
Of sacrifice the author writes as follows: “We ought by this time to have taken the word “sacrifice' entirely out of the class of dreadful and negative things, and to have placed it forever where it belongs, among the great positive and inspiring watchwords. What every chivalrous soul really wants is the opportunity of sacrifice, in other words, the opportunity of growth and life. Jesus expressed this fact when he said that the kingdom of God was like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found the pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.' What should we say if this man began to tell us of the terrible loss that he had undergone! The fact is, the man was never so rich before. His sacrifice was simply the process of translation from lower values into higher and more precious terms. The child gives up his own way to obey his mother; in that act he grows toward manhood. The youth gives up time and money to secure an education. It is not loss, but wise investment. The bridegroom says, "With all my worldly goods I thee endow;' the words of seeming renunciation are the fulfillment of all the lover's hopes. The mother forgets herself in her children; Nathan Hale, the patriot boy, gives his life. John Bright, the stalwart English reformer, with his young wife lying dead in his house, puts away his own personal sorrow at the thought of the needs of the poor, to do immediate public service for his country. You do not altogether pity the suffering mother, the martyred patriot, the burdened statesman and reformer. You glory in them; all men are richer for them; they opened the way for more life to come into the world. The hope of immortality itself stands in such lives. There is no difficulty now in understanding what has seemed to many one of the most difficult in the stories of the New Testament. It is the story of Jesus's treatment of the rich young man, earnest and lovable, who came asking what he must do to possess eternal life. Jesus's treatment of him seems almost harsh. Why should a man who had kept all the laws fail of winning eternal life? The fact is the young man had not yet caught the idea of what the quality of eternal life' is. He knew what a respectable personal life was, but he did not yet see that larger and higher thing, the social and miversal life—the life of God's sons. Eternal life is the life of sacrifice. We can imagine that some fine young man had come to Washington at Valley Forge with the question, what he needed to do to enter into the life of a patriot. Would Washington have simply told him to go on keeping the laws of his country? But the times demanded, as they always demand, something more vital than to keep the laws of decent society. 'If you want to be a patriot,' we can hear Washington say; 'if you wish to be one of my men, do what I am doing; put your fortune and life at risk, come with us and serve the utmost needs of the people. As a matter of fact, Washington lost neither his life nor his fortune, but he sacrificed them, that is, he held them utterly at the disposal of his country. And we all truly see the gulf of difference between such patriots as Washington and the men at Valley Forge, and men who merely kept the laws and looked after their property in New York and Philadelphia. So we all see the difference between the rich young ruler and Jesus. It is the world-wide difference between the narrow or selfish life and the social, the universal, the 'eter. nal' life, which holds all things as from God and for man. ... Christianity has hitherto only partially, feebly, and waveringly taught its great doctrine. Christendom has not believed its own gospel. For. saking the vital religion of Jesus and of all the heroes and saints as impracticable, men have put up with a sort of conventional Christianity, from which the great ideas of the Golden Rule and the real presence of God were dropped out. We are only beginning to find that these majestic ideas may be trusted and followed to their splendid conclusions, as surely as the law of gravitation or the fact of the sunshine. The fundamental duty of sacrifice is not a sad, repellent, negative rule, to scare the hearts of youth, to minimize life, to check man's eager desire for joy. It is a grand highway, where life may run to its fullest accomplishment and realization. It is a word to stir the chivalry of ardent and noble souls. We cannot repeat to this generation too clearly its stirring gospel-as sure as the universe—that it is safe and beautiful to live as if in the presence of God; that it is safe and beautiful to trust the voices of conscience and love-God's testimony within us; that this is to make all life sacred, to bring life to its highest efficiency. All details and conditions fall under the one comprehensive law. To sacrifice luxuries is to handle them efficiently for love's sake. How shall they do the most human service? To sacrifice money is to consecrate it to its largest opportunities in making men wise, free, virtuous, happy. To sacrifice time, so far from wasting it, is to spend it in the noblest way. Livingstone and Armstrong, men say, sacrificed their chances for making a fortune. In other words, they gave up a lower and smaller kind of life to take a higher and richer career. Shaw and Winthrop and many another young man in the time of the civil war died at the outset of their career. Jesus died a young man. Was this loss of life? Did Herod or Caiaphas or Cæsar begin to have life as Jesus enjoyed it? In the eyes of clear in. telligence, then, to make a sacrifice is to be doing precisely the thing which is best and most fruitful. To live a life of sacrifice is to be doing at every moment the most useful thing possible; it is to be constantly