The secret of Christian power is the alliance of our souls by faith with the loving heart of Him who called Abraham from a life among idolaters to a life of trust in Jehovah; of Him who empowered Moses to carry the burden of his people's woes because he lived as seeing the invisible God, of Him who gave victory to Joshua and to all who in human weakness have leaned confidently on divine strength. There is a doctrine of divine sovereignty which has made heroes, men of high enterprise and valorous achievement, which has armed the sling of David with might above Saul's or Goliath's spear, which made Elijah victorious over Ahab, which gave to Paul and Luther and Whitfield a spiritual power that has moved the nations. We deplore the unspiritualitv of the church. What do we mean by it? Partly this—that Christian disciples have, like the unbelieving world', fallen into distrust of spiritual forces. They believe in many things, in works of charity, in intellectual preaching, in boards of benevolence, in a hundred excellent things, but they do not heartily and practically believe that the church is supported and made efficient by supernatural power, they do not believe in the Bible doctrine of prayer, and this is resolvable into unbelief in an ever-present and almighty Lord, sovereign, gracious, and available to all the needs of his church. Dr. Fairbairn relates in a recent work the story of "a sturdy Scot, valiant in speech as in deed," who as English Embassador to the Court of Prussia sat at the table of Frederick the Great, then meditating a war whose sinews were to be mainly formed of English subsidies. Round the table sat French wits of the infidel sort, and they and the king made merry over decadent superstitions and the follies of the ancient faith. Suddenly the talk changed to war and war's alarms.
Said the long-silent Scot: "England would, by the help of God, stand by Prussia." "Ah!" said the infidel Frederick, "I did not know that you had an ally by that name," and the infidel wits smirked applause. "So please your majesty," was the quick retort, "He is the only ally to whom we do not send subsidies." The outspoken faith of the sturdy Scot in the alliance of Jehovah with Christian England illustrates the living faith in the all-sufficiency of Christ, which is the secret of the astonishing power which is sometimes wielded by the church, a faith which needs to be quickened in many of our hearts. One remark only, in closing, as to the method of removing these hindrances. It is a method which aims at a thorough and widespread revival—a revival from within the churches, not a general movement which sweeps along outside the great mass of our members—but one which, beginning, it may be, with the pastor's own heart,, reaches into all our Christian homes. Such a revival, coming from the Holy Spirit, through a simpler and more direct preaching of Christ, and in answer to faithful and persistent prayer, will sweep away the miserable obstructions to a glorious spiritual life in many of our churches, will send forth multitudes to preach the gospel in the streets of Chicago and the streets of Asia, will cause new and abundant riches to flow through the channels of benevolence, will answer a thousand cavils of unbelief, and be a stream that shall gladden the city of our God.
At the conclusion of Dr. Barrows' address the congregation sang, "My Faith Looks Up to Thee," followed by Mr. and Mrs. McGranahan, who sweetly rendered "Showers of Blessing." Prayer was then offered by Bishop Fallows, and the second speaker, by appointment, on the question treated by Dr. Barrows was introduced.
Rev. C. L. Goodcll, pastor of Cong'l church, St. Louis, Mo., continued the discussion, and in a simple, direct way, forcibly set forth some of the hindrances to Christ's kingdom, indicating at the same time how they might be removed. All the hindrances, he said, were on the side of Christian people. These hindrances were cruel things, obstacles in God's highway, and should be hated. As torpedoes were placed in the way of the Czar of Russia, which, exploding, killed him, so modern infidelity was planting torpedoes and waiting to see them explode, and the church thus overthrown.
The first hindrance was a want of honor for God's house and respect for His ordinances. While he loved the home, there must not be forgotten His love for the gates of Zion. His house was dishonored, and yet how easy for all to put such a hindrance away, and the house of God be filled. How great the blessing that would fall when the old sentiment of loyalty to God was again turned.
A second hindrance was the tendency to show and display in worship rather than one to open the fountains for the thirsty that they might come and drink. If there were to be cast out of God's house all that did not tend to edify and save men, how much would go; but there would be souls left to take the water and bread of life unto a new service. Stitching on this and that beautiful apparatus would not save men. Let the word sweet and pure be given them, and instead of losing the house and the people there will be a gain, for where the water is there will the thirst}- come.
Another practical hindrance, perhaps raised unconsciously, was the seeking to gain hearers rather than doers, multitudes rather than converts. It was one line of policy to fill pews and make things grand so that how many will say, "We've got the right man now; this one will convert the world." Hut there was a line of work which tells over this mere hankering for numbers; it was that in which one sought to convert to Christ, and shape the life of the church around Christ, seeking to bless and to save men. Heaven sent forth such a man and the power was given him to lead others.
Another hindrance to be removed was the resisting of the spirit and the grieving of the spirit of God. This was constantly done by all, for man loved the world and resisted the call. The power of the church went out, but there was no arrow to the mark.
Another hindrance was the loss of the first love. The mightiest in the home is the love of husband and wife for each other. They love each other, and will sit by each other through the year, bearing burdens for each other. Love was strong. It was the strongest thing in the church. It was the unity of the church. The love of Christ in the early church made it mightier than Cxsar. It carried it through deserts and over mountains.
What we want in this city is to go back to our first loves, and let all our being go out to Christ. Another thing is faith. The word was pronounced often. We wanted a practical, earnest belief in what Christ said. The faith men were the mighty men. The skeptical men were weak, and they had never accomplished anything in this world. It was faith that helped Columbus to find out this new world. No skeptic would ever have accomplished what that faith man accomplished. The disciples were not able to cast out evil spirits, because of their unbelief, Christ said. It was the same unbelief that was weakening the church to-day. We needed more faith. We needed to believe as the church believed when it went out to conquer the world. Faith would conquer, and did the church have faith it would conquer. Prayer and faith and love and righteousness were the powerful things in the world. When we had these we need not fear the sinful things.
Dr. Goodell had hardly finished when the leader, Mr. Moody, was on his feet and talking a race with the seconds, as though he was trying to make a ten-minutes' speech in the two minutes left of the morning session. "One great hindrance," said he, "is so much talk about the hindrances. The less said about hindrances the better. [Laughter.] I have known a great many congregations to be discouraged by talk on the dark side. When a man loses heart and becomes discouraged, he begins to look on the dark side and is not fit for God's service. You can't find from Genesis to Revelation where God has ever used a discouraged man. Four times he tells Joshua to take courage. The moment that he gets his eye off" from God he begins to look at the darkness and the walls of Jericho, and he savs, '• We are not able to go up and possess the land." But the Lamb is going to prevail. It has become a lion. Let infidels talk as they will, Christ is going to prevail. I heard a man in Boston talking about the wickedness—just as you people have been talking about the wickedness in Chicago. Don't talk about the wickedness. You can't convert it by that. I said to my Boston friend who was so discouraged, "Have you any doubt about the final result?" He looked at me a moment and then said, "No." He had never thought of that.
Well, Christ is going to triumph. Let us not talk about discouragement then. Let a minister go into a church and talk that way and he will carry his discouragement into all the pews. Why, don't you remember, it is promised that one shall chase a thousand and two shall put ten thousand to flight. It won't take long to put all our enemies to flight in that way. When a child is linked to God and heaven he is a power. You remember what a power old Elijah was on Mount Carmel. He was more powerful than Ahab and all his court. They were not to be compared with this one righteous man. But the moment the old man got his eye off" from God he was weak as other men. When he kept to his text he was strong, but when Queen Jezebel sent to him her threatening message be began to think of it instead of God and went over and sat under a juniper tree to grieve. There area great many Christians sitting under the juniper trees like the old prophet. What we want is courage and hope. Let us look on the bright side. Let us remember that it was a succession of victories from the manger to the the cross. The men of that day, however, thought it was a failure. They thought it was all dark when they laid away the Lamb in the tomb, but on the third day rtiey saw Him rise a lion. Let every one of us remember this, and that Christ is bound to triumph. Let us look on the bright side."
With hymn nS, by the congregation, the morning session was concluded.
THE NOON MEETING.
But who thought of leaving? Few, indeed. The hour for the noon prayer-meeting had arrived, and the announcement was duly made by Mr. Moody. He bade the people move into what seats were vacated, and hymn 334 to be sung. There really seemed no decrease in attendance. During the entire morning there had been men standing in the rear of the auditorium, and both gentlemen and ladies had hunted out some "coigne of vantage" on the gallery stairs leading to *vhat may be called the proscenium. So the prayer-meeting became a continuation, in the matter of close attention and interest, of the morning session proper. After the hymn prayer was offered by J. W. Deane, the evangelist, and another hymn sung. Then Mr. Moody addressed the people on a theme befitting the designated character of the hour. He called the attention of his hearers to Christ as an example in prayer, a man of prayer. In everything lie did He prayed. Again, His prayers were very short. The only one of any length was John xvii. Christ spent one whole night in prayer before the choosing of the twelve, and before that memorable sermon on the Mount. He had heard directly from the Father in prayer. Why might not man expect an answer from Him?
Illustrative of the efficacy of prayer, Mr. Moody drew from the experience of himself and Mr. Sankey, and told with increasing feeling of the efforts of the two evangelists when first they appeared at Cambridge University, England, and set themselves the crucial work of addressing the students, with a view to their conversion. It was a Saturday eve in November, Guy Fawkes night. The first attempt was cruelly discouraging. The students not only applauded the hymn, but the prayer, turning the whole service into ridicule. So it was on the following Monday night. Wednesday the evangelists assembled some of the mothers of the town, and there was pra_> er. Wednesday night came, and the university meeting was again held. Under the circumstances, and beneath such criticism as they were enduring, Mr. Moody could preach with but little fervor, though he felt that the prayer would be answered. And he asked if there was one young man in the university who had the moral courage to rise and go to the gallery^ where he might be talked with by the evangelist. It was an awful test, said Mr. Moody, but at last one arose, and it seemed as if fifty more followed. From that hour until they left, the evangelists found more work than they could do.
A few days ago, in the way of fruits of this first trial, Messrs. Moody and Sankey were asked to return to Cambridge, where they now have the pleasure of heroes in knowing that the good they did lived after them. And what was the agency in all this? Not, said Mr. Moody, in his own preaching, nor in the singing of Sankev, but in prayer. So, concluded Mr. Moody, what was wanted was to get into living communion with God in prayer. Let men get together and see how quick the blessing comes.
When Mr. Moody had concluded, Mr. Sankey announced hymn 356, "All-seeing, gracious Lord," and the congregation joined in with a hearty good will. Prayers were offered by various member*
of the congregation, when, the doxology being sung and the benediction pronounced, the immense gathering filed slowly down, occupying the sidewalks for blocks in every direction.
In the afternoon the hall began to fill up an hour before the opening and even before all were out from the noon prayer meeting.
Mr. Sankey came in at 2:15, and went at once to the organ, inviting the people to pass the fifteen minutes remaining before the opening in singing familiar hymns.
At 2:30 sharp Mr. Moody stepped upon the platform, and at once opened the convention by announcing the hymn, "I will sing of my Redeemer."
The Rev. Flavel Bascom made the opening prayer, after which the congregation, led by Mr. Sankey, sung, "Lo! the day of God is breaking."
Mr. Moody said that Dr. Goodell had a church of 850 members and he understood that the pastor knew each one of these personally. He would like to ask how he did this. He understood that the Doctor visited all his people, and he would like to ask how he found time to do it.
Dr. Goodell answered that he made it.
"How do you make it?" asked Mr. Moody.
"I take the time from other things. I spend all my evenings in visiting and do not spend one at home with my good wife. I try to see some one."
"How many members had you when you took the church?"
"I had ninety-two."
How many have you now?"
"Nine hundred and fifty," was the answer.
Mr. Moody said there was nothing like success, and those pastors who were successful he would like to have them tell this meeting how they succeeded.
He then calied upon the Rev. Mr. Weston, of Peoria, to tell how he managed his church.
Mr. Weston said Mr. Moody was a good man to ask questions, and a better one to answer them. He then said we wanted the preaching of doctrine and of duty. Preach that this was a lost world, that the people were perishing on the right and on the left- God had ordained that this world should be saved, but lie would save it only through human instrumentality. They should preach to the laymen. God had ordained that all the members of the church army should take part in this work. There were none so rich or so cultured that they had no responsibility in this matter. There were none so poor and so obscure that they were not responsible. All were responsible, and all were to take part in the work. They were to preach this to the people, and not settle down on a few prominent members to do all the work.
When the walls of Jerusalem were to be rebuilt, every one took part and built that portion of the wall opposite his own door. It was not enough though to preach this, but the minister must set the example. The people needed leaders, and the pastors were the best ones to lead.
It was not enough to tell how to do the work, but to lead in the work. If the pastor was going to take strongholds of sin, he should ask his people to follow him.
Then there must be organization if the church was going to do anything. The hit or miss style would not do. Every one working as he pleased might do in some cases, but it was by systematic work, thorough organization, that the work always could be depended upon. The church people were surprised at the success of the politicians who were able to move the whole country. It was because the politicians were organized, and when they struck a key note the whole people heard. God's people must be as wise as the world's people, and then they would be as successful. In organizing church works there must be a place made for every man, and every man fitted to a place in which he could work. Let each class work where best fitted.
In his church Mr. Weston said he had four classes. He had the little boys of the church work in one department, the young ladies in another, the young men in another, and the married ladies in the fourth.
Dr. Goodwin asked Mr. Weston what proportion of his church he succeeded in bringing into the work by this plan.
Mr. Weston answered that the proportion varied with different times in the year, but on an average he believed he had fully onehalf at work. At certain seasons, as now, the opening of the year, when they were preparing the winter's work, the proportion was somewhat larger. But he did not always use the same plan in getting his people to work. One plan would do for one year and the next year they would need an entirely different plan. He changed his plan of work every year.
It was asked what Mr. Weston did with his married men. He answered that the majority of the men of his church were railroad men, and they had to work day and night, Sundays included He could not very well put them into harness. But they worked in the young men's class. He had 800 members, and had built it up from a small mission.
Mr. Moody here took up the discussion.
He spoke of a gentleman in New York who had been inquiring about Mr. Weston's church. A man in New York had died and left about $1,250,000 for this good friend to invest where it would do the most good for Christianity. He was looking out for the good places.
This was the most vital question that would come before the convention. They wanted practical men and women in the churches. They did not want any sleeping members. In England silent partners were called sleeping partners. There were a good many people who had an idea that the Lord wanted sleeping partners.
In London there was a church called the Church of Ease. A good many people thought the churches were all places of ease. They were not. We had an eternity in which to rest. We should work while here. We needed leaders. It was said that Csesar's success was in saying "come" instead of "go."
Mr. Moody had twelve propositions to lay down.
First, let the church lay out its work.
The second field of labor was to let those who were competent go into the Sabbath School.
The third was to secure for leaders in church work those who were leaders in society.
Fourth—They should get all the music possible into the church, and get all the singers into the choir. Let them sing the best they could; do not quarrel with them if that is not very good. Mr. Moody said he could not sing much, but when he sang the best he could that was as much as Mr. Sankey could do. Singing was a great power in the church. The Methodists had sung the gospel clear round the world in a few years. They should get the lay element to work and get them to sing. Get five hundred in the choir if that many wanted to sing, for their preacher would have a good congregation in the choir if no place else. Let all join who wished. If they did not sing in time let them sing the b^st they could, and get them to sing from the heart. Mr. Moody did not know anything about time, but he could tell when people sung from the heart. With good music the preachers would preach better. About one out of twenty in the churches were fond of fine music, but the other nineteen were not, and he would advise that the one be allowed to lookout for himself, while the churches looked after the nineteen.
He told a story of two doctors, one of whom was better in his studies, but the other was more successful in practice. The student wanted to know the reason for the other's success, and he replied that only one in twenty people stopped to think. The student was after the one, the other got the nineteen. One went for class, and the other got the patients. The preacher should not be always looking after the cultured, the educated, tbe people of influence. Let him look after the people.
Fifth—The non-church goers should be looked after. There should be a record kept of such people in the parishes. Have them visited often, and after awhile they would go to church to get rid of the visitors. The idea that we should open the churches and invite the people to come was not the idea of the Gospel. That was to go out and bring the people in. We were to be seekers. Mr. Moody would have a committee to visit the non-church goers. The minister should look to it and have people in the church who did not want strangers in their pews, fill them up with their friends. The pews should be full, and if the pew-holders did not fill them, let the ushers do it.
He then told several incidents showing how church people often drove strangers from their churches by coldness and a lack of interest in them.
There should be a committee to visit the sick. It was folly to talk about the minister being the best person to visit the sick. The speaker said he would rather go almost any place than to a sick room. He never had been sick in his life, except sea-sick, and he did not know how to sympathize with sick people. He wanted those who knew what sickness was to do this work, for none would know better how to express sympathy and give comfort. He would also have a mothers' committee. Not bne minister in one hundred could talk to young mothers and give them advice. The ministers could not rear their own children. To talk to the young mothers he wanted the godly mothers who had reared families. We wanted to make these young mothers practical. He would also have a committee of the best and pleasantest people in the church to meet strangers when they went to the service, and show them the best pews.
Mr. Spurgeon gave up the best pews in his tabernacle to strangers, and for that reason his church was popular and he had a great field. We should not think too little of other men's talents, and think they could not do anything. Every man could do something. Every one had a talent for something.
lie told the story of a Swede who could not speak English who asked to be set to work in the meetings held in Farwell Hall several years ago. Mr. Moody had not known what to do with the man, but at last sent him out on the corner of Clark and Madison streets to give out bills. The man had a sweet face and it was always beaming with smiles. He could not understand English and he staid there giving to every man that passed a bill. Sometimes a passer-by would curse him, but the poor Swede did not know but it was a "God bless you," and sounded sweeter than ever.
In Edinburgh the ladies of the churches went down into the poor district and took charge of the babies of the mothers there while they came to his services.
If there was any class of people he sympathized with it was these mothers with large families, deprived from all outside comforts. He hoped the time would come when mothers would be invited to bring their babies to church.
This proposition seemed to be understood by a little one in the rear of the hall, for it set up a cry that would have discouraged any speaker but Moody.
The audience laughed at the incident. Mr. Moody was not in the least disconcerted, but said:
I like to hear babies cry. One of the best things I ever saw was a big, strapping fellow trying to lull a crying baby to sleep while its mother was in the inquiry-room. The babe had been crying and the mother was almost distracted. The young man watched her for awhile and then said: "You go into the inquiry-room and let me take care of the baby." And he took the child in his arms while 8,000 people looked on and strode up and down the aisle with it while it cried. If they do cry it won't drive me from the pulpit, nor do I want it to drive the mothers from the meeting. If the child cries aloud I can speak louder.
Mr. Moody lifted his voice a pitch higher, while the baby in the rear of the hall, which had continued to cry, raised its little voice until it was almost a match for that of the speaker, and the audience again laughed. Mr. Moody, proceeding, said he was preaching in London once when a ferryman came to the meeting, who was allowed to do so by one of the wealthy men of the church running the ferry during his absence. Another way to interest the people was to invite the church-goers to call upon the non-church goers. It would benefit both.
The topic of the afternoon was:
The discussion was opened by the Rev. C. L. Goodell, D. D., of St. Louis, with the following address:
The purpose of this convention seems to be not to discuss new truths, but practical truths; to stir the movements of old creeds in Zion, that they may bring forth old churches to better service. Truths are very simple, and yet to handle them so as to bring practical results requires great skill and devotion of heart and spirituality of life. To pick up the doctrines that we have heard and apply and connect them so as to make it better is no slight thing. God only can help us to do it; and the application of these truths and principles, that seem so commonplace because we have heard them so much, is the question we have before us.
How to set to work the lay elements in our church is a very practical and important question. It may be divided into two sections. First, the doctrines that incite to effort; second, the methods by which it is to be directed.
To consider first the doctrines that incite to effort. In a cold, dead time in the Church of England, when the hearts of people were spiritually dead, in the diocese of Winchester, a powerful preacher was set to stir the clergy. From all over the diocese they came together to hear him. He announced his subject as "The existence of God." "Why," they said, " that will not quicken our hearts. I supposed he had brought to us some new truths, some truths that would startle us." But the outcome of the service was this; he said: "If God does exist. His threatenings are true, His promises are true, and anything revealed concerning Him is true, and they are burning truths. We must prepare to meet our God in all our shortcomings. Prepare now to meet thy God."
The sermon broke up the spiritual lethargy of his hearers, and they went to their homes and worked powerfully. That sermon sent them home to work, sent every man into his vineyard with his spade. Now, so must we do as ministers and Christian workers to-day. If we would set the people to work, speak of the Lord Jesus, speak of His wondrous love, of His great sacrifices, of His saving cross, of His righteousness, of His truth. Preach Christ. There is no truth under heaven so fit to stir the heart; there is no truth so fit to interest a true man, year after year. Nothing is better than to listen to the preaching of Christ from the uplifting on the cross to the wonderful story of His love. The old, old story! It will stir the heart to service.
It will inspire all the finest qualities of the heart to work. So the minister who wants to draw the people to work and stir the soil in the vineyard and make every tree fruitful—let him begin with Christ; let him preach Christ and Him crucified until all the people see the cloven side and grasp the bruised head. The person loving Him the most will do the most in His vineyard. The person whose soul is most faithfully imprinted with the worth of His sacrifice, is the person who will be best, in and out of season, in drawing souls to His feet. And the minister and worker who keeps nearest to him will bring others nearest to Him. And the man who does most in leading will do the same for himself. How essential is it that we preach the word baptized in the blood of the cross; vitalized and made pure by the Holy Spirit.
A thousand things may be preached full of novelty and attraction; but soon they go out, and leave the whole a desert. But he who preaches Christ and Him alone, and sets forth the words of redemption, is the one who will succeed. His work will be hallowed by the Lord. Now we have tried to do this. We have sought to preach Christ, and to set forth His truth. But we must praise, we must be filled with Him and speak for Him, and live in Him. Now this is the doctrine.
If a man preach this, and teach this, and live this—there are the elements of the mighty church, of a powerful, spiritual community. Such truths beget sons and daughters of God. Such truths quicken and vitalize society. Such doctrines build up, and never pull down, and where the word of God is so given out with the believing heart, a heart trusting in God, and beating with the love of God, there will be blessing indeed. There will be movement. It will be the stream of life.
The church will be the river of God, and as it flows on it will be separated according to the various conditions of all. Here into prayer sunrise, here into Sunday school work; in other places according to the ability and fitness of the people.
Then comes the question how to utilize this power that this truth has awakened, that such doctrines have begotten, that such fullness and presence of Jesus in the church has inspired? How, I say, shall we utilize this power, and quicken and gather the saved up, because the soul that is not set to serve soon perisheth; loses its energy; wastes its power. When Saul was converted he asked, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" This is the question of every soul when converted.
What will the Lord have me to do? When Christ ascended to heaven, His disciples stood aro'ind the Mount of Olives, and in a little time Christ sent an angel down to stir them up—an angel straight from His throne to put them to work. Then came the Pentecost and the fire; then the zeal everywhere working—founding churches. So the faithful pastor, the true preacher, the successful Christian leader, will be careful to take all this fire and intelligence and love and devotion, and turn off into channels of usefulness and high Christian endeavor. Now what profits it if you melt the one in a furnace and do not draw it off, but simply go again the next day and melt it, and again do not draw it off, but let it cool in the furnace? And yet how much just such work is done like this. Men go to prayer-meeting and associate together and rejoice. They do not go next day to see a sick brother, to look up a wandering Sundav-school scholar; do not go to work among their own children, but simply continue in the old way until next meeting, and then heat the ore over again. This is barrenness. The ore is soon burnt and spoiled. The pastor should be a wise master-builder. You must send out the runner, the swift of foot, throughout the parish, throughout the community, as a flame of fire that will send hearts that have been kindled, to your church; to your Sunday services and your week night services.
How do you get water to the family across the way? The water will never leap from the river to the house. Men must lay the pipe. How is a room in a house to be lit? A pipe must be laid from the gas-meter to every room in the house you want lighted. How are we to bring this Gospel of Christ to those who do not go to the meeting when the fire is kindled? By making every person take a live coal and touching with it the lips of the other brethren, of the child and brother who go wandering, of the lost soul. In my early parish there was opposite my study a beautiful little home. A fountain played before it; a wide lawn encircled it; shady trees protected it, and a lovely household filled it. Day after day I prayed to God earnestly that His Spirit might come to them, and that they might be saved. One day, standing there watching the house—God had not yet answered my prayer, but time was going on—they seemed as far from the water of life as ever. Standing there I saw the gas burning in a rooms of the house. It had been "brought" there. Water played in the fountain. It had been brought there by patient effort. God spoke to me in that thought. I asked myself, "How will Christ be brought to them unless you are the conductor? Go to them." And that afternoon I went to the house. Soon the lady bowed in prayer in the parlor, and gave her heart to the cross. Soon her husband was led to the Lord, and the whole family. That was the greatest lesson that has ever come to me during my ministry. I said afterward that I would lead the living stream to perishing souls; and I venture to say that a thousand souls have been redeemed to the cross through the providence of Christ
And I give the incident to-day as a practical way in which we are to take Christ to others. When I asked the lady if she would accept Christ, she said, "I will. I have been hoping you would come around and see me many a day" How many in our parishes are waiting for the word! How many are waiting for the water of life! How many are waiting for the light of life, and we can carry it if we will. Now, there are a few departments of special work—dependencies on the house of God—that the pastor should watch with great care and prayerf ulness and spiritual wisdom. I wish to speak of the utilizing of some of the special classes of people in a church, and I commend the words that I have spoken to those that shall hear. The remarks that I shall make will seem to some commonplace. But their carrying out is that which fills the church and keeps the spiritual fire burning on the altars of God.
First, of all; keep the services of the Lord's day open; keep them warm; keep them full of the love of Christ and the power of God. Keep your light lighted. Teach your family to honor the house, the Lord, and the day; teach them that that is the place in which to honor God and in which to expect to receive His special blessing. That old truth made new by the presence of the Holy Spirit will fill our church; give effectiveness to our Sabbath services; produce changes over the entire face of society.
And the prayer meetings and the mid-week services, they have a work to carry on of joy and sweetness, to elevate the world. Let the excellence of Carmel come there, and the sweetness and majesty of Lebanon, so that men shall delight to go to them. Let the Sunday school life be fresh and vital. Let there be an eye on every class, watchfulness and care everywhere. Let there be Bibles and libraries, and maps and other helps, quickening in every way the efficiency and advice. Do not expect that this work will take care of itself.
Then let there be a missionary spirit; let there be a missionary library, for the most vitalized Christian life is beyond the seas, in foreign fields. The home work may have been dimmed for a wbile, but information shows that it was never more powerful than now in foreign fields. Christianity here feels its influence. It is under its influence, and the work for it, that new light is spreading over it, Let the histoiy of heroic missionaries speak for it; of great devotion; praise it. Let the histories of this work be put into the hands of every child, and the maps of it too. Let the spiritual work be done from house to house.
Let the parish be mapped out and districted, and from all these departments have reports made to the pastor and to each other in meetings.
Let there be cottage meetings in the distant districts, in the neighborhoods where it is not so easy to preach in. Let every week be held cottage evening meetings. Those who first slyly attend these will soon become warm and blessed and become regular attendants upon the larger meetings. Prayer and work, doctrine and dutv, truth and light from God carried in the heart along every highwav and byway, into every home, and those that are distant and cold shall be warmed, and the parish shall be alive, and God shall be over all, and over the parish there shall be new births into the kingdom of Heaven.
"HOW FAITH SPREADS."
The next topic for discussion was assigned to the able hands of the Rev. S. J. McPherson, of the Second Presbyterian Church, of this city.
"How Faith Spreads" is plainly told in the last words of Jesus Christ, recorded by Luke. He there instructs His disciples that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send forth the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high."
Here are at least three fundamental facts, i. The power by which Christian faith spreads is "power from on high"—the Holy Spirit—operating through Christ s regenerated disciples. 2. The process of spreading it is by gradual radiation from the vital center of personal faith to the world lying dead in unbelief, " from Jerusalem "—from Chicago—" unto all the nations." 3. The means by which it is spread is the Christianized contagion of personal influence. That is, before we preach the gospel we must possess the power; and our immediate work must always be with those who are next to us; and after we have ourselves become photographic negatives of the living Christ, we must, under the gospel's own light, imprint His image upon men by actual contact with them. As illustrative of this principle, notice a few New Testament symbols —Faith is a leaven. Beginning always in a leavened center, it sends infectious power throughout a lifeless mass by touching every particle of it until the whole is leavened. Faith is a mustard seed. Within it there is found, latent, the force which slowly produces the mustard tree, "the greatest among herbs." Its seed is in itself, absorbing into its energies the inert elements adjacent; it mightily assimilates them to its own nature.
Faith is living water which, rising out of Christ, its original fountain, not only slakes eternally the thirst of every receiver, but becomes in each a new fountain springing up to everlasting life for others. Faith makes Christians the salt of the earth and the light of the world, because they both possess Christ-like character and exert Christ-like influence. Salt preserves; light creates. Salt acts from within, by permeation, from atom to atom, seasoning and conserving whatever it touches; light acts by diffusion, from a center, by radiation, illuminating and quickening whatever it falls upon. Salt is opposed to false profession; light to useless possession. Salt, so long as it retains its saltness, is forced by its natural pungency to preserve; and light is so compelled by its natural radiance to shine that you cannot destroy its rays without destroying itself. For light consists in shining. Faith is a baptism of fire. Burning first in Jesus, and then in His followers, it sweeps outward in all directions; not by leaping over long intervals, but inch by inch, each bit of glowing heart-fuel communicating it to the next; yet it ever burns with the divine energy of the kindling spark. Again, faith is a life. It must reproduce itself. No lower force can generate it. But it will be propagated in proportion to the energy existing in its original source and to the sympathy of those who transmit it.
Faith, then, does not come by chance. It is Jesus Christ reproducing Himself in us and through us, accomplishing at every step the nearest and most natural effect of His power, and instantly converting each effect into a new cause. It is after this fashion that faith has spread in every period of sacred history. For example, when God would obtain a peculiar people among an apostate world, He called not a race, but one man. To Abraham was the stupendous promise given that in him should all the families of the earth be blessed. That promise first awakened Abraham's own faith and made him the personal friend of God; then through Abraham it reached Sarah and Isaac and the patriarchal household. Thence through Isaac and Jacob it descended to the growing race of Hebrews, and thence through Jesus to mankind—the individual, the family, the nation, the world. These are the stages in the propagation of Old Testament faith. The same fact appears in the earthly career of Jesus. He did not send faith down out of heaven; He brought it; He exemplified it; He died for it. Most of His ministry was private, opening the fountain of rapturous faith in a few at the beginning of the stream of Christian history.
For thirty years He illustrated the new life in the strange silence and solitude of Nazareth. Even in his brief public ministry it was rather the exception than the rule for Him to present his gospel to promiscuous assemblies, as when he fed the 5,000, or preached on the mount to multitudes, or made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The universal proclamation was rather reserved for a later stage of development; his personal ministry was mainly to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He proceeded from the few to the many only sorapidlv as he could vitalize those nearest to Him. Hence, He revealed His divine power at the wedding in Cana, to the obscure mourners in Nain, to one depraved woman at the well of Samaria, among the dear household of Bethany, in the wilderness, by the wayside, and most of all among that select school of disciples who were to graduate as His apostles. These he trained precept upon precept, line upon line, making sure that they experienced the grace which they were to preach, and then, after they had become eye-witnesses to the marvelous events culminating in His resurrection and ear-witnesses to the gospel revelations embodied in His own person, and, most of all, heart-witnesses to the regenerating powers summed up in the gift of the Holy Ghost. He sent them forth to communicate to others the divine contagion which they had caught from Himself.
In planting and training the Christian Church, His apostles continued to follow the same method. Pentecost was the original mustard seed, which has grown into the wide-spreading tree of Christendom.
The risen Savior's handful of witnesses, because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance, and "the same clay there were added unto them about 3,000 souls." One touch of the quickened body of Christ's followers began to waken a dead world to life, and "every nation under heaven" felt the resistless impulse of divine life. From that vitalized center the vital leaven of Christ's grace was steadily propagated in all directions, from atom to atom of mankind's huge mass, until this leaven of the spirit was neutralized in the Roman Empire by the poison of political power, and the life of faith was smothered in tne papacy by the smoke of ritualistic incense and of grinding ecclesiastical machinery. Faith declined because the gospel was preached by worldliness and ceremonialism instead of consecrated personal influence. The church became bloated and mori. bund; immorality honeycombed her with "indulgences;" the "dark ages" ensued. Not until the emancipated monk of Erfurt lifted his face to Jesus Christ, saying " Thou art my righteousness but I am Thy sin," did faith again begin to spread among mankind.
That one man, Luther, transformed by simple faith, became the quick center of the new world of Protestantism. Like Wesley, and Edwards, and Finney, and many others great and small, in our own day, he illustrated afresh the true centrifugal force of Christianity. That is, it spreads by the sole power of the Holy Spirit; it spreads outward from a vitalized heart to dependent extremities; and it spreads gradually, step by step, by a law of personal contact. Without stopping to inquire why the Master has preferred to propagate faith by what we may call this natural method rather than by a perpetual series of miracles, observe how it does in fact spread, now in concentric circles throughout all the spheres of Christian life. Beginning with the outermost ring, it operates thus:
1. In the foreign mission work, whose flourishing periods have always followed times of special consecration in the church at home. For example, it was characteristic of the second stage of apostolic history, when Paul and his colleagues carried the gospel over the Roman Empire. In the middle ages it languished because the church was stagnant at home. To-day it again sweeps over the world in ever-widening waves, because our churches are recovering apostolic faith and zeal.
2. It operates similarly in home mission work. Plymouth Rock, like the stone that smote the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, has become a great mountain and is filling the nation. But Plymouth Rock lay dead, the inert plaything of restless sea waves for ages, until it was made a living stone by Puritan faith and prayer. So to-day, in proportion as the Church of Christ in great centers of population is aflame, like the consuming, unconsumed burning bush, do we see the fire of the gospel glowing in the towns of the frontier.
3. Faith spreads similarly around every local church. A church's spiritual influence is in direct ratio to its own faith and fidelity. It can win its neighborhood to Christ, not merely by its wealth, or its culture, or its social position, but solely as these and other talents are inspired by vivid faith in Christ crucified. That Master says: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me."
4. But these principles must operate specially in the individual Christian. Indeed, every general movement of faith has been radically nothing more than an aggregate of personal influences. The Church, the body of Christ, is a corpse until it is filled with His spirit, and that spirit acts chiefly through persons. It is not so much by means as by instruments, not so much by humanly organized conventions as by their divinely awakened men, that faith in Christ spreads. Like begets like. The Christian bears fruit after his kind. The believer propagates belief. The duplicate of Christ multiplies Christ among men. "Ye are my witnesses," says the ascending Savior. As for us Christians, Christ is Christianity; so for the world, in a high sense, we are Christianity. The only way, therefore, to spread Christianity is by being genuine Christians ourselves, and then we can hardly help spreading it according to our talents. It is, of course, true that in order to be safe, in order to be happy, in order to have peace with God and with the universe, in order to acquire perfect character, like that of Christ we must be Christian.
But, further than that, we must likewise be completely Christian, in order to be completely useful. As a labor-saving device in the work of doing good, as a matter of mere skill in power to help and redeem mankind, eager faith in Jesus Christ is the supreme thing. The best policy is always the best principle, and the best principle is regeneration by God's spirit. How do we Christian workers long to reach the highest efficiency in Christ's service! Yet it is, fundamentally, but a question of the deepest consecration. O, for the gift to our lean hearts and barren lives of that faith in Christ by which to educate the ignorant for eternity, of the love of Christ to win the wayward back to God, of the power of the living Christ to save the lost, of the self-sacrificing, of the dying Christ to raise the dead to immortal life. Faith will spread by me when it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me. Let me, then, have at least the beatitude of gospel hunger and thirst. THE QUESTION DRAWER.
The last half hour of" the afternoon session was devoted to the question drawer. While several hymns were sung, the question box was passed through the audience, and any who pleased were allowed to ask any question about practical work, but Mr. Moody said no questions upon controverted or doctrinal points would be recognized.
The first question the evangelist took from the box was as to 'whether he would preach the law or only the love of God. He said: "The law has its place. I preach more law than I did a few years ago. If a man preaches only one side of the Gospel he will not have success. A man wants to know that he is sick before he want a doctor. He wants to know that he is a sinner before hee will look for the Savior."
The next question asked was: "What would you do if a person were in one of your meetings and should give a shout?"
"I should let them shout once or twice anyway, especially in a union meeting. I have known a great many good meetings to be broken up by a few people who thought they could not be happy without a great deal of noise. Where there is too much wind there is not much thought or work."
"What would you do if you were in a church where the best members would say that they were overworked in obtaining food for their families, and could not work for the Lord?"
"I have never been in such a place. Such men you will find are not practical. They have no system. I will venture that such men waste an hour or two every day. If they will husband their time they can save many hours to devote to the Lord's work."
"Do you think that the evangelist should belong to some church?"
"I do. That is perhaps a hit at me. I do belong to a church, and I was kept out of it for a year because I was not converted. I had too hard a time getting into the church to leave it. I am still a member of a Chicago church, I believe. I never heard of my being turned out. It is the only organization I care to belong to. I have no sympathy with the men who stand outside and try to tear down the church. It is easy to tear down. We want to build up."
"What can be done to reach the non-church-goers?"
"We had that question pretty fully discussed this afternoon. Every man and woman has his or her work. When we work together the world will be reached. But in this country we are fast drifting like the old country. In England, in the manufacturing cities, it is said that 98 per cent, of the population never go to the house of God. Dr. Dale, of Birmingham, thinks this is exaggerted. He puts it at 95 per cent. But even if it be only 90 per cent, it is very bad. These men gather in their shops on Sunday, or some place else, and talk communism or infidelity. They are not poor, for they earn from £A to £8 a week. They are hard-hearted and hard-headed men, and the men who uphold the cross in their midst have a hard time. We are drifting in the same way in this country. The church should take steps to reach these people. We need a band of men and women who will stand in the gap between them and the churches; men and women who will take the place of the minister here, because these people are prejudiced against the minister and will not listen to him. These people may be called missionaries or what you will, hut we need them. They must go into these cottages to meet these people and t each them. Too often, though, we find men who can do nothing else, who are given this work of the Lord to do. We send them out to preach.
What we need is a training school for these people, that they may be taught and trained in their work. I know the need of this. I walked the streets of Chicago day after day, feeling that I must preach, yet knowing that I was not fitted for the work and wanted to learn. But I felt that to give up ten or twelve years to this preparation would be a sin. Had there been some place where I could have been trained and allowed to study, while I was at work I could have been more successful. We need such schools.
Then the preacher needs another school than that of theology. He needs to be trained in the school of human nature. They need to rub up against the world and learn how to read men. They fail to get hold of men for this very reason. Had they been business men and learned something of the world, or had they been like these reporters, seeing all sides of life, they would have known something of the other side and how to approach men. We want a training school to educate just such men for this work. In New York the other day I was speaking of this to a gentleman, and he said, all right, Mr. Moody you start such a school, and here is $5,000 to help with the work.
He made me take it, and when I came to Chicago another business man added $5,000 to it, and said start it here. That is what I say. Let Chicago have a training school for these men and women, and if there are any more of you gentlemen and ladies who want to contribute to such a work, come on with your money. I have been blamed for going away from Chicago; now if you want me to return give me some such work to do. We should have 200 or 300 men and women at work with the lower classes of people here in Chicago. I tell you it will pay. In London they have a thousand, and they are men and women, many of them who have not only given their wealth but themselves to the work. Some of the ladies are wealthy, yet they devote their lives to going about among these people and doing good. In this country our people are willing to serve the Lord by proxy. They are willing to spend their money, but not to work. I say to the rich men of Chicago, their money will not be worth much if communism and infidelity sweep the land. You had better lift up these men, and the best way is to take some from their own number. Some of our brightest men are in the billiard halls. Let us get this thing started.
I should like to have something practical grow out ot (ri,% convention. We shall be here for three days and have a glorious time, and shout over it, and say let's have another one. next year. It will last just for one year. But is that all? We can do so much more. We can do something that will oe lasting in its results. There is no reason why these people snouid not be reached. But you are not going to reach them by a few sermons. The time has come when we will have to go into these people's homes and work. The church has been on the defensive long enough. It is time she was beginning an aggressive movement. We have lawyers who are eloquent in their pleadings in the courts. Why should they not plead in other places for these people? The work cannot be done by the ministers alone. We want the lawyers and the business men—all classes of men and women to go into the work, but especially we need a trained band of laborers to reach the lower classes.
The outlying homes will be reached quicker by this than by the preachers. You say these men have not logic. No matter. Let men preach for souls, not heads. If a man has not logic and cannot be appealed to by reason, drive straight at his heart. I like heartpreaching better, any way.
A few years ago a gentleman in London invited me to go down to the dog market. I asked him what that was, and found that it was a place where these rough men congregated on Sunday morning, and if they had anything to sell or trade or bet on for drinks they went there.
Well, we went to the dog market, and as I looked out at them it seemed there were acres of men—men rough and cursing, men with dogs to sell or to bet on as fighters; men with fighting cocks betting on them. It was one of the queerest sights I ever saw. And I was to-day to speak to them. They paid no attention until it was announced that I was an American. Then they listened to me for a few moments, because they had an idea that America was a sort of fairy land. But while I spoke a man stood at my side with a fighting cock under his arm, trying to hear what I was saying, but at the same time looking out to see if he could find another cock to match his against in a fight; and another man jostled me, trying to be a respectful listener, had a sharp lookout for a chance to get up a dog fight. And all there were, if listening to me, at the same time looking out for business in some shape, and my talk had no effect on them. But a blacksmith was able to interest them, and I sav that is what we need. Let us use all kinds of talent. If we can put such men into training schools, and prepare them for teaching their fellows, we will do a grand work. It is practical and can be carried out here in Chicago better than in any city in the country.
"What is the best thing to do with a man who always speaks on one subject?"
These men are more numerous than you think. They are hobbyists. They do a good deal of harm, too. They break up many good meetings by presenting their hobbies at the wrong time. If a solemn impression has been made they will spoil it by presenting their hobby. I don't say that these are not good men, but they do much harm. I would try to keep them quiet by gentle means, if possible, but under no consideration would I allow them to go on. If they would not keep quiet for asking I should make them. I like temperance, but I don't want to talk about it all the time, and I like the doctrine of sanctification, but I don't want to hear of that and nothing else. It brings these good old doctrines into disrepute such harping on them. If I take my watch to the jeweler and ask to have the balance-wheel made double its present size, I am told that it will ruin the watch, for all the other machinery will then be out of proportion. Take any doctrine of the Bible and put it above every other and it will die.
"How are the foreign population to be reached?" Mr. Moody said it had been his privilege to go to Paris and see the work of one man there who did not understand the French language, and for a long time had to speak through an interpreter. This man had had a beautiful home, which he left, and himself and wife devoted themselves to the work of evangelization in Paris. He had worked steadily for years, and now he could speak a little very bad French, but he had a hall larger than Farwell HaH, Chicago, which was always crowded, and no man in Paris could draw a greater crowd to hear him speak than this evangelist. Mr. Moody had himself spoken to these people through an interpreter, and he thought it was a terrible dull talk, and he wondered that the people did not all rush out of the hall, but when he got through they remained, and when he invited a few to remain and hear about how to live a Christian life, they all remained while he preached another sermonThen when he invited those who could to remain to talk about soul saving, they all remained, and he could not get them to go home until the gas was turned off, and they left in the dark. The foreigners were eager to hear the gospel. And here in Chicago we did not have to go to France or Germany or Sweden to find them. They come to us, and the best way to reach the foreigners was to train those here and send them as teachers to their native lands.
It was especially a good time to revive the religion of Christ in Germany this year, when the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther was to be celebrated. He then spoke of the work of an evangelist in Berlin who had been recognized by the Crown Prince and Prince Bismarck. The doors of the nations were opened to us, and it was time to enter and possess.
"Do you think it is best to have steady work in the church, or revivals?"
"Both. Some people oppose revivals and preach against them, and they do a great harm. The church was born in a revival."
Mr. Moody then spoke of those people who are always crying out against revivalists, and evangelists. He told the story of the man .who said at a dinner-table, when a missionary convert was present, that in all his travels in Asia he had never seen a native convert. The missionary did not reply, but after a while asked if he had ever seen a tiger there. The man replied that he had seen many, had I mated and killed them. The missionary's reply was that he had never seen a tiger while abroad. He had been hunting for converts, and not tigers.
We could find converts if we hunted for them, but the converts were not going to come round and ring the bell to let us know they were converted.
There were several other questions in the box, but it was 5 o'clock, and Mr. Moody is prompt in closing as in beginning, and announcing the doxology, it was sung, and the convention adjourned until 8 o'clock.
If the interest of the people in the afternoon amounted to a certain degree of absorption, the interest in the proceedings of the evening was to a still greater degree intensified
The exercises being opened in the usual way, Mr. Moody announced the topic for discussion, and the first speaker of the evening:
"how To Reach Haritual Non-church Goers."
Rev. Dr. H. M. Scudder, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, Chicago.
Dr. Scudder said:
Several answers may be given to this question. There are advocates of various schemes. Some say "Establish gospel services on Sunday evenings in halls and theatres." Others say, "Try to reach destitute populations through mission schools." Others call for street preaching. Others advise more extensive efforts on the part of Young Men's Christian Associations. And the most recent reply is: •' Do it by Salvation Armies." I will not enter upon the consideration of any of these, but will give an answer, which, while it interferes with none of these, seems to me to be one of the most important things which can be said in reply to the question, viz: Make the sanctuary itself so attractive as to draw men into it.
Who shall do this? Not ministers alone. Not laymen alone. Either attempting it singly will fail, at least in a measure. If both heartily combine, there will be success. This Christian Convention consists of ministers and laymen, and I will venture to offer on this subject a few suggestions to each.
What shall ministers do to make the church attractive? In treating this, my dear brethren, I hope you will not think that I assume to be your teacher. I have no such spirit. The directions I give are rules unto myself. They may be useful to you, as I know they are to me.
There are some things ministers should not do. In order to avoid stiffness kindly allow me to use the second person in addressing you.
1. Do not make your sermons too doctrinal in form. Do not misunderstand me. A sermon without doctrine is good for nothing. It would be like a body without a backbone There must be a backbone to give points of attachment for the limbs, to support the vital organs that are clustered around it, and to sustain the masses of muscles which execute so many motions. But if the body were all backbone and nothing else, it would not be a very agreeable spectacle. If when you looked for a body to meet you, you saw only a bare backbone approaching, you would run away from it. There must be a backbone, but over it should be the comely vesture of ruddy flesh, and at tbe top of it a living brain In a sermon the doctrine should be clothed, as in the body God has clothed the backbone.
2. Do not let the sermon become a mere essay. It should be something other than a pretty, elaborate, finical, symmetrical essay. It may be poetic and polished, artistic and aesthetic, and quite beautiful to behold, and yet the people will soon grow weary of such preaching.
3. Do not overweight your sermon with learning. Iron is the most useful of metals, and it is proper that ships should carry it from country to country, to give it universal currency, that it may be applied to uses innumerable. But if you overload your vessel with iron till it sinks to its deck, and then spread your sails, and attempt a voyage, your ship, though a good one, will go to the bottom, iron and all, and you will be lucky if you yourself escape. Some sermons do not float, but go down overfreighted with learning.
Not that the minister can have too much learning. Christ has described the New Testament minister as a "scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven." The word "scribe" had in that day, a very different meaning from that which it now has. It meant a " learned man." Such the minister should be. It would be well if he knew everything, and had it at the end of his tongue. But he must be wise in using his learning. Results should appear rather than processes. There should be no parade of learning. The sermon which merely carries a cargo of erudition is a doomed ship. It will not discharge its cargo in the port which the author of the sermon should steer for, but on the floor of the ocean.
Avoid sameness and repetitiousness. We sometimes hear such complaints as these: "Oh, he has a new text, but yet it will be the old sermon over again. We have heard it a hundred times. We are tired of it." Our Lord says that the minister must bring forth "out of his treasure things new and old." lie must possess a treasure of acquisitions, and out of it must come new as well as old. Also our Master has said, "When ye pray use not vain repetitions." and this injunction may rationally be extended so as to read, "When ye preach, use not vain repetitions."
Let us turn from the negative to the positive. What shall ministers do to make their ministrations attractive?
I. Let there be more expository preaching. I feel sure that there is not enough of this done. Make your sermon an exposition of Holy Scripture. I do not mean that you should take up a chapter or a paragraph and explain it verse by verse, and word by word. What I mean is this: Choose a chapter or a passage which has impressed you. With a few sheets of paper before you, sit down at your desk, and study the passage carefully in the original; for if possible, every man who expounds Scripture should know Hebrew and Greek. When I was in the theological seminary I sat under the teaching of Dr. Edward Robinson, and a remark of his has had a very potent influence upon my life as a student.
He said, "Young gentlemen, they who teach the Bible, should be able to read it in the languages in which the Holy Ghost revealed it." And if I knew nothing of Hebrew and Greek I would, on going home from this meeting to-night, begin with Aleph and Alpha; and I rejoice in the work that Professor Harper has been doing in this city this summer in organizing classes for the reading of Hebrew.
Open then your Hebrew or Greek Lexicon according as your selected passage is in the old or New Testament. Scrutinize every • word; run each word through all its senses in the lexicon, and as you do this write down every thought and every illustration that comes into your mind. Do not aim, in this stage of your work, at any order. Set down every idea as it arises in you. The roots of the Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible are living things. Give them a chance in the soil of your intellect and heart, and there will be a crowd of branches and leaves and blossoms and fruit. Professor Guyot, of Princeton College is a Hebrew scholar as well as a geologist! I heard him say many years ago that the roots of
the Hebrew words used in the first chapter of Genesis to describe the cosmogony there recorded, were living geologic germs, carrying within them ideas which if stated could not have been understood, but which, now that the time is come, verify themselves in the discoveries of geology. When you have gone through thepa>sage and written down all that the examination of the original words has suggested, you will find that you have rich materials, in abundance, for a sermon. Now reduce these materials to order.
Look for the central thought of the passage. Seize upon it. Select the verse that presents it—that central thought. Make that your text Arrange all the other thoughts as satellites around this central thought and you will find that your sermon is rising up before you as a solar system, with its sun at the center, and planets and asteroids moving around it in light and warmth and harmony and beauty. It will not appear to be an expository sermon, but it will be such in the highest and best sense of that word. You may say that this will involve much time and toil, but a sermon ought to cost us something, and if we follow this plan of work we shall learn to do it with increasing rapidity and facility; with much fervor of mind and gladness of heart. And I would make expository preaching include the exposition of the volume of nature. Holy Scripture and nature are God's two great books, and the truths of Scripture have their analogies in nature. Have you a Scripture truth in hand? Search for its analogy in nature. The pursuit will be a delight, the discovery a joy, the appropriation an enrichment. And, having discovered it, illustrate the Scripture-truth by this, its embodiment which you have found in nature. Your hearers will never forget a truth so exemplified. Modern science has opened up to us this realm of nature. It is now a library rather than a volume. Be at home in this library. Acquaint yourself with its departments, that you may be able to bring into view the material expressions of spiritual truths.
A sermon thus constructed will be an expository discourse. It will be fresh, vivid, instructive, interesting, and so far as it catches the spirit which dwells in the Scripture and in nature it will be spiritual and divine. It will be a sermon that has sprung up, not out of one's own shallowness, but out of the great depths of God's mind and heart.
2. Let the manner of your utterance be colloquial. In the pulpit the simply natural is to be preferred to the rhetorical or the oratorical. Talk to your audience. Speak to them as you would to individuals in your own parlor. Unify your congregation so that it shall stand before you as a single person with whom you are about to argue and plead; whom you desire to conciliate, convince,
and lead into the love and practice of the truth which you are inculcating.
3. Let the truth which you propose to preach first thoroughly master you. Men like to see exhibitions of power, and no manifestation of power is more impressive than the perceived dominance of a truth over the speaker who is proclaiming that truth. Let your theme completely subdue and possess and absorb your own soul. Come into the pulpit every Sabbath with a week's new illumination and a week's spiritual glow.
4. Concentrate your energies on your own church and parish. Ministers are called upon to do much exterior work. Do what you can of this, without neglecting your own sphere of labor. Let that be the limit. Beyond that, learn to say "No." Sacrifice, if needs be, outside popularity to inside usefulness. The minister who thus restricts, and disciplines and develops himself, will draw hearers to himself. He will have something to give, and men generally find their way to the place where they can get anything.
But though the minister fulfill this scheme of thought and preparation and action, his success will only be partial, if he has not the hearty co-operation of the members of his church.
What then shall laymen do to make the church attractive? There are three effective things they can do.
1. Set a good example in attending church yourselves. See how it is now in most churches. The members come in the morning. The house is full. But to a great extent they have abandoned the evening service. They require their minister to preach, as well as he can, to empty pews, unless he can draw in strangers that shall occupy them. When these church members called this minister to be their leader they promised to support him. Instead of fulfilling their promise they break his heart by their absence. They tell him to lead, they call him their captain, they push him to the front, they put the banner of the church into one of his hands, and bid him take the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God in the other; and yet they who are his soldiers, who have vowed to stand by him, desert him, and from a distance, the distance of their respective homes, cry out to him and say: "Fight it out, be plucky, do not give in, be valiant; we admire what you are attempting." What can be more disheartening than this? It puts a burden upon the minister he cannot carry. He staggers under it. I was not long since in a church which has a distinguished, eloquent, devout and learned pastor. He has a good audience in the morning, and about a hundred in the evening. His health gave way last winter, and an officer in his church said to me, " This was what broke him down."
How can we expect outsiders to come in, when the insiders set such an example of indifference and disloyalty? It is no wonder if people say: "Christians stay out, why should we go in?"
If the laymen would attend church in the evening as they do in the morning, the minister would be greatly encouraged. The presence of his people, the thought that they were praying for him, would be a stimulus to him. He would preach ten times better than he does.
2. Not only attend the services, but assume the right attitude toward strangers.
There is a tendency in the churches to degenerate into aristocratic religious clubs; a tendency to welcome the rich, and repel the poor. This is an evil spirit. Exorcise it. Open your pews freely. Open your hearts. If you see a stranger in the audience, go to him at the close of the service, speak a kind word to him, give him a cordial grasp of the hand. He will not forget it. He will come again. In a church where I was the other night, five young men were sitting in a pew in front of the deacon. When the service was over he went and shook hands with them all. They will remember that.
Honor the poor. Let the fact that you are better off than they lead you to pay them special attention. Do it, not as though it were an act of condescension, but with a loving heart. Choose as ushers your best men; the kindest, the aptest, the most courteous, the men who possess the most social qualities. Thus make the church as attractive as possible.
3. Let each member try to bring in some who are not accustomed to attend church. Do you know one such? Invite him. Set your heart on him, pray for him, go for him.
In order to accomplish any great achievement two things are needful. First, a definite purpose. Nothing worthy can be attained at hap-hazard. There must be an aim, a goal toward which we intelligently, resolutely, prayerfully, and persistently strive. Let this be the aim; let pastor and people unite in this determination: "We will fill our church with people, and by God's grace endeavor to convert all that come into it.
And there is a second thing, for, though we propose this to ourselves, we shall not succeed without enthusiasm. Revert to the origin of this word which means "inspired by God," "full of God." Christ is our God. He is our Immanuel, God with us. But He must be even more than that to us. He must be Christ in us, dwelling in us by His holy spirit quickening, guiding, and sustaining us. This is the divine baptism, perpetual and effective. If we have this, the church will be attractive, and it will become the place where many souls shall be reborn.
The succeeding feature of the evening's session was the singing of the "Song of the Soldier" by the male choir. It had a sturdy.
martial ring, worthy of soldiers of the cross; so much so that Mr. Moody sprang up—and the spirit that moves Mr. Moody is an awfully active one—and exclaimed, in his blunt, honest way, that that was the way to reach non-church-goers, by a male choir. He liked that singing, he said; he liked it better than speaking anyway. Then incidentally he told of the success in training enjoyed by certain bands of men in Glasgow whose voices at first were simply execrable, but which proved susceptible of such improvement that, after a time, their worthy owners were mighty factors in drawing large audiences to this and that building in the city of Glasgow by the power and tunefulness of their cultivated voices. So Mr. Moody had reason to applaud the good work of the choir at his elbow, and demand, with his little fling at the speakers, while laughter arose, another hymn from his staunch auxiliaries and his audience combined.
Following Dr. Scudder there were appointed as speakers the Rev. Bishop C. E. Cheney, and the Rev. M. M. Parkhurst. Rev. Dr. Parkhurst began by saying that he supposed that ministers had studied the question from the beginning of their work, and it had been as much a question of thought and work as any other. The class of people to reach in the consideration of the question was the non-church-going one. The convention had been told that 95 per cent, of the workingmen of Manchester did not go to church. We would find that this number was increasing about us. It was a hard thing to break down the habit of non-church-going. There is, in the first place, a prejudice on the part of this class to encounter. They feel that they do not know the people who attend the churches, and that the church is not their social club.
There were people in the city who did not know whether the church in their block was Protestant or Catholic, German or English. One could hardly believe that such a thing existed, yet it was true. One of the first things to do was to break down the prejudice entertained by this class that ministers were mere hirelings, acting in a perfunctory way. An incident was related that occurred at the Annapolis naval school during the war. An order was issued one morning to all the men to attend service. There were sixty Roman Catholics who refused to obey an order, as they understood it, to attend a service outside their own church. The commander said they would have to go, or suffer the consequences of a disobedience of orders. The speaker said that there was a chance for a fight and trouble. He went to a Catholic priest, and, telling him what had taken place, asked him if he could not arrange to have these men attend a service conducted according to their own belief. The reply was, certainly, and a service was held. The men attended and found that places had been reserved for them in the church. When they returned they felt pleased, and in the afternoon they gladly turned out to hear the speaker preach, and said that they would always be ready to hear him. By kindness their prejudices had been overcome.
The speaker had found that funerals afforded a good opportunity, and while the hearts of those present were still warm, and before the tears were wiped away he had something to say that would draw them to the church. At weddings, too, there was an opportunity to say something An excellent means of bringing outsiders into the church was the visiting of ladies among the people in following and working up any particular movement.
He suggested that a lesson could be learned from the shrewd business man in his efforts to reach the people. He was constantly advertising. When his sales have reached millions why not stop advertising? He knew that when he dropped out of the public eye his business did so too.
The force of this was illustrated by relating an experience in the First M. E. Church. When he was first connected with it he found that but about eighty persons attended the Sunday night services. He had 5,000 circulars printed for distribution every Saturday night, announcing the service of the evening following. There was not a store, or restaurant, or place into which they did not find their way. The result of this constant and consistent advertising was that in a year's time the attendance increased to 400. It was hard work, and could be accomplished only by hard and constant hammering. Besides there must be workers to follow this up.
Similar incidents were related. In a shoe-making suburb of Boston, of 5,000 people there were no church-goers. Every Saturday night texts were distributed through the shops, "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath," among others. In three years there was a church of over 700. The Baptists followed, and then the Unitarians in the work.
At Elgin, 011 the west side of the river, there was a population of 3,500, practically none of them church-goers. A young man was stationed among them and told to go to work. In eleven months a Sunday school with a regular attendance of 300 was built up.
Get hold of the people and attract them to the church. Build up a fire, and where there was a fire there would be a crowd. Nobody cared to gather about a cold stove. Kindle in your hearts the fire of the love of God. You must have warmth or you will freeze.
The great trouble was that enough work was not done. He wanted to see the fire and warmth of this great convention go out through the city and the Northwest.
After a hymn by the choir, and prayer by Dr. Savage, Bishop Cheney was called upon by Mr. Moody to speak on the same topic. Bishop Cheney said: He confessed that he was appalled when he stood before the vast audience, not appalled at the audience, but at his ability to pack in ten minutes' time the thought involved in this question.
He wanted to draw a clear and distinct definition. First of all, to reach and influence the hearts of those outside, there must be a revival in the church. It had been well said that there was a prejudice against the church, and the pride of church members, and the coldness of the ministers were complained of by outsiders. Was it not time that the church needed an outpouring of the spirit that would kindle the fire of love? There was need of a quickening of the hearts and souls of the professed Christian, that would make them consistent followers of Christ, so that when one of them passes by it could be said, There is a Christian man, or woman. When that point was reached the professed Christian would be able to extend his influence over those outside.
There was need of personal effort. He indorsed everything that had been said about the thorough advertising and meetings and services, and about the efforts to build up evening services. The great trouble was that not enough effort was made to reach the individual, but all was directed toward the masses.
The masses could only be reached through the individual first. He believed that a great mistake had been made by the churches on this question. The great question was, "How can I reach the individual?" We want more individual effort, and on the part of the layman above all things else. If we are to reach and touch the souls that habitually neglect the gospel, we must give them something that they cannot get in any other place. Tell the old story of the gospel. Christ crucified alone touched and influenced man.
SECOND DAT OF THE CONVENTION.
The second day of the Christian convention was as largely attended as the first, and as early as eight o'clock there were hundreds of people seeking admission to Farwell Hall, that thev might secure eligible seats, and at nine o'clock all the seats on the firbt floor were taken, and many in the gallery.
'HOW SHALL WE SECURE A LARGER ATTENDANCE AT PUBLIC
Rev. P. S. Henson, D. D., pastor of the First Baptist Church, Chicago, addressed the audience as follows:
I might speak to you of a score of points, each one of which would be helpful in its measure to secure the object contemplated in this question, but I shall speak of only a few that suggest themselves to me, and I pray that God will help me to emphasize these few as their supreme importance demands.
And, first of all, allow me to say, for it is on my heart,and in it, that in order to secure a larger attendance of people upon public worship, there should be Sunday-school training of the children in the direction of attendance on the preaching of the gospel. The first thing to be done is in the sphere of the Sunday-school. I thank God that I live in the foremost age of human history, for I am not one of those who are continually inquiring why the former days were better that these. I believe these to be the best days the world has ever seen, and I thankful for the realization in our time of the Scriptures saying, "A little child shall lead them." Yet I cannot ignore the fact that in connection with mighty movements in God's kingdorti there are always present occasions of peril. There is a disposition to the divorcement of that which God joined together, and man was never meant to put asunder.
In former times parents took their children with them to the house of God, and sat with them to listen to the ministrations of the Gospel, but now the tendency is to post the children off to the children's service, while the poor pastor is likely to be left alone with a cold adult congregation from which the young life has ebbed
away. If I am bereaved of my children I am bereaved indeed. So it follows that in many communities the Sunday-school bond with the church is broken, and that Sunday-school children, when they cease to be Sunday-school children, never having been in the habit of attending worship in their youth, are, of all classes, the most difficult to reach. I have no protests to make against the Sundayschool; for I have given the strength of my life to it, and shall ever continue to support it. I would not tear up the rails because of the dangers of railroad travel. I would not quench the fire in the locomotive, but would see to the switches, make sure of the bridges. Let superintendents and Sunday-school teachers see that the children in their charge are brought up to attend on the preaching of the word. If the alternative were to disband the Sundayschool or to have a separation of the children from the preaching service, I would say shut up the Sunday-schools for all time to come. But it is not necessary. Let us see to the church training. Let us bring our children with us to the house of God, I speak not as a Christian minister, but as a Christian man, profoundly solicitous for all the far-reaching interests of Christ's kingdom.
There must not only be Sunday-school training, but more personal solicitation. There is an idea widely prevalent that our churches are select and exclusive; that they are religious clubs-; that they are concerned alone with their own enjoyment; that they are out of sympathy with general humanity. This is not true. There is not a minister on the platform here who would not rejoice in a crowd. Mr. Moody is not the only one who likes a crowd. Where is there a minister whose heart would not rejoice and whose eye would not glisten at the incoming of the masses? Our hearts yearn for them, and yet there is a presumption that the churches do not care to have them come; that the churches are close corporations; and, judging from the looks of many who join in pious procession to church with their prayer-books and hymn-books under their arms, unmindful, apparently, of the multitude around them, who are as sheep without a shepherd, the world has reason to believe that they do not care for the souls of their fellows. To dispossess men's minds of this false impression, we must go from house to house, and canvass the whole community, and give earnestness to our invitation. It is not sufficient to open the doors. Christ did not simply open an office at Jerusalem. He came to seek as well as save them that were lost. We must go after the masses and bring them in. There is wonderful meaning in the passage of Scripture which says, our Saviour took the man by the hand and led him out of town. We must take them by the hand and lead them into the house of God.
Not only must we have this and Sunday-school training, but Christian living also. The great reason why many men do not go to church is the revulsion of disgust which comes to them from seeing the contrast between living and profession among those who do go to church. They look at the fives of church-going people and often see painful evidence that church-going does not avail to make them holier and happier; and so they say: "What is the use of attending church if one is not better for it?"
If I am broken down almost with constant strain of heart and brain, and I see men conning back in the crisp autumn time from sea-shore and mountain, bronzed and brawny, with new elasticity in every step, I say to myself, I, too, will drink health-giving waters; I will inhale the breezes of mountain air; I will riot in the surf, that I too may recover back the lost vigor of my life. So if God's people are seen to be the better for their going to church—if those who come forth from its doors are found to be more stalwart and pure in all life's relations, and if by manifestation of the truth they commend themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God, then there will be streams of people pouring into God's house; for in the most degraded heart there are flashes of angelic beauty as well as traces of demoniac evil, a vague, vast longing for a better life; but men must first be made to believe in Christians before they can be made to believe in Christianity, or be brought to seek it in the house of God.
These things that I have spoken of are things outside. Then there must be things done inside if we would increase the attendance; and one of these is cordial, hearty welcoming. There is a great deal depending upon how a man is met at the church-door. I will not enter now at length upon that much mooted question of free churches versus rented pews. There are considerations that may be urged in behalf of both sides of the question. There are advantages in having it understood that every seat is free to everybody—free as the air and the light and the water that God gives. There are advantages in that. There are advantages also in the system which allows a whole family to go together, the little child nestling in God's house by the side of the parents; in having people gather in groups and circles as in the family. There is much to be said on both sides of this subject. But do you know that a man in a free church, who has come to preempt a seat by long occupation, may look as grim at any stranger, taking it as though he had paid a thousand dollars for it [laughter], while, on the other hand, a man may pay a thousand dollars for a pew, and he may make it free by the beaming smile, the joyousness, the hearty hospitality with which he asks you to take a seat in it. [Applause.] But whether a church be nominally free, or whether its revenues be raised by members taxing themselves by pew-rents, if a man rents a pew to hold it against all comers, I would not have him hold it a minute.
Then, again, 1 would have strangers met at the door by the best men that the church has—representative men, noble men—bighearted men, who shall give to the stranger the best seat in the house. A great deal depends up»n this cordial welcoming of strangers, and bidding them come again.
And then another thing is gospel preaching, and I say this because it needs to be said. There is a great deal of preaching done by those who do not deserve the name of preachers. Of course we all desire to do the best thing possible, but we are apt to be mistaken as to what is the best thing. In this age of culture and advanced thought, a minister may think that he must be fully posted in all that is in the latest books, and to tell it all to show his hearers that he is abreast of the age, and that they may be profoundly impressed with his stores of knowledge. I don't know anything about that kind of preaching, and I thank God for it. [Applause]. I remember preaching some sermons in answer to Tyndall. There were others answering him, and so I thought I must take my chance at him, and launch a polished shaft at him. And I did—not one, but many.
Coming out of the house one day, after one of these sermons, a big-brained, big-hearted man met me, laid his hand on my shoulder, and said: "We don't care a continental about that man that you have been preaching about to-day. [Laughter.] Preach Christ crucified and we shall enjoy it better." I replied, " Af ay God forgive me, anil I hope vou will." And since then I have delivered all the scientist* over to the special care of Jehovah. Talk about Tvndall! The biggest brained men in the community who come to occupy seats in your church do not care on the Lord's day about your logical concatenation of scientific arguments. They have hearts that -want to be fed, and are full of infinite yearning after the old gospel. The old, old story is the newest thing out—the most beautiful thing below the shining stars. And that is the story to tell; that, the thinjj to preach. What were Christ's words? "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me." We must have the preaching that exalts Christ, that draws men to him—the plain, pungent preaching of the old truths that are infinitely deep and infinitely high and infinitely tender. These are the things that grapple with men's consciences; that get hold of men's heart strings and draw them to God. You may preach culture, politics, humanity; and you will soon wear them out, but the story of the gospel is as new to-day as when the Lord Jesus first proclaimed salvation on the hills of old Judea.
One thing more and I have done. I have spoken of Sundayschool training in its relation to church-going, of personal solicits
tion, of cordial welcoming, and of gospel preaching; and there is one more thing, and that is spiritual quickening. We hear much talk about men of magnetic power. We want men who will draw, and churches that will draw. What is anything good for unless it will draw; what is a chimney good for that will not draw, or a locomotive, or a man? [Laughter.] We want men who will draw. Some preachers, monotonous preachers, who don't draw, wh;> never stir themselves nor others, protest against what they call sensational preaching. I believe in sensational preaching. A minister cannot indeed afford to make a mountebank of himself, because he is God's ambassador. He cannot descend to the juggler's tricks that are unworthy of the minister of Jesus Christ. But all great preachers that have stirred men's hearts were sensational. Jesus Christ and Paul and Martin Luther and Calvin were sensational. What you want is a man that will rouse men—a man that will draw. In order to draw, in order to have this magnetism, there must be the communication of the divine Spirit. A magnet may be made out of a piece of cold iron. You pass a coil of wire around it, called a helix, and then you turn on the electricity. The electricity sweeps around, and it is transformed into a magnet, and lifts and draws in a wonderful way.
Just so, if a preacher in the pulpit be compassed by this divine influence, this subtle power of the Spirit, if there be connection with the poles at the very throne of God, then he, too, will be a magnet; God having filled him with his own divine power. So on the day of Pentecost there came from heaven the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the house. That is what we want. It filled the whole house where they were gathered, and the apostles were all filled with the Holy Ghost. And mark what followed. There were no placards on the wall, no advertisements in the newspapers, and yet it is recorded that just as soon as the Holy Spirit filled the place, the people from without came together. And that is the way to fill the house of God. The people will find it out. The tidings will fly like an electrical flash; and you will soon wonder where the multitudes come from. God sends them. And so the house is filled. And if we be thus filled with the divine spirit, this question of the filling of the house will have settled itself, and we shall have to lengthen the cords and strengthen the stakes and break out on the right hand and the left, for the place in which we dwell will be too strait for us; and all flesh will see the glory of our God. [Applause].