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tions of laymen, and not through those which they believe are dominated by the ministers.
But to come back to the question with which I started. How are we to get men into the churches? Should we say a man is a loyal church member who does not attend its services? Should we give up insisting that he be regular in attendance and in contributing? By no means. We are hearing a good deal of the “ back to the farm " movement. What we need is a back to the church ” movement among our men. I do say this, however, that if you wish to fill your pews and get the men to your services you will only in very exceptional cases do it by preaching, or advertising, or special music, or stereopticons, or moving pictures. When you put all your men to work; when there is a man's job for every man in the church, and he is on his job all the time; when every man who is examined for church membership is given an opportunity and expected to choose some definite form of Christian work and DO IT, the question of men attending the services of the church will give you no further trouble. To this end, the Brotherhood is your obedient servant. It does not guarantee to put your men all to work, but it does promise to give you, and them, all the assistance in its power.
REV. GEORGE S. ROLLINS, SPRINGFIELD, MASS.
I. Why should a church convention be concerned with political affairs?
What has religion to do with politics? Are we not meddling with matters outside our province? Political bosses say yes. A certain type of commercial interests say yes. They cannot afford to have conscience in the affairs of that kind of politics called “business." A certain man said he belonged to a particular branch of the church because it never interfered with business or politics. Are we not treading on dangerous ground? We are told that we know nothing about practical politics. The fact is, we know too much for our peace of mind. We are in danger, we are told, of turning the church back upon the old track which leads to the dogma that the church should rule the state. We are warned that we degrade religion when we drag the church into the mire of politics. And finally we are told that the minister of the gospel cuts a sorry figure in politics. Why, then, should an assembly like this discuss any political subject?
Our reply is, first, that religion comprehends the whole of life. Religion is not an esoteric emotion, not a secluded experience, but a call to a life of righteousness and of service to men. We do not deny the vision in the desert solitude or the sanctuary, but the voice from the flaming bush or the cherubim is the command to go down into Egypt, or to gird up rulers. Our Lord leads us out of the sanctuary upon the street, and into business and politics, there to realize the will of God and bring in his kingdom of righteousness and love. Our Christianity is as broad as the manifold life of our age. It has come out of Sunday and the church and entered the counting-room and legislative hall, and commands us there to realize the kingdom and its righteousness. A religion that cannot do this is not fit for our age, and is not Christian.
In the second place, Christianity has created most of our
problems. There are no social problems, no labor problems, no race troubles, no political troubles, no unrest where Christianity has not gone. It is Christianity which makes men think and aspire. It is Christianity which creates a holy dissatisfaction with present acheivement. Christianity put a new valuation upon life — the life of the lowliest. Christianity shakes thrones and rocks empires. Christianity disturbs the dreams of despots and the fatuous ease of the luxurious. Christianity disturbs the conscience of the age. Christ commands us to make the age Christian to make our nation Christian. Therefore to make politics Christian.
In the third place, all our problems are moral problems. They concern the well-being of all classes and conditions of men. The social problem is at the bottom a moral issue. The labor question is not merely an economic question — it is deeply moral. The race problem is profoundly moral. These are all concerned with the uplift of all men. Justice, equity, righteousness are in all these mightily seeking realization. Underneath is the irrepressible ferment of Christian ideals, — ideals planted by the teaching of Jesus.
Now, the political problem is also moral. It was in the days of the prophet Amos, and it is to-day. What is politics? It is “the administration of public affairs in the interest of peace, prosperity, and happiness of all the people.” It is not a game. It is not a gamble. It is not a system of robbery. It is the high and solemn business of administering public affairs honestly, justly, and with holy regard for the welfare of all the people.
In the fourth place, we are Christ's men, pledged to the establishment of his rule of righteousness and love on earth. We ar solemnly bound to realize in business and government, in economic, social, and political relations, the second great commandment. The agencies of the kingdom are various, but these three are clearly defined: the home, the church, and the state. The interests of these three are bound up together. We may not isolate either. All aspects of modern life are comprehended under these three, religious, educational, social, industrial, economic, political. Too long these have been treated as-separate issues. They are of one piece. They are so many phases of the problem of living together righteously. Too long religion has been kept out of most of these and regarded as though it
were an isolated function of civilization, or the indulgence of a few spiritual souls. Long ago business established connection with politics. So has the labor movement and the social uprising.
Now, we are Christian men and citizens - Christian citizens. We did not cease to be citizens when we became Christians. It is our duty to establish connection between the principles of Jesus and the administration of the public affairs of a Christian nation. It is our task to make politics Christian. We are seeking to Christianize Africa and the Orient. Are we Christian? A million dollars for foreign missions? Aye, ten millions; but let us have ten million Christian citizens back of the ten million dollars, so that the peoples of the East may see what a Christian nation is like. How can we make China believe we are a Christian nation while we impose upon her peaceful citizens who seek our shores unjust restrictions which we do not force upon the immigrants of any other nation? How can the non-Christian peoples regard us as superior to themselves, while several millions of our people are deprived of civil rights on account of their color, race, and previous condition of servitude? How can we call ourselves Christian while we live under an economic system which actually keeps millions dwelling upon the border land of poverty? How can we call ourselves Christian when public offices are for sale to the highest bidder? How can a nation be Christian where a vast system of financial interests uses our political machinery to fortify itself by legislation and methods of business which exploit the many to fatten the few? If politics is the administration of public affairs so as to promote the peace, prosperity, and happiness of all the people, it is high time that Christian men who are also citizens were administering public affairs.
It is as much one's duty to go to the caucus as to go to the prayer meeting — sometimes more.
It is as religious a duty to go to the polls and vote as to church and hear the choir sing "I'm a pilgrim and I'm a stranger," or “I will wash my hands in innocency."
It is as much a duty to hold public office in your city as to be a deacon in the church. You are bound to do both.
It is as much a duty to support clean politics as to support oreign missions.
It is as much the duty of capable Christian men to sacrifice time and money to secure clean city government as to build churches or endow colleges.
We ought to be as zealous in promoting the honest administration of justice, checking of vice, — low and high, — in mitigating poverty and harsh economic conditions, as in promoting religious revivals. In fact, a religious revival which does not inspire civic righteousness has not gone deep enough by a thousand miles.
II. What is the situation which calls to this high dedication of ourselves to the cause of political righteousness?
1. The seriousness of the situation is acknowledged by all right-thinking men. Look at the ominous features:
a. A vitiated franchise. The ballot-box! We have venerated it as the palladium of our liberties. In the past, we have ascribed to it the dogma of infallibility. It is a splendid device. Few who enjoy the franchise know that it has cost the heads of kings and the blood of martyrs. It is made of demolished thrones, gilded with crowns, and stained with the blood of patriots. Its career is only begun. It threatens the ermined sovereign of the Baltic and the be-crimsoned despot of the Bosphorus.
But what is the ballot? It should be the free and decisive utterance of the intelligence of the nation. Alas! It is not. It is not infallible. The poet's quatrain is not true to-day:
“It is an influence which comes down still
As snowflakes fall upon the sod;
As lightnings do the will of God.”
De Tocqueville called the ballot "the greatest discovery of modern political science.' We have discovered some other things about it. The first is that the ballot is no better than the man who casts it. What do you think of the average voter? Can he read? Can he write the name of his country? What does he think of the government which gives him, all too cheaply, this dearly bought right? Can he think? Is he honest, or is he in the market? Is he a tool, or a fool? Will he sell this blood-bought privilege for a mug of beer? We have discovered also that a strip of canvas, a tallow candle, and penny pencil