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A Magazine of comment, criticism and review dealing with questions confronting the Anglican Communion and more especially the Church in the United States
TEMPLE PUBLISHING CORPORATION
1-3 Peace St., New Brunswick, N. J.
President: GEORGE A. ARMOUR, Princeton, N. ).
Vice-President: Hon. WILLIAN J. TULLY, Corning, N. Y.
Treasurer: HALEY FISKE, 1 Madison Avenue, New York
Preaching on Industrial Problems
HE radical journals insist with tiresome reiteration that the
clergy in their preaching should tell people the truth about industrial problems. But why should anyone go to church to hear the truth about industrial problems? If that were one's consuming passion it would be wiser as well as more comfortable to sit at home in a cushioned chair and read the New Republic. One does not go to church to hear the truth about industrial problems any more than to hear the truth about agricultural, drainage, banking, or artistic problems. It would bore us inexpressibly to hear a preacher discourse on such subjects, for we would know that he could not possibly be an expert in so many branches of human knowledge. Neither his training nor the nature of his pastoral operations qualify him to speak expertly on any of the grave problems of the day-except one, the problem of religion.
Men and women go to church to worship God and to hear the truth about religion. Religion is concerned with the being and character of God, the nature and destiny of man, and the relations that may subsist between them. Go to any church which lays stress on the worship of God, and in which a vital and authoritative religion is preached from the pulpit, and you will find few empty pews. This is notably true of Catholic churches. Devout Christians are hungering for the word of God: the truth about their souls, the meaning of sin, the way of forgiveness, the means of obtaining spiritual power, the laws of the mystical life, the good news of the Gospel. They respond eagerly to clear-cut, unequivocal preaching on their moral duty. The preaching of Christ is what people need and what they want; for He is the only Way to the Father, the Truth that brings unity into our thinking, and the Life that vitalizeg. As Dr. William Orchard, the most eloquent nonconformist preacher in London, exclaimed with flashing eyes to the vast congregation which thronged his church, “What you need is Christ, and I will give Him to you!"
Morality, individual and social, while not the whole of religion, is indeed an essential element in religion. The Church must implant and nourish true moral ideals in the souls of the faithful. It is therefore the duty of the clergy to teach their people the fundamental principles of individual and social morality, especially those that are applicable to the individual and social problems that are pressing upon us today. It is not, however, the duty of the clergy to apply those principles to the particular moral problems of each parishioner; or to the problems of the farm, the factory, the corporation, the city, or the state. That is the duty of the laity. In the case of a business corporation, it is the function of Christian laymen who are properly qualified by their knowledge and training to pronounce moral judgments upon the business methods or the industrial ethics of that corporation. The Interchurch Committee which investigated the United States Steel Corporation was such a body of Christian laymen. In the case of the state, it is the province of Christian legislators, public officials and editors to acquaint themselves with the facts of the social and political situation, and apply Christian moral principles to the solution of problems as they arise. The clergy can't do everything.
There is plenty of work for the clergy as it is. They may feel some hesitation about exposing in their next Sunday's sermon the moral deliquencies of the United States Steel Corporation, or drawing up an ideal tariff bill for the assistance of Congress, or informing the President how large a navy we require, or explaining to the young people of their congregation which dances are proper and which are not. They will hardly be driven as an alternative to preaching "silly platitudes about what happened from one to six thousand years ago.” What fragments of their time may be left after responding to the ceaseless demands of their people for spiritual and temporal ministrations they will devote to the kind of study and prayerful thought that are necessary if they are to preach sincerely and convincingly on religious themes. Human nature will never grow weary of those bracing moral and spiritual truths which have been the burden of the most inspired preaching in every age.
The Religion of the Pew
New York church for many years to write us an article on his experiences as an usher. After several attempts he gave it up on the ground that no reputable magazine would consider his language fit to print. He also intimated that the American language did not contain a sufficient number of vigorous expletives for his purpose.
It is probably true that the very worst side of human nature is exhibited by churchgoers in their relations to their pews. The things one hears and sees in any church almost every Sunday are amazing. Inhospitality, lack of courtesy, surliness, snobbishness, loss of temper, crass selfishness, vindictive hatred—these are some of the qualities displayed by Christian worshippers towards their brethren who, because of a misunderstanding or mistake on the part of the usher, have been let into their pews. Really, it would seem as if a standard ought to be erected in every pew bearing the sign: No Trespassing Here.
We heard the other day of a man and his wife who ventured into a fashionable Episcopal church of New York City on a Sunday morning and were shown by the usher into a pew. Their dress was of the character that made it clear to the usher that they were socially respectable. It happened to be the first Sunday of the month and the Communion was to be administered at the 11 o'clock service. Shortly after they had been seated a woman came and glared at them and motioned to them to move on further into the seat, which they obligingly did. Later on they all went forward to receive the Communion. The woman who had a legal tenure in the pew returned first from the altar and knelt down in the end of the pew nearest the aisle. When the man and his wife returned she looked at them with a determined expression and refused to get up or to let them pass; she was resolved that they would not get into that pew again. They applied to the usher and were compelled to take another pew. One hates to think of the interior state of the soul of such a woman as that, who after having received the Blessed Sacrament could come away and bar people from her pew, in which there was plenty of room for them.
If the Christian religion means anything it ought to have a sufficient effect upon the moral character of regular worshippers in the Church so that they would have at least the rudimentary elements of Christian courtesy and charity in their dealings with their neighbors in church. Charity may not always get a very good start at home, but certainly charity ought to begin in one's own pew.
Who Are Our Best People?
be any doubt about it? They are the people whose comings and goings are chronicled minutely in the Times and the Herald; the people who spend their summers at Newport, Southampton or Lenox, and their winters at Palm Beach, Hot Springs and White Sulphur. They are the people whose daughters make their debuts in society-not necessarily the people with the most money, but the people with aristocratic family traditions and at the same time