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Cbttorial Jf?ote? aub Comment
THE Laymen 's Convention at Lexington this week is to have as its presiding offi cer Dr. William J. Martin, and in this it is fortunate. Dr. Martin is president of Davidson College, in North Carolina. Under his adminis tration many improvements have been made in that institution, and it now holds a higher place in the educational world than it has ever done before. It had this session the very un usual experience of being obliged, several weeks before the opening day, to close its doors to new applicants, as it had then enrolled all the students it could accommodate. Davidson is doing a most excellent work and is sending a large number o5 its students into the ministry, while many others go out to take important and responsible positions in the Church and in the world. In 1914 our Church conferred upon Dr. Martin the highest honor it could bestow in making him the moderator of the General Assembly in its meeting in Kansas City, and he filled the office well. + + + FOREIGN MISSION contributions are in creasing. We are delighted to see from the report of the treasurer of the Executive Committee that up to January 31st the gifts received this year have been .$27,078 more from living donors than last year and $3,280 more from legacies. This is exceedingly encourag ing, and it is to be hoped that this is just the beginning of better things to come. If a fair proportion of ^he increasing wealth of the South were given to the Lord's service, there would be no difficulty in doing the great work, which he has given our Church to do. When we think of the lost state of the heathen our hearts ought to go out in loving sympathy to them, and when we think of the innumerable great blessings God has given us, our hands ought to go down deep into our pockets and bring out the Lord's tithes that the light of gospel truth may be sent to those who sit in darkness. ?fr + + UNITY of Christians is a subject which is constantly occupying the thoughts of a great many people, and they seem to be very much distressed, because they do not see that our Saviour's prayer is being answered, when he prayed "that they all may be one." The fact is that the Church of today has that unity for which he prayed in a very marked degree. Practically every Protestant church recognizes all others as true churches. And they all hold all of the essential doctrines of salvation, and are all engaged in the same work of trying to save the world for Christ. When represen tatives of the various churches get together in any union meeting it is seen how close they are to one another. In a great meeting at the Moody Bible Institute in. Chicago in celebra tion of Mr. Moody's eightieth birthday this was strikingly brought out. There were rep resentatives from many churches from all over this country and Canada. After giving a list of the speakers, which was long and which included many well-known men, one who was present said, in speaking of this meeting: "It was notable for the remarkable unity of the teaching of these men, though representative of almost as many denominations. And this unity expressed itself in the most conservative testimony to the Bible as a revelation from God, the deity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the lost condition of men by nature and the all sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ." That is true unity, and it is the kind that ought to satisfy. + + + President Dr. Wm. J. Martin. + + + SPONSORS for children in baptism. Does not that sound queer in the Presbyterian church, and yet twice recently we have had reports of children being baptized by Presbyte rian pastors, when it was reported that there were sponsors for the children, other than the parents. What Scriptural authority there is for putting any one else in place of the parents in their responsibility for the training of chil dren, we have never been able to find. Our observation has been that in the vast majority of cases in churches, where the practice is com mon, it is such a matter of form, that it means nothing. Why should some friend of the family assume obligations which belong to the parents nnd which it would be impossible for any one else to carry out under ordinary conditions? We wonder what passage of Scripture or what paragraph of the Book of Church Order author izes a Presbyterian minister to introduce such a custom into an ordinance of the Presbyterian Church. WHEN the layman returns from the con vention a great deal will be expected of him, but no more than they ought to be pre pared to grant. It matters not how full a man's heart and mind may be with matters pertaining to the Master's kingdom, he ought to have them much fuller when the convention is over. He should be ready to share with those at home the good things he has received. This can be done by telling what he has learned. To be prepared to do this it will be well to take notes of interesting and striking things that are said. If he does not do this he will find that, out of all the great abundance, he will lose much that he would like to remember. He ought to carry back to his church a fire kindled by the inspiration of the convention. But he should remember that the fire will not continue to burn in his own heart, nor will it extend to the hearts of others, if he ignores it and lets it die out. He must breathe upon it with the breath of prayer, and he must get his heart and life very close to those of his fellow church members. An earnest effort on his part to bring others up to the high plane upon which he lived during the convention will be very helpful to himself as well as to others. The thousands of men who attend these conventions ought to do a great deal towards inspiring the whole Church to increased and renewed zeal in the great work of winning "the world for Jesus," and "America must not fail.". + + + OUR ASSEMBLY entered its protest with the Federal Council against its course in regard to political matters. Judging from the actions taken at its last meeting the Council has not changed its plans materially. Here are some of the things it pledged itself to do: to seek enactment and enforcement of State and Federal laws for the preservation of the Sabbath, to seek the enactment of uniform marriage laws, laws requiring sex education in higher grade public schools, laws for the prevention of marriage of mental and physical defectives, laws requiring an interval between the issuance of a marriage license and the per formance of the ceremony, laws requiring an interval between the filing of suits for divorce and the hearing of the cases. The Council also endorsed the campaign for the national prohi bition of the liquor traffic. We leave it to our readers to say whether or not such actions are an effort to carry the Church into civil and po litical affairs. These suggested laws doubtless are all needed, and would produce good results. But is the Church to go upon the floor of legis lative halls and endeavor to secure their adop tion? The Church should concern itself with sowing and cultivating the seeds of righteous ness in the hearts of the people, in order that they may be made fit for God's service. If this is done, they will be fully fitted to make just and righteous laws for the country.