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THE COUNTRY PASTOR.
Country pastors, according to a recent writer, ought to induce* the farmer to seek more scientific information in regard to farm ing. lie ought to induce him to subscribe for and read the best farm journals, to attend lectures and institutes, to try feasible meth ods of fertilization, to co-operate in producing and marketing crops. If this is what a coun try church wants it is very foolish for it to employ a preacher. If this is what he is to teach, why should he go to a Seminary and study Greek and Hebrew, Church History and Theology? Why should he be trained in the preparation and delivery of sermons? Would it not be better for him to go to an agricul tural college and take a course in scientific and practical farming? Indeed, is not this ab solutely necessary? How can he teach if he has not been taught? Can this knowledge bo gained in the Seminary? We remember a debate concerning the re moval of Union Seminary from the country, when an alumnus of that institution insisted that the Seminary should remain in the coun try, so that the young preachers, when they went to their pastorates, would know how to hold the calves, while the housewives milked the cows. But he could give no information as to who gave him instruction in this prac tical art, when he was a student. If instruction in agriculture and its enter prizes is what is wanted, let the community join together and employ a man trained in that line of work. The people will get more for their money. If a preacher is wanted, it would seem to be that he might give the people the benefit of the training which he has acquired at the cost of much money and years of hard study. These people who are so anxious to help the country church, but who show so little judg ment in the plan proposed, seem to forget two things. One of these is that the preacher is called of God and the church to a special and definite work. Like Paul, he should say : "This one thing I do," and this one thing should be to determine "not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified." His aim should be with God's help to make Christians of sinners, and to make the best Christians possible. . The other point that is overlooked is that the better Christian a farmer is the better farmer he will be. This is just as true of a man in any other calling. The man who ad justs his life to God's requirements is going to be more faithful, more industrious, more wide-awake, than he would be otherwise. WThen he puts God into His proper place, other things will fall into their proper places. A man was speaking of a certain church that had been organized in the poorest section of a large city. He said that the church did not seem to be reaching as poor a class of people as it did when it was first started. If he had looked a little more closely, he would have seen that that congregation was made up very largely of the same people. But since they became Christians they had become more pros perous. They dressed better. They had bet ter homes. They looked better. And is not that just what should be expected? "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." It is sometime said that there are very few poor people in the Presbyterian Church, as though this Church did not carry the gospel to the poor. Anyone who will look into the matter will see that in city and country our Church is carrying the gospel to many of the poorest in the land. The fact is that most peo pie do not long remain in squalid poverty after they come into the Presbyterian Church. There may be a few who do not join the Church until they are too old to change their manner of life, but their children will show improvement. The pastor, whether in the country or in the city, who looks after the spiritual welfare of the people that he ought to reach and in fluence, has just all that he can do without concerning himself to try to tedch farmers what they know a great deal more about than he does. Instead of trying to induce his people to take farm journals, suppose the pastor would induce every family to take the Church paper, lie would find that his church would so?n be far more wide-awake than it had ever been before. Instead of using his efforts to induce his members to attend lectures and institutes, suppose he should ti'y to get them to attend Sunday-school and church services, to get the men to attend Presbytery and Synod and con ventions of Christian workers. Instead of trying to teach a farmer how to work his farm, suppose he should teach him how to work the Lord's vineyard. The things which it is said the preacher ought to teach the farmers are all good and valuable in their places, but every shoemaker should stick to his own last. The preacher has been called to the highest of all callings. The work given him to do is the greatest ever committed to the hands of man. IIow insignificant is the raising of fine corn and fine pigs, compared with the saving of lost souls, and fitting them for God's ser vice. This is a work great enough for the Saviour to offer himself on the cross that it might be done. There is, therefore, nothing that the preacher should allow to interfere with his doing his best to do the work that God has called him to do. LARGE OR SMALL CHURCHES. It seems necessary for purposes of worship, and work, that God's people should be divided up into companies. The question is, how large ought these congregations to be? The size of the community will have some thing to do with it. In small settlements in the country, or towns of no considerable pop ulation, the Church is necessarily small. But the population of our country is largely becoming urban. The cities are growing with startling rapidity. In the cities population is piling up in apartment houses, so that the number of people in a given area is growing each year. The tendency is toward large churches. A number of the churches of our denomination are over 1,000 in membership. A church in the city with less than 500 members is hardly self-supporting. In more than one city, smaller churches have become consolidated with larg er ones. In the East at least the number of churches is not increasing, owing to unions of weaker churches in one. IIow far this tendency will go is a matter of doubt, but it is likely to grow rather than diminish, owing to the facility of getting swiftly about on trolley cars and automobiles. It is well then to consider the adyantages of large churches as opposed to smaller ones. The large church certainly furnishes an en thusiasm that smaller bodies lack. Every min ister has felt the contagion of numbers. It is easier to preach to 500 than to fifty. This con tagion attracts many. Everybody will stop if a crowd gathers. The power of union evan gelistic meetings lies often in the crowd rather than in the preacher. It is easier to do things amid the multitude, and with the approval of many. The large church enables a given body of members to give more to benevolent causes and charity. If 250 members have to pay the running expenses of the congregation it is evi dent that they will have less to give, than if they were twelve hundred and fifty. And in a city the expenses of a congregation are relatively the same. There is little difference between them. So it often happens that the smaller church is more liberal, when one takes hito consideration that a fewer number and often poorer, have to pay the necessary ex penses, and then meet the per capita appor tionment of Presbytery. The large church furnishes a greater va riety of workers, if not a greater number. Some kind of church work appeals to every one, and the wise Session will look up the suitable task for each one. So the large church has a great variety of enterprises on hand. The large church has also a wider field from which to choosc officers. The number of such is not fixed by the number of members, but is often smaller in the large church relative ly, than in the smaller one. This is a distinct advantage, for official power is in the quality rather than in the quantity. So we are not surprised to see their officers leading in all work of Presbytery. But there are certainly some disadvantages. A number of people go into large and strong churches to escape duty. As one said : "I have been in small churches all my life; I am going into a large one so I cannot have someone say every Sunday, 'Why, I did not see you at prayer-meeting on Wednesday night.' " Another one said: "I have had to carry the financial burden for many years. I want to get where the other man will have to pay when the pinch comes." This is a decided disadvantage to the Kingdom of God. The personal touch between pastor and people is often lacking. It is impossible for the min ister of such a church to know personally all the members, so that in many the pastor is no longer a pastor, but a prophet, and the shepherding of the flock is left^o others, or not done at all. The work of the pastor is sadly needed in the church, and much of the loss of power is due to this lack of personal touch. The minister becomes professional in his work. It is certainly true that these large churches are not so fruitful of conversions in propor tion to membership as in smaller churches. In one of our Presbyteries that has several large churches, the proportion of additions on pro fession of faith is much smaller than in churches having less membership. In the largest of these the additions on profession were only six per cent., and in an , other it was only four per cent., while in the Home Mission churches of that Presbytery the additions were ten per cent, of their member ship. It would seem that in gathering the funds of benevolence the large church excels in gathering souls into the kingdom, the smaller one is better. Which is most produc tive of final results remains to be seen. It is very certain that no denomination can grow that seeks to "build up large churches. There is that scattereth abroad that yet increaseth. When a church gets beyond 500 members would it not be a good plan to do as bees do when the hive is full? A. A. L. What matters more or less sun in the sky, when all is su? within! ? Christina G. RossettL