Newspaper Page Text
tian citizens) must be subject not only for
wrath, but also for conscience sake." It will be very properly asked, How is all this compatible with Christ's law of love? We ask in return, How is Christ's law of love com patible with his forceful expulsion of the traders from the temple-courts which they had turned into a den of thieves How is it com patible with his final destruction of the wicked? The only true answer is the answer which the loving Christian parent gives when he punishes his wicked child. The child is punished because he deserves to be punished ; because also it is for his own pood; for the welfare of the family and the community. A similar answer is given by the State when it punishes criminals; when it calls on its citi zens to protect themselves and those depend ent 011 them against robbers and murderers at home; against robbers and murderers from abroad, acting under the orders of devil-ruled and ruthless foreign governments. It is sometimes said that men fighting and killing each other in war often have no per sonal quarrel with or hatred of each other. Doubtless this is true and ought to be true; especially if the soldiers are Christians. The parent ought to love the child upon whom he inflicts b painful punishment. A Christian sheriff oi;ght to love and does love the man vhose life he takes under the just judgment of a court. Christian soldiers ought to love the men against whom they fight. "What they hate and ought to hate is the wickedness of the government which has inaugurated an unjust and offensive war. It is freely admitted that in all these cases a fearful responsibility rests on Christians, whether parents, sheriffs or soldiers. Does the child deserve punishment? Is his punishment necessary for his own good and the welfare of the family and the State? Is the death of this man justly incurred under the laws of God and man? Is his death necessary to protect the State from greater evils? Is this war, in which we are called on to fight a just war; really a defensive war, authorized by God's word? If not, no Christian can properly engage in it. If it is, he must sustain his government to the utmost of his ability; not because he hates the government or the men whom he seeks to in jure; but because they are doing evil, violat ing God's laws; and because God has placed the sword, the symbol of force, in the hands of civil government to protect the good against the evil, until our Lord himself shall return to the earth forcefully to separate forever "the seed of the serpent" from "the seed of the woman." A final question : Will (Christ's law of love ever be universally effective in a sin-cursed earth? The answer is, No; it cannot and will not be universally effective until all on earth are Christians in fact as well as in name; and this awaits the time when our Lord shall ap pear the second time without sin unto salva tion. This great event longed for, prayed for, worked for, by his people awaits the salvation of them all ; and this in turn awaits the evan gelization of mankind. Instead of preaching peace when God has sent a sword, Christians should address themselves to the work of preaching the gospel ,and praying that God's Holy Spirit would make it effective to the gathering and perfecting of his saints even in this war-scourged world. Saint Louis, Missouri. Many of our troubles might well be laughed away, most of them could be worked away, and all of them can be prayed away. TO OUR BELOVED MISSIONARIES. By Mrs. Katherine Dampton Paxson. Far in that land, with deep waves circling round thee, Far, far removed, sad in that lonely land, Shall we forget, with love's sweet thoughts to woo thee, Guided and blest by God's almighty hand? So far removed, yet Christ our Lord, remembers Why the loved home was left for foreign shores. Blessed indeed the heart is, whose bright embers Burn with pure Joy to enter "open doors." Dear ones in Christ, we never can forget thee. While life's swift tide is bearing us away. Precious to God, angelic hosts shall keep thee Till earth's dark night gives place to heaven's bright day. Richland, Mo. HOW I PREPARE MY SERMONS. By Rev. .Tamos I. Vance, D. D. (A paper read before the Presbyterian Min isters' Meeting of Nashville, Tennessee, and published by request.) I fear they are not always prepared. A prescnt-dav preacher with a large congrega tion to look after and ceaseless demands on his time from the outside, has precious little opportunity for preparation. Nevertheless, he must prepare his sermons, or he is doomed. No preacher can maintain his work on sermons shaken out of his sleeve. Hard as it is to find time, he must find it, even though he must steal it from sleep. For the first ten years of my ministry, I wrote in full the morning sermon and read it verbatim et literatim to the people Sunday morning. It is amazing what a congregation will stand from a young minister. From the start my evening effort was extemporaneous, and it was quite an effort. Usually, after it had been gotten out of my system, cramp colic ensued. For a lcng time my devoted wife thought, my colic was caused by the cooking, and grew desperate over her housekeeping, but when she discovered that it was sermonic colic, brought on by nervousness, her solicitude quickly abated. By and by, however, strength was given, and the ordeal passed without a gastronomic upheaval. The effort to run a double-header of ex temporaneous preaching on Sunday began when Mr. Moody came to Nashville to hold a meeting. It seemed to me a proceeding en tirely too frosty to precede his coming with a manuscript sermon. The Sunday he was here made the same appeal to my sense of fitness, and the Sunday which followed. This made three weeks in succession that I had gotten along without crutches. The next Sunday I fell from grace and went back to idols. It was far from a success. There was no liberty. The people evidently liked far better the ex temporaneous sermon, even with its ragged sentences, and sometimes repetitions. The re sult was, I flung the manuscript away, and from that day to this, have been emancipated. This does not mean that there has been less time put on the preparation of the sermon. There has been far more. But there has been emancipation from the bondage to canned ideas and cold storage phraRes. There has been the chance, during the delivery of the sermon, for the Holy Spirit to thrust in with a new gleam of interpretation, or an unpremeditated appli cation of truth. I am not referring to impromptu preaching. That is an insult to God and man, and he who depends upon the atmosphere of the oc casion for his inspiration will speedily dis cover that his is a minus mood. But I regard extemporaneous preaching as by far the most satisfactory. Next in value, it seems to me, is the manuscript when deftly handled. Poorer still is the memoriter, and poorest of all, the impromptu. When a seminary student, there fell into my hands a book on extemporaneous preach ing, by Dr. Richard S. Storrs, and the sug gestions set forth in that book have largely influenced my methods of preparation. There is kept, of course, a book of texts and themes, and also a collection of clippings, and volumes of illustrations, but commentaries are used sparingly, and when at all, merely to get the meaning of an obscure passage. I rarely read a sermon and am probably the loser as a re sult. But printed sermons as a rule do not interest me and I had rather the treatment of text would unfold itself as a result of med itating on it than from feeding on some other man's mind. T try to select the text for Sunday morn ing's sermon Monday night, and let it soak in subconsciousness until Tuesday morning, when a method of treatment will suggest itself. A full brief is made and laid aside until Friday. On Thursday morning the Sunday night ser mon is prepared in the same way. Friday morning the Sunday morning brief is taken up and thought through. I try to get it in my system. Saturday morning Sunday night's sermon is handled in the same way. The line of thought is gone over fully in the mind again Saturday night and before the delivery. The result is that the sermon all the while is grow ing, and is never really completed until preached. It is never written out unless it is . published, and is then dictated to the sten ographer from notes. While not written out, the nature of this preparation is such that from the brief it is possible not only to recall the same line of thought, should the sermon be preached again, but almost the very language of the first delivery. I have not found much comfort in preaching old sermons, save on occasions away from home. My custom has been to make an hon 'est effort to get up two new sermons each ,week. Perhaps the sermons would have been improved, if, instead of this method, time had been devoted to working over old sermons. Each man, however, it seems to me, must make his own method. It is a mistake to try to copy another man '3 style or way of doing things. Personality is one's greatest asset and nowhere is it more of an asset than in the gospel min istry.- "To thine own self be true" should be in every preacher's creed. Let a man be true to himself, and then let him work. There is no genius but hard work. I have never found it easy to prepare ser mons. My first rule in sermon preparation is work, the second is work hard, the third is keep on working. The amount of work put into a sermon measures its value. A sermon that costs a preacher nothing, gets nowhere. Sometimes a shallow effort may capture com pliments from a shallow-pated constituency, but the tribute of a sermon is not what people may say about it, but the way they live. No sermon is of account that does not stir to action and shape conduct. A great sermon is one that gets itself incarnated. If any little love of mine May make a life the sweeter; If any little care of mine May make a friend's the fleeter; If any lift mine may ease The burden of another, God give me love and care and strength To help my toiling brother.