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THE WORLD TODAY AND TOMORROW.
As the casual observer looks out upon the world today it seems to be overhung with dark clouds of war. destruction, massacre, suffer ing. sorrow and despair. And it is true in deed that the clouds are dark and gloomy and seem to portend it may be even a worse storm than that which is raging. When we look at the lands of Belgium and France and see them all torn and de wasted by the hail of shells that has fallen upon them, when we sec the homes that have been laid waste, when we see the lives that have been destroyed and the hearts that have been crushed, when we see the gloom that has settled down on many countries, conditions are far from what we would like to see them. Many are the hearts that are longing and praying for the passing of the clouds. Yet in these dark clouds there arc many rifts through which glorious beams of sunshine are streaming, and it is well to look at these that our hearts may be cheered. Some of the en couraging conditions of the world today have been brought out by the war. "We can see these, it may be, a little more clearly as they affect our own country than we can where they alVect other countries only. One of the outcomes of the war is the world wide vision it has given our people. We as a nation are seeing, as we have never seen be fore, that a nation, as well as an individual, cannot live to itself; but that it bears a very close relation to other nations. It is teaching us that we must do our duty in supporting and defending the cause of righteousness and jus tice the world over. The war is also bringing clearly to view the great fact that nations that differ in many particulars may yet agree in the great funda mental principles upon which nations are built. The war has done more to change selfish ness into liberally among the people of this country than any other event that has ever transpired. Rich and poor have united in pouring out their money in support of the Gov ernment, the Red Cross, the Y. M. C. A., and other war work in a way that has never been known before. When the war is over, it can scarcely be believed that the people who are giving so liberally now will give up the habit. The world and the Church will feel the effects of this spirit of benevolence for many years to come. The people of different nationalities are harning to know each other better. The Americans have learned that the French are not merely a frivolous, pleasure loving people, but are brave and courageous and willing to sacrifice everything save honor in defense of their principles. The French are learning that the Americans can not only make money, but they can spend it liberally in the defense of what is light, and that with their money they are willing to give their lives also in fighting for the maintenance of liberty and justice in the world. Another encouraging fact is that men are getting nearer to God. More prayers and more earnest prayers are being offered to God today than ever went up from earth to the Throne of Grace before, and sincere prayer always brings man close to God. We must not limit our outlook to the war and to the countries most seriously affected by it. WTe find that, in all countries where the Christian religion is found, God's people are being drawn more closely together. The bonds of unity, which the world has not always seen, are being manifested and strengthened as never before. This has grown out of the united work of different denominations in their support of the various forms of work being done for sol diers and sailors, and for others alTectcd by the war. The meeting together of various churches, often of different denominations, brought about by war conditions, has had a wonderful influence in bringing the congrega tions closer together than they have ever been before. God's people have not only given largely to general causes, they have given more largely than ever to all branches of the Church's work, and this spirit of liberality will not die when the war is over. When we look out over the non-Christian world we have reason for thankfulness and hope. Certainly, so far as our mission fields are concerned, conditions are most encourag ing, and similar reports are coming from many other parts of the world. More members were received into our foreign mission churches last year than in any previous year. Instead of the war driving the heathen peo ples from the Christian religion, it seems to be drawing multitudes to it. In China we are told that their are thousands of scholars and civic leaders gathered in Bible study groups "under the pledge that thev will follow the light of the Word even if that light leads them to Christ." In Foochow alone 5.000 meet weekly under this plan. In Japan. Korea, the Philippines and India similar Bible study movements have become popular. In all these and in many other countries Sundav-sehools are growing at a phenominal rate. So rapidly have they grown in Japan that the Buddhist priests are becoming alarmed, and to counteract their influence they are establish ing Buddhist Sunday-schools, imitating almost exactly the plans of the Christians. These are but a few of the conditions which show that even in the midst of the fearful con flict with evil in which so large a part of the world is engaged, the cause of our Cod is gain ing ground. As we look to the future, and realize that God reigns in heaven and rules on earth, we may well lift up our hearts in thanksgiving to Him and say that "the pros pects are as bright as the promises of God." WHY HAS PRESBYTERLANISM FAILED? There may be some to answer this question, by saying, it has not failed. The Presbyterian Church was one of the first to plant itself on the soil of the new world. It was by far the most vigorous of the eccle siastical shoots. It had three splendid elements, the Hugenots the Scotch and the Scotch-Irish. These blended strains were spread over the whole Atlantic seaboard. It was filled with an undying love of liberty, and wrote the first Declaration of Independence in Mecklenburg Co., N. C. It won the admiration and love of the whole country by winning the war of the Revolution. It received a mighty impetus from the successful termination of this war, which put the State Churches on the losing side. The Methodist Church was hardly born. The Baptist Church was just beginning to catch the missionary spirit which has spread it abroad. The percentage of population in the Presby terian Church was by far the largest in the country, and it held points of advantage over the whole country. What is the state of affairs now after 150 years of national life? In all branches of the Presbyterian faith there are about 2,500,000 communicants, about 4'per cent of the population ? or about ten per cent of the Church membership of America counting only Protestants. The Baptists and Methodists both have double our membership and several other de nominations are pushing us fast. In our South land where immigration has affected the condi tion of the people but little the state of affairs is no better. We have 33,000,000 people in these States, and a Presbyterian membership of 700,000 at the outside. In many parts of our Anglo-Saxon Southland a Presbyterian is a curiosity, and Presbyter ian churches are unheard of. It may be said by way of comfort that "we make np in quality what we lack in quantity." But if a soul saved is a soul saved, quality will not take the place of quantity. If with the tremendous start we had in the beginning we have been so badly distanced what would the outcome have been if we had had the poor start other denominations had? Would it not be better to say, that for at least a century Presbyterianism has not been tried ? Why have we fallen behind so far? It may be we missed the main purpose of the Church. We sat down to cultivate individuals. It lias been an intensely individualistic century. The Churches were individualistic to an ex treme. And they grew not by going out to the unchurched and unsaved, but by immigration into the community from acror.s the ocean or from other Presbyterian communities in America. The Church turned aside to education, and laid its stress 011 this. The people must be edu cated, and the ministry must be even more highly educated. Schools and Colleges were multiplied. The Church forgot that the Divine stress is 011 the missionary element. The pastors be came school-teachers tar ho taught a few, and not missionaries who reached the many. We honor the few missionaries who went out. Their praise cannot be sung too loudly, and they saved our faces, but the whole Church was not missionary, either home or foreign, 1 hough we may try to think so. Otherwise the fruits would appear. We are thoroughly convinced that Presby terianism is the truth. That it is adapted to all conditions of intellectual development. It has an appeal to the basic thoughts of the un lettered and that it only needs half a chance to sweep a country. But it cannot be looked up in colleges, nor fettered with theological nomenclature. It must speak in the language of the common people, and they will welcome it as they did its Lord and Master and great Teacher, Jesus. Presbyterianism failed because it did not ' learn to act together. Its faults were the faults of the Allies, its attack where attack was made, was in separate units and not in concentrated form. It has not learned to act thus. The $3,000,000 drive has gone far toward teaching us the power of united effort. With the closest knit system of Church gov ernment we have allowed Congregationalism and individualism to cut the sinews of our ef fort. It seems almost impossible to get the whole Church to aet in any united way. The history of the Presbyterian Church in America has been the story of division after division with a sickening reiteration, while the king dom of God has stooifl still as far as we are concerned. We are thoroughly convinced that for these reasons and perhaps others of a minor charac ter, we have failed to make America as Presby terian as Scotland. But it is not too late. If we see our faults