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IS THE SABBATH WORTH KEEPING?
This is a question that every Christian ought to ask himself most seriously. He should seek Its answer on his knees before God. If the Sabbath is worth anything as an institution, we ought to keep it. If in the sight of God it is worth nothing, we might as well give it up. It may seem to be very radical even to speak of giving up the Sabbath. Yet many have al ready done so in reality. Many Christians are fast letting it slip through their hands. A writer in The Continent says very trulv: "If we lose sight of Sunday and what it stands for we shall soon lose sight of God aud llis laws; and if we lose sight of God and His laws we shall, before long, find ourselves as a nation and as individuals doing the very things which we so bitterly condemn in our enemies and against which we are fighting with almost superhuman determination." lie might well have added that if we lose the Sabbath, we shall lose the fight with Satan, as individuals, as a Church and as a nation. The great war in which we are engaged is working marvelous changes in many directions. Some of them will be for the better of all con cerned. Christians are being drawn closer to gether than ever before. God's people are more earnest in prayer than many have been in the past. They are learning and putting into practice the lesson of liberality. They are giving of their time, efforts and service in a new way. These and many other by-products of the war will mean lasting blessings in the years to come. Hut there have been other results of the war that are bad and that will bring only evil. One of these is the great increase of profanity. In some unaccountable way this evil has swept through the camps as an epidemic. Just why this should be the case it is hard to see, when we are told that the soldiers as a class are giving more serious thought to reli gion than most of them ever did before. It is to be sincerely hoped that they will not bring this evil and contaminating habit home with them. One of the greatest evils, however, that has come out of the war, so far as its effect upon character is concerned, is the increasing dis regard for the sanctity of the Sabbath. Presi dent Wilson, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, issued an order directing that only such work as military necessities required should be done in the camps and on board ships 011 the Sabbath. The carrying out of this order naturally depends largely upon the opinion of the officers in command. Work may be suspended, but other things are encouraged, which are worse than work. Under the direc tion of the authorities baseball and other sports are encouraged and the theatres are run on the Sabbath. In most cases, so far as we are informed, ihe Y. M. C. A. has tried to encourage the proper observance of the day. Yet where so many new workers have had to be taken in, some even of those high up in authority have not rung true 011 this subject. A Presbyterian minister, applying for work among the soldiers under the Y. M. C. A., was asked by the of ficial who had the authority to fill that posi tion this question : "If at the close of a morn ing service you were asked to organize and, if necessary, umpire a ball game, would you be willing to do it?" When he replied that lie Mould not do this, he was told: "We have no place for you in our work." That this was not the general view of the Y. M. C. A. is shown by the fact that he* was made re ligious director of another camp, after he had' stated his position clearly on this subject. The part that is to be regretted is that any leader of religious work should have as little regard for the sanctity of the Sabbath as the man who refused to appoint him. It is at home, however, that the most dis tressing changes are taking place. Things are done now that no respectable Christian would have thought of doing a few years ago, and the plea is made that the war conditions make ir. necessary. As an example, many women are sewing and knitting on the Sabbath for the soldiers or for the Red Cross, saying that it is a good deed they are doing, and therefore it is right to do this work on the Lord's Day. This, of course, is not a defensible position. If they are giving all of their time to work during the week, they need the rest on the Sabbath. If not, they have no right to claim that it is necessary to do it on the Sabbath. "When we violate one of God's plain com mandments we ought to be very sure that we are engaged in a work of real necessity, the doing of which will meet with Ilis approval. We want the world to be better when the war is over. We want the men who have gained our victory for us to find the homes and the home land and the Church better when they return than they were when they left. This M ill not be the case if we do not preserve the Sabbath in its sanctity. AFTER THE WAR? WHAT? Many thinkers are gravely concerned them selves about what shall come after this terrible upheaval shall subside. It will be over some day, and like the frag ments of a great explosion, that which has gone up, will have to come down somewhere and in some place and condition. In the Church there will be many changing past orates. Scores and hundreds of men have left their fields of labor and gone into Y. M. C. A. or chaplaincy work. They will hardly come back to the same congregations. Our pastorates are changing rapidly enough as it is; there will be many more changes. But what is more important, these men will come back with far different views of their mis sion and the work of the kingdom. We feel sure that no man will have any cheaper views of the gospel. Men have tested the old gos pel as it never has been tested, and have found that it stands the acid test of the trenches. Jt has been good to live l>y and even better to die by. They have seen its predominating value when all other things proved pretty worthless. It has cheered the living and com forted the dying; it has steeled the heart against temptation and made the weakest saint a fiery preacher of righteousness. The shams and veneers of an age of prosperity and deep ening luxury have been swept into the scrap pile, and the genuine gold of the old-fashioned religion of repentance, regeneration, faith and holy living has come into its own. This, and this alone, has satisfied the heart. And the Hallelujah Lassies of the Salvation Army and the "Y" workers of a plain faith have carried these saving truths to the souls of men. The frill and filigrees of religion have failed as they will always when men stand in the fore front of battle. What of the men and women who come back from the front? They have learned most val uable lessons of life. It is a serious matter, and is worth while only as we invest it in a good and worthy cause. They have seen the use of discipline, of hardship and difficulty. They know the worth of trial, and having stood, as roost have, they will be worthy mem bers of the kingdom. They will come back into their respective churches prepared to do a man's part. The working forces of the Church are going to be greatly strengthened, it' the Church is wise enough to take hold of these men who will be a little impatient of non-essentials. They will come back believing in a divine Saviour and religion that regenerates the heart and insists 011 character as the evidence of a renewed relation with God. What has the Church to learn after the war? Not to think any less of the old truths, that are the foundation of her life; but even to value them more. She will see, as sin* never has, the fatal effects of an insidious Higher Criticism that prepared the German conscience for untold depths of sin and cruelty. Hut will she not see that man is made of many parts, and if she is to fulfil her heaven-sent mission, she must minister to the whole of man in a sane and religious fashion? A great many organizations and practices that have grown to her sides during a period of ease will be swept oft' as she sets out to the high seas. The shibboleths of contending sects will lose their calling power; the racial differ ences that have made missionary work difficult will disappear. The world will be open to missionary effort as never before. Her mes sage of love will receive a new baptism of power as she goes forth in the name of tho Prince of Peace. Her hour of opportunity is coming as it never has come. Should she not cut loose from much of ec clesiastical red-tape and devote her hours of study in Synods, Assemblies, Conference and so forth, to a consideration of these after the war problems? Many of our Southern people may not ?.? > yet have heard of a special splendid training school that has been called into existence by the demands of war. We have heard a great deal of the officers' training schools and the school for chaplains, but we have heard very little about the War Work Training School of the Y. M. C. A. Southern Department, located at Camp Travis, near San Antonio, Tex. This school graduates a class every month. It conu menced with last April, and including the sixth class, which was the one for September, it has graduated nearly seven hundred Y. M. C. A. Secretaries. Many of these have gone over seas with our army, and many of them are in the home camps as well as other departments of the great Y. M. C. A. work. The Southern department of the Y. M. C. A. corresponds to the Southern Military Depart ment and includes the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, with headquarters in San Antonio, Tex. This training school is one of the most cos mopolitan schools in existence so far as re ligious denominations and civil vocations are concerned. The writer was a member of the September school, and nearly every profession was represented, including a dentist, an Os teopath and an Allopath physician, lawyers, ministers, school teachers, etc. As to the de nominations, throughout the course the writer, who is a Presbyterian minister, had sitting to his right a Baptist minister, to the front of him was a Disciples' minister, to the rear was A. A. L. Contributed A NEW WAR-TIME SCHOOL. By Rev. William A. Rolle.