Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA
Newspaper Page Text
THE SUNDAY CAMPAIGN.
"We have been asked many times what we thought of Rev. W. A. Sunday and his work in Richmond. We believe those who have not heard him have a perfect right to ask such questions. And we shall be very well satisfied if we can give anything like a correct answer to them. Mr. Sunday is a unique man. There .never has been another like him and it is probable that there never will be. He has peculiarities that stand out very distinctly. These have been taken up by the newspapers and they have gen erally been very much exaggerated. They serve to attract some people who would proba bly not otherwise go to hear him. A few people are somewhat shocked and disgusted when they first hear him, but it is a rare exception that such people do not go to hear him again at the first opportunity. There are very few who have heard him as many as three times who do not realize that these peculiarities do not affect the real character of the man any more than did the wart on Cromwell's nose. In his preaching he holds up sin in all its blackness and heinousness, no matter where found. It is in this connection that he uses humor, gesture and gesticulation with telling effect. He makes the sinner oftentimes exceed ingly ridiculous for indulging in sin, but it is done in order to lead him to turn from sin to the Saviour. In his gestures he has all the en ergy and action of his baseball days of his ear lier life. When he hurls denunciation at sin, his hearers can easily imagine that he is throw ing a ball across the diamond in a effort to put out the runner. Ilis illustrations, many of them from his own experience, are sometimes humorous, sometimes serious in the extreme. He never tells a story for the purpose of amus ing his hearers, but always as the feather that makes the arrow of truth go straight to the heart. And it is not often that he misses his aim. He has no patience with hypocrites, whether in the church or out of it, and little use for the man who says he is a Christian and yet fails to serve God whole heartedly. He shows such people their duty and privilege to show their love to Qod by giving their hearts and lives un reservedly to Him. Mr. Sunday has no sympathy with any one who questions the inspiration of the Scriptures, the divinity of Christ, the personality and di vinity of the Holy Spirit, the atonement through the merits of a crucified Saviour, man's total depravity, the personality and power of the devil, the reality of heaven as a place of end less blessing for the redeemed and hell as a place of eternal punishment for the lost, or any of the other great fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion as held by the Presbyte rian Church. v The immediate effect of his preaching was shown in the great audiences that crowded the auditorium more than a hundred times to hear him preach. And everywhere else that he spoke just as many gathered to hear him as had the opportunity of doing so. Hundreds were led to profess their accept ance of Christ as their Saviour, and many more to reconsecrate themselves to the service of Qod. In these two ways more than six thou sand came out on the Lord's side. As to the permanent results, of course it is too soon to pass judgment, but one thing is very evident. Religion of the highest type has never occupied as high a place in the thoughts and lives of the people of this city as it does now. Many men and women have been led to work for Ood and for the- salvation of souls who had never done so before, and in doing this they have been brought nearer to God and have thereby received a great blessing. Mr. Sunday's methods of conducting a meet ing are as simple as possible. After the song service and a sermon he gives an earnest invi tation to those who will do so to come forward and by doing so to declare their acceptance of the Saviour or their reconsecration to His service. He tells the people that he asks them to do this that they may be brought to a clear cut decision on the subject and that they may show to others where they stand. There is no excitement in this connection. The large choir sings some familiar hymns of gospel invitation in subdued tones, often so quietly that the in vitation can be repeated and heard while the singing is going on. This after service never lasted more than ten or fifteen minutes, even when hundreds came forward,' and it was al ways stopped so quickly that many felt that it was too short. As great a man and preacher as Mr. Sunday is he could never alone have accomplished what he did. He has shown marvellous skill in selecting and gathering about him a com pany of men and women who are choice spirits indeed. Every one of them is an expert in his or her department of the work. All are ear nest, faithful, hard-working, consecrated Chris tians of a very high type. The work of any one of them would attract much attention, be cause of what is accomplished, if it were not swallowed up in the united work of the cam paign. Not least among his helpers is Mrs. Sunday, popularly known as "Ma Sunday." Hers is more distinctly a personal help, though she also did much to aid the general work in many ways. She is very faithful ?\nd careful in looking after the comfort and welfare of her husband in order that he may be in the best condition possible. She attends to many mat ters and sees many people that Mr. Sunday himself would have otherwise to attend to. She has a very attractive and pleasing manner, and shares with her husband the heartfelt desire that his work may redound to the glory of God. THE RETURNING SOLDIER. Quite a vast deal of paper and ink has been spent over the question of what shall the Church do with the returning soldier. We ven ture to say that probably no greater waste of good material has occurred in the entire waste of war. The question that should concern the Church is more properly, what will the returned sol dier do with the Church? Many have assumed that the Church has been out of business for the last four years; that slumber has wrapped her in its uncon scious folds and she has not even "marked time." Never was their quite so great a blun der. If ever the Church was "on her job" she has been so during these fierce years. She has witnessed and sacrificed as never before. Tf she has left some of the frills and furbelows off it has been no real loss of power. Samson has not lost his locks. She has functioned bet ter than any branch of the service, and if she had been heard by the government perhaps the arrant spiritual failure of the Y. M. C. A. would not have occurred. Then there has been a serious mistake in es timating the effect of the war on the soldier. That it has had some effect is unquestioned. The war has developed the soldier and in most cases in the right direction. He is more 'Of a man and of a gentleman. He has had his moral sense invigorated. He is of a higher tone than when he went away. He has not lost his love for home and country and Church. He is ready to drop back into his place in the community and church as he was before. He has a deepened sense of holy things. Instead of being the wild, self-conscious stranger to re ligion he never was as religious in his life. In stead of despising the Church as effete and old womanish he reveres it as he never did before and sees its intrinsic worth in the field of life. Then the problem before the Church is not to win back the soldier boy, but to harness up his willingness to help the world up. He is going to make himself felt in the community life. We cannot imagine these mountain boys who did not know how to stand up straight, nor obey commands, nor keep themselves in a sanitary condition, coming back to the low level of life often found in the inaccessible coves of the mountains. "What a tremendous effect he will have on the life of those homes. Some may slip back into old habits; but we venture to say that most of them will make a sturdy effort to lift these lowly homes to high er planes of living. Imagine the lads coming home to homes of exclusive culture across whose doorsill no one of the proletariat has ever come. How intense ly disgusted his democratized soul will be at the conversation there. He will certainly bring that exclusive family into closer touch with the lowly life of our country. What impa tience will these men have with the Higher Criticism of our effeminate pulpit. How they will scorn the pale milky diet that half-hearted ministers will try to feed them on. But for the old-fashioned, robust gospel of Jesus Christ I take it they will have nothing but delight. How vigorously and directly are they going to attack the evil of America. How broad will be their sympathies with the whole world. The returning soldier will still be a soldier, but what a splendid soldier of the Lord. A. A. L. Contributed SOME REASONS FOR PRIZING MY RELIG IOUS PAPERS. By Rev. A. M. Fraser, D. D. 1. I prize my religious papers because they give me something to read on the Sabbath day that interests me and helps me, without intrud ing secular things into that sacred day. The religious papers remove the temptation to read secular matter on the Sabbath and they de prive me of any excuse for such reading. What do people read on Sunday who have no relig ious papers? Do they go to the pilblic libra ries on Saturday and lay in a supply of novels, or histories, or books of travel, or other secu lar literature to last them over Sunday? Do they go to the news stand or the post office and get the voluminous Sunday edition of some sec ular paper and give up the day to reading such papers, possibly even missing the church ser vice in order tq finish them ? Some men defend the reading of such things by saying, "Why, there is no harm in what I read on Sunday." It is to be hoped there is not. K the reading were harmful, it would not be fit to read on any day. But there are many things that are not harmful in themselves that are not proper on the Lord 's day. The Sabbath is a religious r * day. Is our reading religious or secular? It is not enough to prove that it is not hurtful. It f should be positively religious. If we have the -- > religious papers we have no occasion for re sorting to questionable reading matter. 2. I love my rel%ious papers, because they help to nourish my religious nature. If man has a religious nature he should systematically nourish it, just as he nourishes his physical or