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The Southwestern P/?esbyter/a$
the Central Presbyter/an & The Southern Presbyter/an VOL. 93. Vlr*loi, *ECF!VED ? ?'?/4 g. - RICHMOND, NEW ORWc'0i?i>" *f# UNE 25, 1919. S f AT ? I No. 26 .-V ? THE VALUE OF OUR CHURCH PAPERS Address delivered before the Atlanta Laymen's Convention, June 10, 1919. By Rev. .T. M. Wells, D. D. WHEN I was at the Seminary one of the budding theologs there prepared a sermon, that with divisions, sub-divi sions and sub-sub-divisions is said to have contained one hun dred and thirty-two heads. And the hard-hearted faculty in sisted on his discussing that mass of divinity in twenty-five minutes. And now I am to discuss the value of our Church papers, one of the biggest and most vital subjects that can come before us, in six minutes. As an orthodox Presbyterian preacher I will divide my six minute talk into three heads. First, consider the tremendous importance of the Church papers to the individual. Many of you men here before me learned your letters from the names at the top of those papers. The literature that our aged saints love next to their Bible is those papers. And in the long stretch of life that lies between there is no better food for our souls than the Church papers. There is something radically wrong about the food the average Christian is giving his soul today. One of my friends once said that he did not like asparagus because it tasted to him like it Was raw at one end and rotten at the other. I don't agree with him as to asparagus, but if he had said that about the food that many are giving their minds and souls today, lie would have been absolutely right. That food is made up of the daily papers and the monthly magazines, and it is raw at one end and rotten at the other. What he gets from the daily papers is raw. When it ceases to be raw it ceases to be news, and the papers don't want it. And great as is their influence and potent as is their power for good or evil, the reading they give is not food that enriches the mind and de velops the soul. It is raw. And what he gets from the monthly magazines is rotten. There are exceptions, of course. But they are scarce and difficult to find. The most of those magazines are not fit to read. They are crude, suggestive, frothy, when they are not actually filthy. That stuff is not fit food for Chris tian men and women. It is rotten. It will give you moral and spiritual ptomaine poisoning. The individual Christian needs the Church papers that he may have pure, wholesome, true food for mind and soul. "What soever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be r.nv praise, think on these things." And these are the things you find to think about, and to feed your soul with, on the page of our Church papers. Second. Consider the tremendous importance of the Church papers to the family. These papers are well-nigh essential in the life of the family. WThat is the great need of today ? I might mention many things, but unhesitatingly I say the great need is family re ligion. To supply the Church with needed workers, to supply the State with peeded leaders, yea, to supply the world in its great crisis time with the men and women to save it, will re quire real, old-time family religion. And the Church papers are a powerful aid in promoting family religion. They help to solve the Sabbath problem in the home bv providing whole some and entertaining reading. They give to the young a taste for pure reading. They help to make religion attractive to the young. The families in our Church that are building tho 'Church generation after generation are those that take the Church papers. My father was once at a General Assembly, where in a group the conversation turned to the Church papers. Someone asked him what in those papers he read first on Sunday after noon. He said, "I often turn to the children's letters." A general laugh followed. What could a mature jurist find there to interest him? But he went on, "I don't find much in the letters, but the names profoundly interest me. They are the children and grandchildren of the men and women in our Church that I have known and loved and honored." "Showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love me and keep my commandments." The family will not swing far off that feeds its children vs minds with the Church papers. Third. Consider the tremendous importance of the Church papers to the Church. How could the work of the Church be kept before the people of the Church without this agency? How could the great Foreign Mission work ? the news from our far-flung battle line for Christ, the news of heroism, of sacrifice and of victory ? be kept freshly and powerfully be fore our people without them? How could our great Home Mission work, the news of moun tain work, of colored work, of work among the immigrants, be kept before our people as a mighty call without them? How could our Ministerial Education work, our Church's call for volunteers to take their places in the thinning ranks, be brought to the rank and file of our young people without them ? IIow could our Ministerial Relief work, the privilege of caring for our veterans and their dependent loved ones, be kept on the conscience of a thoughtless Church, without them ? How could our Sunday-school work, with its challenge to the Church to reach and save the young, be made vivid and real without them? These Church papers are potent in the life and work of our great Church. Often the building of our Church comes before my mind as the building of a great temple. Stone by stone we are build ing high, symmetrical and beautiful. God is richly blessing our building. Whether because we are old-fashioned enough to believe in His Word and not doubt it at the call of German criticism, or because we still believe in and trust and glory in a blood-stained cross, He is blessing our work. He is permitting us to grow faster in members and gifts than any other Church. As we build I like to think of the influence of our Church papers as the mortar holding the stones of the temple together firmly as we build. If they are the mortar, two things ^re needful The mortar should be good mortar. Our Church papers are good. Mr. Editors, see that they grow steadily stronger and better in the future as they have done in the past. The mortar should be freely used. Those papers should be in every home in the Church. Go back home and see that an agency, so powerful for good, is put where it will bless every individual and every family in our Church, and blessing them will blesa the great Church we lovw so well.