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WHY HOME MISSIONS?
There are still some good people in this country who ask this question. In the asking of it they imply that they do not believe that home missions are necessary. There are a num ber of people who profess to believe that there is reall yno necessity to do any mission work in this country. The statisticians tell us that there are so many churches in the country, that there is only a comparatively small num ber of people for each church. There are also many people, who have done little investigating, who say that anybody who wants to can find a church in reach of him, if he will try. There arc others who say that certain classes of the people who are not in the church, such as the negroes and some foreigners, have their own religion, or else that they are not worth saving. Every true Christian recognizes the fact that every human soul is worth saving, for Jesus died to save it. Many of the people of this country have a religion that is not the true re ligion, and they need it. The negroes constitute the largest element in the South in need of mission work. Thi-y number about twelve million. There are some good preachers among them who give to their people the pure gospel. But these are coin aratively few. The vast majority of them are ignorant and many of them are not of good character. The negroes need the gospel for their own sakes and for the sake of the wThite people as well. The "negro problem" of this country will never be fully solved until the negroes are given the pure gospel through well trained preachers of their own race. The dwellers in the mountains of the South include many of the most intelligent and best Christian people of this country, but often not far away from them in the fastnesses of the mountains are found people who are entirely destitute of religious privileges and who know little of the plan of salvation. There are three or four million of them. They are naturally a fine class of people and when they are given the gospel they prove to be the equal of any people of the land. There are millions of foreigners all over our land. Many of. them have come into the South. Most of them come from lands where the true gospel is practically unknown. They form a large and an increasing part of our city and industrial population. Few of them are f miliar with the English language, and if thej are to receive the gospel it must be given t*ieia in their native tongues. This cannot be done by the established churches. It must be done by specially trained men, who know their char acteristics and their languages. It is said that a vast majority of the radical element among the laboring people, who are now giving so much trouble, is made up of these unevangelized foreigners. When employ ers and employees have been given and have accepted the gospel, there will be no labor troubles. Those who say this country is over churched are simply not informed as to the facts. There is none of our large cities in which there are not sections in which churches are needed. Of course, if people are very anxious to go to church, they will go a mile in the city to get to church. The fact is that there are vast num bers of professing Christians who live that far from church who rarely ever attend church. How. then, can we expect those who are not Christians to go so far? The Church must be carried to them. In the country districts people sometimes go ten or fifteen miles to church, but that does not alter the fact that when you go from three to five miles from a church you will very likely find people who rarely ever go to church. If they are reached the gospel must be carried to them. Briefly, then, the reasons for Home Misions are salvation of lost souls and the highest de velopment of our country. Contributed FEDERAL UNION. By a Pastor. My own strong preference is for the status qno. Our Church is doing so pre-eminently well in its present separate organization and life that I see no need for a change and I am afraid of the risks to be incurred by a change. Since neither the Scriptures nor the spirit of brotherliness, nor economy, nor efficiency de mand any closer relation, and since there is a possibility of unhappy results if we do enter into closer relations, I prefer to be let alone. The trobubles arising from separate organiza tions are largely factitious ? not fictitious, but factitious; not imaginary, though manufactured ? and such as did not necessarily result from separate organizations. Why not draw a geo graphical line between the two churches and each agree to stay on its own side of the line and keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? But while that is my strong sentiment on the subject, inasmuch as there are some possible advantages to be gained by a closer relation (if we do not have to sacrifice too much for it) and inasmuch as some brethren would never be happy without it, 1 am willing to make a con cession. In my first article I said I could br: reconciled to organic union if the very grave difficulties in the way could be removed. I say now that I am willing to enter another form of closer relations at once. I am not en thusiastic for it, but, as a compromise, I am willing for it. It does not compromise prin ciples, but merely sacrifices feelings and judg ment as to policy. That #orm of closer rela tions is Federal Union. Federation has three outstanding advantages over organic union : 1. It does not place in jeopardy our loyalty to the truth. 2. We can withdraw from federation, if af ter trial it proves unsatisfactory. If we go into organic union, as shown in my last article, there is no way to retrace our steps except by leaving all our Church property behind. The Cumberland experience is a standing warning as to that. But if we go into federation we may withdraw by the same process by which we entered. (See "Minutes of the General As sembly," page 164, paragraph 8.) This is a radical difference between federation and or ganic union which is of the most far-reaching importance. I appeal to the. Church to con sider it most carefully before deciding this mo mentous question. 3. Federation conserves and emphasizes a cardinal feature of Presbyterianism ? local in dividuality. We need to emphasize that fea ture in this day ? the right of the loeal congre gation to employ its own methods of adapting the Presbyterian form of government to local conditions. The powerftd trend of the Church today is toward "standardizing" everything ? an epidemic of standarditis ? an effort to make all local organizations conform to the same type, resulting in the suppression of local in itiative and the creation of an artificial and monotonous uniformity. We should, of course, be ready to learn of each other and accept sug gestions and adopt new methods. But local individuality should be respected. The Bible has far more to say of local Presbyterian or ganization that about the "courts," and says it more specifically and dogmatically. The federal form of union respects this local individuality. It preserves the autonomy of the several churches entering the federation and conserves what is valuable in each, while at the same time it provides for an expression of the common life and spirit. The various denominations have their spe cial missions in the world, and the several Presbyterian bodies in this country have their individuality. Each body has its own tradi tions, methods and esprit de corps. The real differences in these respects between the U. S. A. and U. S. Churches have grown greater since the original division in 1861. Now if we go into organic union and have to sacrifice all that is distinctive of us, we ought to be certain in advance that advantages will be sure to fol low which will be a compensation for the loss. In federation we would not be called upon to sacrifice anything that is distinctive. Each Church would retain its present organization and conserve what is specially precious to it self, while yielding what is non-essential. 4. Federation is recognized by scholars as being the wisest contribution ever made to the science of government, because it provides for the highest development of the parts, in ac cordance with local conditions, while it com bines these highly and separately developed parts into the power of the whole. I have no zeal for the details of the plan of federation reported to the two Assemblies by the joint committee of conference. The com mittee worked laboriously over that plan, and adopted it in its present form, as they tell us, with only two dissenting votes. Both of those votes were from the U. S. A. committee. Neither of the two who voted against the plan had any special objection to it but they preferred or ganic union to federation. This fact should commend that plan to our sympathetic and painstaking consideration. And it is intrinsi cally worthy. But even the committees them selves did not regard the plan as perfect. They did not ask the churches to adopt it in its pres ent form. They asked for the appointment of committees by all the churches that wished to enter into a federation, that these com mittees might all meet in a sort of con stitutional convention, so to speak, and work out the details of a constitution for the federal union. The present plan is called "tentative," and it was submitted as a basis of conference. So it is not reasonable to reject the whole idea of federa tion, merely because some details of the "ten tative plan" seem objectionable. Amend this plan, add to it, take from it, perfect it, but let us have federation. * Personally I object to the feature of the "two sets of commissioners" in the plau sub mitted. But I am willing to take my chances% of defeating that when it comes up for action in our Church. If, however, the churches in sist on the "two sets of commissioners, " it is 110 such matter of principle with me that I would hazard the whole movement by my op position. Another feature of the present plan that, no doubt, would have to be thoroughly canvassed among us is the one which provides that each constituent Church shall have direct control of its own home mission work. While I am open to convi^ion, I believe that feature is emi nently wise.v The reason given by the commit tee for including that provision would seem