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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, November 12, 1919, Image 5

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1919-11-12/ed-1/seq-5/

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together under the flag to win a war, we can
get together under the eross to win a world,"
and no Church will be able to stand long
against this tide sweeping now to the full.
Fourth : One of them provides the publicity
which the Church has always needed. The
Church is the most talked of organization on
the face of the earth today. Magazines, trade
journals and newspapers are full of it. In a
single month the Woman's Home Companion,
the Ladies' Home Journal, the Atlantic Month
ly, the Manufacturer's Record, the American
Magazine and others of equal influence and the
widest circulation had leading articles on the
Church or on the religion which the Church
preaches. Millions of people every day are
reading column after column of news about
the Church. That much of this publicity is
criticism of a most unsparing sort need not
trouble the Church, for it must be remem
bered that they never knock a dead one.
Fifth: One of them has prepared the field,
the hearts of men, for the message of the
Church. Everything which God has used in
past ages to bring men and nations back to
Himself has been crowded into the experiences
of the past twelve months and everywhere
throughout the world there is an earnest, long
ing desire fo build a better world. Every wild
scheme of the I. W. W. and the Bolslieviki wins
its followers only because somewhere in its
wild scheme it promises them a better world
and just as quickly as it is seen that a better
world can never be secured by these wild meth
ods they will lose their followers and be for
gotten. The world's unrest, the violence, dis
order and distress, is just a? struggle, by the
wrong way, of course, for a "better world and
slowly but ever so surely honest leaders are
coming to see that the only hope of a better
world lies in the acceptance and practice of
the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
These movements and others like them em
phasize the opportunity of the Church. In a
way they constitute the opportunity of the
Church.
"There is a tide in the affairs of 'churches,'
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune:
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are wc now afloat ;
And we must take the current when it serves/
Or lose our ventures."
Jacksonville, Fla.
LESSONS FROM AN OLD
"CAMP MEETIN'."
By Rev. John II. Elliott, D. D.
In this day of boasted development and pro
gress it is refreshing and instructive to run
across an institution, if one is to judge by its
fruits that deserve to live as long as human
nature needs help, or sturdy sterling character
is worth building for time and eternity.
Not long ago, by invitation, I spent a week
leaching and speaking at such an institution.
1 refer to tin? ''old Smyrna camp meet-in'," a
Presbyterian camp meeting that has had an
unbroken existence of over three quarters of
ti century in Rockdale county, Oa. The beau
tiful grove where the "camp meetin'," as they
call it still, is held, consists of property well
shaded with water oak, elm, hickory and black
walnut trees of about twenty acres in extent
The location and surrounding country is beau
tiful beyond description. Right out in the un
spoiled virgin country, "about six miles from
i owluir," as one old farmer expressed it.
It is the first Presbyterian camp meeting I
ever heard of, or even imagined existed in this
or any other country. In addition to the dis
trict school and fine country Presbyterian
church, flanked by a neatly-kept cemetery,
there is on the property a wooden auditorium
or tabernacle capable of seating upwards of a
thousand surrounded with cottages or tents, as
the country people call them in remembrance
of the "tented city" of other days probably.
Here the people of the countryside, from two
Presbyterian churches and their -neighboring
friends of the Methodist or Baptist persuasion
gather annually about the first week in August
or when "cotton plowing" is over to worship
God, deepen their own spiritual lives and seek
win to Christ tfrrt unsaved of the community
The whole thing was unique. Not a single
one of the usual accessories of the Chautauqua
or Fair were in evidence and yet the attend
ance was uniformly large even running up to
over a thousand. Not a thing was sold on the
grounds and not a speck of printed matter or
advertising was anywhere to be seen. No one
"furnished meals" for money. And yet 110
one went hungry, everyone seemed to have
enough and to spare. They seemed to have
"all things common" and they "did eat their
chicken with gladness and singleness of
heart." I think I was the guest of at least a
dozen different families during the week and I
give it as my deliberate testimony that 1 ate
"fried chicken" at every meal hot or cold, and
such chicken, "Oh, boy!" It was the kind
that some people are asked eighty cents a
pound for by the profiteers in the big city.
II ere the country people have been coming
for the past seventy-five years, with the possi
ble exception of the years of the civil war.
They believe in prayer and have practiced it
persistently all through the years. They poured
out their hearts for the boys who "went over
there" in this last and most awful of all wars
and God beard them and so far as reported not
one of their boys lost his life. Out there they
still believe they have a Bible and that it is
what it claims to be and what they have all
along believed it to be "Not the word of men,
but as it is in truth the word of God." They
do not give a rap for the views of Professor
Von Ilirascutix or any nationalist with the
" made-in-Germany " stamp rubbed off about
the Bible. Having tried it on themselves and
their children and children's children they
know that it effectually works in those that be
lieve and produces honest, stable, moral char
acter.
Does my learned (?) liberal friend, so-called,
turn up his nose at all this? Well, all I can
say is: It would pay him to spend the time and
go out to old Smyrna Camp and do a little orig
inal research talk with the planters and farm
ers at first hand. Does he take them for fools.
Then, is he sjully fooled. I have been pretty
much around the world and I give it as my de
liberate conviction, that I have never stood be
fore 4 more intelligent, keen, thoughtful, di3
criminating people. Do these brainy students
of sociology really mean to be honest in their
seeking for a panacea for the ills of society?
Do they truly want to produce a better race of
sturdier, stronger, efficient letulers, then why
not try the experiment Of Smyrna Camp meet
ing? They have proved that their method
pays. It does actually produce the results they
claim they are seeking. During my week
among them I looked into the faces of at least
two thousand country people and I do not re
eall having seen one weakling, nor one show
ing signs of being in the grip of tuberculosis or
degeneracy. These people do not seem to
know about race suicide or practice it if they
do. Hearty, healthy children, without glasses,
were in evidence everywhere. Scores of fine
young mothers, with babes in arms, attended
the meetings. I saw numbers of young fath
ers carrying young babies in their big brawny
arms without shame, indeed they seemed to be
very properly proud of it. 1 think I could
have counted at times upward of fifty little
babies in my audience, and never once was I
interfered with. These parents know how to
"command their households after them."
Another result of the seventy-five years of
sound Bible teaching, honest Christian train
ing and godly living in the community, was
the absence of boisterous behaviour or rough
ness. The utmost kindness and courtesy pre
vailed everywhere. The old were treated with
tenderness and respect and women and girls
were shown deference and devotion which is
so manifestly lacking in countries and com
munities noted for rationalistic and new the
ology views. Not a thing was reported stolen,
although nothing was locked up night or day
and no rules were posted or arrests threatened
for wrongdoing.
"How dull and tedious it must have been"
I hear some of our modern young people say.
Not on your life. You never made a bigger
blunder. 1 have spent most of my life in the
larger cities of New York, Chicago, Minneap
olis and other places, I have seen so-called "So
ciety Life" in all its phases of pleasure and
frivolity, but I never anywhere have seen
young people have more pure fun and real
social pleasure than at "old Smyrna." They
were well dressed but apparently unconscious
of it. Frankly happy in one another's society.
Out for a bang up good time, they seemed to be
not in the least disappointed in the quest.
'1 \m had all the marks of Christian Endeav
orers at their happiest and best. Groups
spent happy hours together around the
piano in the Auditorium during the interim
between services and at night after the even
ing meetings were over, singing popular gos
pel songs and old time melodies even in the
"wee sma' hours," to the delight of the older
people. They did not seem to think it worth
while to drag in any of the modern jazzy,
r?g time music (?) or doggerel stuff
(that has been poured like a dirty flood into
the homes and social gatherings in camp and
elsewhere by a horde of greedy publishers and
profiteering music dealers), nor to nearly
dance their legs off in imitation of "Shimmy"
stuff or "Bear Hugs" or other modern dance
devilisliments, all of which had its origin in
the brothel or house of ill-fame.
I shall never think of "old Smyrna" with
out recalling the worvls of the Master. "Be
ware of those who come to you in sheep's cloth
ing but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men
gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?
Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good
fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil
fruit."
The truth of God's word preached in its sim
plicity and purity without the unfair wrench
iugs and misconstructions of destructive crit
icism will bear good fruit in human character
and "old Smyrna" proves it. "This sure word,
whereunto we do well t/ftake heed" taken into
honest and reverent hearts and lived out faith
fully in the*ordinary avocations of life, even on
the farm, will produce good fruit in intelligent
faithful, loyal citizenship.
College Park, Ga.
"Know thyself." A careful personal exam
nation ought to be a part of our daily program.
We are critical enough as we examine others,
but we seldom turn the full light upon our own
lives.

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