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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, December 10, 1919, Image 2

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

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1919-12-10/ed-1/seq-2/

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Many tilings grow beter as they grow older.
This, we believe, is true of this Movement. At
first the emphasis was laid by its leaders almost
entirely upon the raising of vast sums of mon
ey. Then it was changed so as to bring social
work to the front through vast and intricate
surveys of the various communities of this
country from which it was claimed information
would be secured to enable the churches to
solve all social industrial and economical prob
lems that are facing the country.
Now the emphasis is being placed upon spir
itual matters where it ought to have been at
first. As this Movement proposes to work
throngh the churches altogether it seems that
it ought to undertake only that which is in
the province of the Church's work.
The leaders are now proposing to launch a
campaign in the interest of a general evangel
istic movement looking to special efforts for
winning the unconverted. After a period of
preparation it is proposed that all the clmrches
shall engage in simultaneous services winding
up about next Easter. We can think of nothing
? that would do more good than to have all the
? churches of this country at the same time mak
ing special efforts to save souls.
Another plan which is being proposed is to
make an effort to establish a million family al
tars in homes where one is not now found. The
family altar is the foundation of real family
religion. It is a source of great regret that
there are so many homes of professing Chris
tians where the family is never gathered to
gether for the reading of God's word and for
prayer. We believe that if this can be accom
plished that there will be a great revival of
vital godliness and of true religion and of
activity in the Church and in its work in all
of its departments.
Another effort that is to be put forward is to
enlist five million Christians in a prayer league.
The special object of this league or the object
of the prayers of its members has not been defi
nitely stated, so far as we know. Rut if Chris
tians can be induced to pray for the advance
ment of God's kingdom it will not be necessary
to limit them to any special objects. If they
are desirous of seeing God's kingdom advanced
and will present their desires to Him, He will
soon show them,for what their prayers are spe
cially needed.
No one can estimate the value of such move
ments as these, and if the churches will all unite
heartily in them great good will be accom
plished. If these are carried through to suc
cess, there will be no difficulty about financial
matters, and the churches will all soon bo doing
?all the work that can properly be expected
of them. ?
Many thoughtful and thoughtless people are
asking the question, What is the cause of the
universal unrest? Why cannot the people be
satisfied? No doubt there are many contribu
tory causes, and it would be well to consider
Man is a bundle of nervous emotion that
stretched and strained must react. For five
years all the world has been on a tremendous
tension. We have been fed up on horrors ev
ery morning and in our great cities hourly
through the day. Unparalleled horrors have
appealed to the last atom of nervous excite
ment until our added taste will have no more.
The body is reacting and finds it difficult to
come to an equilibrium.
Our standards of life have changed and are
changing daily. For several years men have
been living in larger circumstances. The old
wagons gave place to buggies and now the
buggy is outdistanced by the auto. The de
mands of life have been many and just now it
is difficult to adjust ourselves to a lower style
of living and because we cannot \ve are rest
less. Thousands of men have been brought out
of the unrest of obscurity and flung on the
crest of the wave into circumstances they never
saw before. We have seen mafty sad instances
of faith swept away and the empty pursuit of
the vanities of the world takes its place. But
the greatest of all causes is spiritual. Or per
haps we should say they are many.
Sin in general terms is always the cause of
unrest. The world has swung away from faith
in the spiritual. Force has been the dominant
element of the day. The appeal has been made
to force, and the world has largely lost its
faith in the ideal.
No man nor community can rest comfortably
on force, lest a stronger come anc^l overcome.
If life is to be steady it must lean on the higher
and certain spiritual forces of life. This is
why men break down morally often in middle
life and after the powers of nature arc waning
and there is no spiritual force to stay them ii>
the hours of decline.
The world has gone past middle life and is
aging without a strong faith in the unseen God
It has passed through a critical ajje of agnosti
cism and when *the forces of evil swept over the
lands it had no spiritual stay. It could not use
the word of the overwhelmed saint, "Yea.
though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
As a result and at the same time contribu
tory to the continuance of this state of affairs,
are the specific sins of extravagance and self
ish profiteering.
Was there ever such an era of extravagance 1
Due to some extent to the inflation of cur
rency and the fact that people had money who
did not know its best uses, things were de
manded and bought at enormous prices, raising
the spirit of pride on the one hand and envy
on the other. With one-half the world starv
ing and perishing for lack, the productive ener
gies of millions mmst be absorbed in producing
luxuries for others. ?
Selfishness is the other great sin. In times
of great catastrophe we often see this curse.
The purest unselfishness alongside of the great
and deepest selfishness. Just as courage ami
- cowardice are both seen alongside each other
in the field of battle.
Now the swing has been to selfishness. The
scenes of the Peace Conference of Versailles
duplicated in the United States Senate are
evidence enough.
What is the cure? Repentance of sin. A
great call to repentance ought to be made.
The Church of God ought to have a period
of praryer and humiliation before God, and a
distinct and clear call to the perishing world
to turn to the Lord. We are on the brink of a
spiritual catastrophe sure enough. And the old
path of turning to God with full purpose of
and endeavor after new obedience is all that is
left to us. ,
A. A. L.
By Williams Montgomery.
I am opposed to organic union.
My reason is theological.
I went and saw for myself. While visiting
a large theological seminary of the Northern
Presbyterians I heard a noted professor, treat
a notable miracle as a fight of poetic fancy. I
stayed long enough to learn that orthodoxy,
sin, grace, an infallible Bible and other world
ness were back numbers. Was it any wonder,
then, that the students despised doctrines, con
temned orthodox ministers as "na row-minded
two-by-fours," and smiled when reporting that
some of them cheated on examinations?
Divide people theologically and you fence
them off in methods of work, especially in
Church 'courts*. Theological cross fences tan
gle peace. Theological diMergence sticks up its
head in receiving ministers into Presbytery, in
Church % relation to civil affairs, in the atti
tude of ministers to the Sabbath, in reverence
for truth telling. Endless wrangling kicks up
its demoniac dance. Satan takes a laugh.
Samson married a Timnath girl, lie married
against parental advice. How much enchant
ment did he find in married life? When both
principles and traditions are different, wedded
bliss is a gamble.
Report of Rev. F. G. llartinan to Augusta Pres- '
? bytery.
Yo\if committee would first call attention to
action taken by the New Orleans Assembly
touching the following subjects:
(1) The Assembly '8 Permanent. Committee
was instructed to change as soon as convenient
the phrase "Family Altar," which appears on
some of their leaflets and in the phraseology of
the* committee's report, so as to read "Family
Worship." Query: Does this refer to "Fam
ily Altar League?" We think it does.
(2) The Assembly enjoined the ministers
of our Church to preach at least once during
the year on this subject. Notice, "at least
once," and as often as the minister thinks'
(3) It. enjoined upon all ministers and Chris
tian workers in our communion, and upon our
people in general, to abstain from all unneces
sary travel on the Lord's day. This statement
was made in the permanent committee report :
"There is a growing tendency to Sunday travel
on the part of ministers, evangelists, Y. M. C.
A., Y. W. C. A. secretaries and others in posi
tions of Christian leadership which ought to be
checked." Query: Does this refer to "our
(4) This Assembly enjoined upon our people
to refrain from all kinds of outdoor recreation,
such as driving, automobiling and boating, "as
would interfere with their attendance upon the
services of the church." Query: Is this as
far as our General Asembly dare go in its in
junction to our people, and if so, why?
(5) This Assembly earnestly call<*l the at
tention of oui\ people to the ominous absence
of the children from the preaching service and
enjoined upon them to rebuild the ancient cus
tom of the whole family sitting together in the
"family pew. The General Assembly believes
that the habit of the young people going home
after Sunday-school, instead of staying for ser
' vice, is a serious menace to the efficiency of the
Church and the stability of the State, and here
by calls for a most determined effort at refor
mation. The backbone of the State is a Sab
bath-loving, church-going people, but such a
people must be trained in childhood.
(*6) This Assembly expresesd its renewed in
terest in the Lord's Day Alliance of the United
States and urged upon our Church sessions to
observe the last Sunday in April by suitable
exercises in the Sundayt-school programs to
be supplied free of charge by the Alliance. (It
may be well to remark : In 1878 our General
Assembly made the first move toward a united

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