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this prayer makes its value to believers in
family and public worship beyond calculation. Every day pray the prayer, don't just say it. Waco, Texas. OUR WEAKEST POINT. Recruiting the Ministry. By Rev. J. P. Robertson. Every army to win continuous victories must have an efficient base of supplies. It must not only furnish munitions and food; it must fill Ihe ranks as fast as they are thinned by battle and disease. When Charles the XII proved invincible on the field, Peter the Great lured him into the wastes of Russia, where recruits could not be gathered and finally crushed the remnants of his splendid army. As a Church we are achieving the greatest successes along other lines, contributions in money having in creased prodigiously and our growth in mem bership being equal to any other Church. But these will be "Pyrrhic victories," leaving our working forces ruined by depletion, unless we provide a more adequate base of ministerial supply. For thirty years there has been a steady de crease in the supply of candidates. In 1890 we had one candidate for the ministry to every 465 communicant members; now we have only one to every 3,117 members, only 42 per cent as many in; proportion to membership as we had three decades ago. But the decrease has heen all the more distressing since 1916. Then we had one candidate to every 712 members. In 1916 we had 489 candidates; in 1920 only 337, an actual decrease in numbers of 152, or more than 31 per cent within four years. In other words, we had a slow increase in the ac tual number for twenty-six years and then an alarming "slump" of 31 per cent in four years. In 1890 we had 363 candidates to furnish a ministry for 368,791 members; now we have 337, 26 less, to furnish a ministry for 376,517 members. If we ask the cause of this alarming increase in tho decrease within the past four years, doubtless a ready answer will be* "The War." This vast struggle was indeed the upsetting of many things and some of "the precious sons of Zion" may mave been stained by the cha otic moral conditions in "La Belle France." But prior to the war for several years the num ber of candidates was about stationary, while the Church was growing; and peace has been restored for two years. But still we are con fronted by the tense question where are the young men? "Why are they shunning the min istry more than evert "No effect without a cause" is the scientist's axiom. Somewhere we must seek the reason for these conditions, seek it prayerfully and with yearning heart, because young Elisha must be ready to catch worn-out Elijah's mantle when he goes away. We might discuss a very old, but not thread bare cauHe, in the lack of family worship. Pa rents, timid and weak-hearted at this point, ean seldom conquer and rightly mold the souls of their sons. We might dwell eloquently, if the said eloquence be in us, on the abounding spirit of materialism. Some do descant on this sordid theme as though it were "Dr. King's New discovery " or the new laid egg, about which each hen thinks the like has never been seen before. But we "speak the words of truth and soberness" in denying both as special causes. Many parents are negligent almost crimi nally today, but a generation ago this was also sadly true. Materialism is indeed rampant; but "the love of money," the old name for it, was hoary with age when Paul wrote about it "drowning men's souls in destruction and per dition." It is not specially because ministers fail to "magnify their office" by urging its glorious claims and opportunities upon young men. Some have always specialized here and others been remiss. We should just now try to focus attention upon the immediate or unusual causes that hinder the recruiting of the ministry. In my opinion a fruitful cause has been the over working of the argument that unless ministers were paid better salaries our young men would not consent to preach. Of course not much on this score was said in the pulpit and for a very evident reason, but in newspaper articles for years it has been asserted with almost tiresome repetition that our young men could not "be expected" to turn from alluring fields offering larger emoluments to enter a poorly paid min istry. The motive for this fervently urged ap peal was noble. Greater liberality to men that sometimes even lack bread as they dispense "the Bread of Life" to others, was the high aim. But the good thing was so often re peated and with such vehemence that it had a bad effect. It caused a conviction to filter down to the very base of our Church's life among young men with their fathers and moth ers, that real self-denial of the big sort was not to be expected. Stinting the ministry was a solid reason for shunning the ministry. "The loss of all things" for Christ was not paraded as reasonable in this practical age. What we needed was a manly call for hero ism, daring anything, risking everything for a mighty purpose, such as won hundreds of thousands of volunteer responses fv few years ago when the world was in dauger. Men are not even by nature lacking in power to answer a call to such a service. Much more can the many thousands of our young men, regener ated before the Cross and its stirring ideals, be found ready. Another potent reason lies in tne less liberal policy adopted by our Church toward our can didates in their days of preparation. Most of our ministers come from the smaller or country churches and from the ranks of the poor. It has always been so. In wealthy homes "not many" hear the call to salvation. Much less, after a childhood of indulgence and luxury, do they hear the call to a work that only in rare cases yields more than a living. To the young man, coming from these homes of the poor, the paltry sum of one hundred and fifty dollars a year at most is offered and that in the form of a "loan," which foreshadows a debt of a thousand dollars on graduation day, an obligation that resembles a small mountain to M boy from a farm. When I was a candidate all who needed it were each given or paid $125 a year; and that would buy about as much as $400 at the present time (and this when the Church was not half so wealthy as now). The "whip and spur" that drove the Church into this change of policy was the fear of "a mendicant ministry." But we never thought of ourselves as mendicants. When a fellow de served it, some old church leader would insist upon it, very probably as "leaving more time for study or side reading," that must other wise be consumed in the battle for bread. I grant that some abuses had crept in. Such things have ever been since Ananias' and Sap phira's tongues were "singing birds:" In fact no less an authority than Isaiah tells of a sea son when the prophets "looked every one to his own gain from his quarter." Hut the rem edy for the few cases of avaricious candidates and careless Presbyterial managers of such funds, lies not in putting the goose that lays the golden egg on half rations or less, but in feeding it judiciously and plentifully. Such policy would be in line with the wisdom of the great governments of the world. When Uncle Sam raised his eyebrows in as tonishment at the headlong and wholesale cru elties of the Hun and then unfurled Old Glory, he did not invite those brave boys alone to en list who would "pay their own expenses" while in training camp or give their "notes" to guarantee payment in due time. IIow many do you suppose would have responded ? A cor poral's guard? I doubt it. He counted them soldiers from the day they enlisted and pro ceeded to make them the best paid and best kept army in the world. Everybody knew that from the first day at the training camp they were on their country's altar, and it made no difference in principle whether they were faint ing under the rigorous training or dying in a pool of blood under skies they had gone to make free. The preparation was as genuine service as the charge "into the jaws of death." At each point "the boys" were enacting their part for the time in the grand program. And now that such splendid achievements have crowned our Committee's efforts for Ministe rial Relief, we may devoutly hope this remain ing weak point in our system may receive due attention. Galveston, Tex. CHRISTIAN COLLEGES. The materialistic teaching in some of our modern universities, that nature is God, re minds one of the ancient crude notion that the earth was supported upon a huge column of rocks extending all the way down through space. The idea that this revolving sphere is sustained by unseen forces, did not impress the ancient schools of science and learning. Hack of inert matter is potential force, ami back of potential force is unity of law; but can we stop here and say that blind law is the parent of intelligent man, or shall we not rather say with Paul, "For in him we live, and move, and have our being." Acts 17:28. Atheism has never proved the spontaneous generation of life from energized matter, nor identified thought with physical properties, then how can it disclaim God above nature? Every child has a parent, and every possibility has its source of power. The fountain of water is child to the higher spring and its rising possibility is in proportion to the po tential force of the spring. If man be a pro duet of nature, then nature must exhibit all the properties of a man, and all the highest attainments and possibilities of man are po tential in nature or in the evolutionists' sim ple single originating cell. Can the mate rialist thus establish his assumptions? Thank God for our Christian colleges which teach that matter does not deny the existence of the Eternal Spirit, and that natural science does not conflict with divine revelation. Ps. 19:1-4; Horn. 1:20. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matt. 5:8. The Christian college stands for the highest moral standards and is a safe shelter for the young away from the influences at home. The hope of the world lies in Christian training and leadership, and therefore it behooves the Church to lend its ablest support to our Chris tian institutions of learning and character building. "Don't give up the ship." T. D. \V. Where two or three are gathered together in the spirit of apathy the preacher's animation is extinguished.