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Sermons - Baccalaureate Sermon

(Delivered by Doctor Converse, on Sunday evening, June 12, 1904, at Commencement of Hobart College, Geneva, N. Y.)

"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth."

—St. Matthew, vi: 10.

" JESUS came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God. So runs the record in the first chapter of the earliest gospel, St. Mark.

As He began, so He continued; the "Kingdom of God" was his habitual theme. The expression occurs (not counting duplicates) more than a hundred times in the synoptics. What did he mean by it? What was it? Where was it? Strange, indeed, it seems, that a subject which Christ had so much at heart, about which He talked and taught with ever-growing emphasis down to the very last, explaining it, enforcing it with such variety of illustration and appeal strange, indeed, that such a subject should not have been made clear and should not have been kept clear ever afterward in the minds of His followers! Yet the history of Christianity, its divisions and perversions, is largely the history of the varied interpretations put upon this term the "Kingdom of God."

An early and dominant misconception of Christ's ideal as to what is the Kingdom of God took its rise when "Christianity, passing from the land of Syrian peasants," came into the hands of the Greek Fathers the Philosophers and Apologists. Shifting, as they soon did, in accordance with their predominant intellectual and philosophical bent, "the centre of gravity of Christianity from the Sermon on the Mount to a formal creed," the Kingdom of God was by them identified with belief in a set of authorized doctrines; changing thereby both the nature of faith from a moral affection to an intellectual assent, and the object of faith from a personal Christ to a set of propositions. A second misconception gained prevalence when Christianity passed on from the Greeks into the hands of the Latin Fathers and Leaders of the West. They, with their Roman genius and regard for organization, were prompt to proclaim and enforce the dogma that the Kingdom of God was "one with the visible church."

Anticipating, however, and underlying both these perversions as to what is the Kingdom of God, there was developing another —a misconception even more sinister and far-reaching in its effects constituting, in fact, the living root out of which both the former drew most largely their sustenance and vigor: we mean the fundamental misconception as to where the Kingdom of God is, or is to be? Where in the mind and intent of Christ was to be its sphere of realization? The general teaching of our Lord the Sermon on the Mount, the Parables, the petition of the Universal Prayer, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth," would seem sufficient to place beyond all peradventure of debate the ideal and intention of the Master. The Kingdom of God was not simply or chiefly in the hereafter but here not something to be waited for in the heavens but something to be worked for on earth. "In the thought of Jesus (says Professor Cone) the temporal character and theatre of the Kingdom of God was a continuation of that of the Prophets which preceded Him; it was the realization in human society of the highest moral and spiritual ideals. Jesus was no dreamer brooding over the solution in a celestial future of the problems of life and destiny, but a practical Reformer who would overcome wrong, selfishness, and sin upon Earth by the heavenly powers of truth, love, and holiness."

Such undoubtedly was the understanding and conviction that filled the minds and hearts of the first generation of Christians. How then could confusion arise? May not the answer be summarized as follows:

The first Christians, connecting, as they mistakenly did, the realization of the Kingdom of God in this world with the speedy and visible return of Christ, were foredoomed to disappointment. That early dream of an immediate and bodily reappearance of their Lord fading out of the minds of the Apostles and disciples, they felt themselves in consequence compelled reluctantly no doubt at first, but soon universally to transfer the scene and the hope of a, Kingdom of God from this world to the next.

This radical misconception as to the sphere of the Kingdom that Christ had in mind stands out in history not only as the earliest but as the most persistent, vigorous, and unquestioned down to the present day. To this, we believe, may be traced, in the main, many of the past perversions and much of the present ineffectiveness of Christianity.

I. THE KINGDOM OF GOD A KINGDOM BEYOND THE CLOUDS

Let us consider some of the more prominent baneful effects both upon the individual life of the Christian and upon the corporate life of the Church that have arisen, as we conceive, by reason of identifying the "Kingdom of God" with the "realm of the blessed dead."

In the Individual Life. This misconception of the Christ ideal as to the sphere of the Kingdom of God, more perhaps than any other influence, prepared, invited, and made possible the early invasion of that most miserable and from the standpoint of Jesus' teaching and example most unchristian of delusions Asceticism.

(a) Asceticism. As the Kingdom of God was fixed beyond the grave, as only a ghostly fraction of man apparently survived the grave, men came readily to think that by despising and neglecting the perishable body, by cutting themselves off from social and family ties, by abandoning the honest labors and joy of life to sigh and fast in poverty and selfish isolation, they were doing a service well-pleasing to God and were best preparing for that ghostly Kingdom beyond. The delusion that men grew more pious as they made themselves more miserable rapidly spread and became through the following centuries all but universal. Wretched and reactionary feelings of gloom, discomfort, and selfish depression became the sign and finally the substitute for the Religion of the Kingdom of God the free and genial and joyful Christianity of Christ.

When one recalls the unmeasured wrong and wreck of noble things in the ages past which this perversion wrought in the name of Religion, we can palliate, if we cannot approve, the savage extravagance, the "berserker rage" with which an impassioned and resolute iconoclast like the late philosopher Nietzsche wreaks himself upon the folly, the cowardice, the perverse femininity of the Ascetic ideal. In his case, alas, as in that of so many others, the Religion of Asceticism is confounded with the Religion of Christ.

This delusion, let us remind ourselves, has not vanished entirely even in our own day. We have consigned, indeed, to the limbo of outgrown futilities the greater part of the complexities and perplexities of Medioeval Theology but the Ascetic ideal of mediaeval saintship still in good part holds its own.

We are witnessing to-day in the midst of the Protestant world a startling recrudescence of this type. Though by no means dominant as yet, its sinuous and steady advance must be recognized. There can be no doubt that it is being encouraged and admired by rapidly increasing numbers. Witness the revival within the Protestant Episcopal Church here and in England of the so-called "Religious Orders" of the middle ages: Bands of Protestant Clergy, a few peculiar folk with a gift for "subjective, sentimental, introspective piety," going about hooded and draped, aping in their attire and celebate isolation, in their devices of penance and ritual, the monkery of the past. These in the minds of a growing many are still the saints par excellence; while the real saints the Christian men and women of sanity and force, whose piety is evidenced in the practical rather than in the picturesque, the Fathers and Mothers, the Pastors and Doctors and Teachers, the Lawyers and Artists and Merchants, the Mechanics and Laborers who are bearing the God-appointed burdens of real life and fighting the battles of real righteousness in the great busy, on-going world these are relegated to a secondary place.

Are we looking for saints, saints after the Christ pattern and not the mediaeval travesty of the same? Confine not the search then to Nunnery or Convent or to Monastery such as our very eyes behold rising today on the banks of the Hudson but rather turn to the Christian homes high or humble, to the busy marts of life, where Christian men and women with courage and faith and unselfish devotion are carrying on the world's great necessary work, doing thereby immeasurably more to transfigure and turn this present world into what Christ meant by a "Kingdom of God" than all the Ascetics and all the Recluses a thousand times multiplied. Saints there are beyond question in the ranks of these Professionals, saints of a measure and after a kind, but awakened Christian common sense today challenges not only the superiority but the sanity of their type; the very least in the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of the great common life of man) is greater than they.

(b) Individualism. Along with Asceticism, and as particularly characteristic of these later times, we charge the growth and dominance of a narrow Individualism in Christian aim and spirit to this same fundamental misconception of the Christ ideal.

The Kingdom of God being projected beyond the clouds, therefore "seeking the Kingdom of God" came readily to be identified with gaining a personal passport to Heaven, absolutely reversing both the spirit and the letter of our Lord's universal prayer, substituting for "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth," this other "Take us to Thy Kingdom in another world, where Thy will may at last be done." Christ's grand conception of the Kingdom of God as a Perfected World, of salvation as including not only all men, but all of man, was narrowed down to the particular and private industry of saving the individual soul; this, too, in face of Christ's express warning that "he who would save his soul (or life) shall lose it." This narrow Individualism, converting Christianity into little more than a method of escape, a device of individual insurance this narrow Individualism up to within a generation was reflected and emphasized all but universally in the preaching and teaching of the so-called Evangelical pulpit and press. The broad and all-embracing gospel of the Kingdom of God (as has been well pointed out) was reduced to a program of two propositions:

1st. Intensify the conviction of individual guilt.

2d. Induce assurance of individual pardon and future reward.

When this had been accomplished in any given case by what-ever discipline of terrors, entreaties, and assurances the moral condition of the subject (in the judgment of the operator) seemed to require, he was set aside as a finished piece of workmanship. The great and glorious gospel of the Kingdom of God was considered to have been really preached to him and to have been effectively realized in him!

In the Church. Let us note next some of the effects 0f this misconception in the life and work of organized Christianity the Church.

(a) The conception of devotion narrowed down to Public Worship.

Having transferred the Kingdom of God to another world, the church came inevitably to be conceived of as an Institution organized primarily and chiefly for public worship and sacerdotal functions. What else was there to do? Some works of practical beneficence must of course be included, but they will naturally be regarded as of secondary and incidental importance. The main business, the really religious business of the church first and last is Public Worship, the transaction of religious forms. This view, still so prevalent even in our own day, is certainly on the face of it, to say the least, unhistorical. Neither Moses nor Christ by teaching or example gave any sanction to the conception that the primary business of the church was the conduct of public worship. "It is certain (says Canon Freemantle) that our Lord said nothing to encourage his disciples to hold assemblies for that special purpose. Not a word in the Gospels can be quoted to that effect." On the contrary, so far from public worship and the preaching which invariably accompanies it (at least in our Western Church; in the Greek or Eastern Church we believe only one sermon and that not to exceed ten minutes is recognized or required throughout the year) so far from public worship and attendance thereon being the one thing or even the chief thing which a Christian church or a Christian man must first find time for and observe before all other things, relegating to secondary place such minor matters as common duties and kindly offices for fellowmen the teaching and example of Christ point to the very reverse.

What other meaning can we give that startling challenge of His to the similar religionism of His day. "If thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother bath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift." What means this but that the duties we are pleased to call human take precedence of obligation in God's sight of those duties we are pleased to call religious, that the needs of our brother man, the offense of our brother man, must first be met and must first be placated before any acceptable approach to God is possible. Let me summarize a passage in point from Dean Farrar: "When we hear a string of notices given out about endless services and sacraments, many of us are prone to think a great deal must be doing in that church. Yet all this ecclesiastical activity (if the weightier matters of judgment, mercy, and practical beneficence are wanting or are slighted) will be deemed (we have our Lord's assurance) as nothing more than strenuous idleness." Never was there manifested, let me remind you, a more minute, more conscientious, and persevering industry in the transaction of religious observances than in the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. Priest and Pharisee, Sadducee and people thronged the busy courts, tithes of mint and anise and cummin, blood of bulls and goats were offered with incessant regularity. Yet said Christ, "in vain do ye worship." Professing to busy themselves about their dues to God, they ignored or denied that which came first, their duties to man. "If a man say to his father or mother, that wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is corban, that is to say, given to God, ye approve it," says Christ, and " ye no longer suffer him to do aught for his father or mother, making void the word of God by your tradition." Therefore, as Christ from the shoulder of Olivet looked across upon that busy temple scene, "while some spake of the goodly stones and offerings that adorned it," His only comment was: "As for these things the days will come in which there shall not be left here one stone upon another."

Public Worship, "worship in spirit and in truth," is certainly an important element ih the church's life and work, but it is just as certainly not the whole of it or even the most imperative part of it here and now. "Worship (says Bishop Westcott) is a very small fragment of devotion. For Christianity is not a sum of isolated observances, but the hallowing of all human interests and occupations alike." Drummond emphasizes the same truth in language still more terse: "Christianity is a religion indeed, yet it is a religion which holds that the worship of God is mainly the service of man."

Were the Kingdom of God in fact but "a somewhat somewhere" to be looked for only beyond the clouds, did God expect and require of us to make nothing more of this present wonderful world of His than simply to abide in it, bear with it, until we get through with it, then conceivably psalm and hymn, public assemblies for prayer and preaching might be the one best way to fill up the waiting time. But if that petition, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth," be something more than passing irony, if we really mean in substance what we pray for in form, then the church's primary and characteristic mission is not fulfilled in assembling for worship, but in going forth for work. She must enlarge, she must universalize her catalogue of sanctities, she must regard nothing that in any way makes for human good as "common or unclean." The world itself, the whole world, is the subject of redemption, and the church as chief agent for its realization is commissioned not only to sing for it and to pray for it, but to enter into it and to work for it in any and every effective way. "Preaching and public prayer (says Canon Freemantle) are good for those who can attend upon them. But they will never of themselves convince the world. It is action and example, a full life fully lived out, that has power over mankind."

(b) Sectarianism. If the Kingdom of God is not here but hereafter, not a kingdom "to come" but a kingdom "to go to," then logic would prophesy what history but confirms, that the church would be soon led to regard as her chief and proper care not the mending of this world but the making sure of the next. The church organizations, one and all of every name, would come naturally to be regarded as so many arks or ferryboats whose proper occupation was not to aid in making God's will triumph-ant and universal here and now, but to land their passengers safe on the other shore. We see then how the majestic ideal of Christ could come to be travestied as we behold it to-day in sectarian Christendom. What a spectacle! The various churches founded in the one name and called to be laborers in His vineyard of this present world, turning themselves into colonization societies, competing for patronage like so many lines of ocean steamers, each with its outfit of agents and advocates severally vociferating, "take this line," "the only safe and sure line," "only by this line can you be guaranteed secure and comfortable passage to the isles of the blest!"

This rivalry and debate, having their root in the colonizing conception of Christianity, are naturally interminable so long as that conception is dominant. As a matter of fact, no reports of arrival ever come from that other side, and the very impossibility of conclusive proof one way or another as to the competing claims and claimants renders the sectarian rivalry all the more bitter, persistent, and vociferous.

Transfer the interest and enthusiasm from the hereafter to the here. Recall the churches to the ideal of Christ. Let them wake to the realization that their true concern is to bring about a Kingdom of God here on earth, then the essential test, the determining test of the "truest church" and the "safest church," will be seen to consist not in any set or sum of doctrines or historic orders or guarantees of future weal in another world, but in the measure of the spirit of Christ that is hers, the spirit of love, service, and sacrifice, the spirit that evidences itself in "labors more abundant" that make for the help, rescue, betterment, and brotherhood of man here and now, in this world of to-day. Let this be the conviction and the program of Christian men and women of our day, and the profane spirit of rivalry and colonizing competition which shames and disfigures our common Christianity will vanish away as the malarial mists pass and fade before the rising sun. Sectarianism will die its natural death.

II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD A PERFECTED WORLD

(a) The Kingdom of God then, we repeat, which Christ had in mind in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Parables, in the Universal Prayer, was not a far-off, ghostly domain, but this present, actual world of men and women. Take this world as it is, fill all hearts with the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, inspire all the relations of labor and life with the spirit of love, service, and sacrifice, and behold the Kingdom of God is here!

"It was the Social idea of a Kingdom of God realized in a renewed Earth that secured to Christianity from the very first its absolute superiority to the individualistic faith of the various Pagan mysteries."

This original and grand conception of Christ is pressing to its recognition in our day with signs of increasing urgency. "The time is at hand (says the Bishop of Derry) when Christianity must be tested by her social effectiveness in this world," and not by any guarantees she claims to possess or provide respecting a world to come. "The moment has come (says Bishop Gore) for the church to put social morality, Christian living, in the forefront of its effort. At present we are making 'much too much' of the development of the outward exhibition of worship. We trust too much to church building and organizing of 'plant.' We try too much to 'get people to come to church.' We want, on the other hand, to 'seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,' to let it be known what Christian living means." The church must wake, and there are potent signs that she is waking, from her "dogmatic slumbers," her narrow pietism of the past, and her devotion to "other-worldliness."

(b) Modern life has gone through and is going through immense changes, and the church has not kept pace with it. She has busied herself too exclusively in the past with individual and family ethics; she must now make her voice and counsel heard upon the larger questions that stir and surge in the great spheres of labor and industry, commerce and government.

What sincere, united, and searching word has she said or has she to say to the predatory warfare and land-grabbing of professedly Christian states today? On the contrary, what versatility of invention on the part of both pulpit and religious press is shown in framing excuses for these conspiracies of selfish aggrandizement and plunder. The disguised Mohammedanism, the unconfessed "faith of the sword," which animates so largely our religious literature of all kinds to-day (our missionary literature being by no means the least of sinners in this respect), is to not a few reflective minds one of the most sinister and alarming features of our time.

What has the church to say about the gigantic concentrations of capital, the colossal individual fortunes of today? " Jesus saith, looking round about upon his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!" What church repeats these words to-day save in a whisper or if read aloud they must be followed by rapid and anxious explanation until all is explained away. The robber fortunes of antiquity, the greatest private fortunes of old, sink to a modest competence when compared with many in our own land today. Croesus, the famous Lydian King, placed in Wall Street today, instead of rejoicing in a fellowship of financial equals, would feel more like "passing round the hat." Never before has the great gulf fixed between riches and poverty been so wide and so deep. Never before has the contrast between the economic conditions of irresponsible financial power, which the few may attain, and the economic conditions of anxious servitude, which the many must submit to, been so great as it is today.

An ex-Commissioner of Labor, indeed, has recently told us that the poverty of the "wage-world" today is after all not real but relative the outcome of comparison with the great fortunes of the few. Just as gazing at the sun causes seeming dark spots in the field of view when we turn our eyes elsewhere, so looking at the great estates of a Rockefeller, a Carnegie, a Morgan causes the condition of the many to seem poverty-stricken; but it is all only relative and seeming. It would be amusing, were it not otherwise too painful, to observe the avidity with which not a few, and they recognized as religious leaders, seize upon and commend such and such-like flippant attempts at palliation and apology. Doctrine of this kind wears a familiar face. Behold "Christian Science" commonplace masquerading as economic wisdom! We have at last the "mind cure" for poverty. The author (if serious) deserves surely to rank, be it said, as the Mother Eddy of the economic world.

Then there is the subject of Competition. Who is there to question the morality or necessity of this universally recognized principle of business life? What frank, clear word dares the church or cares the church to say regarding this system of organized warfare between man and his fellow. Since the gospel of competition was first formally preached by Adam Smith his book well named (as Toynbee said) the "Wealth of Nations" and not the "Welfare of Man "—since Adam Smith's day competition has become a kind of commercial divinity. Mendelssohn the musician declared there were two subjects too sacred for debate, "Religion and Thorough-Bass." Many, if not most even, of our religious writers seem inclined to complete the trinity of in-violate themes by including Competition.

Let the better Christian consciousness of the church speak bravely to this point, and let her speak before it is too late. Let her challenge contradiction to the charge that competition, in its spirit and outcome (we speak not of individuals, but of the system; individuals, the richest and strongest, are themselves still in the toils of the universal system), that unrestrained competition, as it rules and ruins in the economic world today, is the very reverse of the principles of the Kingdom of God, that it is a disgrace to Christian civilization, even to venerable Barbarism, that it corresponds in fact to the stage of Cannibalism in the moral history of man.

GENTLEMEN OF THE CLASS OF 1904:

Appreciating very deeply the honor and responsibility of addressing you at this important hour, the hour that marks your transition from the academic to the larger life, I have desired above all things that the word spoken should be direct and practical, some truth which by reason of its broad and human quality, its call to present and strenuous endeavor, might appeal all the more readily to the interest, the imagination, the con-science and the strength of your young manhood.

Of many subjects suggested none seemed more appropriate (none at least upon which I could speak with greater sincerity of reasoned conviction) than the one I have chosen. To impress upon you that real religion, religion as Christ conceived it, is the present business of everyone, that its first work, its great work, is in the world which we see and in this life which we live. To impress upon you that what Christ aimed at, what God waits for, what Christianity was primarily set to accomplish, was a Kingdom of God here upon earth a perfected world. The strength and clearness, young gentlemen, with which this great truth is taking possession of the minds and hearts of really thoughtful Christians to-day amounts to a "rediscovery of the Kingdom of God." It signals a final return, let us trust, to the Christianity of Christ. The fundamental revolution wrought by Christ in the religious conception of the world and life is most pointedly seen, may I remind you, in His condemnation both by teaching and example of that old and profane distinction between the secular and the religious, between the kingdom of common life and the Kingdom of God. He illustrated by His life and conduct, He ordained by His teaching and command, that the principle of Permeation must take the place of Separation as the regulative rule of Christian life in relation to the world. That early legend of St. Peter's flight from Rome because of its ungodliness and that he might lead elsewhere, as he thought, a more pious life, bodies forth the same great truth. Scarcely has he passed the city limits when he meets the Lord face to face journeying thitherward. To Peter's surprised question, "Quo vadis, Domine, quo vadis," the reply in substance was: "Since you, Peter, desert your proper task in Rome to fight its evils, not to fly from them I must return to take up your abandoned work."

Not to flee from the world, then, as an Augustine, a Dante, a Bunyan would teach us, but to enter into it, to purify it, elevate it, transfigure it into a Kingdom of God: that is the ideal and demand of Christ. Christianity is not a matter of doctrines or a mode of worship, much less a form of ecclesiastical organization, but a life, as Harnack finely says, "Eternal life in the midst of time, under the eye and by the strength of God." And it is a life all are called equally to live.

This broad and vital conception of the Kingdom of God should deepen and quicken in each of you, young gentlemen, the sense of responsibility for your share in its realization. You cannot delegate that share, you cannot deputize clergy or priest or hooded friar to do your part of the work for the Kingdom of God. The Son of Man did not commission a few to carry on this work as proxies for others. "The Son of Man is as a man going into a far country who gave authority to his servants and to every man his work." The call then to labor for the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth this great work, this robust, manly work is not a call to "narrowness and gloom and circumscription," but to fulness and manifoldness and harmony in the development of all your powers of manhood, body, soul, and spirit, and their consecration to the service of God by and through the service of man. The good and great God, the Father God, is not a despot to delight in the abject postures and genuflections and oriental prostrations of cringing subjects, but a Father who loves to see His sons go forth to do His will in the world, in the native and noble attitude of courage, erectness, and cheer. His word comes to each of you to-day as it came to Ezekiel of old: "Son of man, stand upon thy feet and I will speak with thee."

With others whose lives are largely in the past, who, as Landor said, "have warmed both hands at the fire of life and must soon depart," I cannot but feel a touch of kindly envy as I look into your faces to-night. The enchantment of youth and hope is still upon you. The age that opens before you, by reason of its clearer light, its larger prospect, the broader, richer spirit of humanity that is making itself felt, is an age of unparalleled opportunity for a life of high endeavor. I congratulate you, indeed, young gentlemen, that you are entering upon the theatre of active life at such a time.

A great, silent, momentous revolution in the conception of God's relation to man and society, God's presence and working in the world, is realizing itself in the minds and hearts of men to-day with increasing celerity and power. The old "Carpenter Theory" of a world completed at once and God a far-off complacent or indifferent spectator looking down upon it and watching it spin, is gone for good. All is changed or is changing by the great truth of evolution. God is ever in His world; God has at no time left His world. The stern and patient ministry of so-called "profane science," let us confess, has done more than organized Christianity to recall the world to this true and primitive conception.

The world was never made, but the world is still in making. God never rested on the seventh day or any other day; rather

"Ever fresh the broad creation,
A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds."

When the Jews "sought to slay Jesus because He had done these things on the Sabbath day," He rebuked their narrow Sabbatism (founded on a mistaken metaphor) with the words, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." God is busy to-day and every day as of old, "laying the world's incessant plan."

For ages all emphasis was put upon the Divine transcendence God out of and above the world; now the complementary and equally important truth of the Divine Immanence God ever in His world is coming to its proper and devout recognition. The Incarnation is being viewed in its true cosmical significance, not as the surprise or sudden descent of a remote divine visitor, but as the, supreme concentration and disclosure of that Presence

"That lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent,"

that universal Presence that is "never far from any one of us" —yea "in whom we live and move and have our being." There-fore enter into your world and work, young gentlemen, realizing that God is with you in the whole of life; that all its honest labor and service and enjoyment is a divine vocation. Do not imagine gazing skyward is the sole or peculiar religious attitude. As Carlyle finely says, " God is not only there but here or nowhere, in that life-breath of thine, in that act and thought of thine as well."

"Our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ." For the many these words signify no more than a pious expectation whose fulfilment must await transition to a world beyond. On the contrary, when first uttered they expressed and they certified a living, human experience of common men in the flesh. And you, if you will, may claim and enjoy that same "Divine Comradeship" to-day and every day. The "Great Companion" is not dead, as Clifford the Mathematician and his fellow-apostles of despair to-day sigh and complain. No, the "Great Companion" is not dead, nor has he deserted even for a while the world that He loves. "Lo I am with you alway" is not the farewell of a departing but the salutation of an ever-present Friend.

" Speak with Him then, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit may meet,
Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands or feet."

( Originally Published 1914 )

The Heritage of the Commonwealth:
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Essays - Japan

Essays - 'koheleth,' Or 'ecclesiastes'

Sermons - Baccalaureate Sermon

Sermons

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Brief Sermons By Doctor Converse

Brief Sermons By Doctor Converse

Brief Sermons By Doctor Converse Part 2

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