After The War

When the five years of rending and tearing had passed, in which slavery

was dispossessed of its hold upon the nation, there was much to be done

in reconstructing and readjusting the religious institutions of the


Throughout the seceding States buildings and endowments for religious

uses had suffered in the general waste and destruction of property.

Colleges and seminaries, in many instances, had s
en their entire

resources swept away through investment in the hopeless promises of the

defeated government. Churches, boards, and like associations were widely

disorganized through the vicissitudes of military occupation and the

protracted absence or the death of men of experience and capacity.

The effect of the war upon denominational organizations had been

various. There was no sect of all the church the members and ministers

of which had not felt the sweep of the currents of popular opinion all

about them. But the course of events in each denomination was in some

measure illustrative of the character of its polity.

In the Roman Catholic Church the antagonisms of the conflict were as

keenly felt as anywhere. Archbishop Hughes of New York, who, with Henry

Ward Beecher and Bishop McIlvaine of Ohio, accepted a political mission

from President Lincoln, was not more distinctly a Union man than Bishop

Lynch of Charleston was a secessionist. But the firm texture of the

hierarchical organization, held steadily in place by a central authority

outside of the national boundaries, prevented any organic rupture. The

Catholic Church in America was eminently fortunate at one point: the

famous bull Quanta Cura, with its appended Syllabus of damnable

errors, in which almost all the essential characteristics of the

institutions of the American Republic are anathematized, was fulminated

in 1864, when people in the United States had little time to think of

ecclesiastical events taking place at such a distance. If this

extraordinary document had been first published in a time of peace, and

freely discussed in the newspapers of the time, it could hardly have

failed to inflict the most serious embarrassment on the interests of

Catholicism in America. Even now it keeps the Catholic clergy in a

constantly explanatory attitude to show that the Syllabus does not

really mean what to the ordinary reader it unmistakably seems to mean;

and the work of explanation is made the more necessary and the more

difficult by the decree of papal infallibility, which followed the

Syllabus after a few years.

Simply on the ground of a de facto political independence, the

southern dioceses of the Protestant Episcopal Church, following the

principles and precedents of 1789, organized themselves into a Church

in the Confederate States. One of the southern bishops, Polk, of

Louisiana, accepted a commission of major-general in the Confederate

army, and relieved his brethren of any disciplinary questions that might

have arisen in consequence by dying on the field from a cannon-shot.

With admirable tact and good temper, the Church in the United States

managed to ignore the existence of any secession; and when the alleged

de facto independence ceased, the seceding bishops and their dioceses

dropped quietly back into place without leaving a trace of the secession

upon the record.

The southern organizations of the Methodists and Baptists were of twenty

years' standing at the close of the war in 1865. The war had abolished

the original cause of these divisions, but it had substituted others

quite as serious. The exasperations of the war, and the still more

acrimonious exasperations of the period of the political reconstruction

and of the organization of northern missions at the South, gendered

strifes that still delay the reintegration which is so visibly future of

both of these divided denominations.

At the beginning of the war one of the most important of the

denominations that still retained large northern and southern

memberships in the same fellowship was the Old-School Presbyterian

Church; and no national sect had made larger concessions to avert a

breach of unity. When the General Assembly met at Philadelphia in May,

1861, amid the intense excitements of the opening war, it was still the

hope of the habitual leaders and managers of the Assembly to avert a

division by holding back that body from any expression of sentiment on

the question on which the minds of Christians were stirred at that time

with a profound and most religious fervor. But the Assembly took the

matter out of the hands of its leaders, and by a great majority, in the

words of a solemn and temperate resolution drawn by the venerable and

conservative Dr. Gardiner Spring, declared its loyalty to the government

and constitution of the country. With expressions of horror at the

sacrilege of taking the church into the domain of politics, southern

presbyteries one after another renounced the jurisdiction of the General

Assembly that could be guilty of so shocking a profanation, and, uniting

in a General Assembly of their own, proceeded with great promptitude to

make equally emphatic deliverances on the opposite side of the same

political question.[354:1] But nice logical consistency and accurate

working within the lines of a church theory were more than could

reasonably be expected of a people in so pitiable a plight. The

difference on the subject of the right function of the church continued

to be held as the ground for continuing the separation from the General

Assembly after the alleged ground in political geography had ceased to

be valid; the working motive for it was more obvious in the unfraternal

and almost wantonly exasperating course of the national General Assembly

during the war; but the best justification for it is to be found in the

effective and useful working of the Southern Presbyterian Church.

Considering the impoverishment and desolation of the southern country,

the record of useful and self-denying work accomplished by this body,

not only at home, but in foreign fields, is, from its beginning, an

immensely honorable one.

Another occasion of reconstruction was the strong disposition of the

liberated negroes to withdraw themselves from the tutelage of the

churches in which they had been held, in the days of slavery, in a

lower-caste relation. The eager entrance of the northern churches upon

mission work among the blacks, to which access had long been barred by

atrocious laws and by the savage fury of mobs, tended to promote this

change. The multiplication and growth of organized negro denominations

is a characteristic of the period after the war. There is reason to hope

that the change may by and by, with the advance of education and moral

training among this people, inure to their spiritual advantage. There is

equal reason to fear that at present, in many cases, it works to their

serious detriment.

The effect of the war was not exclusively divisive. In two instances,

at least, it had the effect of healing old schisms. The southern

secession from the New-School Presbyterian Church, which had come away

in 1858 on the slavery issue, found itself in 1861 side by side with the

southern secession from the Old School, and in full agreement with it in

morals and politics. The two bodies were not long in finding that the

doctrinal differences which a quarter-century before had seemed so

insuperable were, after all, no serious hindrance to their coming


Even after the war was over, its healing power was felt, this time at

the North. There was a honeycomb for Samson in the carcass of the

monster. The two great Presbyterian sects at the North had found a

common comfort in their relief from the perpetual festering irritation

of the slavery question; they had softened toward each other in the glow

of a religious patriotism; they had forgotten old antagonisms in common

labors; and new issues had obscured the tenuous doctrinal disputes that

had agitated the continent in 1837. Both parties grew tired and ashamed

of the long and sometimes ill-natured quarrel. With such a disposition

on both sides, terms of agreement could not fail in time to be found.

For substance, the basis of reunion was this: that the New-School church

should yield the point of organization, and the Old-School church should

yield the point of doctrine; the New-School men should sustain the

Old-School boards, and the Old-School men should tolerate the New-School

heresies. The consolidation of the two sects into one powerful

organization was consummated at Pittsburg, November 12, 1869, with every

demonstration of joy and devout thanksgiving.

One important denomination, the Congregationalists, had had the

distinguished advantage, through all these turbulent years, of having no

southern membership. Out of all proportion to its numerical strength was

the part which it took in those missions to the neglected populations

of the southern country into which the various denominations, both of

the South and of the North, entered with generous emulation while yet

the war was still waging. Always leaders in advanced education, they not

only, acting through the American Missionary Association, provided for

primary and secondary schools for the negroes, but promoted the

foundation of institutions of higher, and even of the highest, grade at

Hampton, at Atlanta, at Tuskegee, at New Orleans, at Nashville, and at

Washington. Many noble lives have been consecrated to this most

Christlike work of lifting up the depressed. None will grudge a word of

exceptional eulogy to the memory of that splendid character, General

Samuel C. Armstrong, son of one of the early missionaries to the

Sandwich Islands, who poured his inspiring soul into the building up of

the Normal Institute at Hampton, Va., thus not only rearing a visible

monument of his labor in the enduring buildings of that great and useful

institution, but also establishing his memory, for as long as human

gratitude can endure, in the hearts of hundreds of young men and young

women, negro and Indian, whose lives are the better and nobler for their

having known him as their teacher.

It cannot be justly claimed for the Congregationalists of the present

day that they have lost nothing of that corporate unselfishness, seeking

no sectarian aggrandizement, but only God's reign and righteousness,

which had been the glory of their fathers. The studious efforts that

have been made to cultivate among them a sectarian spirit, as if this

were one of the Christian virtues, have not been fruitless. Nevertheless

it may be seen that their work of education at the South has been

conducted in no narrow spirit. The extending of their sect over new

territory has been a most trivial and unimportant result of their

widespread and efficient work. A far greater result has been the

promotion among the colored people of a better education, a higher

standard of morality, and an enlightened piety, through the influence of

the graduates of these institutions, not only as pastors and as

teachers, but in all sorts of trades and professions and as mothers of


This work of the Congregationalists is entitled to mention, not as

exceptional, but only as eminent among like enterprises, in which few of

the leading sects have failed to be represented. Extravagant

expectations were at first entertained of immediate results in bringing

the long-depressed race up to the common plane of civilization. But it

cannot be said that reasonable and intelligent expectations have been

disappointed. Experience has taught much as to the best conduct of such

missions. The gift of a fund of a million dollars by the late John F.

Slater, of Norwich, has through wise management conduced to this end. It

has encouraged in the foremost institutions the combination of training

to skilled productive labor with education in literature and science.

The inauguration of these systems of religious education at the South

was the most conspicuously important of the immediate sequels of the

Civil War. But this time was a time of great expansion of the activities

of the church in all directions. The influx of immigration, temporarily

checked by the hard times of 1857 and by the five years of war, came in

again in such floods as never before.[357:1] The foreign immigration is

always attended by a westward movement of the already settled

population. The field of home missions became greater and more exacting

than ever. The zeal of the church, educated during the war to higher

ideas of self-sacrifice, rose to the occasion. The average yearly

receipts of the various Protestant home missionary societies, which in

the decade 1850-59 had been $808,000, rose in the next decade to more

than $2,000,000, in the next to nearly $3,000,000, and for the seven

years 1881-87 to $4,000,000.[358:1]

In the perils of abounding wealth by which the church after the war was

beset, it was divine fatherly kindness that opened before it new and

enlarged facilities of service to the kingdom of heaven among foreign

nations. From the first feeble beginnings of foreign missions from

America in India and in the Sandwich Islands, they had been attended by

the manifest favor of God. When the convulsion of the Civil War came on,

with prostrations of business houses, and enormous burdens of public

obligation, and private beneficence drawn down, as it seemed, to its

bottom dollar for new calls of patriotism and charity, and especially

when the dollar in a man's pocket shrank to a half or a third of its

value in the world's currency, it seemed as if the work of foreign

missions would have to be turned over to Christians in lands less

burdened with accumulated disadvantages. But here again the grandeur of

the burden gave an inspiration of strength to the burden-bearer. From

1840 to 1849 the average yearly receipts of the various foreign

missionary societies of the Protestant churches of the country had been

a little more than a half-million. In the decade 1850-59 they had risen

to $850,000; for the years of distress, 1860-69, they exceeded

$1,300,000; for the eleven years 1870-80 the annual receipts in this

behalf were $2,200,000; and in the seven years 1881-87 they were


We have seen how, only forty years before the return of peace, in the

days of a humble equality in moderate estates, ardent souls exulted

together in the inauguration of the era of democracy in beneficence,

when every humblest giver might, through association and organization,

have part in magnificent enterprises of Christian charity such as had

theretofore been possible only to princes or to men of princely

possessions.[359:2] But with the return of civil peace we began to

recognize that among ourselves was growing up a class of men of

princely possessions--a class such as the American Republic never

before had known.[359:3] Among those whose fortunes were reckoned by

many millions or many tens of millions were men of sordid nature, whose

wealth, ignobly won, was selfishly hoarded, and to whose names, as to

that of the late Jay Gould, there is attached in the mind of the people

a distinct note of infamy. But this was not in general the character of

the American millionaire. There were those of nobler strain who felt a

responsibility commensurate with the great power conferred by great

riches, and held their wealth as in trust for mankind. Through the

fidelity of men of this sort it has come to pass that the era of great

fortunes in America has become conspicuous in the history of the whole

world as the era of magnificent donations to benevolent ends. Within a

few months of each other, from the little State of Connecticut, came the

fund of a million given by John F. Slater in his lifetime for the

benefit of the freedmen, the gift of a like sum for the like purpose

from Daniel Hand, and the legacy of a million and a half for foreign

missions from Deacon Otis of New London. Great gifts like these were

frequently directed to objects which could not easily have been attained

by the painful process of accumulating small donations. It was a period

not only of splendid gifts to existing institutions, but of foundations

for new universities, libraries, hospitals, and other institutions of

the highest public service, foundations without parallel in human

history for large munificence. To this period belong the beginnings of

the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital at Baltimore, the University

of Chicago, the Clarke University at Worcester, the Vanderbilt

University at Nashville, the Leland Stanford, Jr., University of

California, the Peabody and Enoch Pratt Libraries at Baltimore, the

Lenox Library at New York, the great endowed libraries of Chicago, the

Drexel Institute at Philadelphia, and the Armour Institute at Chicago.

These are some of the names that most readily occur of foundations due

mainly to individual liberality, set down at the risk of omitting others

with equal claim for mention. Not all of these are to be referred to a

religious spirit in the founders, but none of them can fail of a

Christian influence and result. They prepare a foothold for such a

forward stride of Christian civilization as our continent has never

before known.

The sum of these gifts of millions, added to the great aggregates of

contribution to the national missionary boards and societies, falls far

short of the total contributions expended in cities, towns, and villages

for the building of churches and the maintenance of the countless

charities that cluster around them. The era following the war was

preëminently a building era. Every one knows that religious devotion

is only one of the mingled motives that work together in such an

enterprise as the building of a church; but, after all deductions, the

voluntary gifts of Christian people for Christ's sake in the promotion

of such works, when added to the grand totals already referred to, would

make an amount that would overtax the ordinary imagination to conceive.

And yet it is not certain that this period of immense gifts of money is

really a period of increased liberality in the church from the time,

thirty or forty years before, when a millionaire was a rarity to be

pointed out on the streets, and the possession of a hundred thousand

dollars gave one a place among The Rich Men of New York. In 1850 the

total wealth of the United States was reported in the census as seven

billions of dollars. In 1870, after twenty years, it had more than

fourfolded, rising to thirty billions. Ten years later, according to the

census, it had sixfolded, rising to forty-three billions.[361:1] From

the point of view of One sitting over against the treasury it is not

likely that any subsequent period has equaled in its gifts that early

day when in New England the people were wont to build a fine church as

soon as they had houses for themselves,[361:2] and when the messengers

went from cabin to cabin to gather the gifts of the college corn.

* * * * *

The greatest addition to the forces of the church in the period since

the war has come from deploying into the field hitherto unused

resources of personal service. The methods under which the personal

activity of private Christians has formerly been organized for service

have increased and multiplied, and old agencies have taken on new forms.

The earliest and to this day the most extensive of the organizations for

utilizing the non-professional ministry in systematic religious labors

is the Sunday-school. The considerable development of this

instrumentality begins to be recognized after the Second Awakening in

the early years of the present century. The prevailing characteristic of

the American Sunday-school as distinguished from its British congener is

that it is commonly a part of the equipment of the local church for the

instruction of its own children, and incidentally one of the most

important resources for its attractive work toward those that are

without. But it is also recognized as one of the most flexible and

adaptable arms of the service for aggressive work, whether in great

cities or on the frontier. It was about the year 1825 that this work

began to be organized on a national scale. But it is since the war that

it has sprung into vastly greater efficiency. The agreement upon uniform

courses of biblical study, to be followed simultaneously by many

millions of pupils over the entire continent, has given a unity and

coherence before unknown to the Sunday-school system; and it has

resulted in extraordinary enterprise and activity on the part of

competent editors and publishers to provide apparatus for the thorough

study of the text, which bids fair in time to take away the reproach of

the term Sunday-schoolish as applied to superficial, ignorant, or

merely sentimental expositions of the Scriptures. The work of the

Sunday-school Times, in bringing within the reach of teachers all over

the land the fruits of the world's best scholarship, is a signal fact

in history--the most conspicuous of a series of like facts. The

tendency, slow, of course, and partial, but powerful, is toward serious,

faithful study and teaching, in which the mind of the Spirit is sought

in the sacred text, with strenuous efforts of the teachable mind, with

all the aids that can be brought from whatever quarter. The

Sunday-school system, coextensive with Protestant Christianity in

America, and often the forerunner of church and ministry, and, to a less

extent and under more scrupulous control of clergy, adopted into the

Catholic Church, has become one of the distinctive features of American


An outgrowth of the Sunday-school system, which, under the conduct of a

man of genius for organization, Dr. John H. Vincent, now a bishop of the

Methodist Church, has expanded to magnificent dimensions, is that which

is suggested by the name Chautauqua. Beginning in the summer of 1874

with a fortnight's meeting in a grove beside Chautauqua Lake for the

study of the methods of Sunday-school teaching, it led to the questions,

how to connect the Sunday-school more intimately with other departments

of the church and with other agencies in society; how to control in the

interest of religious culture the forces, social, commercial,

industrial, and educational, which, for good or evil, are affecting the

Sunday-school pupils every day of the week. Striking root at other

centers of assembly, east, west, and south, and combining its summer

lectures with an organized system of home studies extending through the

year, subject to written examinations, Chautauqua, by the

comprehensive scope of its studies and by the great multitude of its

students, is entitled to be called, in no ignoble sense of the word, a

university.[363:1] A weighty and unimpeachable testimony to the power

and influence of the institution has been the recent organization of a

Catholic Chautauqua, under the conduct of leading scholars and

ecclesiastics of the Roman Church.

* * * * *

Another organization of the unpaid service of private Christians is the

Young Men's Christian Association. Beginning in London in 1844, it had

so far demonstrated its usefulness in 1851 as to attract favorable

attention from visitors to the first of the World's Fairs. In the end of

that year the Association in Boston was formed, and this was rapidly

followed by others in the principal cities. It met a growing exigency in

American society. In the organization of commerce and manufacture in

larger establishments than formerly, the apprenticeship system had

necessarily lapsed, and nothing had taken its place. Of old, young men

put to the learning of any business were articled or indentured as

apprentices to the head of the concern, who was placed in loco

parentis, being invested both with the authority and with the

responsibility of a father. Often the apprentices were received into the

house of the master as their home, and according to legend and romance

it was in order for the industrious and virtuous apprentice to marry the

old man's daughter and succeed to the business. After the employees of a

store came to be numbered by scores and the employees of a factory by

hundreds, the word apprentice became obsolete in the American

language. The employee was only a hand, and there was danger that

employers would forget that he was also a heart and a soul. This was the

exigency that the Young Men's Christian Association came to supply. Men

of conscience among employers and corporations recognized their

opportunity and their duty. The new societies did not lack encouragement

and financial aid from those to whom the character of the young men was

not only a matter of Christian concern, but also a matter of business

interest. In every considerable town the Association organized itself,

and the work of equipment, and soon of building, went on apace. In 1887

the Association buildings in the United States and Canada were valued at

three and a half millions. In 1896 there were in North America 1429

Associations, with about a quarter of a million of members, employing

1251 paid officers, and holding buildings and other real estate to the

amount of nearly $20,000,000.

The work has not been without its vicissitudes. The wonderful revival of

1857, preëminently a laymen's movement, in many instances found its

nidus in the rooms of the Associations; and their work was expanded and

invigorated as a result of the revival. In 1861 came on the war. It

broke up for the time the continental confederacy of Associations. Many

of the local Associations were dissolved by the enlistment of their

members. But out of the inspiring exigencies of the time grew up in the

heart of the Associations the organization and work of the Christian

Commission, coöperating with the Sanitary Commission for the bodily and

spiritual comfort of the armies in the field. The two organizations

expended upward of eleven millions of dollars, the free gift of the

people at home. After the war the survivors of those who had enlisted

from the Associations came back to their home duties, in most cases,

better men for all good service in consequence of their experience of

military discipline.

* * * * *

A natural sequel to the organization and success of the Young Men's

Christian Association is the institution of the Young Women's Christian

Association, having like objects and methods in its proper sphere. This

institution, too, owes the reason of its existence to changed social

conditions. The plausible arguments of some earnest reformers in favor

of opening careers of independent self-support to women, and the

unquestionable and pathetic instances by which these arguments are

enforced, are liable to some most serious and weighty offsets. Doubtless

many and many a case of hardship has been relieved by the general

introduction of this reform. But the result has been the gathering in

large towns of populations of unmarried, self-supporting young women,

severed from home duties and influences, and, out of business hours,

under no effective restraints of rule. There is a rush from the country

into the city of applicants for employment, and wages sink to less than

a living rate. We are confronted with an artificial and perilous

condition for the church to deal with, especially in the largest cities.

And of the various instrumentalities to this end, the Young Women's

Christian Association is one of the most effective.

* * * * *

The development of organized activity among women has been a conspicuous

characteristic of this period. From the beginning of our churches the

charitable sewing-circle or Dorcas Society has been known as a center

both of prayer and of labor. But in this period the organization of

women for charitable service has been on a continental scale.

In 1874, in an outburst of zeal, women's crusades were undertaken,

especially in some western towns, in which bands of singing and praying

women went in person to tippling-houses and even worse resorts, to

assail them, visibly and audibly, with these spiritual weapons. The

crusades, so long as they were a novelty, were not without result.

Spectacular prayers, offered with one eye on the heavens and the other

eye watching the impressions made on the human auditor, are not in vain;

they have their reward. But the really important result of the

crusades was the organization of the Women's Christian Temperance

Union, which has extended in all directions to the utmost bounds of the

country, and has accomplished work of undoubted value, while attempting

other work the value of which is open to debate.

The separate organization of women for the support and management of

missions began on an extensive scale, in 1868, with the Women's Board of

Missions, instituted in alliance with the American Board of

Commissioners for Foreign Missions of the Congregationalist churches.

The example at once commended itself to the imitation of all, so that

all the principal mission boards of the Protestant churches are in

alliance with actively working women's boards.

The training acquired in these and other organizations by many women of

exceptional taste and talent for the conduct of large affairs has tended

still further to widen the field of their activity. The ends of the

earth, as well as the dark places nearer home, have felt the salutary

results of it.[367:1]

In this brief and most incomplete sketch of the origin of one of the

distinguishing features of contemporary Christianity--the application of

the systematized activity of private Christians--no mention has been

made of the corps of colporteurs, or book-peddlers, employed by

religious publication societies, nor of the vastly useful work of

laymen employed as city missionaries, nor of the houses and orders of

sisters wholly devoted to pious and charitable work. Such work, though

the ceremony of ordination may have been omitted, is rather clerical or

professional than laical. It is on this account the better suited to the

genius of the Catholic Church, whose ages of experience in the conduct

of such organizations, and whose fine examples of economy and efficiency

in the use of them, have put all American Christendom under obligation.

Among Protestant sects the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, and the

Methodists have (after the Moravians) shown themselves readiest to

profit by the example. But a far more widely beneficent service than

that of all the nursing orders together, both Catholic and Protestant,

and one not less Christian, while it is characteristically American in

its method, is that of the annually increasing army of faithful women

professionally educated to the work of nursing, at a hundred hospitals,

and fulfilling their vocation individually and on business principles.

The education of nurses is a sequel of the war and one of the beneficent

fruits of it.

* * * * *

Not the least important item in the organization of lay activity is the

marvelously rapid growth of the Young People's Society of Christian

Endeavor. In February, 1881, a pastor in Portland, Me., the Rev.

Francis E. Clark, organized into an association within his church a

number of young people pledged to certain rules of regular attendance

and participation in the association meetings and of coöperation in

useful service. There seems to have been no particular originality in

the plan, but through some felicity in arrangement and opportuneness in

the time it caught like a forest fire, and in an amazingly short time

ran through the country and around the world. One wise precaution was

taken in the basis of the organization: it was provided that it should

not interfere with any member's fidelity to his church or his sect, but

rather promote it. Doubtless jealousy of its influence was thus in some

measure forestalled and averted. But in the rapid spread of the Society

those who were on guard for the interests of the several sects

recognized a danger in too free affiliations outside of sectarian lines,

and soon there were instituted, in like forms of rule, Epworth Leagues

for Methodists, Westminster Leagues for Presbyterians, Luther

Leagues for Lutherans, St. Andrew's Brotherhoods for Episcopalians,

The Baptist Young People's Union, and yet others for yet other sects.

According to the latest reports, the total pledged membership of this

order of associated young disciples, in these various ramifications, is

about 4,500,000[369:1]--this in the United States alone. Of the

Christian Endeavor Societies still adhering to the old name and

constitution, there are in all the world 47,009, of which 11,119 are

Junior Endeavor Societies. The total membership is 2,820,540.[369:2]

Contemporary currents of theological thought, setting away from the

excessive individualism which has characterized the churches of the

Great Awakening, confirm the tendency of the Christian life toward a

vigorous and even absorbing external activity. The duty of the church to

human society is made a part of the required curriculum of study in

preparation for the ministry, in fully equipped theological seminaries.

If ever it has been a just reproach of the church that its frequenters

were so absorbed in the saving of their own souls that they forgot the

multitude about them, that reproach is fast passing away. The

Institutional Church, as the clumsy phrase goes, cares for soul and

body, for family and municipal and national life. Its saving sacraments

are neither two nor seven, but seventy times seven. They include the

bath-tub as well as the font; the coffee-house and cook-shop as well as

the Holy Supper; the gymnasium as well as the prayer-meeting. The

college settlement plants colonies of the best life of the church in

regions which men of little faith are tempted to speak of as

God-forsaken. The Salvation Army, with its noisy and eccentric ways,

and its effective discipline, and its most Christian principle of

setting every rescued man at work to aid in the rescue of others, is

welcomed by all orders of the church, and honored according to the

measure of its usefulness, and even of its faithful effort to be useful.

* * * * *

It is not to be supposed that this immense, unprecedented growth of

outward activity can have been gained without some corresponding loss.

The time is not long gone by, when the sustained contemplation of the

deep things of the cross, and the lofty things in the divine nature, and

the subtile and elusive facts concerning the human constitution and

character and the working of the human will, were eminently

characteristic of the religious life of the American church. In the

times when that life was stirred to its most strenuous activity, it was

marked by the vicissitude of prolonged passions of painful sensibility

at the consciousness of sin, and ecstasies of delight in the

contemplation of the infinity of God and the glory of the Saviour and

his salvation. Every one who is conversant with the religious biography

of the generations before our own, knows of the still hours and days set

apart for the severe inward scrutiny of motives and frames and the

grounds of one's hope. However truly the church of to-day may judge

that the piety of their fathers was disproportioned and morbidly

introspective and unduly concerned about one's own salvation, it is none

the less true that the reaction from its excesses is violent, and is

providing for itself a new reaction. The contemplative orders, whether

among Catholics or Protestants, do not find the soil and climate of

America congenial. And yet there is a mission-field here for the mystic

and the quietist; and when the stir-about activity of our generation

suffers their calm voices to be heard, there are not a few to give ear.

* * * * *

An event of great historical importance, which cannot be determined to a

precise date, but which belongs more to this period than to any other,

is the loss of the Scotch and Puritan Sabbath, or, as many like to call

it, the American Sabbath. The law of the Westminster divines on this

subject, it may be affirmed without fear of contradiction from any

quarter, does not coincide in its language with the law of God as

expressed either in the Old Testament or in the New. The Westminster

rule requires, as if with a Thus saith the Lord, that on the first day

of the week, instead of the seventh, men shall desist not only from

labor but from recreation, and spend the whole time in the public and

private exercises of God's worship, except so much as is to be taken up

in the works of necessity and mercy.[371:1] This interpretation and

expansion of the Fourth Commandment has never attained to more than a

sectarian and provincial authority; but the overmastering Puritan

influence, both of Virginia and of New England, combined with the

Scotch-Irish influence, made it for a long time dominant in America.

Even those who quite declined to admit the divine authority of the

glosses upon the commandment felt constrained to submit to the

ordinances of man for the Lord's sake. But it was inevitable that with

the vast increase of the travel and sojourn of American Christians in

other lands of Christendom, and the multitudinous immigration into

America from other lands than Great Britain, the tradition from the

Westminster elders should come to be openly disputed within the church,

and should be disregarded even when not denied. It was not only

inevitable; it was a Christian duty distinctly enjoined by apostolic

authority.[372:1] The five years of war, during which Christians of

various lands and creeds intermingled as never before, and the Sunday

laws were dumb inter arma not only in the field but among the home

churches, did perhaps even more to break the force of the tradition, and

to lead in a perilous and demoralizing reaction. Some reaction was

inevitable. The church must needs suffer the evil consequence of

overstraining the law of God. From the Sunday of ascetic self-denial--a

day for a man to afflict his soul--there was a ready rush into utter

recklessness of the law and privilege of rest. In the church there was

wrought sore damage to weak consciences; men acted, not from intelligent

conviction, but from lack of conviction, and allowing themselves in

self-indulgences of the rightfulness of which they were dubious, they

condemned themselves in that which they allowed. The consequence in

civil society was alike disastrous. Early legislation had not steered

clear of the error of attempting to enforce Sabbath-keeping as a

religious duty by civil penalties; and some relics of that mistake

remained, and still remain, on some of the statute-books. The just

protest against this wrong was, of course, undiscriminating, tending to

defeat the righteous and most salutary laws that aimed simply to secure

for the citizen the privilege of a weekly day of rest and to secure the

holiday thus ordained by law from being perverted into a nuisance. The

social change which is still in progress along these lines no wise

Christian patriot can contemplate with complacency. It threatens, when

complete, to deprive us of that universal quiet Sabbath rest which has

been one of the glories of American social life, and an important

element in its economic prosperity, and to give in place of it, to some,

no assurance of a Sabbath rest at all, to others, a Sabbath of revelry

and debauch.