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that “when my father and my mother forsake me then the Lord will take me up,” surely there is a fearful defect that should be repaired.
2d. We find another defect, in the imperfect connection between the Sunday Schools and the Public Services of the Church. Infant Schools are popular with most children, and Sunday Schools and Bible Classes are measurably so, when love to the teacher is cultivated, and the social tastes of the children are satisfied. Usually, however, instead of Sunday Schools performing their office by preparing children to love the Church, a permanent dislike is rather produced, inasmuch as children are often made happy in the School, whilst they are constrained and unhappy in the Church at Public Worship. Parents are at great pains to accommodate their households to the requirements of children at their various ages, as the gardener cares tenderly and successfully for his delicate plants until they are acclimated. The Christian Church, however, in her Public Worship, inhumanly neglects the children of the working class ; for they are usually forced on Sundays into lofts or corners, and compelled to silence during Services prepared mainly to suit the tastes of cultivated and refined adults. They are told, that the Minister is a shepherd whom Jesus has sent to feed and watch over His lambs and sheep ; yet they do not feel the shepherd's care, either in the public teachings, or the scoldings that follow any restlessness on their part. They are told that they should attend Church from principle ; yet is it not natural, that unless accompanied by parents, or by teachers whom they have learned to love, and when force is required to compel them to attend these public services, that a permanent dislike to the Church and its Ministers should thus be early formed ? During a period of superstitious ignorance, God bore with a Church that treated His lambs so unnaturally, for men were then taught to rely on miraculous grace ; but surely it is unpardonable now, when we see the Holy Spirit statedly working through means intelligently used.
3d. We come now to speak of what has been called “The Missing Link.” The power and range of the modern pulpit have been fully tested, especially in our large cities, where the most gifted preachers are to be found. Public preaching accomplishes much, very much, with a certain class; but the great majority of the people cannot be brought within its reach, by any appliances now in general use. When the farmer discovers that his field of over-ripe grain is beaten down and tangled, he does not abandon it, or yield to supineness. He meets the exigency promptly and intelligently, with means adapted to the end. As the modern labor-saving machine could not reach down to the fallen grain, he summons all the available force, without regard to age or sex; and these bending low to their work, with the aid of primitive sickles and the fingers of little gleaners, securely garner the precious grain. Shall the Church, by continuing to rely solely, or mainly, on the Pulpit and Liturgy, allow the souls of the laboring population in the large cities of this Republic to be ruined, merely because they will not voluntarily attend our public Services ; when God has assured us that it is not His will that one of them should perish ?
Much has been attempted for the benefit of this class of people ; yet the result shows that there has been a defect, either in the radical principle on which these efforts were founded, or in the application. The moral and spiritual malady has continued to increase with alarming rapidity. Surely this could not have been the case, if appropriate means of Grace had been brought to bear on each individual; as the Holy Spirit is ever ready to bless such means, when prayerfully, intelligently, and perseveringly used. Most of us satisfy our consciences for the present, by relying on the ordinary routine of public services; throwing upon God the responsibility of dispensing converting and sanctifying grace. Yet as Christianity is now an established fact, man's agency is the rule, and a miraculous influence is the exception. A few persons, both Clerical and Lay, have, like Caleb and Joshua, spied out the land, and they assure us, by their own experience, that God is ready to work with Christian people if they have faith to believe His promises. They report, that even men so hardened or besotted as to be insensible to appeals made by a merciful God through nature, providence and revelation, can yet be successfully reached, through human messengers of mercy ; and that these men evince deep gratitude for a tender sympathizing interest in their spiritual welfare, as well as for acts of self-denying love performed in Christ's name.
Surely this is the Missing Link, by which the great mass of careless and sinful persons in our large cities are to be reached and drawn to Christ. In these times, God makes His last and strongest appeal (through the Atoning Sacrifice) to the power of human sympathy, to man's gratitude, an instinctive spring of love which he always possesses, and one that invariably bursts forth and flows freely when it is rightly reached. The most degraded man shows his divine original and his peculiar fitness, by the Holy Spirit’s aid, to apprehend and profit by the humanized love of God; evincing, even in his deepest debasement, that he is capable of appreciating motives, and of tracing up to its source every act of loving kindness. As the Holy Spirit flows most freely through appropriate channels, 80 is the Church bound to use the human heart, when the emotional nature can only thus be awakened to realize the love of Christ.
An analogy may be found, in the similarity between growth in the vegetable kingdom, and the development of spiritual life in man. Both owe their vitalizing power, solely and unremittingly, to the gift of God, yet both are, ordinarily, equally dependent upon the intelligent use of means. As in the tree, whose leaves have been nipped by the frost, destroyed by the worm, or stripped by the wind, there is a series of undeveloped buds reserved by God to perpetuate the vegetable kingdom ; and as the lost leaves are by the affluence of God's providence replaced by these buds ; so, in man, who has impaired, or even destroyed his first religious impressions, there still remain deepseated germs of a higher life, that are rarely developed except by Divine power acting through some human instrumentality. The value of this human agency is further illustrated by plants whose powers of growth are so enfeebled that they are only perpetuated by placing slips in moist unnutritious sand, and when their delicate rootlets are formed, transplanting them into light vegetable mould with still richer soil beneath. The
frail plant, by this tender care, becomes so thoroughly rooted and grounded in the underlying nutritious soil, that unsheltered it successfully contends with the elements, buds and blooms and brings its fruit to perfection. So it is with many men, who, from neglect or actual transgression, become so enfeebled in moral perceptions and capacities, that it seems impossible for them to apprehend spiritual truths, until their powers are awakened and drawn out, by acts of kindness, or the influence of sympathizing love. With this aid, they readily apprehend the human love of Jesus ; and through it, reaching the Divine, they become firm in the Faith, and under such watchful care they also bear fruit by winning other souls to Christ. In such persons, gratitude to the agent almost invariably precedes the manifestation of any love to Jesus, Who stirred up and sent forth the man or woman to prepare the way for His entrance into the heart.
We have most reliable testimony from Clergymen and Lay workers, both male and female, that in their varied experience in the dwellings of mechanics and other working people, as well as in the hovel, and in our Public Institutions, intelligent, persevering, prayerful, sympathizing, personal, Christian ministrations are almost invariably well received and abundantly blessed of God. Here is “the Missing Link.” The Minister is welcomed to the house of the working man, when he calls as a brother seeking a brother's welfare ; and when he is as affable as a layman is obliged to be, his visits are with few exceptions preferred. It is also becoming apparent to every observant Christian Philanthropist, that through the extension of the pastoral department of the Ministry alone, can we successfully reach the great majority of the people in our large cities. The character of our Liturgical system renders a great amount of private instruction and other personal ministrations necessary to draw working people to the Church ; and ten times as much pastoral supervision is required to promote their Christian steadfastness, as is needed by educated persons whose surroundings are favorable to religion. A man, with four-fifths or nine-tenths of his associates exerting an hourly influence unfavorable to Christianity, is certainly in need of close pastoral supervision. Add to this, the disheartening effect of an occasional yielding to bad habits during moments of excitement; the jealousies and antipathies so prevalent among the uneducated; their occasional detention from Church through the need of suitable clothing; the jading effect of six days of toil and the exactions of some housekeepers and other employers for Sunday work. These, with their frequent removals and other constant hindrances, must satisfy every person familiar with the subject, that working men can only be retained in a living connection with the Church, by constant Christian oversight and human sympathy.
Women of the working class also require equal supervision ; as their home cares and duties induce carelessness and a neglect of public worship, even by intelligent and earnest Communicants, unless they are counselled, encouraged or stimulated by frequent visits from the Pastor or older mature Christians. In our large cities, also, very few manly, healthy, independent lads can be kept in Communion with the Church, without constant supervision by Pastor or teacher; as they are usually obliged to contend against the adverse influence and example of father, master, workfellow and playmate. And so, without constant Christian oversight, such young men are almost irresistibly drawn by their desire for a pleasurable reaction from toil, into sensual gratifications, which too often become a souldestroying habit. As the population of our large cities becomes more dense, all these temptations will increase and grow more virulent. The Church, not exercising a mother's watchful care, has already allowed a host of young men and women to be led astray by the tempter; and unless some plan can be devised by which the habits of laboring people can be faithfully and affectionately watched over, observation and experience forbid us from expecting that many of them can be kept in communion with the Church, even when by training, affliction, or by personal solicitation, they are induced to attend its public Services.
We may not reasonably look for so great an increase in the number of experienced Ministers as will enable the Church to enter fully upon this field, and to work it successfully. The