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days. There are restrictions as to place, putting the traffic as far as possible from the homes of the people, and from the neighborhood of all schools. There are restrictions as to persons, forbidding the sale of liquors to minors, and to habitual drunkards.

All these restrictions are based upon the evil of the traffic, and they imply the right to suppress it altogether. The ultimate aim of all Christian effort should be the entire suppression of the open saloon or tippling house. It is an ever present temptation and a constant source of corruption. It has been tried and found guilty and deserves to perish. Toward this all minor efforts must move. Exclusion from residence sections and schools, from certain times and persons, point to local option by towns and counties, and this again to prohibition by State or nation. We do not count these minor attainments as final. In gaining these we do not consider that we have already attained, but " forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those that are before, we press toward the mark," the entire suppression of a corrupting, destructive, and wicked traffic.

It is not expected that strong drink will be banished, or that drunkenness will cease. But it is expected that the open saloon, with its tempting and corrupting power, will yet be destroyed, and thus the great peril of our peace and life be removed. Men may drink still, but they who wish to stand will not be dragged down. The evil may not altogether cease, but the temptation will be put further away. No evil has been yet entirely abolished, and temptation has never yet been entirely destroyed. But we are bound to lessen evil all we can, and put temptation away as far as we

Law cannot give men feet that they may walk, but it may clear the way, that the feet of the lame may not stumble. For this all Christian hearts devoutly wisb ; towards this all Christian effort should steadily press.

A third method of attaining in this line is political. It has been said that a Christian should be converted all over, even to his pocket-book. We would add as no less imperative, “and also as to his ballot." His ballot should be one of the implements of a consecrated life. It is one of the mightiest powers possessed of man, and like every other power should be brought within the domain of conscience. Parties seem to be necessary to the attaining of common ends, but Christians should use the party to do good, and not let the party use them to do evil. They must not

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permit party policy to draw them into the support of bad measures or bad men. They would sooner see their party fail to elect than see it elect vile men. We would not dictate as to any man's party affiliations. But every Christian should keep himself so far independent that he can make his ballot effective, for righteousness, and temperance, and humanity. He need not be a political Ishmaelite, with his hand against every man, and every man's hand against him. But he should insist that the party which asks his support shall respect his Christian conscience in the measures it adopts and the men it nominates. Political managers of all parties will respect the Christian conscience, when they come to learn that it controls the ballot which Christians cast.

We need not think that this temperance agitation will subside. The evil against which we contend is a steady force in the world. It is ever claiming new victims, and new blood. The Christian conscience is also a steady force in the world, growing every year more enlightened, and more keen. These two steady forces are opposed the one to the other. The Christian conscience is but the human interpretation of Gospel thought and purpose. The thought and purpose of the Gospel is to redeem men from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.

" And right is right, and God is God,

And right the day will win.
To doubt would be disloyalty,

To falter would be sin.”

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE IMPROVE

MENT OF WORSHIP.1

REV. LYMAN ABBOTT.

The report of the Committee on the Improvement of Worship, presented to the Council at its last session, was so comprehensive and covered the ground, historically and philosophically, so fully, that nothing is left to your committee beyond the expression of a cordial approval of that report, except to supplement it by some practical suggestions.

I. We desire first of all to reaffirm the fundamental principles of our fathers on this general subject. As against those who maintained that spiritual life may be conferred by mechanical or semi-mechanical means, through an official priesthood, and as against those who held that the main function of the Church is its conduct of public worship and its administration of sacraments as means of grace, they held that truth intelligently presented and apprehended is the divine method for the impartation and development of the spiritual life, and that the great commission given by Christ to his followers is to preach and to teach ; that is, to proclaim the glad tidings and to instruct those who have accepted Christ in the principles of his kingdom. The modern minister is & successor, not of the Jewish priest, by whom alone temple worship could be conducted, but of the uphierarchical order of prophets by whom public instruction in the principles of the Theocracy was given. Plans for the introduction of sacramentarian theories or ritualistic practices are not plans for the improvement of public worship. We do not propose a return to the methods and the theologies of the mediæval Church, discarded by the Reformers and still more emphatically by the Puritans.

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II. The object to be kept constantly in mind in the improvement of public worship is spiritual development. It is easy, by turning our Sunday evening service into a sacred concert or a stereopticon show, to fill the church. But churches do not exist to be filled, nor are ministers ordained to fill them. It is better to instruct in the divine life one soul than to entertain æsthetically a thousand. The only question which any church or minister can worthily consider concerning public worship is, How can it be so conducted as to develop the life of faith and hope and love in those who participate in it. Our problem is not how to make great congregations, but how to make devout men and women. Every suggestion for the improvement of public worship is to be measured by this standard, and by no other.

III. One method for the development of spiritual experience is undoubtedly the expression of that experience by one person to another person. Another method is adequate provision and encouragement for the expression of spiritual experience by the person whose experience is to be developed. The bane of ritualism is that it tends to prevent such expression, and makes the congregation wholly passive. In the now famous cathedral services the psalms and prayers are sung, and, where singing is impracticable, intoned. The congregation are not provided with the music, and rarely join in it, except to sing in monotone the “ Amens.” What

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in the simpler liturgical forms was worship tends to become ästhetic enjoyment. But the same evil exists – though the form is different - in those non-liturgical churches in which the congregation are wbolly passive, in which the minister preaches, reads the Scripture and prays, and a choir in the gallery sing, while the people simply sit still and listen. Alike in the elaborate liturgy of the cathedral and the non-liturgical service of the old-time Puritan church, the congregation are, too often, passive, receiving from others, expressing little or nothing themselves. The improvements in public worship are to be made chiefly by providing some method by which the congregation can take a larger part in the service, which is now too often a monologue varied only by a musical performance not always of a high order.

IV. The most simple method of congregational participation in public service is by the introduction of responsive readings. The Puritans used Scripture in church service exclusively, or almost exclusively, for instruction. But there are portions of Scripture which are admirably adapted to and were originally designed for devotional use. This is especially true of many of the Psalms, of some portions of the prophets, and of a few psalm-like passages in the New Testament. Such devotional use of Scripture, by responsive readings, should not exclude the reading for instruction ; and the passages should be carefully selected with especial reference to their adaptation to employment in antiphonal service. Where there is or can be proper musical preparation, antiphonal chanting, by a choir and the congregation, may be profitably employed with the very best spiritual effect; for the simple reason that music is the natural language of emotion.

V. There are certain spiritual experiences which are substantially common to all the members of every congregation. These common experiences of humanity have found expression in prayers' which have become part of the common spiritual wealth of the Christian Church. Chief among these is the Lord's Prayer, our Master's own epitome of the common wants of humanity. But there is also no inherent reason why our congregations should not use as a medium for public united prayer such beautiful expressions of penitence and gratitude and aspiration as the General Confession, the General Thanksgiving of the Book of Common Prayer, the Prayer of St. Chrysostom, and the Prayer for all Sorts and Conditions of Men. The fact that these forms have been used in other communions need no more operate to exclude us from their use than the similar employment by other communions of the traditional forms of benediction.

VI. In many of our congregations, however, there is a sensitiveness on this subject which the minister will be wise to respect. He must remember that the object to be kept constantly in view is the improvement, not of public ritual, but of public worship ; and if the effect of the supposed improvements is to excite hostility and to stir up strife and dispute, the public worship is not improved. Where differences of sentiment exist, as they do in many of our churches, a wise compromise may be effected by leaving the regular service unchanged, or introducing changes only very gradually and by substantially universal consent, and by arranging for occasional special services of a more congregational character. For this purpose admirable and adequate provisions are furnished by the Chautauqua Vesper, the Brookfield Services, and others of the same general character. Both of these may be confidently recommended as well worthy the examination of ministers who wish to try experiments in this direction.

VII. But probably the greatest improvements in public worship

at once greatest in their effect upon the spiritual life of the congregation and most easily introduced — are in the musical services. The improvements most needed in this phase of our service are a recognition of the fact that music is not an æsthetic addition to public worship, but a component part of it; the insistence that those who conduct it shall be themselves possessed of a spiritual life, and shall use music for the expression and development of spiritual life; and provision made, by proper methods of education, by the use of congregational hymn and tune books, and by the creation of a public sentiment in the Church, for both more and better congregational singing. Upon this most important point your committee specially commend to the attention of the Council and the churches the following suggestions prepared for them by one of their number who has made church music a life study — Professor F. B. Rice of Oberlin College :

Whatever is unsatisfactory in the present condition of music in our Congregational churches is due mainly to a failure on the part of a large portion of the membership to appreciate what advantages are possible, and perhaps also some degree of ignorance as to the proper means to secure needed improvements. The reasonable way to treat our church

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