RITUALISM!—Why do some seem to feel that the closer we can come to the decorum and formality of the nominal churches, the more ideal will be our own service? The Wesleyan movement broke away from the pomp and ceremonialism of the Anglican Church—which has an abundance. Go with me to the famous Westminster Abbey, London, with its morning matins, its "Choral Celebration of the Holy Communion," and its evening service. Listen to its Te Denim, its chants, its ancient anthems translated from the Latin Catholic ,originals, its processionals, and its recessionals. Consider its lighted candles, its stations, its altar, and its sanctuary. Ponder its hymns from John Keble, High churchman who, with John Henry Newman and others, led the way back to Romanism through the Oxford Movement, which paralleled and countered the great Sec,ond Advent awakening, which was stirring all Britain and parts of the Continent in the early ,decades of the nineteenth century. What separation principles are in conflict? What trends are palpably in evidence ? Whither does it all lead ? Where is Protestantism going? Do we want its ritualistic trends ? Ought we to imitate or even draw upon them? Is there any kinship therein with our message, our worship, our simplicity? Is this our ideal of worship—worship performed by clergy and choir in behalf of the people, with the people as mere spectators and passive recipients ? There are those who would go far in that direction. Let us think this through. What has it done for the nominal churches ? Is their worship our ideal ? Is it a pattern for worship acceptable to God ? Let us keep this movement intact, distinctive, ideal—meeting the mind and revealed expectation of God.
CONFIDENTIAL!—This is just to young preachers' wives; others need not read 'beyond this point. (Now, just confidentially : You are sincerely interested in your husband's success and future. You want him to grow in value to the cause and in its service. You want him to grow in the confidence and esteem of the brethren, and in responsibility. But are you helping him to succeed to the full, or are you unwittingly impeding his prospects ? Under all normal circumstances the wife should be at the husband's side, helping him in his work, assisting in the visiting, giving Bible studies, aiding with the music, keeping the books and records of the meetings, or helping with the radio Bible correspondence school—but ever at his side. Of course, there may be family duties and children to care for. When the wife takes a job outside, and works, possibly to get things she might not otherwise have, does she realize just how this reacts on the local church and community, and on the conference committee? You would be surprised if you knew the concern and disappointment that it brings. Better seek the counsel of some faithful friends who will be frank with you. Better go without some things rather than to jeopardize your husband's future or retard his progress, and prevent the church from having its share of your talents and interest and service. Please think it through. Take the long-range view. Singleness of service includes ministers' wives as well as the ministers.)
VULTURES AND BUZZARDS!— What a strange and revolting life a carnivorous critic must live—existing to find something wrong, something contradictory, something suspicious, something gossipy, something smelly, something to pick over and chew on—however small or inconsequential it may actually be. Often these morsels are half-truths, fabrications, or whole lies. What a vocation for a man made in God's image, made to uplift his fellow men ! Such remind one of the vultures soaring high in the blue dome above, with eagle eye and inordinately acute nostrils, ever on the alert for something dead, something putrid, some fetid carrion on which they can feed. Vultures never sing. They perform little useful service in the economy of nature. They bring no joy to anyone. They are not pleasant to look upon. They never fraternize with noble birds. They are scavengers, and are themselves smelly. They are ostracized by the rest of the family of birds. They win often hover around a sick or dying animal, waiting for it to expire. When very hungry they will kill a feeble lamb or a wounded hare. Such is their valor and sense of sportsmanship. There are many varieties of these unsavory creatures—vultures and buzzards, as well as falcons and diversified types of hawks. The latter often attack their prey stealthily, and commonly live on smaller defenseless mammals and lesser birds. Some have great wingspreads and are armed with curved beaks, powerful legs for striking, and wicked claws for seizing and rending their prey. They rise to great heights, outsoaring other birds, only to swoop down upon their defenseless prey. What a life a religious vulture must live !
L. E. F.