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tor of that first society, and another pastor tried the same experiment, adopting the same constitution and pledge, and then another and another. From one denomination to another the work spread, and from one country to another.
After a time the inevitable idea of fellowship was developed; one by one, beginning in New Haven, Connecticut, there sprung up all over the country and throughout the world Christian Endeavor unions, which rapidly grew in numbers and influence.
Conservative Europe was a little slower in taking up the idea, but in less than seven years from the formation of the first society in America, the first branch of Christian Endeavor was formed in Great Britain, which has since multiplied itself some thirteen thousand times. Even before that, China, India, and Australia had established their first Endeavor societies; and a few years later, Germany, Scandinavia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and France, and indeed almost every other country in the world took up the work and formed its Christian Endeavor contingent, each with a national organization that regulates its own affairs and carries on its own work in sympathetic relations with all other Endeavorers the world over.
In French, Christian Endeavor is called "Activitié Chrétienne"; in Italian, "Attività Cristiana"; in Spanish, "Esfuerzo Christiano"; in German, "Entschiedenes Christenthum"; in Norwegian, "Ungdomsforeninger for Christi Efterfölgelse." Most of these countries have weekly or monthly Christian Endeavor publications of their own, which promote the principles of the society. In all, nearly a hundred papers and magazines, large and small, are published in the interests of the movement in half as many languages. The constitution has been translated into more than a hundred tongues, including Icelandic, Tibetan, Fiji, Assamese, Karen, and some twenty of the vernaculars of India.
Many denominations have adopted the society officially as their young people's organization. Among them may be mentioned the Congregationalists, the Disciples of Christ, the United Brethren, and Methodist Protestants of America, the United Methodist Church of Australia, the Primitive Methodists and several other denominations of Great Britain, while many
others, like the Presbyterians and the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States have virtually no other young people's societies of the kind in their churches. The Church of England in some of its branches has been very hospitable to the Christian Endeavor idea, and a flourishing Church of England Christian Endeavor Union, with a monthly publication of its own, has been established. The "President-Designate" of the British National Union of Christian Endeavor, with its thousands of societies, is a rector of the Established Church. In some parts of the world the Baptists, in others the Methodists, and in others the Presbyterians, have the largest number of Christian Endeavor societies.
It must not be supposed, however, that such an organization, phenomenal as has been its growth, came into existence without the usual purifying fires of ridicule and opposition. and opposition. My scrap-book contains many choice specimens of criticism of the society, ranging from a restrained and dignified editorial in the leading religious paper of thirty years ago, to the anonymous billingsgate of several intensely sectarian sheets that were sure that this new interdenominational society of young people would destroy all the foundations which the fathers had laid, remove all the ancient landmarks, and bring chaos into every denominational fold.
The most serious opposition, however, took the form of a back fire, set by several denominations, in the shape of young people's organizations, modeled very closely after the Christian Endeavor Society, but called by different names, and meant to segregate the young people of these denominations, and keep them out of the interdenominational fellowship. For a time. it seemed as if this divisive opposition would carry all before it, but after a few years, the tide turned the other way, and, one after another, most of the churches that had formed denominational young people's organizations gave them up in favor of the Society of Christian Endeavor, or else joined their own denominational title to the interdenominational name, and came again into the world-wide fellowship.
The sanity of the society has doubtless done much to win for it the favor of the religious world. It has had high ideals,
but it has not posed as the one and only instrumentality of salvation, or as the corrector of all human ills.
As there are no salaries and few home expenses in the World's Christian Endeavor Union, every dollar that is given for the foreign work of the society goes direct to the field, and the total foreign budget is only about $8000 a year. With this modest amount, the work is aided in China, Japan, India, South America, and several of the continental countries of Europe. I venture to say that there is no such wide-spread missionary work accomplished elsewhere with so small an expenditure of money.
The reason of this lies largely in the adaptability of the society to all conditions and circumstances. A little money goes a long way in Christian Endeavor work because the society so readily adapts itself to its surroundings, and finds itself as much at home in the jungles of India, the mining-camps of South Africa, the atolls of the South Seas, the icy barrens of Alaska, or the remote interior villages of China, as in the typical New England city where it was born.
For the last twenty years there have been no such vast religious gatherings as the conventions of the Society of Christian Endeavor. To speak in the language of the day, the "world's record" for attendance at religious conventions has been broken over and over again at these meetings. In Boston, 56,425 delegates were registered; in London, over 50,000; in Melbourne, Australia, 10,000; in Agra, India, nearly 4000. Even in Barcelona, Spain, in spite of the small number of Protestants in the whole country, more than 1500 delegates attended the Spanish National Christian Endeavor Convention in 1909, and it was declared by veteran missionaries to be the greatest evangelical meeting held in the Iberian Peninsula since the days of the Visigoths.
The first of these great gatherings, though there had been smaller Christian Endeavor conventions before, was held in New York City in 1892. One prominent pastor assured me in advance that the convention "would not make a ripple in the life of the city. Conventions come and go," he said, "and no one knows they are here." One hotel-keeper, when the committee of entertainment approached him,
offered to take care of the whole convention in his hotel. But when the Endeavorers began to pour into the city, ten, twenty, thirty thousand strong, Madison Square Garden was found to be entirely inadequate to care for half the delegates from a distance. Even the most cynical of the New York dailies, which began with a sneer, bade the convention adieu with a generous word of approbation.
In 1895 Boston outdid itself in the welcome to the Endeavor Convention. All the railway stations within a radius of twenty miles were decorated in honor of the occasion. The daily papers for five days contained little besides the verbatim reports and illustrations of the convention.
The newspapers have indeed always been most hospitable to these conventions. A few years later the leading San Francisco journals, when the International Convention came to their city and 25,000 people crossed the mountains to attend it, agreed to cut out for one week all detailed accounts of murders, divorces, horrible accidents, and crimes, and devote their space largely to the convention,-an agreement to which they religiously adhered.
In 1900 the World's Christian Endeavor Convention was held in London, and "for the first time in its history," says the official report, "the gray old city was decorated in honor of a religious gathering. Flags and monograms in red and white-the convention colors-fluttered across Ludgate Hill, and showed cheerfully against the grim walls of Newgate, and in many parts of the metropolis, from the dignified West to the plebeian East, and even in the suburbs."
In some respects the most remarkable of all these great world's conventions was the latest, held in the very heart of India in the ancient city of Agra, a thousand miles from the Indian Ocean on one side and nearly the same distance from the Bay of Bengal on the other. Here were gathered, in November of 1909, 400 missionaries, 3000 native Christians, 100 delegates from America, and others from Germany, Scandinavia, England, Australia, and other lands. A short quarter of a mile away towered the Taj Mahal, the most perfect and exquisite of all buildings. A mile away in another direction the three great bubble-like domes of the Pearl Mosque soared into the air, while the
enormous fort of sandstone, where twice. ten thousand troops could be mustered, the third marvel of Agra, was within an easy walk of the convention encampment. But, striking as were these architectural wonders which travelers cross continents and oceans to see, the great attraction of Agra for the time being was the Endeavor Convention, with its solemn services, and its words of consecration, spoken in thirtyone different languages by Christians of almost every conceivable color and costume. The Vice-Regal Government of India lent its encampment of 300 large tents, including two great audience tents holding 2000 people each, and the civil authorities vied with the ecclesiastics in giving a welcome to a convention such as India had never before seen.
There have been scores of similar conventions, larger or smaller, held in Sydney and Adelaide, Berlin and Paris, Geneva and Budapest, in Honolulu and Fu-chau, in Ning-po and Kioto.
These conventions, it is needless to say, do not accomplish the real work of the society. They are only the thermometer that registers the warmth and vigor of the movement and its abounding energy; but the vitality there exhibited is generated in the hearts of millions of devoted young men and women, who seek "not to be ministered unto but to minister."
A score of the ships of the United States navy are the homes of "Floating Societies of Christian Endeavor." Among the brave men who went down in the Maine in Havana harbor were several devoted Christian Endeavorers, two of whom, noncommissioned officers, had been instrumental in establishing the Nagasaki Christian Endeavor Seamen's Home a few years before, when assigned to the Charleston. There was an active floating society on Admiral Dewey's flag-ship when she sailed into Manila harbor on that momentous May-day in 1898, and another good society found its home on the Oregon in her historic journey around Cape Horn.
In the war between Russia and Japan there were societies in the Japanese navy; and in the Boer war, Endeavorers in the British and the Boer armies met at the point of the bayonet, and afterward, in the halcyon days of peace, fraternized as happily as though they had never crossed swords upon the field of battle.
A joint Dutch and English Endeavor gathering of much significance was held in Cape Town, a few months after the war. Dutch and English mottos of welcome decorated the walls. The president of the Dutch Union presided, the president of the English Union of South Africa gave the formal address of welcome, other addresses were made in both languages, and then the large audience rose and with evident emotion, each man in his own language, repeated the Lord's Prayer, and joined in singing
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love.
This was less than a year after the close of the war, and was the first occasion when Dutch and English had come together in fraternal intercourse. Indeed it was said that a Christian Endeavor meeting alone could at that time have brought the two races together.
One of the most unusual chapters in the history of Christian Endeavor is connected with this same war. Some thousands of Dutch prisoners, it will be remembered, were deported to St. Helena, Ceylon, the Bermudas, and Portugal. In each of the great prison camps were some Endeavorers whose zeal attracted others, until in St. Helena alone nineteen societies were formed among the prisoners. A local union was established, with regular meetings, and a small chapel was built by the prisoners with kerosene cans, old boxes and aloe poles, where continuous services were held. In the Ceylon prison camp the societies were equally vigorous, and a little weekly paper was published in the Dutch language, entitled "De Strever" (“The Endeavorer"). A remarkable missionary movement was the outcome of these prison-camp endeavors, for, before they were discharged, two hundred and fifty young Boers volunteered to go as missionaries to the blacks whom before they had despised and neglected. of them went as evangelists or industrial missionaries to the heart of Africa.
Perhaps nothing shows more plainly the deep religious nature of the Boers than these prison societies, and I am reminded of an interview with old President Kruger, who said to me once, with deep emotion in his voice, "Whoever comes in the name
of the Lord Jesus Christ is welcome to the Transvaal." Deeply religious as the old man was, he had a vein of humor, for when I was first introduced to him he greeted me with a slap on the shoulder and the question: "Are you one of the Yankees that run to the Queen when you get into trouble?" a remark apropos of the fact that a well-known American engineer and some other Americans had just put themselves under British protection when arrested in connection with the Jameson raid.
The story of the Boer prisoners naturally reminds one of the many other Endeavorers behind prison bars in our State penitentiaries, a number estimated at not less than two thousand. This would indeed be a sinister statement did I not hasten to add that not one of these men was a Christian Endeavorer before he was imprisoned. All have been converted and started upon a new life since their imprisonment, through the influence of the prison Christian Endeavor Society, and, so far as is known, not one of these ex-Endeavorers after his discharge, has been reincarcerated. Stories of conversion as radical and interesting as any in Professor James's "Varieties of Religious Experience" or Harold Begbie's "Twice-born Men" have occurred in these prison societies, and many wardens and chaplains have declared that they were a great help in promoting order and contentment. One of the best of these societies, which has flourished for many years, is in the Federal Prison in Atlanta.
There are other societies in surprising places in deaf-and-dumb asylums, where the members talk in the meetings with their fingers and listen with their eyes; among the life-savers at the lonely stations on our coast; among the employees of hospitals and hotels; among the firemen in several large fire stations; in Old Soldiers' homes, and among the lepers of Molokai and India and British Guiana. Indeed, it would be difficult to name any condition of life or any corner of the world where they are not found.
As an educative influence, the Christian Endeavor movement has often been underrated. Scores of books relating to Bible study, missions, and practical Christian work have been published for these young people, and have been eagerly studied. A
prominent denominational leader has written: "This wonderful stir among our Christian Endeavor millions means a great increase of the readers of good literature; it means a growing appetite for knowledge that will swell the attendance of our colleges and universities; it means a familiarity with the Bible and books growing out of it, such as was never before known." To take part intelligently in the meetings requires reading and study, and the scores of papers and books which assist in preparing for these meetings and for the practical work of the committees furnish a body of writing of which a well-known author declares that "never since time began has a religious movement created for itself in so short a time, a set of helps so complete and useful."
But the question may still be asked: "What is the practical value of all this machinery?" Although there is a mystical element in the work of the society, as in every genuinely religious movement, the practical outcome is of such a homespun and every-day character as to seem commonplace. Here are a few items taken at random from the reports of a single year: half a million gifts of fruits and bouquets of flowers sent to hospitals and "shut-ins"; thousands of cheering song services reported in prisons, missions, and Old Folks' homes; invalid chairs kept to lend, free of charge; church reading-rooms opened; church papers edited and distributed; coffee clubs established and supported; ice-water fountains maintained; thousands of scrap-books made for hospitals and children's homes; Christmas greetings for prisoners; fresh-air camps maintained; tennis and base-ball clubs and cycle clubs established; flower gardens cul- ́ tivated for the church; treats for cripples; "teas" for old people, and suppers for newsboys and boot-blacks.
In India the older Endeavorers do not think it beneath their dignity to establish "tub committees" and "finger-nail committees" to teach the little Juniors just out of heathenism, that cleanliness is very near to godliness. The recorded sums of money given to missions and home churches by Endeavor societies during the last twentyfive years amounts to over ten millions of dollars. The unrecorded sums are doubtless many times as much.
One more providential design of Chris
tian Endeavor must not be forgotten, and that is its usefulness as an agency to bring together the young people of the nations. as well as the denominations. Here is the one Protestant religious organization, which cultivates particularly the fellowship idea and that is found in every land beneath the sun. Delegates go back and forth to the conventions, from Europe to America and from America to Europe, and from both continents to Asia and Africa. Its publications circulate in fourscore languages; its monogram is the same in every land. It is thoroughly democratic in its fundamental idea. It knows no
distinctions of caste or color. It seeks to teach young people to work with each other rather than merely for each other.
In Great Britain, for instance, a delegation of German and other continental Endeavorers is entertained every year in the Christian Endeavor Holiday Homes, and the name "Christian Endeavor" is a password for kindred spirits, whether they live in the world's great capitals or in the remotest islands of the South Seas. Former President Roosevelt did not overstate the case when he said to the Endeavorers: "Your body stands prominent among the organizations that strive toward a realization of interdenominational and international Christian fellowship, as well as among those which stand for ideals of true citizenship."
To mention the eminent men and women who have spoken in praise of the principles and the practice of the Christian. Endeavor Society would be to call the roll of the greatest statesmen and divines of the last quarter of a century.
The outlook for the society was never brighter. Not only are the societies growing rapidly in numbers, but their activities are multiplying quite as rapidly. At least nine new societies were recorded every day of the past year, and though there are some deaths in the large family, as is natural, and some districts where the organization may be weak and languishing, the reports of growth and vigor and increasing interest far outnumber the occasional stories of decline. Recently a suggestion was made that Endeavorers should strive for a million new members and ten thousand new societies, to be gained within two years. With eagerness they under
took the task, each State accepted its allotment, and the society is already well on its way to the fulfilment of this task, which to many an organization would seem impossible.
As I am writing these words, the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Christian Endeavor movement is being widely celebrated in this country and throughout the world, and attention has naturally been called in many quarters to the great changes that have taken place in the religious life of young people and in their relation to the churches during these thirty
Thirty years ago a distinctly young people's society in our churches was rare, now it is universal. Then a weekly young people's meeting was the exception, now it is the rule. Then organized personal work of young people for young people was unknown, now it is everywhere common. Then social functions in the church for the young were infrequent, now many of their social events center in the church. Then interdenominational fellowship gatherings of the young were undreamed of, now at least 10,000 such meetings are held every year and in all lands, attended in the aggregate by millions of youth.
While writing this article I have been pursued by the fear that my personal interest in the society might lead me to exaggerate its merits. For this reason, I have said little about its ideals, and have dwelt largely upon certain verifiable facts and practical developments gathered from a careful study of the organization in many lands.
In all these developments the providential character of the society is most evident. To no man or organization is praise due for its development. Here is a seed with divine life in it. It fell into good soil. That is the whole story. Travels in many lands, including five journeys around the world, watching the inception and development of the society under widely diverse conditions in far-separated lands, have convinced me of this.
In brief, the Christian Endeavor Society has revealed and made practical certain fundamental conceptions of the Christian. life, common to all creeds. It has adapted the truths of the fathers to the needs of the children of to-day. It has made abstract truth concrete in every-day life.