« AnkstesnisTęsti »
of the Lord Jesus Christ is welcome to the prominent denominational leader has writ
Transvaal." Deeply religious as the old ten: “This wonderful stir among our man was, he had a vein of humor, for Christian Endeavor millions means a great when I was first introduced to him he increase of the readers of good literature; greeted me with a slap on the shoulder it means a growing appetite for knowledge and the question: "Are you one of the that will swell the attendance of our colYankees that run to the Queen when you leges and universities; it means a familiarget into trouble?" a remark apropos of ity with the Bible and books growing out the fact that a well-known American en- of it, such as was never before known." gineer and some other Americans had just To take part intelligently in the meetings put themselves under British protection requires reading and study, and the scores when arrested in connection with the of papers and books which assist in preJameson raid.
paring for these meetings and for the pracThe story of the Boer prisoners natu- tical work of the committees furnish a rally reminds one of the many other En- body of writing of which a well-known deavorers behind prison bars in our State author declares that “never since time bepenitentiaries, a number estimated at not gan has a religious movement created for less than two thousand. This would in- itself in so short a time, a set of helps so deed be a sinister statement did I not complete and useful." hasten to add that not one of these men But the question may still be asked: was a Christian Endeavorer before he was "What is the practical value of all this imprisoned. All have been converted and machinery?” Although there is a mystistarted upon a new life since their impris- cal element in the work of the society, as onment, through the influence of the in every genuinely religious movement, prison Christian Endeavor Society, and, so the practical outcome is of such a homefar as is known, not one of these ex-En- spun and every-day character as to seem deavorers after his discharge, has been re- commonplace. Here are a few items taken incarcerated. Stories of conversion as at random from the reports of a single radical and interesting as any in Professor year: half a million gifts of fruits and James's “Varieties of Religious Experi- bouquets of flowers sent to hospitals and ence” or Harold Begbie's “Twice-born “shut-ins”; thousands of cheering song Men" have occurred in these prison socie- services reported in prisons, missions, and ties, and many wardens and chaplains have Old Folks' homes; invalid chairs kept to declared that they were a great help in lend, free of charge; church reading-rooms promoting order and contentment. One opened; church papers edited and distribof the best of these societies, which has uted; coffee clubs established and supflourished for many years, is in the Fed- ported; ice-water fountains maintained; eral Prison in Atlanta.
thousands of scrap-books made for hosThere are other societies in surprising pitals and children's homes; Christmas places: in deaf-and-dumb asylums, where greetings for prisoners; fresh-air camps the members talk in the meetings with maintained; tennis and base-ball clubs and their fingers and listen with their eyes; cycle clubs established; flower gardens culamong the life-savers at the lonely stations tivated for the church; treats for cripples; on our coast; among the employees of hos- "teas” for old people, and suppers for pitals and hotels; among the firemen in newsboys and boot-blacks. several large fire stations; in Old Soldiers' In India the older Endeavorers do not homes, and among the lepers of Molokai think it beneath their dignity to establish and India and British Guiana. Indeed, “tub committees" and "finger-nail comit would be difficult to name any condition mittees” to teach the little Juniors just out of life or any corner of the world where of heathenism, that cleanliness is very near they are not found.
to godliness. The recorded sums of money As an educative influence, the Christian given to missions and home churches by Endeavor movement has often been under- Endeavor societies during the last twentyrated. Scores of books relating to Bible five years amounts to over ten millions of study, missions, and practical Christian dollars. The unrecorded sums are doubtwork have been published for these young less many times as much. people, and have been eagerly studied. A One more providential design of Chris
tian Endeavor must not be forgotten, and took the task, each State accepted its allotthat is its usefulness as an agency to bring ment, and the society is already well on together the young people of the nations its way to the fulfilment of this task, as well as the denominations. Here is the which to many an organization would one Protestant religious organization, seem impossible. which cultivates particularly the fellow- As I am writing these words, the Thirship idea and that is found in every land tieth Anniversary of the Christian Endeabeneath the sun. Delegates go back and vor movement is being widely celebrated forth to the conventions, from Europe to in this country and throughout the world, America and from America to Europe, and attention has naturally been called and from both continents to Asia and in many quarters to the great changes Africa. Its publications circulate in four- that have taken place in the religious score languages; its monogram
life of young people and in their relais the same in every land. It is
tion to the churches during these thirty thoroughly democratic in its
years. fundamental idea. It knows no
Thirty years ago a distinctly young peodistinctions of caste or color. It seeks to ple's society in our churches was rare, now teach young people to work with each it is universal. Then a weekly young peoother rather than merely for each other. ple's meeting was the exception, now it is
In Great Britain, for instance, a dele- the rule. Then organized personal work gation of German and other continental of young people for young people was unEndeavorers is entertained every year in known, now it is everywhere common. the Christian Endeavor Holiday Homes, Then social functions in the church for and the name “Christian Endeavor" is a the young were infrequent, now many of password for kindred spirits, whether they their social events center in the church. live in the world's great capitals or in the
Then interdenominational fellowship gathremotest islands of the South Seas. For- erings of the young were undreamed of, mer President Roosevelt did not overstate now at least 10,000 such meetings are held the case when he said to the Endeavorers: every year and in all lands, attended in “Your body stands prominent among the the aggregate by millions of youth. organizations that strive toward a realiza- While writing this article I have been tion of interdenominational and interna- pursued by the fear that my personal in
tional Christian fellowship, as well as terest in the society might lead me to ex• among those which stand for ideals of
aggerate its merits. For this reason, I true citizenship.”
have said little about its ideals, and have To mention the eminent men and wo- dwelt largely upon certain verifiable facts men who have spoken in praise of the prin- and practical developments gathered from ciples and the practice of the Christian a careful study of the organization in many Endeavor Society would be to call the roll lands. of the greatest statesmen and divines of In all these developments the provithe last quarter of a century.
dential character of the society is most The outlook for the society was never evident. To no man or organization is brighter. Not only are the societies grow- praise due for its development. Here is a ing rapidly in numbers, but their activities seed with divine life in it. It fell into are multiplying quite as rapidly. At least good soil. That is the whole story. Travnine new societies were recorded every els in many lands, including five journeys day of the past year, and though there are around the world, watching the inception some deaths in the large family, as is natu- and development of the society under ral, and some districts where the organiza- widely diverse conditions in far-separated tion may be weak and languishing, the re- lands, have convinced me of this. ports of growth and vigor and increasing In brief, the Christian Endeavor Sociinterest far outnumber the occasional ety has revealed and made practical certain stories of decline. Recently a suggestion fundamental conceptions of the Christian was made that Endeavorers should strive lite, common to all creeds. It has adapted for a million new members and ten thou- the truths of the fathers to the needs of sand new societies, to be gained within the children of to-day. It has made abtwo years.
With eagerness they under- stract truth concrete in every-day life.
TELL and I were almost ready to go and looked at Nell thoughtfully through
on for the last act of "Queen her glasses. While the excited girl was Esther," and we had for the moment got reaching for this and that, buttoning a rid of our three patient dressers, Mrs. slipper, pinning down a curl, Mrs. SpinDow, Mrs. Freeze, and Mrs. Spinny. ny's smile softened more and more until, Nell was peering over my shoulder into just before Esther made her entrance, the the little cracked looking-glass that Mrs. old lady tiptoed up to her and softly Dow had taken from its nail on her tucked the illusion down as far as it kitchen wall and brought down to the would go. church under her shawl that morning. “She 's so pink; it seems a pity not,” When she realized that we were alone, she whispered apologetically to Mrs. Dow. Nell whispered to me in the quick, fierce Every one admitted that Nelly was the way she had :
prettiest girl in Riverbend, and the gayest "Say, Peggy, won't you go up and stay -oh, the gayest! When she was not with me to-night? Scott Spinny 's asked singing, she was laughing. When she was to take me home, and I don't want to walk not laid up with a broken arm, the outup with him alone."
come of a foolhardy coasting feat, or sus-. guess so, if you 'll ask my mother." pended from school because she ran away “Oh, I 'll fix her!" Nell laughed, with at recess to go buggy-riding with Guy a toss of her head which meant that she Franklin, she was sure to be up to misusually got what she wanted, even from chief of some sort. Twice she broke people much less tractable than my through the ice and got soused in the river mother.
because she never looked where she skated In a moment our tiring-women were or cared what happened so long as she went back again. The three old ladies—at least fast enough.
fast enough. After the second of these they seemed old to us—futtered about us, duckings our three dressers declared that more agitated than we were ourselves. It she was trying to be a Baptist despite herseemed as though they would never leave self. off patting Nell and touching her up. Mrs. Spinny and Mrs. Freeze and Mrs. They kept trying things this way and that, Dow, who were always hovering about never able in the end to decide which way Nelly, often whispered to me their hope was best. They would n't hear to her that she would eventually come into our using rouge, and as they powdered her church and not "go with the Methodists”; neck and arms, Mrs. Freeze murmured her family were Wesleyans. But to me that she hoped we would n't get into the these artless plans of theirs never wholly habit of using such things. Mrs. Spinny explained their watchful affection. They divided her time between pulling up and had good daughters themselves,- except tucking down the "illusion" that filled in Mrs. Spinny, who had only the sullen the square neck of Nelly's dress. She Scott, -and they loved their plain girls did n't like things much low, she said ; but and thanked God for them. But they after she had pulled it up, she stood back loved Nelly differently. They were proud
of her pretty figure and yellow-brown "quiet,” they esteemed me a good influeyes, which dilated so easily and sparkled ence for Nelly. This view was prowith a kind of golden effervescence. They pounded in a sewing-circle discussion and, were always making pretty things for her, leaking down to us through our mothers, always coaxing her to come to the sewing- greatly amused us. Dear old ladies! It circle, where she knotted her thread, and was so manifestly for what Nell was that put in the wrong sleeve, and laughed and they loved her, and yet they were always chattered and said a great many things looking for "influences" to change her. that she should not have said, and some- The “Queen Esther" performance had how always warmed their hearts. I think cost us three months of hard practice, and they loved her for her unquenchable joy. it was not easy to keep Nell up to attend
All the Baptist ladies liked Nell, even ing the tedious rehearsals. Some of the those who criticized her most severely, but boys we knew were in the chorus of Asthe three who were first in fighting the syrian youths, but the solo cast was made battles of our little church, who held it up of older people, and Nell found them together by their prayers and the labor of very poky. We gave the cantata in the their hands, watched over her as they did Baptist church on Christmas eve, “to a over Mrs. Dow's century-plant before it crowded house," as the Riverbend “Mesblossomed. They looked for her on Sun- senger" truly chronicled. The country day morning and smiled at her as she hur- folk for miles about had come in through ried, always a little late, up to the choir. a deep snow, and their teams and wagons When she rose and stood behind the organ stood in a long row at the hitch-bars on and sang "There Is a Green Hill," one each side of the church door. It was cercould see Mrs. Dow and Mrs. Freeze set- tainly Nelly's night, for however much tle back in their accustomed seats and look the tenor— he was her schoolmaster, and up at her as if she had just come from that naturally thought poorly of her - might hill and had brought them glad tidings. try to eclipse her in his dolorous solos
It was because I sang contralto, or, as about the rivers of Babylon, there could we said, alto, in the Baptist choir that be no doubt as to whom the people had Nell and I became friends. She was so come to hear - and to see. gay and grown up, so busy with parties After the performance was over, our and dances and picnics, that I would fathers and mothers came back to the scarcely have seen much of her had we dressing-rooms — the little rooms behind not sung together. She liked me better the baptistry where the candidates for bapthan she did any of the older girls, who tism were robed—to congratulate us, and tried clumsily to be like her, and I felt Nell persuaded my mother to let me go almost as solicitous and admiring as did home with her. This arrangement may Mrs. Dow and Mrs. Spinny. I think not have been wholly agreeable to Scott even then I must have loved to see her Spinny, who stood glumly waiting at the bloom and glow, and I loved to hear her baptistry door; though I used to think he sing, in “The Ninety and Nine,"
dogged Nell's steps not so much for any
pleasure he got from being with her as for But one was out on the hills away the pleasure of keeping other people away.
Dear little Mrs. Spinny was perpetually in her sweet, strong voice. Nell had in a state of humiliation on account of his never had a singing lesson, but she had bad manners, and she tried by a very spesung from the time she could talk, and cial tenderness to make up to Nelly for Mrs. Dow used fondly to say that it was the remissness of her ungracious son. singing so much that made her figure so
a spare, muscular fellow, pretty.
good-looking, but with a face so set and After I went into the choir it was found dark that I used to think it very like the to be easier to get Nelly to choir practice. castings he sold. He was taciturn and If I stopped outside her gate on my way domineering, and Nell rather liked to proto church and coaxed her, she usually voke him. Her father was so easy with laughed, ran in for her hat and jacket, and her that she seemed to enjoy being ordered went along with me. The three old ladies about now and then. That night, when fostered our friendship, and because I was every one was praising her and telling her
how well she sang and how pretty she mas” as they parted company, all seemed looked, Scott only said, as we came out of to us very unusual and exciting. the dressing-room:
When we got home, Mrs. Deane had a “Have you got your high shoes on?" cold supper ready, and Jud Deane had
“No; but I 've got rubbers on over my already taken off his shoes and fallen to low ones. Mother does n't care."
on his fried chicken and pie. He was so “Well, you just go back and put 'em proud of his pretty daughter that he must on as fast as you can.”
give her her Christmas presents then and Nell made a face at him and ran back, there, and he went into the sleeping-chamlaughing. Her mother, fat, comfortable ber behind the dining-room and from the Mrs. Deane, was immensely amused at depths of his wife's closet brought out a this.
short sealskin jacket and a round cap and "That 's right, Scott," she chuckled. made Nelly put them on. “You can do enough more with her than Mrs. Deane, who sat busy between a I can. She walks right over me an' plate of spice cake and a tray piled with Jud.”
her famous whipped-cream tarts, laughed Scott grinned. If he was proud of inordinately at his behavior. Nelly, the last thing he wished to do was “Ain't he worse than any kid you ever to show it. When she came back he began see? He's been running to that closet to nag again. “What are you going to like a cat shut away from her kittens. I do with all those flowers? They 'll freeze wonder Nell ain't caught on before this. stiff as pokers.”
I did think he'd make out now to keep "Well, there won't none of your flow- 'em till Christmas morning; but he 's ers freeze, Scott Spinny, so there!" Nell never made out to keep anything yet.” snapped. She had the best of him that That was true enough, and fortunately time, and the Assyrian youths rejoiced. Jud's inability to keep anything seemed They were most of them high-school boys, always to present a highly humorous aspect and the poorest of them had “chipped in" to his wife. Mrs. Deane put her heart and sent all the way to Denver for Queen into her cooking, and said that so long as Esther's flowers. There were bouquets a man was a good provider she had no from half a dozen townspeople, too, but cause to complain. Other people were not none from Scott. Scott was a prosperous so charitable toward Jud's failing. I rehardware merchant and notoriously penu- member how many strictures were passed rious, though he saved his face, as the boys upon that little sealskin and how he was said, by giving liberally to the church. censured for his extravagance. But what “There's no
use freezing the fool a public-spirited thing, after all, it was for things, anyhow. You get me some news- him to do! How, the winter through, we papers, and I 'll wrap 'em up.” Scott all enjoyed seeing Nell skating on the river took from his pocket a folded copy of the or running about the town with the brown Riverbend “Messenger” and began labori- collar turned up about her bright cheeks ously to wrap up one of the bouquets. and her hair blowing out from under the When we left the church door he bore round cap! “No seal,” Mrs. Dow said, three large newspaper bundles, carrying "would have begrudged it to her. Why them as carefully as if they had been so should we?" This was at the sewingmany newly frosted wedding-cakes, and circle, when the new coat was under grave left Nell and me to shift for ourselves as discussion. we foundered along the snow-burdened At last Nelly and I got up-stairs and sidewalk.
undressed, and the pad of Jud's slippered Although it was after midnight, lights feet about the kitchen premises-where he were shining from many of the little was carrying up from the cellar things wooden houses, and the roofs and shrub- that might freeze-ceased.
He called bery were so deep in snow that Riverbend "Good night, daughter," from the foot of looked as if it had been tucked down into the stairs, and the house grew quiet. But a warm bed. The companies of people, one is not a prima donna the first time for all coming from church, tramping this nothing, and it seemed as if we could not way and that toward their homes and call- go to bed. Our light must have burned ing “Good night” and “Merry Christ- long after every other in Riverbend was