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upon the religious thought of our time. The raising of money is not the end, but the means; no, nor yet the whole means, but a very small part of the agency at work.
As the swelling harmonies of the organ owe all their force and sweetness to the air, so does our work owe its influence to the money by which it is fed. But money can be made to spread falsehood as well as truth, nonsense as well as sense, just as the wind may ravish our ears when blowing through the tender reeds and pipes—even then only when the keys are skilfully and tastefully handled—and yet scare us with its shriek on the railway or startle us from our slumber with the hideous growl of the factory gong
Our work can only be truly measured where no human eye can see, no human test be applied. It is as leaven, and it is leavening, atom by atom, the whole lump of the Church and the world. The mass is still great and the sluggish dough seems at times to show. no signs of upheaval; but it is coming for all that: the leaven will in time conquer it and inspire it and turn every part of it to more vital uses. To see this is to be sure that we are getting on.” Increase of numbers is satisfactory but it is sometimes delusive. is quality, not quantity, that we need in supporters. The only true test is how does the world change under the Zeit. Geist with which we have linked ourselves, and in face of that brazen persistency we have maintained in the teeth of opposition and detraction ? Nearly three years ago I said to you “ The list of pioneers will soon be closed.” This day is this saying fulfilled in your ears; for the breach is already made in the fortress of orthodoxy, and a noble army is marching in. We are “getting on”; we receive smiles where not long ago we were met with frowns; our efforts are now respected where once they were opposed and hated; our purpose is understood and recognized where once it was ridiculed or dreaded.
I believe every one of us here present could bring an illustration of the way in which our progress has thus been marked ; and if this be so, it is a better sign of real success than the noblest temple which we could have reared as a monument of our zeal.
I must now conclude this patchwork sermon by endeavouring to press home the lesson of Lord Derby against the bad sense of the phrase "getting on."
Whenever social emulation, better known under the term competition, exceeds its legitimate limits, then you have an illustration of the "gospel of getting on " in the evil sense of the term. Competition, when it becomes a passion for getting over our neighbour's heads, an absorbing lust of rivalry, subverts the right object of all true work, putting the means in place of the end. Competition in business, when it is excessive, has the same corrupting influence on work, as gambling has on play. The legitimate object of play is amusement, not getting money-still less getting other people's money without giving an equivalent.
When gambling is introduced it brings into the game a new and disturbing element often fatal to amusement, and makes it an occupation of anxiety and distress to the losers, and of feverish excitement to the winners. Gambling thus perverts and destroys the legitimate object of play.
Mach in the same manner fierce competition perverts and destroys the legitimate object of work. In fact a great deal of commerce is a species of gambling. We do not wish to deny that one legitimate object of work is to win bread for our own maintenance and for those dependent on us; but this is not the whole, and ought not to be the chief end for which we work. We ought to sit down to all kinds of work with the single and ruling desire to be of use to others ; to do it as well as we can that it may benefit our fellow-men, not measuring our work in quantity or quality according to what we expect to get in return for it. If then our occupation be pursued with this end in view—as when a doctor aims first and last at curing his patient, regardless of great or little fees for his trouble- our work will be done to the best of our ability, and every thing we do, from the ruling of an empire to the sweeping of a chimney, will result in some benefit to others. But if instead of aiming at doing good, we aim first and last at making money—or still worse at making money by means which we know will only impoverish our neighbour—then our work is damnable and instead of being our brother's keeper, we become his devourer. Men do not often in these days seek wealth for its own sake, but for the pleasures and luxuries it will buy for them, and for the contemptible ostentation of being richer than their neighbours. But the poison of motive is precisely the same in the case of the miser and of the prodigal When money is sought only for self-gratification it becomes an illegitimate object of pursuit, and cannot fail in the end to corrupt the work by which it is pursued.
This is the history of all financial bubbles ; of commercial frauds ; of accommodation bills; of unsound credit; of wicked defects in building, naval architecture and engineering; of dishonest manufacture; of the adulteration of food and medicine; of overladen and leaky ships; of life-buoys purporting to be made of cork, but really made of straw and warranted to sink in half an hour; and of such indescribably awful schemes for the destruction of vessels on the wide sea as have just come to light through the tragedy at Bremerhaven. The lust of “getting on ” at all risks and by the most unscrupulous means culminates in such horrible murder. It never can bear any other kind of fruit though the fruit may vary in quantity and size. We are ready enough to curse such a man as this William King Thompson; but ruin and lifelong misery have more than once fallen on thousands of victims by the failure of a bank, or the bursting of some bubble company. There is not much to chose between the criminals, I think. Heaven send us nobler views of life and work! But no! we must make and cherish them for ourselves. We must begin by bringing up our children and having them taught at school also " to take heed and beware of covetousness;" tauglit that "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesseth;” that the sole good and glory of life is to benefit each other by useful and honourable service: that work is to be mainly done for its own sake, because it is wanted; and not for the sake of gain because we want to be rich, or to be distinguished.
The trail of the serpent of competition is over too many of the early lessons of childhood. We dress our childeen so that if possible they shall be better dressed than the children of our neighbours, and seldom chide them for drawing the contrast. We encourage their competition for prizes at school, or for getting removes, and then wonder forsooth that they care more about “getting on," and getting before others, than about being made good scholars and loving to learn. The very profusion of Christmas presents has the same bad tendency on young minds. It will take many Lord Derbys and generations of wise and pure-hearted parents, before the most civilized country in the world thoroughly learns that “getting on” in the popular sense of the term is no Gospel at all; not a Divine, joy-bringing message, but nothing less abominable, less fiendish than a Doctrine of Devils.
UPFIELD GRLEN, Printer, Tenter Street, Morgate Street, E.C.