Charles S Macfarland.

Spiritual culture and social service online

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Foreword .

I. The Imperial Spirit of Jesus . . 23


II. True and False Culture ,

III. Rejoicing in Truth .

IV. The Hopelessness of Godlessness

V. The Universal Law of Service .

VI. The Life More Than Meat

VII. The Witness of the Unseen






VIII. Acquirement by Renunciation . .121

IX. Out of Great Tribulation . .131

X. Going Beyond Duty . . . .139
XL The Unheard Angel . . . .149

XII. The Measure OF Religious Affection 158

XIII. The Upward Look and the Down-

ward Reach 168

XIV. The Culture of the Home . .179

XV. The Unknown Visitation . . .196

XVI. The Everlasting Reality of Religion 2 1 4


UPON making the interchange of the work
of the local pastorate for that of the
Federal Council of the Churches of
Christ in America and its Social Service Com-
mission, it seems appropriate that the writer
should attempt to order and set forth his thought
upon the relation between religious devotion and
humanitarian impulse ; spiritual conservation and
moral passion. This book consists of recent
utterances in which the author has sought, in
guiding the thought of his congregations, to set
before them the sympathetic unity and essential
identity of spiritual culture and social service.

Lest the first section of the book, entitled
" The Pattern in the Mount," should seem
partial and inadequate, the reader is reminded
that this is in no sense an attempt to give com-
mensurate treatment to the person of Christ, but
simply to portray the Master as the living historic
example for human hfe and service and of the
noble spirit in which that service should be

In his earlier devotional, theological and ex-
egetical books, "The Spirit Christlike," "The
Infinite Affection " and " Jesus and the Prophets,"


10 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

the author has attempted to interpret Jesus of
Nazareth the Son of Man as Jesus the Christ the
Son of God, especially in the chapters of " The
Spirit Chrisdike" endded '* God With Us,"
" God Within Us," " The Universal Incarnation,"
and in " The Infinite Afiection," the sections on
*' The Person of Christ" and *'The Sovereignty
of Christ." These former utterances are the
essential background and suggest the enduring
impulse of his social creed and faith.

" The reverent man who seeks, as men will
seek, and ought to seek, an adequate interpreta-
tion of Jesus to the intellect— be at the same time
his heart and motive pure — will find himself
lifted beyond the humanity in which he stands,
will find himself upon the height of Tabor, gazing
at a countenance transfigured before him, at a
face wnich shines as the sun, at garments white
as the light ; while the cloud of divine glory over-
shadows him, and in his ears resounds the voice,
' This is My beloved Son : Hear ye Him.' The
solitary, perfect, moral human light of these two
thousand years is clouded with ambiguous shad-
ows, the nature of the Infinite unknown, the faith
of men and all their moral life uncertain, the goal
of their achievement is unsure, and the whole
present scheme of human progress fails, unless,
with an authority that is divine, with an ideal
that is the form of God, Jesus Christ is God
with us.

Foreword 1 1

" To apprehend the moral magnitude and con-
template the spiritual force of Jesus is the solita-
rily supreme desire of the mind of man, and to
appropriate His life the loftiest endeavour of a
human soul. In Him the Infinite is reachable to
human contemplation. He is God with us.
Through Him attainable to human aspiration,
He is God within us. The Son of God, the wit-
ness and the earnest of the heavenly childhood
of the race, He is the sovereign possession of

" The person, then, of Jesus calls for the hom»
age of the race. He is an eternal contrast to the
human life to which He came and comes. The
difference between His sinlessness and human
sin is an eternal moral contrast. Against the
sombre background of our darkened human
lives the perfection of His spirit is as the sun
at night. His exhaustless person calls for a
supereminent, unique distinction. His eternal
contrast between sinlessness and sin is the eter-
nal contrast between God and man, and when
men bow the knee to Jesus Christ they worship
and adore the God whom He ineffably reveals.

*' The spiritual consciousness of Christ is the
eternally enduring object of the minds and hearts
of men. Thus, in Him was introduced into the
world, not merely a new decalogue, not only a
restored prophetism, but an absolutely new order
of life. The better moral, spiritual order of the

12 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

world, so far as it is better, is simply the light
of Calvary on human life. Any better life, any
finer vision, to be realized in any sphere or time
within the moral order, will come, and can come,
only by the yielding of the hearts of men, and
of the constitutions of human institutions, to the
sovereignty of Christ.

" ' But I say unto you.' His word has never
been transcended. The true apprehension of
Jesus is not in the utterances of the Sermon on
the Mount, but in the mysterious scene upon the
mountain of transfiguration. *This is My Son
. . . hear ye Him.* It is the eternal voice
from heaven to the race to-day. The vision and
voice must both be seen and heard. This is the
order of Christian evidence ; he who spiritually
apprehends the person will be mysteriously, sol-
emnly commanded by the utterance. The order
of experience will be both the mount of vision
and the Sermon on the Mount. To those who
see the vision, the voice will be the sovereign
compulsion of human thought and life. This is
the world's deepest need to-day and the sole
solution of its profoundest problems. To serious,
thoughtful men its problems are serious and
sometimes dreadful. Without the help of God
an earnest-minded man would not be able to
bear the weight of his own heavy heart. With-
out the light of Christ the shadows of human life
would be impenetrable.

Foreword 13

"Jesus' most significant method we have yet
to see. While His words relate to bodies of
men who have come together under the natural
associations of human interests, His words are
also spoken directly to the individual. He real-
izes that both the social and the industrial order
are made up of men and women. So He went
about to men and women. He said most of His
profoundest words to but twelve men. Yet wit-
ness the realization of His prophecy, fulfilling
itself for now twenty centuries, that they should
be the salt and leaven of the earth. The supreme
question of human life is that of the personal re-
lation of the individual to Christ. Who, in these
two thousand years, have done the most to bring
men to His feet? The framers of the creeds?
They have done much, and yet ' Their little
systems ' had * their day ; they ' had * their day
and ceased to be.' The theorists of social re-
form ? They have done much, but it has been
fragmentary and transient. In the industrial
order, the organizations of labour? No doubt
they have accomplished a great deal for the
uplifting of men. But more, infinitely more, has
come from the perennial power of simple per-
sonalities who have been constantly shedding
Christ's spirit about them. Jesus saw these same
dreadful problems. They were worse in His day.
He met them by sending out twelve disciples.
He is meeting them to-day in the same way.

14 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

The sole hope of the world is to make men dis-
ciples of Jesus. He is waiting, as His parents
waited in the inn, to find room in the social and
industrial realms of life. He finds room as men
get Him in their hearts.

"The solution of all human problems is the
answer of religion. There is no religion known
to man higher than our Christian faith. The
solemn questions of society, the serious condi-
tions of industry, with its bitterness and hate,
simply await the second coming of the Son of
man through His disciples. The world to-day
is full of Bethesda pools and of men waiting for
a Christ in the form of a disciple to help them
in. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth
iri pain together until men shall see the vision of
Mount Hermon and hear the voice of the Ser-
mon on the Mount.

*' 'O Saul! it shall be
A Face like My face that receives thee ; a man like to Me
Thou shalt love and be loved by forever.

A Hand like this hand
Shall throw open the gates of new life to thee.

See the Christ stand ! '

** There is no other name, no other name,
given under heaven or among men, whereby
the world can be saved. And the sovereignty
of Jesus Christ is the simple reign of human
love. * But I say unto you ; ' * While He was
yet speaking . . . behold, a voice out of the

Foreword 15

cloud' said, 'This is My beloved Son . .
hear ye Him.'

** The Gospel is outgrown, the Christian pulpit
is superfluous, the Church of Christ goes out of
existence, when the truths of the Gospel, the
vocabulary of the pulpit, and the constitution of
the Church do not contain the words Gody sin^
judgment and redemption. We need, in this
heedless generation, to be first of all Isaiahs,
Jeremiahs, Malachis, Amoses, Hoseas, to pre-
pare the way for Jesus Christ. The voice of the
prophet is stilled in the land. We need to
become John the Baptists forerunning the Re-
deemer, with the stern raiment of camel's hair,
with strong leathern girdles about our loins,
preaching in a wilderness of religious indiffer-
ence, and saying, * Repent ye, for the kingdom
of heaven is at hand,' that men may come and
be baptized of us, confessing their sins. We
must be more than John the Baptists. But we
cannot be more than John the Baptists until we
have been John the Baptists. Then, on the
morrow, looking upon the transcendent form of
the Son of God, revealing so ineffably the
Father's character and will and love, we shall,
with the joy of the Gospel making our voices to
tremble in the transformation of the message,
point suppliant and confessing sinners to the
Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the

i6 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

The problems of the social order are pressing
and momentous. We should be solemnly and
joyously conscious that we hold the key to the
situation in the Gospel of our Master. There
can be no social redemption without divine re-
generation. Behind and permeating our social
science we need a great theology and a spacious
Christology, as the sovereign requisites of our
social faith. We must not forget that we are
charged with spiritual destinies and that the
commission of the Church is to save men ; that
we must never deal simply with material con-
ditions and neglect character, or relieve misery
while we ignore sin. The kingdom of heaven is
more than an economic state of equilibrium. To
resolve man's moral and spiritual life into an
economic program would be calamitous and sad.
It would leave men in the very treadmill and
grind of the human life from which they seek
escape. This, however, is not to say that spir-
itual and material things are unrelated. Per-
haps the question is, shall we make our economic
order the expression of our moral and spiritual
principles and shall we make our moral and
spiritual life the ideal and the end of that eco-
nomic order ?

We can never have Jesus' Brotherhood of Man
until we gain the sense of His Fatherhood of God.
We can have no kingdom of heaven on earth
until our economic programs are fashioned



in the light of spiritual ideals and with spiritual
ends in view. Above us shines the Star of
Bethlehem, the light of all our human hopes,
and if we follow it, we find it standing over
the cradle of the infant Christ. Thus, the search
for all our human ideals ends in Jesus. The
world will come together in the consummation
of sympathy, tenderness, brotherhood, when all
men are brought to sit together at the feet of

The Christian Church has the threefold voca-
tion of conscience, interpreter and guide of all
social movements. She should determine what
their motive and conscience should be, inspire
them with that motive and impose that con-
science upon them. She should interpret their
inner and ultimate meaning. Then, with a
powerful hand and mind and heart, guide them
towards their spiritual ends. The task of the
Church is to transform a chaotic democracy into
an ordered kingdom of heaven.

As we look out upon the social order, upon the
great ocean of democracy, with its waves and
billows, but also with its splendid, wide horizon,
the Church may hear the call of the Master to
those who, in these latter days, have toiled and
taken nothing, " Launch out into the deep and
let down your nets." In the burning, fiery
furnace, heated seven times hot, if we witness
with clear vision, we see the fourth form, and it

l8 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

is like unto that of the Son of Man. Jesus of
Nazareth is passing by.

We need some new commentators. A multi-
tude of economic terms and principles await their
translation into moral and spiritual speech. Two
things the Church must have. One is spiritual
authority ; the other is human sympathy. If she
gain or assume a spiritual authority without hu-
man sympathy, she becomes what the Master
would have called ** a whited sepulchre filled
with dead men's bones." If, on the other hand,
her human sympathy be ever so deep, warm and
passionate, and she have no spiritual authority,
she can but lift a limp signal of distress, with a
weak and pallid hand.

Her disciples, then, must go to the Mountain
of Transfiguration with Jesus. The next hour of
the day they must go down with Him upon the
plain of human life to heal men of their diseases.
But they cannot do His work upon the plain, un-
less they have been upon the mountain top with
the Master, so that they may come down radiant
with the light that shines from His face.

" The world sits at the feet of Christ,
Unknowing, blind and nnconsoled.
It yet shall touch His garment's fold
And feel the heavenly alchemist
Transform its very dust to gold."

The author should acknowledge an indebted-
ness, covering the entire period of his ministry,

Foreword 19

to James Martineau, Phillips Brooks and other
prophets who have been among his greatest
teachers and inspirers from whom, in the utter-
ances of this book, he has drawn with freedom.

Charles S. Macfarland.
New York.

The Pattern in the Mount



THE creeds and confessions have largely
presented to us the eternal Christ in
speculative terms. They have been in-
terested in His relation to the universal order,
and deal with such philosophic questions as the
nature of His birth, His preexistence and the man-
ner of His resurrection. We have in them too
little of the human grandeur of the man, Jesus of
Nazareth. Indeed these in some measure have
been permitted to obscure the splendid manhood
of the Master. There has been some loss in this.
We have often failed to reach men by these
philosophic terms, psychological interests and
mystical rhapsodies. In our emphasis upon
these things we have failed to picture Jesus ade-
quately in terms of moral power.

While we should not depreciate this wealth
of thought, there will be great gain if we can
bring the moral power of Jesus to win the moral
mastery of men and to arouse great moral en-
thusiasm. I know it would have been a great
help to me, in my boyhood and young man-
hood, had I been led to appreciate the manhood
of Jesus. The creeds and the confessions had a


24 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

sense of vagueness about them, which resulted
in the obscuration of the Master as a great vital
source of human inspiration. It might have been
better if we had reversed the order and had
thought of Jesus, first, in human terms and then,
in the order of thought, in terms of His divine
being. Indeed the best approach to the divine
is through the human.

The moral beauty of Jesus' character centres
in the cross, w^hich shone before Him and which
beckoned Him on from the very beginning of His
splendid Hfe. Here, again, the meaning of the
cross has been greatly limited by human philo-
sophic speculation. It has been obscured as a
living inspiration to living men, with their duties
and temptations, with their noble aspirations to
be inspired and their moral weaknesses to be
shamed. The cross does not mean much to
men until it becomes the symbol of a great,
unutterably noble life. Looked at in this light
every man who wants to be a strong and noble
man might well have a crucifix ever before his eyes.

The moral greatness of Jesus is simply be-
yond compare. The Gospels glow with moral
courage from beginning to end. Seen in this
light men will come to love Jesus, as they be-
hold Him mingling in His uncompromisingly
democratic spirit with publicans and sinners,
while the Pharisees shower their scorn upon
Him. Their manhood will be stronger as they

The Imperial Spirit of Jesus 25

behold Him before Pilate and Herod in His
indifferent calmness. It is inspiring to look at
Jesus, combining, as He does, His great intel-
lectual power with an attractive modesty, His
tenderness with courage, His meekness with
boldness, His self-sacrifice with a great manly
spirit, His enthusiasm with patience. His com-
passion with moral indignation. His humility
with self-respect ; ** the elements so mixed in
Him that nature might stand up and say to
all the world : This was a man." The com-
pelling impression of these Gospels is that of a
sovereign personality. Before His august pres-
ence they fell back in the garden and trembled
at Calvary.

This moral power of Jesus is one great reve-
lation of the cross. It was a voluntary cross.
*' And they were in the way going up to Jeru-
salem ; and Jesus went before them : and they
were amazed ; and as they followed, they were
afraid. And He took again the twelve, and
began to tell them w^hat things should happen
unto Him, saying : Behold, we go up to Jeru-
salem ; and the Son of Man shall be delivered
unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes ; and
they shall condemn Him to death, and shall de-
liver Him to the Gentiles : And they shall mock
Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon
Him, and shall kill Him ; and the third day He
shall rise again."

26 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

Amid all the variations and vicissitudes of
Jesus' life, with all its lights and shadows, He
walked undeviatingly in one straight path from
the Jordan to Calvary. Expediency found with
Him no place with her beseeching subtleties.
The consideration of consequence exercised no
guiding or repressive hand.

We have a beautiful prophetic gleam in His
young boyhood, of which, I doubt not, there
were many. '' Wist ye not that I must be about
My Father's business?" The baptism in the
Jordan was His maturer consecration. In the
wilderness we see His ultimate decision. At
Csesarea Philippi came the open avowal. At
the transfiguration came the frank prophecy of
His inevitable human fate. Now He is on His
way to Jerusalem and He knows where He is
going. It is evident that He saw it and felt it
all along. " For this cause was I born." " To
this end came I into the world." And again
upon another occasion, " My time is not yet

One meaning of the cross, perhaps the mean-
ing of the cross, is that at Calvary we witness
the fulfillment of the most heroic life the world
has ever seen. This moral Christ is King of
kings and Lord of lords. He has been for two
thousand years standing in the midst of the
world, the enrichment of its thought, the sov-
ereign embodiment of its ideals. The moral

The Imperial Spirit of Jesus 27

world has been made by Him, and His supreme
example is the alluring and uneffaceable picture
upon the walls of human memory. The surest
approach to the Divine Christ, the Son of God,
is by the following of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son
of Man.

So while it is true that the thought of Christ
helps me as I think of Him in His relation to
eternal Being, as the revelation of the heart of
God, it is also true that He helps me as He
reveals my prophetic to my untrue self, as He
shames me in His effulgent noble light and in-
spires me by His nobility. There are other
values to Jesus, but of supreme value is the
imitableness and the reproducibleness of His
character. I wish that with the brush of a great
artist I could paint a new picture of Him. I
would paint Him as a young man with His face
turned towards Jerusalem, I would make a
series of pictures. I would paint Him first as
a frank, open-faced boy in the temple ; and out
in a distant background I would put the cross
in its shadowy outlines. Then I would paint
Him in the wilderness, under the stress of the
temptation to kneel down and worship evil for
the sake of the kingdoms of the world. I
would picture the face of the young man looking
away again towards that distant cross, now a
litde clearer. I would picture Him on the dusty
Galilean road with the disciples, some of them

28 Spiritual Culture and Social Service

turning their bacl

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Online LibraryCharles S MacfarlandSpiritual culture and social service → online text (page 1 of 12)