THE following stirring words from an address by Dr. W. A. Spencer, Secretary of the Church Extension Society of the M. E. Church, strike at the root of the problem of the means by which the church to-day can become equipped to grapple with prevalent evils and accomplish the reforms that are so urgently needed in society. Endued with the power of which this earnest man speaks, the church is prepared to do just that work that is needed in the nation to-day, and that God would have her do; but equipped with any other power, as the power of legislation or of the ballot, she is not prepared for her task, and the reforms accomplished by such means will be of the wrong kind, that can only make the situation worse:—
“In our pulpits to-day we have a multitude of preachers, too, who have lost their power, but, like Samson, they wist not that their power is departed from them, and try to make up for the old-time power by scholarship, polish, and dignity. Think, beloved, what times we have fallen upon, when the Board of Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with her revival history back of her, has to send out a piteous appeal to our people to pray for a revival of religion within our borders! It ought to be enough to send every one of us to our faces in the dust, crying out for a return of the old-time power! …
“See how our D. D.’s have been trying to account for the depletion in the life-blood of Methodism! Oh, my God, why don’t they strike the true secret of it, and recognizing it, fall upon their faces all along the line and cry out for a return of Pentecost, instead of trying to blame it upon this and that that has no more to do with it than the wind blowing among these mountain pines! God help us!
“But then, if a man has a heart paralysis, you can’t blame the poor fellow if he doesn’t work as he did before he was afflicted. Neither can you expect a church member or a Christian, if he is devoid of power, to do much. Some things follow each other as a natural sequence, and this is one of them. A powerless Christian is a useless Christian.
“But you ask, how shall we have convincing, persuasive power in the pulpit and pew? I reply, get it down from heaven. It is there. God hasn’t died. Christ is on the throne. The Holy Ghost is alive. His power is at your command. Get it, for God’s sake, for your own sake, and for the sake of this old dying world!”