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which confront us in our great cities at the present time. We must not be afraid of new methods, and we must not make the mistake of trying to run every church, no matter what its location, on the same plan. There are sections in every great city where nothing but a mighty "institutional” or open church can do the work. It must be advertised. It must be made attractive. It must become the center of social, intellectual, and sometimes of physical, as well as spiritual life.
We are compelled to believe that the Church is losing its hold upon the great masses of the people in the storm centers to an alarming extent. Something must be done to close the gulf between the Church and the masses and win the confidence of those who have, in some measure, misunderstood the Church and are out of sympathy with it. We must develop all of those institutions which reveal Christlike sympathy and gain the confidence of the people. The kindergarten, the kitchen garden, the roof garden church in downtown districts, during the hot summer months, the summer garden church, the Gospel tent, the free dispensary, the free hospital, the museum, the gymnasium, the reading room, the free bath house, and a score of other institutions all have their place, and if rightly used will help to gain the confidence of the people of those localities where they are operated.
It is possible that the problem of religious life in the cities will never be sucessfully solved until there is a Christian federation which will have authority and power enough to swing all the Christian forces into line for a united effort in a common cause. This is an age of consolidation, concentration, and cooperation. This concentration and cooperation are intended to prevent waste and to control the situation. The Christian Church ought to operate under the inspiration of this idea. We are not pleading for organic union, or for anything that approximates it, but for unity of individual segregations such as will make possible the utmost cooperation. The day has passed when great Protestant denominations should fight each other as if belonging to hostile camps, or even wage warfare against the common foe in sections so
separated and divided, so independent and inharmonious, as to make mutual helpfulness impossible. Such a federation is possible to-day because the age of theological warfare is ended and the era of Christlike service is at hand.
The New York Federation of Churches has shown that such a union could do a grand work in every city. Under the direction of a great Christian federation the entire city could be visited as is possible in no other way. There are sections in every city where one can go and work in the name of Christ though nothing could be done in the name of Methodism. This work was done in New York on the broadest lines of Gospel operation. A calendar was printed and left in every home which contained full information concerning churches, industrial schools, free kindergartens, free dispensaries, free hospitals, libraries, museums, saving banks, and other institutions in which the people ought to be interested. The friendly aid visitor will win the hearts of men and women. The people in the storm centers who are away from Christ and out of sympathy with the church must be reached by the power of Christlike service. Such a federation could prevent the massing of churches in districts so that some would be overcrowded and others absolutely neglected. But above all things it would serve as a bond of union and make possible vigorous and combined work that could not otherwise be done. In union there is power. The federation might inspire a united action for the closing of Sunday saloons, Sunday theatres, and other places that are' exerting a demoralizing influence. It might turn the attention of the people as one man toward the great problems that ought to engage the attention of the Christian world. It might thus secure the enactment of desirable laws, the enforcement of laws that already exist, the united consideration of the tenement house problem, the slum district problem, the sweat-shop problem, and others which must be solved. The reasons why the saloon is respected by politicians and feared by great political parties is because the men engaged in the rum traffic have learned how to stand and work together. The forces of evil are united. They stand and work together. They will fall together. The children of the kingdom ought to be as wise in this generation as the children of darkness. There must be union, cooperation, and concentration before the kingdom of God can come with power.
The problem of religious life in the city cannot be solved until we learn how to preach and live a whole Gospel. There are those who are constantly saying that the one need of the world is the Gospel. That is true, but it is a broader, grander, richer, and more comprehensive thing than some of these critics have ever dreamed. The text from which the Son of man preached his first sermon in his boyhood home reveals how broad a thing the Gospel really is. Jesus found the place in the book of the law and stood up and read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” The kingdom of heaven has something to do with this world. Its coming means a recognition of the rights of human brotherhood; it means the righteous administration of law, and not the rule of brute force, mob violence, or tyranny. It means good government in the city, the state, and the nation. It means purity of politics as well as heart. It means clean streets as well as clean lives. It means a reign of unselfish
It means the cultivation of a manhood that will not shift responsibility and seek to escape from the discharge of the sacred duties of Christian citizenship. It means the annihilation of the rum traffic and the destruction of every institution that exists for the damnation of society. It means the abolition of the sweat-shop, the solution of the tenement house problem, and the transformation of the slum districts into those which are habitable by human beings. It means plenty of money for hospitals which are fighting disease and death for the poor. It means the prosperity of institutions which exist to do the work that Jesus did when he was here
in the world. The preaching of such a Gospel, side by side
The problem of religious life in the city will be solved
ART. V.-AN UP-TO-DATE CONSTITUTION FOR OUR
WHEN at the General Conference of 1888 the question, “Have we a Constitution ?” was raised in the episcopal Address a contention was begun which has not yet terminated. It is not to be inferred, however, either from the question then asked or from the suggestive title forming the caption of this article, that the Methodist Episcopal Church from its organization in 1784 has been without a fundamental law by which it is governed. It is true that at one period of its history this governing law, like the historic constitutional law of England, was unwritten. This, at least, until the General Conference of 1808, when it took form in “ The Restrictive Rules” and other epoch-making provisions which have resulted in a more orderly administration of affairs. From that time on the consensus of opinion of competent judges, both within and without the Church, has been that it has had and still has a written Constitution. But just what this document is and what it ought to be are the much-mooted and as yet unsettled questions of the hour.
It is with the hope of helping to definitely settle, not what is now the Constitution, but what such an instrument should contain, include, and cover—and this in an irenical spiritthat some suggestions will be here presented. That they are pertinent and opportune is evidenced by the fact that the General Conference of 1888 authorized the appointment of a Com. mission on the Constitution, whose duty it was to define the same. This it essayed to do in the interim between the Conferences, and presented its findings to the session of 1892, which indefinitely postponed them, with instructions that they be printed in the Church papers and presented to the subsequent General Conference. At that gathering, in 1896, a new Commission was created, whose report has been printed in the official denominational papers and is at present receiving due consideration prior to further action thereon in 1900.
It will be remembered by all who charged their minds with matters pertaining to this movement that the principal objec