1 The Fundamental Faiths of the Ministry
- Title: The Christian Ministry
- 1 The Fundamental Faiths of the Ministry
- 2. The Function of the Ministry
- 3. The Authority of the Ministry
- 4. The Individual Message of the Ministry
- 5. The Social Message of the Ministry
- 6. The Minister as Priest
- 7. Qualifications for the Ministry
- 8. Some Ministers of the Olden Time
- 9. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: His Methods
- 10. The Ministry of Jesus Christ: The Substance of His Teaching
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
- A. CHAPTER I THE FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY
Every vocation in life assumes as axiomatic certain fundamental principles on which that vocation is founded. Any man who doubts those fundamental principles should not choose that vocation.
No one should enter the army if he entertains doubts respecting the right of society to use force. He cannot be enthusiastic as a soldier if the theory of non-resistance, as it is expounded by George Fox and Leo Tolstoy, has any place even in his subconsciousness. No man should enter the legal profession if he regards philosophical anarchism as even a possible social hypothesis. He who is a disciple of Prince Kropotkin, or is inclined to be, cannot be a good lawyer. Christian Scientists hold either that the body and bodily ills have no real existence, or that both are emanations of the mind, and, as a consequence, that all so-called bodily ills are to be cured merely by right thinking. No man to whom this seems a possible hypothesis should enter the medical profession. There are communists who believe with Proudhon that the holding of private
2 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
property is wrong, that all property should be held in common. One who shares this opinion, or even regards it as worthy of serious consideration, ought not to enter on a mercantile career, for the commercial world is based on the assumption that the acquisition of property is right, and that the ambition to acquire property is a just and laudable ambition.
So there are certain principles or doctrines which underlie the Christian ministry. They are its fundamentals, its axioms. They must be vital convictions in the soul, or the man is unfit to be a minister; as unfit as a communist to be a railroad president, or an anarchist to be district-attorney, or a Christian Scientist to be a medical practitioner, or a non-resistant to be a soldier. The Christian minister purposes to dedicate his life to the ministry of religion; therefore he must not merely believe in religion; that belief must be an unquestioned conviction, as clear, as definite, as positive in his experience as is belief in the reality of bodily ills in the mind of a physician, or belief in the legitimate use of force to resist wrongdoing in the mind of a soldier. What, then, is religion?
To enter at all adequately upon the religious history of the world for the purpose of determining by a fresh investigation what is the nature of religion as a vital force in human history would take me too far from my immediate theme and require too large a proportion of this volume; to enter on this history but casually would be useless. Instead,
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 3
I accept two definitions which other investigators have given to the world, and which seem to me, after such study of comparative religions as has been practicable for me, to be the best which the philosophy of this subject affords. The first, by a divine of the seventeenth century, is popular; the second, by Max Milller, is philosophical; the former lays stress on religion Chiefly as a motive power; the latter, chiefly as an intellectual apprehension; the former needs for exactness further defining; the latter is possibly too definite to be entirely adequate.
He who wishes to inquire for himself what is religion will find the material for such inquiry in the volume from which the second of these two definitions is taken.
Henry Scougall defines religion as “the life of God in the soul of man.”  In this definition he assumes that God is, and that he has such vital relations with man that the life of God may enter into and affect the life of man. Max Miiller concludes that ” religion consists in the perception of the Infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man.”  In this definition he also assumes that the Infinite is, and is an object of perception by man, and that this perception by man of the Infinite constitutes a motive power which enters into his life and affects his moral character.
 Henry Scougall: The Life of God in the Soul of Man, A. D. 1671.
 Max Miiller: Natural Religion, p. 188.
4 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
In this volume I shall assume the correctness of these two propositions. I shall recur to them again and again by way of illustration, and for the purpose of confirming certain conclusions to which they necessarily lead every thoughtful man who accepts them; but I shall make no attempt to prove their truth. I assume, as the postulates on which this volume is founded, first, that God is an object of perception; that he can reveal himself directly and immediately to man; and that man has the capacity to perceive him, either directly and immediately, or indirectly and mediately through such revelation; and, secondly, that if God is thus perceived the perception will affect for good or ill the moral character of the man thus perceiving him, the nature of that effect being primarily dependent upon the clearness and the accuracy of man’s perception of the Infinite.
This definition of religion implies that the Infinite is really perceived, not merely imagined. If he is not really perceived, there is no real religion; there is only a deception or an illusion. What is called religion is of all vital phenomena the most widespread and the most influential. Neither art, music, literature, commerce, nor war has done so much to determine the destiny of the nations as religion, because religion has itself determined their art and their music, pervaded, if it has not created, their literature, regulated their commerce by the obligatory ideals which it has imposed on them, and some
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 5
times incited them to war, sometimes mitigated it or restrained them from it. I shall assume that this phenomenon is not due to a deception or an illusion, but is the result of a real, though always partial, often obscure, and sometimes perverted perception of the Infinite. I shall assume the reality of religion.
This definition of religion implies more than a perception of moral ideals, personified under the general title of God. Perception of God means more than a perception of the good; faith in God means more than belief in justice and mercy. It means belief in a just and merciful Person. “Moral Idealism,” truly says James Martineau, ” is not Religion, unless the ideal is held to be Meal as well as Divine” Religion is more than a perception of an ideal moral principle which exists only in the minds of those who perceive it; it is the perception of a real moral principle superior to and independent of all humanity, which, if it really exists at all, must exist in some moral Being. Religion is more and other than ethical culture. The minister of religion must have more than a perception, however vivid and controlling, of ethical principles. He must have a perception of a Person who is controlled by ethical principles and whose action manifests them.
This definition of religion implies more than a
 James Martineau: “Ideal Substitutes for God,” Essays, 4:278.
6 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
belief in the reality and influence of what is called religion in human life. To perceive in religion only a phenomenon in human history is to perceive only a phase, however important, of human experience; but religion involves a real perception of the Infinite as the cause of religious experience. One may believe in religious phenomena, without believing that a real perception of the Infinite is the cause of religious phenomena. Such a belief in the reality of religious phenomena will suffice to make the believer a teacher of comparative religions, but it will not suffice to make him a minister to the religious life. To be such a minister he must perceive the Infinite manifesting himself in the religious life.
This definition of religion implies more than belief in an hypothetical Creator conceived of as a necessary supposition in order to account for the creation, as a scientist conceives of ether as a necessary supposition to account for the phenomena of light. It implies more than a rational conclusion that God exists; it implies a perception of God as a living Being recognized by the spirit of man.
Deism is not religion. The philosophical conclusion that God exists is not sufficient to make a man who has reached that conclusion a minister of religion. He must have a perception of the living God, not merely a conception of a theoretical God.
Finally, this definition of religion implies more than the perception of an Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed. Awe in the
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 7
presence of mystery is not religion. Religion is such a perception of God as affects the moral character of man; it must therefore be the perception of God as a Personal Being, not as an impersonal Force.
By a Personal Being I mean a Being who thinks, feels, and wills. Religion is a life in ourselves produced by our perception of Another under such manifestations as influence our moral character, that is, our thinking, our feeling, and our wills; but if it is to influence our thinking, our feeling, and our wills, it must be a perception of One who himself thinks, feels, and wills. The minister of religion must have, therefore, not merely an intellectual apprehension of God; he must have a moral perception of God. He must so perceive him that by that perception his own thinking, feeling, and will are modified, clarified, purified, strengthened. There must be in some true sense a reception as well as a perception of God. Or, to recur to the other definition, he must have some measure of the life of God in his own soul, if he is to minister to the life of God in the souls of others.
Religion antedates religions and is the mother of them all. Religions vary according as curiosity, or fear, or hope, or conscience, or love predominates.
Religion is the perception of the Infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man. It may influence primarily to seek for the truth about the Infinite: then it will manifest itself in creeds and theologies. It may in
8 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
fluence primarily to fear the wrath of the Infinite:, then it will issue in propitiations and atonements and sacrifices to escape this wrath. It may influence primarily to hope for reward from the Infinite:, then it will express itself in services and sacrifices offered to the Infinite in hope of recompense hereafter. It may influence primarily the conscience through a belief that the Infinite is a righteous lawgiver: then it will issue in a constant warfare to compel the lower animal nature to obey the laws and regulations which are believed to be the expressions of his holy will. It may influence primarily through love of the Infinite as a Being of illimitable love: then it will issue in loyal, filial, reverential service of him and in gladness of fellowship with him. The first religion will be scholastic, the second sacrificial, the third and fourth legalistic if not servile, the fifth spontaneous and gladsome.
Each of these phases of religion will have its excellences and its defects: the first will be definite, but dogmatic; the second penitential, but superstitious; the third and fourth will be virile, but hard and sometimes cruel; the fifth will be free and joyous, but vague in thought, possibly sentimental if not irreverent, and sometimes careless and lawless in life. In fact, in all religions these different elements are mingled though in different proportions. There are defects in all religions, because religion is a human experience; there are excellences in all religions, because in religion man is
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 9
seeking after excellence. Religions change with times, circumstances, and temperaments, but religion is universal. It would be easier to destroy the appetites in man, and feed him by shoveling in carbon as into a furnace; or ambition, and consign him to endless and nerveless content; or love, and banish him to the life of solitude in the wilderness, than to destroy in him those desires and aspirations and spiritual perceptions which make him kin to God, and inspire in him the higher experiences of awe, reverence, penitence, hope, and love.
But the Christian minister is more than a minister of religion; he is a minister of the Christian religion. If religion “consists in the perception of the Infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man,” then the Christian religion consists in a perception of the Infinite so manifested in the life and character of Jesus Christ that the manifestation is able to promote in man Christlikeness of life and character.
Then, also, if the minister of religion must have a living perception of the Infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man, the Christian minister must so perceive the Infinite as manifested in the life and character of Jesus Christ, and must himself possess such measure of Christlikeness, that he can promote in other men a like perception and a like transformation of character.
Religion involves the relation between God and
10 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
man. All such relations involve obligations on both sides: by the inferior to the superior, but also by the superior to the inferior. The child owes duties to the parent, – the parent, also, duties to the child; the citizen, duties to the government, – the government, also, duties to the citizen; the pupil, duties to the teacher, – the teacher, also, duties to the pupil: no less is it true that man owes duties to God, and God also owes duties to man. There is a mutuality of obligation. God is under obligation to man as truly as man is under obligation to God. This mutuality of obligation between God and man is explicitly and reiteratedly affirmed both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is expressed by the word “covenant,” for covenant involves mutuality of obligation. There is, on the one hand, the enforcement on man of his obligation toward God; there is, on the other hand, the recognition on God’s part of his obligation toward man.
All religions recognize the obligations of man toward God; what is distinctive about the Christian religion is that it recognizes the obligations of God toward man. This is equally true of the Hebrew religion; but the Hebrew and the Christian religions are not separate religions, but one. Christianity is the Hebrew religion in flower; the Hebrew religion is Christianity in bud. When, therefore, I say that what is distinctive about the Christian religion is that it recognizes the obligations of God toward man, I include in that statement the Hebrew with the
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 11
Christian religion. This mutuality of obligation is the common characteristic of the one Hebrew-Christian religion.
The obligations of man toward God are expressed, generically, by the term law; specifically, by special laws; as, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the summary of the Jewish law as given by Christ in the two great commandments, the precepts which Christ has given (as in the Sermon on the Mount), the moral maxims contained in the Book of Proverbs, or those contained in the twelfth chapter of Romans. These laws are the enunciation of obligations which man owes to God and to his fellow man, because his fellow man is also a child of God. And these obligations which man owes to God are stated, substantially, by the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as they are stated by other religions; more clearly, more simply, but in their fundamental elements identical. And this is because these laws of the Old and the New Testament are the embodiment of the law earlier written in the consciences of men. The law, as it is enunciated by the prophets and the apostles, is the interpretation to man of the law as it is written in his own conscience.
But while other religions recognize the obligations of man to God they do not recognize the obligations of God to man. In the precepts of Confucius, in the teachings of Siddhartha, in the code of Hammurabi, the ethical principles embodied
12 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount may be found substantially stated; but there will not be found in these or in any other religious writings, prior to or apart from the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, any recognition of the obligations of God to man, nor any clear and explicit statement of what God will do in fulfilling his covenant for man. Analogies with the Ten Commandments can be found, but nothing analogous to such promises as this in the prophecies of Isaiah:, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
Nor anything analogous to this declaration of Paul:, But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 
In these and kindred declarations of what God has done for men and will do for men the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament are unique; nothing comparable to them is to be found
 Isaiah 55:6, 7.
 Eph. 2:4-6.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 13
in the literature of other religions. In other words, the law, or man’s duty to God, is denned in analogous terms in all religious literatures; the Gospel, or God’s ministry to man, is peculiar to the Hebrew and Christian religions.
It is not only distinctive, it is emphatic.
Throughout their history the Hebrew people were taught by their religious teachers to look to the future for their Golden Age. This Golden Age they called ” the theocracy,” or ” the kingdom of God.” Their prophets told them that the time would come when the kingdom of God should be established on the earth and the will of God done here as it is done in heaven. This kingdom was portrayed in glowing colors. Education should be universal; law should have its support in religion; war should cease, and the warring nations should beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; the blind should see, and the lame should leap and walk; the very wild beasts of the forest should be transformed; the wolf should dwell with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid, and the sucking child play on the hole of the asp, and the earth be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas; and there should be new heavens and a new earth, and righteousness and praise should spring forth before all the nations. This kingdom of God was to be initiated by a Coming One, a Messenger of the Most High, a Servant who should be the Messiah,
14 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
a world Deliverer. Sometimes the Nation is indicated as this Servant of God; sometimes a single person seems to be foretold; sometimes he is portrayed as King, sometimes as Prophet, sometimes as Crowned Sufferer.  How these various prophecies are to be reconciled, or whether they can be reconciled, I do not stop here to discuss: I think myself they are simply different phases of the same great truth. However this may be, it is certain that from the opening chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Malachi, from the legend which speaks of a time when the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head to the closing verse of the Old Testament collection which foretells the great and dreadful day of the Lord, the Old Testament writers agree in turning the faces of the people toward the future, and filling their hearts with a glad anticipation of a final world deliverance from sin and sorrow, through Israel, and through some servant of God who should embody all that was best and truest in Israel’s message to the world.
When Jesus Christ came, he began his message with the declaration that the time for the fulfillment of these prophecies had come.  Going into the synagogue atNazareth, where he was brought up as
 Deut. 18:15-19; Psalm 72; Isaiah 2:3, 4, 9:6, 7; 11:1-9; 33:6; 35:6; 10:51:8-13; 10:52:1-13; 53:1-12; 41:1-11; 65:17; Micah 4:2, 3; Hab. 2:14; Zech. 9:9, 10.
 Matt, 4:17; 10:7; Mark 1:14.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 15
a boy, he is asked to preach, and he opens the Book of Isaiah and finds the place where it is written:, 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 brokenhearted, 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. 1
He then declares to the congregation that he has himself come to fulfill this Scripture, and that its fulfillment is to carry blessing not merely to the people ofIsrael, but to the pagan world as well.
This declaration with which he begins his ministry constitutes the theme of his life preaching. That theme is thekingdomofGodand himself as its founder. Most of his instructions were conversational; but he is reported as preaching five great discourses, and this was the theme of the five. In the first, atNazareth, he proclaims himself as the One who was to fulfill the ancient prophecy, and initiate thekingdomofGodon the earth. In the second, the Sermon on the Mount, preached at the ordination of the Twelve to be his helpers, he explains the nature and expounds the principles of that kingdom. In the third discourse, or series of discourses, the Parables by the seashore, he traces prophetically the growth of that kingdom. In the fourth, on the Bread of Life, he reveals the secret of the power by which that king
 Luke 4:18, 19; Isaiah 41:1, 2.
dom of God is to be established in this world: the secret is acceptance of the Christ spirit, possession of the Christ life, loyalty to Christ. In the fifth, the discourse on the last days, he foretells the consummation of that kingdom, and the public recognition of himself as the judge and lord of the kingdom. 
Once he asks his disciples whom they think him to be. When Peter replies by affirming their faith that he is the promised Messiah, he approves the declaration, and affirms that on this faith in him as the world Deliverer, and on the power of that faith to transform men as it will transform Peter from a character as shifty as the waves of the sea to one as firm as a rock foundation, he will build his church. Again and again, in language which would be supremely egotistical were it not divinely true, he points to himself as the source of life in all its various phases. ” I have come,” he says, ” that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” And what he means by life he makes clear by repeated and explicit invitations. ” Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ” Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” ” If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” ” My peace I give unto you.” ” These things have
1 Luke 4:16-21; Matt 5, 6, 7, 13; John 6:26-59.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 17
spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you.”  Best, power, contentment, peace, joy, – these are some of the elements in that life which he declares that he has come to give to mankind.
His life draws to a close. Betrayed by one disciple, denied by a second, deserted by the others, he is brought before the Jewish Supreme Court and accused of blasphemy in declaring himself to be the long-promised Messiah. In violation of the Jewish law he is put upon the witness-stand, the oath is administered to him, and he is asked directly the question whether he is the Messiah or no. In full consciousness of the fact that by his answer he seals his own death warrant, he replies, ” I am.”  He dies, and in his grave the hopes of his disciples are buried. They return to their fishing. Then it begins to be whispered about among them that the Jesus whom they followed has risen from the dead.
With difficulty they are convinced of the fact, but when they are convinced their despair is turned into triumph. The fact that death had no dominion over him convinces them that he was indeed the One who was to bring deliverance to the world; and with this message they go forth to carry the hope of deliverance to the nations. If the reader will turn to the Book of Acts, and read the reports there given of the Apostolic sermons, he will find that
 Matt, 16:13-19; John 10:10; Matt, 11:28; Mark 1:17; John 7:37; John 4:14; John 14:27; John 15:11.
 Mark 14:62.
they are all different forms of the same message.  That message is not ethical, it is not a new philosophy of life, nor a new interpretation of the character of God, nor the elaboration of a new conception of man’s relation to God. The Apostles are witnessbearers and what they bear witness to is this: The world Deliverer has come, and we know that he is the world Deliverer because he has triumphed over the last enemy, Death, over whom no one before ever won a victory. In that message Christianity was born, by that message Christianity has won its victory in the world. Says Browning:, Does the precept run ” Believe in good, In justice, truth, now understood For the first time? ” – or, ” Believe in me, Who lived and died, yet essentially Am Lord of Life? M Whoever can take The same to his heart and for mere love’s sake Conceive of the love, – that man obtains A new truth; no conviction gains Of an old one only, made intense By a fresh appeal to his faded sense. 
The reports of Christ’s life and teachings afforded by the Four Gospels answer Browning’s question:, Jesus Christ was the theme of his own ministry.
The history of Christianity confirms Browning’s affirmation: it is the history of a new moral power in the world derived from a new perception of the Infinite, and a new effect produced thereby on the moral character of man.
 For examples: Acts 2:22-36; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; 5:29-32.
 Robert Browning: Christmas Eve, xvii.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 19
It has often been said that Christianity is summed up in the two commands, – ” Thou shalt love the * Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and ” Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” In fact, this is not Christianity at all; this is Christ’s summary of Judaism, his summary of the law which defines man’s obligation to God.  But this definition of man’s obligation to God is not distinctively Christian, it is hardly even distinctively Jewish. Christianity is the statement of what God has done and is doing for man; and what it affirms God has done and is doing for man is this: God has come into life and filled one human life full of himself that he may fill all human lives full of himself, and in doing this he has brought the world deliverance from its sins, and transformed its sorrows into sources of a joy deeper than any sorrowless joy.
Let us return to Max Milller’s definition: religion is ” the perception of the Infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man.” Then the Christian religion is such a perception of the Infinite as manifested in the life and character of Jesus Christ that the perception is able to produce in man Christlikeness of life and character.
I do not wonder that men disbelieve the Incarnation. I sometimes wonder whether any man believes it, whether I really believe it myself.
 Matt. 22:37-40.
What does it really mean? Nothing else than this: that the ” Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all things proceed,”  which creates, rules, pervades the universe, energizing it alike on the earth and on the remotest star; that the ” Power not ourselves which makes for righteousness,”  the power in all history, overruling all human wills, and out of stubborn and stupid souls working out a divine progress in events; that this Energy, this Power, has entered into one human life, filled it full, and lived and loved and suffered and died that we might know who and what he is, and how he who is intangible, inaudible, invisible, is operative upon us. I believe this because I believe, with Browning, that it is easier to think God has done this than that man has imagined it.
But, if we are ministers of the Christian religion, we perceive the Infinite not merely in the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth; we perceive the Infinite in his post-resurrection life and work. We believe and
 ” Amid all the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the one absolute certainty, that he is ever in the presence of an Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all things proceed.” – Herbert Spencer: Religious Retrospect and Prospect, “Ecclesiastical Institutions,” p. 843.
 ” How are we to verify that there rules an enduring Power not ourselves which makes for righteousness? We may answer at once: How? Why, as you verify that fire burns, – by experience! It is so; try it! You can try it; every case of conduct, of that which is more than three fourths of your own life and of the life of all mankind, will prove it to you.” – Matthew Arnold:, Literature and Dogma, p. 267.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 21
bear witness not merely that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; we believe and bear witness that God is in this world of men here and now. The incarnation was not ended atCalvary.
It is a perpetual fact. We believe that Christ is risen from the dead. This is not merely a curious fact in ancient history. What difference would it make to us whether Jesus rose from the dead or not if that were all? It is not practically important for us to know whether the man borne to his burial, and falling from his bier, rose from the dead when he fell on Elisha’s bones. It is not practically important for us to know whether Lazarus really rose from the dead or not. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is important, because to us it means that this God who was manifest in the flesh, this image of God, this Immanue 50:- God with us – is still with us. He is not dead, he never died, he could not die. This Christ, who lived eighteen centuries ago in Nazareth and Capernaum, still lives; there is no death for him or for his followers; he came back to the world; he is in the world; he is as truly in America as he was in Galilee, as present in the Christian church as he was in the Jewish temple and the Jewish synagogue; and he is carrying on through all these centuries the same work of forgiving, healing, helping, inspiring love which he carried on during the three short years of his recorded earthly life. The Christian religion is the perception of the Infinite in the earthly life of
Jesus Christ; it is also the perception of the Infinite in the world history of Christianity. It is the perception of God in the world reconciling the world to himself, – forgiving its sins, assuaging its sorrows, and inspiring it with a new and divine life.
The Christian religion involves a new theology, that is, a new conception of God. The earliest conception of God is of one who is manifested in power. This is a true conception, but it is a partial, incomplete, imperfect, and so misleading conception. He is seen as the All-mighty One, but only as the All-mighty One. He is more. Says a Hebrew Psalmist: ” Twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy.”  When the first message only is heard, not also the second, when man sees the Infinite only in the manifestation of extraordinary power, and not also in the merciful instincts of his own heart, the natural result is a religion of fear.
This religion Plutarch has graphically portrayed:
Of all fears none so dazes and confounds as superstition. He fears not the sea that never goes to sea; nor a battle that follows not the camp; nor robbers that goes not abroad; nor malicious informers that is a poor man; nor emulation that leads a private life; nor earthquakes that dwells in Gaul; nor thunderbolts that dwells in Ethiopia: but he that dreads the divine powers dreads everything, – the land, the sea, the air, the sky, the dark, the light, a sound, a silence, a dream. 
 Psalm 42:11, 12.
 Plutarch’s Morals, 1:169, Of Superstition.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 23
To the pagan world dominated by this fear came the Jewish religion, which in its earlier forms was a conception of God as one manifested in the conscience of mankind. Its message to the world was that God is a righteous God who demands righteousness of his children and demands nothing else; that he will reward with peace and prosperity those who obey his just laws, but also that he will recompense with penalty, certain and terrible, those who do not obey. ” I call heaven and earth to record this day against you,” says the author of the Book of Deuteronomy, ” that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”  This conception of God as a righteous Person, who ” loves righteousness and expects man to conform to his peremptory rules of law,”  was a true conception, but it was also partial, incomplete, imperfect, and so misleading. It was not a conception which brought peace, for there was always possible a fear that the soul had made a wrong choice, and the more conscientious the individual the greater was his apprehension. From both fears the later Hebrew religion by its message, and Christianity by its fulfillment of that message, brought deliver
 Dent, 30:19.
 ” The profound religious movement which took place in the Kingdom of Israel in the ninth century b. c. resolved itself into the assertion that Jehovah is a just God, who loves righteousness and expects man to conform to his peremptory rules of law.” – Kenan: History of the People of Israel, 2:304.
24 THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
ance. It perceived the Infinite not only as the Almighty, not only as a righteous God who demands righteousness of his children and demands nothing else; it perceived God as a redeeming God, who will help man to attain righteousness. The message of Mosaism was summed up in the Ten Commandments: Reverence God, honor your parents, regard the rights of your neighbor, and do this spontaneously from the heart, do not desire to do the reverse, and God will be your God, and you shall be to him a nation of priests. The message of the later Hebrew religion was summed up in the One Hundred and Third Psalm:
Bless the Lord, my soul,
And forget not all his benefits:,
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
Who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle. 
This message, illustrated, emphasized, manifested, fulfilled in the life of Christ and in the Christian experience of his disciples, constitutes the message of the Christian ministry to the world. It is the message that God is such an one as Jesus Christ; that the Infinite is to be seen manifested in a finite form in Jesus Christ; that he judges as Jesus Christ judges, condemns as Jesus Christ condemns, forgives as Jesus Christ forgives; that he is a Healer
 Psalm 103:2-6.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 25
and Helper, a Saviour and Redeemer, a Friend of the friendless, a Companion of men; that he is ever doing in the world what Jesus Christ did in Galilee; that the Infinite is love, and that the life and service and sufferings of Jesus Christ are the interpreters of his love. To the pagan conception of God as power, to the Jewish conception of God as justice, – both of which were but partial and imperfect, – Christianity adds the revelation of God as mercy. Power is no longer feared when it is the power of a Father, pledged to be used for the succor of his child. And this is the message of Christianity to the fearful: ” My Father, which hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Justice is no longer feared when, at the same moment and by the same act by which justice sets up a standard of character, it promises to enable the feeblest to achieve the standard. And this is the testimony of Christianity to the fearful:, ” He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 
But the Christian religion is not merely a perception of the Infinite in the life and character of Jesus Christ, and in the post-resurrection history of his work in the world, it is also a change in the moral character of man produced by that perception. It is the transformation of character, individual and social, which that perception has wrought
 John 10:29.
 1 John 1:9.
in men. The perception of the Infinite as helping mankind ont of their ignorance and poverty and misery and sinfulness has inspired in men to whom that perception was given a like spirit of helpfulness. The life of Christ as a revelation of what the Father is always doing in the world has inspired men to identify themselves with him in this service of love. For the standard of justice which Judaism had given in the Golden Kule, – “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,”  Christ substituted a new standard in the commandment, ” That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  Not equality of service, but self-sacrificing service, is the ideal, and in an increasing number of instances has become the passion of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Inspired by this spirit, Christianity became a great world movement for the emancipation and elevation of mankind. Christianity is the abolition of slavery, the overthrow of despotism, the recognition of the truth that all just governments are administered for the benefit of the governed, the organization of charity for the poor, the sick, the blind, the establishment of educational systems intended for and open to the masses, the diffusion of wealth
 Matt, 7:12. Christ does not give this as his rule of life, but as his summary of the law and the prophets. The Golden Rule is simply a rule of justice. What right have I to demand that another should treat me better than I would treat him if our positions and relations were reversed?
 John 15:12.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 27
and comfort, better homes, better food, better clothing, better sanitary conditions for all men.
Because Christianity is a new perception of what Christlike work God is doing in the world, because it is an inspiration to man to take part in this work, it is a great- world movement. It is Christ’s sermon at Nazareth writ large in human history; it is the story of One who for eighteen centuries has been proclaiming glad tidings to the poor, healing the broken-hearted, delivering the captives, bestowing sight on the blind, setting at liberty those that are bruised. It is the One Hundred and Third Psalm writ large in human experience; the history of a world that has been sinning and sick and dying and humbling its head in dust and ashes, and of a God who has been forgiving its iniquities and healing its diseases and saving it from selfdestruction and crowning it with loving-kindness and with tender mercies.
The Christian minister is a minister of this Christian redemption. It is true that in the life and character of Jesus Christ he holds up a new ideal and a new standard of life, and writes underneath it, ” That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” It is true that, in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, he holds up a new conception of God as the Father of whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, and writes underneath it, ” Say, Our Father.” But he does more than this. He is the herald of a great Deliverer, and he brings the
message of a world deliverance. His message is that the Messiah has come; that the world is a saved world; that sorrow is transformed, so that even in their tears Christians may cry, ” We glory in tribulations also;”  a that sin is vanquished, so that even while the battle is waged against it, Christians may shout as they fight, ” We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”  He is the messenger of glad tidings to the poor, of healing to the broken-hearted, of deliverance to the captives, of sight to the blind, of liberty to the bruised; he is the preacher of forgiveness to the sinful, of health to the diseased and the dying, of newness of life to those who have thrown their lives away, of loving-kindness and tender mercies to those for whom life seems to have no mercy, and humanity no love.
If he is to do this, he must perceive the Infinite as the Infinite is manifested in Jesus Christ, and he must be able to open the eyes of men so that they shall perceive the Infinite as the Infinite is manifested in Jesus Christ, and he must so perceive the Infinite in Jesus Christ, and so enable them to perceive the Infinite in Jesus Christ, that Christlikeness of disposition and character shall be promoted alike in himself and in them. I do not say that a man may not at times have doubts respecting the Christian religion, and still be an effective Christian minister. A soldier may at times wonder, Is
 Rom. 5:3:
 Rom. 8:37.
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 29
war ever right? or a doctor, Is it worth while to administer drugs? But underlying the soldier’s profession is the strong confidence that it is right to use force to put down force, and underlying the doctor’s profession is the strong conviction that there are physical remedies for physical diseases. So, despite the doubts that may sometimes surge in upon him, underlying the work of the Christian minister must be his fundamental faith, so wrought into his consciousness that it is a part of his nature, not merely that there are noble moral ideals, not merely that there is a personal God, not merely that we owe to him reverential and loving obedience, but that God is in his world, ever doing what Jesus Christ is portrayed as doing in his earthly life, – pardoning iniquity, healing disease, redeeming life from destruction, and crowning man with loving-kindnesses and with tender mercies.
It is because this is the message of the Christian Church that the Church lays such stress upon its faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means to the Christian believer that the Deliverer triumphed over death in the very moment when death seemed to triumph over him. It means that the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth is but the projection in visible form upon the screen of human history of a spiritual force more effective now than then just because it is invisible, an influence working in and through the spirits of men, and therefore limited by no con
ditions of time or space. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not merely a miraculous evidence of his Messiahship, it is not merely the historical basis of Christianity as a world movement; it is also an historical witness to the spiritual vitality of a Divine Redeemer whom death could not imprison.
This message of the Christian religion makes it a missionary religion. The Christian missionary does not go to pagan nations to tell them that their religion is the product of priestcraft, or a delusion of the devil; nor to abolish one form of worship that he may substitute another; nor as the enemy of the spiritual faith, imperfect as it may be, of the people to whom he ministers. He goes in the spirit of Paul to Athens, – to say to the pagan world, ” Whom without understanding ye worship, him we declare unto you; ” he goes to make clearer and more intelligible the voice of their own conscience as it is interpreted in their own ethical precepts; he goes to emphasize their own sense of sin and their own need of pardon and help as these find expression in their religious rituals; and, above all, he goes to answer the question which their religious faith asks.
Professor William James, in his suggestive volume ” The Varieties of Religious Experience,” says, ” Is there, under all the discrepancies of creeds, a common nucleus to which they bear their testimony unanimously?” and answers his question in the affirmative thus:,
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 31
The warring Gods and formulas of the various religions do indeed cancel each other, but there is a certain uniform deliverance in which religions all appear to meet.
It consists of two parts:, 1. An uneasiness; and 2. Its solution.
1. The uneasiness, reduced to its simplest terms, is a sense that there is something wrong about us as we naturally stand.
2. The solution is that we are saved from the wrongness by making proper connection with the higher powers. 
This is as far as paganism carries its votaries.
The question which it leaves them asking, ” How shall we make proper connection with the higher powers? ” Christianity answers by replying, ” The higher powers have already made that connection.”
We have not to remove the past sins which separate us from God, for he has already forgiven them; we are not to earn his favor by penances or services of any description, – his favor is the free gift of his love; we are not by self -absorption and interior meditation to think ourselves into some mystical acquaintance with him, – he has revealed himself to us by coming into human life and interpreting himself to us in the terms of a human experience; in short, we are not to climb up to God, – he has come down to us, and takes us into his strong arms as a father takes his child: all that we need to do is to accept the forgiveness that he freely offers,
 William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 508.
and live joyously the life with which he inspires us.
This message of the Christian Church is the secret of the power which the Evangelical churches possess, and which no naturalistic philosophy or mere ethical teaching can ever rival. It is our faith in this message which makes us suspicious of all philosophies which seem to eliminate the supernatural from the world. It is because this is our message that we insist upon what are commonly called the great cardinal doctrines of the Evangelical faith, such as Inspiration, Incarnation, Atonement, and Eegeneration. This is not because we are enamored of a particular system of theology; it is because our message to the world is like that of Jacob to himself when he woke from his dream: ” Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” I have been often asked to define the difference between the New Theology and Unitarianism. That difference is difficult to define, because both the New Theology and Unitarianism lay stress on life rather than on doctrine. But I may indicate the two trends of opinion, – one toward Divine immanence, the other toward naturalism, – without undertaking to identify the first with the new orthodoxy, or the second with Unitarianism, and I may do this by quoting the words of James Martineau, who, though he always disavowed the name Unitarian, was certainly no Trinitarian, and in his philosophy belonged to the liberal school of thought, though he was not always
FUNDAMENTAL FAITHS OF THE MINISTRY 33
ecclesiastically in sympathy with the Unitarian denomination. His testimony is the more significant because it was written toward the close of his life:, Your experience confirms my growing surprise, that the mission which had been consigned to us by our history is likely to pass to the Congregationalists inEnglandand the Presbyterians inScotland. Their escape from the old orthodox scheme is by a better path than ours. With us, insistence upon the simple Humanity of Christ has come to mean the limitation of all Divineness to the Father, leaving Man a mere item of creaturely existence under the laws of Natural Necessity.
With them the transfer of emphasis from the Atonement to the Incarnation means the retention of a Divine essence in Christ, as the Head and Type of Humanity in its realized idea; so that Man and Life are lifted into kinship with God, instead of what had been God being reduced to the scale of mere Nature. The union of the two natures in Christ resolves itself into their union in man, and links Heaven and Earth in relations of common spirituality. It is easy to see how the Divineness of existence, instead of being driven off into the heights beyond life, is thus brought down into the deeps within it, and diffuses there a multitude of sanctities that would else have been secularized. Hence, the feeling of reverence, the habits of piety, the aspirations of faith, the hopes of immortality, the devoutness of duty, which have so much lost their hold on our people, remain real powers among the liberalized orthodox, and enable them to carry their appeal home to the hearts of men in a way the secret of which has escaped from us. I hardly think we shall recover it now. There is plenty of scope, however, for any young prophet who can bring into his mis
sion the faith and fervour of more spiritual churches, in combination with the rationality and veracity of ours. 
Whenever a minister forgets this splendid message of pardon, peace, and power based on faith in Jesus Christ as God manifest in the flesh, whenever for this message he substitutes literary lectures, critical essays, sociological disquisitions, theological controversies, or even ethical interpretations of the universal conscience, whenever, in other words, he ceases to be a Christian preacher and becomes a lyceum or seminary lecturer, he divests himself of that which in all ages of the world has been the power of the Christian ministry, and will be its power so long as men have sins to be forgiven, temptations to conquer, and sorrows to be assuaged.
 James Drummond: The Life and Letters of James Martineau, 2:231.