In His Steps
Charles M. Sheldon
Part 5 out of 5
Instantly a number of voices from men who had been at previous
meetings of this kind exclaimed, "Consent! consent!"
The Bishop sat down, and immediately a man near the middle of the
hall rose and began to speak.
"I want to say that what Mr. Maxwell has said tonight comes pretty
close to me. I knew Jack Manning, the fellow he told about who died
at his house. I worked on the next case to his in a printer's shop
in Philadelphia for two years. Jack was a good fellow. He loaned me
five dollars once when I was in a hole and I never got a chance to
pay him back. He moved to New York, owing to a change in the
management of the office that threw him out, and I never saw him
again. When the linotype machines came in I was one of the men to go
out, just as he did. I have been out most of the time since. They
say inventions are a good thing. I don't always see it myself; but I
suppose I'm prejudiced. A man naturally is when he loses a steady
job because a machine takes his place. About this Christianity he
tells about, it's all right. But I never expect to see any such
sacrifices on the part of the church people. So far as my
observation goes they're just as selfish and as greedy for money and
worldly success as anybody. I except the Bishop and Dr. Bruce and a
few others. But I never found much difference between men of the
world, as they are called, and church members when it came to
business and money making. One class is just as bad as another
Cries of "That's so!" "You're right!" "Of course!" interrupted the
speaker, and the minute he sat down two men who were on the floor
for several seconds before the first speaker was through began to
talk at once.
The Bishop called them to order and indicated which was entitled to
the floor. The man who remained standing began eagerly:
"This is the first time I was ever in here, and may be it'll be the
last. Fact is, I am about at the end of my string. I've tramped this
city for work till I'm sick. I'm in plenty of company. Say! I'd like
to ask a question of the minister, if it's fair. May I?"
"That's for Mr. Maxwell to say," said the Bishop.
"By all means," replied Mr. Maxwell quickly. "Of course, I will not
promise to answer it to the gentleman's satisfaction."
"This is my question." The man leaned forward and stretched out a
long arm with a certain dramatic force that grew naturally enough
out of his condition as a human being. "I want to know what Jesus
would do in my case. I haven't had a stroke of work for two months.
I've got a wife and three children, and I love them as much as if I
was worth a million dollars. I've been living off a little earnings
I saved up during the World's Fair jobs I got. I'm a carpenter by
trade, and I've tried every way I know to get a job. You say we
ought to take for our motto, 'What would Jesus do?' What would He do
if He was out of work like me? I can't be somebody else and ask the
question. I want to work. I'd give anything to grow tired of working
ten hours a day the way I used to. Am I to blame because I can't
manufacture a job for myself? I've got to live, and my wife and my
children have got to live. But how? What would Jesus do? You say
that's the question we ought to ask."
Mr. Maxwell sat there staring at the great sea of faces all intent
on his, and no answer to this man's question seemed for the time
being to be possible. "O God!" his heart prayed; "this is a question
that brings up the entire social problem in all its perplexing
entanglement of human wrongs and its present condition contrary to
every desire of God for a human being's welfare. Is there any
condition more awful than for a man in good health, able and eager
to work, with no means of honest livelihood unless he does work,
actually unable to get anything to do, and driven to one of three
things: begging or charity at the hands of friends or strangers,
suicide or starvation? 'What would Jesus do?'" It was a fair
question for the man to ask. It was the only question he could ask,
supposing him to be a disciple of Jesus. But what a question for any
man to be obliged to answer under such conditions?
All this and more did Henry Maxwell ponder. All the others were
thinking in the same way. The Bishop sat there with a look so stern
and sad that it was not hard to tell how the question moved him. Dr.
Bruce had his head bowed. The human problem had never seemed to him
so tragical as since he had taken the pledge and left his church to
enter the Settlement. What would Jesus do? It was a terrible
question. And still the man stood there, tall and gaunt and almost
terrible, with his arm stretched out in an appeal which grew every
second in meaning. At length Mr. Maxwell spoke.
"Is there any man in the room, who is a Christian disciple, who has
been in this condition and has tried to do as Jesus would do? If so,
such a man can answer this question better than I can."
There was a moment's hush over the room and then a man near the
front of the hall slowly rose. He was an old man, and the hand he
laid on the back of the bench in front of him trembled as he spoke.
"I think I can safely say that I have many times been in just such a
condition, and I have always tried to be a Christian under all
conditions. I don't know as I have always asked this question, 'What
would Jesus do?' when I have been out of work, but I do know I have
tried to be His disciple at all times. Yes," the man went on, with a
sad smile that was more pathetic to the Bishop and Mr. Maxwell than
the younger man's grim despair; "yes, I have begged, and I have been
to charity institutions, and I have done everything when out of a
job except steal and lie in order to get food and fuel. I don't know
as Jesus would have done some of the things I have been obliged to
do for a living, but I know I have never knowingly done wrong when
out of work. Sometimes I think maybe He would have starved sooner
than beg. I don't know."
The old man's voice trembled and he looked around the room timidly.
A silence followed, broken by a fierce voice from a large,
black-haired, heavily-bearded man who sat three seats from the
Bishop. The minute he spoke nearly every man in the hall leaned
forward eagerly. The man who had asked the question, "What would
Jesus do in my case?" slowly sat down and whispered to the man next
to him: "Who's that?"
"That's Carlsen, the Socialist leader. Now you'll hear something."
"This is all bosh, to my mind," began Carlsen, while his great
bristling beard shook with the deep inward anger of the man. "The
whole of our system is at fault. What we call civilization is rotten
to the core. There is no use trying to hide it or cover it up. We
live in an age of trusts and combines and capitalistic greed that
means simply death to thousands of innocent men, women and children.
I thank God, if there is a God--which I very much doubt--that I, for
one, have never dared to marry and make a home. Home! Talk of hell!
Is there any bigger one than this man and his three children has on
his hands right this minute? And he's only one out of thousands. And
yet this city, and every other big city in this country, has its
thousands of professed Christians who have all the luxuries and
comforts, and who go to church Sundays and sing their hymns about
giving all to Jesus and bearing the cross and following Him all the
way and being saved! I don't say that there aren't good men and
women among them, but let the minister who has spoken to us here
tonight go into any one of a dozen aristocratic churches I could
name and propose to the members to take any such pledge as the one
he's mentioned here tonight, and see how quick the people would
laugh at him for a fool or a crank or a fanatic. Oh, no! That's not
the remedy. That can't ever amount to anything. We've got to have a
new start in the way of government. The whole thing needs
reconstructing. I don't look for any reform worth anything to come
out of the churches. They are not with the people. They are with the
aristocrats, with the men of money. The trusts and monopolies have
their greatest men in the churches. The ministers as a class are
their slaves. What we need is a system that shall start from the
common basis of socialism, founded on the rights of the common
Carlsen had evidently forgotten all about the three-minutes rule and
was launching himself into a regular oration that meant, in his
usual surroundings before his usual audience, an hour at least, when
the man just behind him pulled him down unceremoniously and arose.
Carlsen was angry at first and threatened a little disturbance, but
the Bishop reminded him of the rule, and he subsided with several
mutterings in his beard, while the next speaker began with a very
strong eulogy on the value of the single tax as a genuine remedy for
all the social ills. He was followed by a man who made a bitter
attack on the churches and ministers, and declared that the two
great obstacles in the way of all true reform were the courts and
the ecclesiastical machines.
When he sat down a man who bore every mark of being a street laborer
sprang to his feet and poured a perfect torrent of abuse against the
corporations, especially the railroads. The minute his time was up a
big, brawny fellow, who said he was a metal worker by trade, claimed
the floor and declared that the remedy for the social wrongs was
Trades Unionism. This, he said, would bring on the millennium for
labor more surely than anything else. The next man endeavored to
give some reasons why so many persons were out of employment, and
condemned inventions as works of the devil. He was loudly applauded
by the rest.
Finally the Bishop called time on the "free for all," and asked
Rachel to sing.
Rachel Winslow had grown into a very strong, healthful, humble
Christian during that wonderful year in Raymond dating from the
Sunday when she first took the pledge to do as Jesus would do, and
her great talent for song had been fully consecrated to the service
of the Master. When she began to sing tonight at this Settlement
meeting, she had never prayed more deeply for results to come from
her voice, the voice which she now regarded as the Master's, to be
used for Him.
Certainly her prayer was being answered as she sang. She had chosen
"Hark! The voice of Jesus calling, Follow me, follow me!"
Again Henry Maxwell, sitting there, was reminded of his first night
at the Rectangle in the tent when Rachel sang the people into quiet.
The effect was the same here. What wonderful power a good voice
consecrated to the Master's service always is! Rachel's great
natural ability would have made her one of the foremost opera
singers of the age. Surely this audience had never heard such a
melody. How could it? The men who had drifted in from the street sat
entranced by a voice which "back in the world," as the Bishop said,
never could be heard by the common people because the owner of it
would charge two or three dollars for the privilege. The song poured
out through the hall as free and glad as if it were a foretaste of
salvation itself. Carlsen, with his great, black-bearded face
uplifted, absorbed the music with the deep love of it peculiar to
his nationality, and a tear ran over his cheek and glistened in his
beard as his face softened and became almost noble in its aspect.
The man out of work who had wanted to know what Jesus would do in
his place sat with one grimy hand on the back of the bench in front
of him, with his mouth partly open, his great tragedy for the moment
forgotten. The song, while it lasted, was food and work and warmth
and union with his wife and babies once more. The man who had spoken
so fiercely against the churches and ministers sat with his head
erect, at first with a look of stolid resistance, as if he
stubbornly resisted the introduction into the exercises of anything
that was even remotely connected with the church or its forms of
worship. But gradually he yielded to the power that was swaying the
hearts of all the persons in that room, and a look of sad
thoughtfulness crept over his face.
The Bishop said that night while Rachel was singing that if the
world of sinful, diseased, depraved, lost humanity could only have
the gospel preached to it by consecrated prima donnas and
professional tenors and altos and bassos, he believed it would
hasten the coming of the Kingdom quicker than any other one force.
"Why, oh why," he cried in his heart as he listened, "has the
world's great treasure of song been so often held far from the poor
because the personal possessor of voice or fingers, capable of
stirring divinest melody, has so often regarded the gift as
something with which to make money? Shall there be no martyrs among
the gifted ones of the earth? Shall there be no giving of this great
gift as well as of others?"
And Henry Maxwell, again as before, called up that other audience at
the Rectangle with increasing longing for a larger spread of the new
discipleship. What he had seen and heard at the Settlement burned
into him deeper the belief that the problem of the city would be
solved if the Christians in it should once follow Jesus as He gave
commandment. But what of this great mass of humanity, neglected and
sinful, the very kind of humanity the Savior came to save, with all
its mistakes and narrowness, its wretchedness and loss of hope,
above all its unqualified bitterness towards the church? That was
what smote him deepest. Was the church then so far from the Master
that the people no longer found Him in the church? Was it true that
the church had lost its power over the very kind of humanity which
in the early ages of Christianity it reached in the greatest
numbers? How much was true in what the Socialist leader said about
the uselessness of looking to the church for reform or redemption,
because of the selfishness and seclusion and aristocracy of its
He was more and more impressed with the appalling fact that the
comparatively few men in that hall, now being held quiet for a while
by Rachel's voice, represented thousands of others just like them,
to whom a church and a minister stood for less than a saloon or a
beer garden as a source of comfort or happiness. Ought it to be so?
If the church members were all doing as Jesus would do, could it
remain true that armies of men would walk the streets for jobs and
hundreds of them curse the church and thousands of them find in the
saloon their best friend? How far were the Christians responsible
for this human problem that was personally illustrated right in this
hall tonight? Was it true that the great city churches would as a
rule refuse to walk in Jesus' steps so closely as to
suffer--actually suffer--for His sake?
HE had planned when he came to the city to return to Raymond and be
in his own pulpit on Sunday. But Friday morning he had received at
the Settlement a call from the pastor of one of the largest churches
in Chicago, and had been invited to fill the pulpit for both morning
and evening service.
At first he hesitated, but finally accepted, seeing in it the hand
of the Spirit's guiding power. He would test his own question. He
would prove the truth or falsity of the charge made against the
church at the Settlement meeting. How far would it go in its
self-denial for Jesus' sake? How closely would it walk in His steps?
Was the church willing to suffer for its Master?
Saturday night he spent in prayer, nearly the whole night. There had
never been so great a wrestling in his soul, not even during his
strongest experiences in Raymond. He had in fact entered upon
another new experience. The definition of his own discipleship was
receiving an added test at this time, and he was being led into a
larger truth of the Lord.
Sunday morning the great church was filled to its utmost. Henry
Maxwell, coming into the pulpit from that all-night vigil, felt the
pressure of a great curiosity on the part of the people. They had
heard of the Raymond movement, as all the churches had, and the
recent action of Dr. Bruce had added to the general interest in the
pledge. With this curiosity was something deeper, more serious. Mr.
Maxwell felt that also. And in the knowledge that the Spirit's
presence was his living strength, he brought his message and gave it
to that church that day.
He had never been what would be called a great preacher. He had not
the force nor the quality that makes remarkable preachers. But ever
since he had promised to do as Jesus would do, he had grown in a
certain quality of persuasiveness that had all the essentials of
true eloquence. This morning the people felt the complete sincerity
and humility of a man who had gone deep into the heart of a great
After telling briefly of some results in his own church in Raymond
since the pledge was taken, he went on to ask the question he had
been asking since the Settlement meeting. He had taken for his theme
the story of the young man who came to Jesus asking what he must do
to obtain eternal life. Jesus had tested him. "Sell all that thou
hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven;
and come follow me." But the young man was not willing to suffer to
that extent. If following Jesus meant suffering in that way, he was
not willing. He would like to follow Jesus, but not if he had to
give so much.
"Is it true," continued Henry Maxwell, and his fine, thoughtful face
glowed with a passion of appeal that stirred the people as they had
seldom been stirred, "is it true that the church of today, the
church that is called after Christ's own name, would refuse to
follow Him at the expense of suffering, of physical loss, of
temporary gain? The statement was made at a large gathering in the
Settlement last week by a leader of workingmen that it was hopeless
to look to the church for any reform or redemption of society. On
what was that statement based? Plainly on the assumption that the
church contains for the most part men and women who think more 'of
their own ease and luxury' than of the sufferings and needs and sins
of humanity. How far is that true? Are the Christians of America
ready to have their discipleship tested? How about the men who
possess large wealth? Are they ready to take that wealth and use it
as Jesus would? How about the men and women of great talent? Are
they ready to consecrate that talent to humanity as Jesus
undoubtedly would do?
"Is it not true that the call has come in this age for a new
exhibition of Christian discipleship? You who live in this great
sinful city must know that better than I do. Is it possible you can
go your ways careless or thoughtless of the awful condition of men
and women and children who are dying, body and soul, for need of
Christian help? Is it not a matter of concern to you personally that
the saloon kills its thousands more surely than war? Is it not a
matter of personal suffering in some form for you that thousands of
able-bodied, willing men tramp the streets of this city and all
cities, crying for work and drifting into crime and suicide because
they cannot find it? Can you say that this is none of your business?
Let each man look after himself? Would it not be true, think you,
that if every Christian in America did as Jesus would do, society
itself, the business world, yes, the very political system under
which our commercial and governmental activity is carried on, would
be so changed that human suffering would be reduced to a minimum?
"What would be the result if all the church members of this city
tried to do as Jesus would do? It is not possible to say in detail
what the effect would be. But it is easy to say, and it is true,
that instantly the human problem would begin to find an adequate
"What is the test of Christian discipleship? Is it not the same as
in Christ's own time? Have our surroundings modified or changed the
test? If Jesus were here today would He not call some of the members
of this very church to do just what He commanded the young man, and
ask them to give up their wealth and literally follow Him? I believe
He would do that if He felt certain that any church member thought
more of his possessions than of the Savior. The test would be the
same today as then. I believe Jesus would demand He does demand
now--as close a following, as much suffering, as great self-denial
as when He lived in person on the earth and said, 'Except a man
renounce all that he hath he cannot be my disciple.' That is, unless
he is willing to do it for my sake, he cannot be my disciple.
"What would be the result if in this city every church member should
begin to do as Jesus would do? It is not easy to go into details of
the result. But we all know that certain things would be impossible
that are now practiced by church members.
"What would Jesus do in the matter of wealth? How would He spend it?
What principle would regulate His use of money? Would He be likely
to live in great luxury and spend ten times as much on personal
adornment and entertainment as He spent to relieve the needs of
suffering humanity? How would Jesus be governed in the making of
money? Would He take rentals from saloons and other disreputable
property, or even from tenement property that was so constructed
that the inmates had no such things as a home and no such
possibility as privacy or cleanliness?
"What would Jesus do about the great army of unemployed and
desperate who tramp the streets and curse the church, or are
indifferent to it, lost in the bitter struggle for the bread that
tastes bitter when it is earned on account of the desperate conflict
to get it? Would Jesus care nothing for them? Would He go His way in
comparative ease and comfort? Would He say that it was none of His
business? Would He excuse Himself from all responsibility to remove
the causes of such a condition?
"What would Jesus do in the center of a civilization that hurries so
fast after money that the very girls employed in great business
houses are not paid enough to keep soul and body together without
fearful temptations so great that scores of them fall and are swept
over the great boiling abyss; where the demands of trade sacrifice
hundreds of lads in a business that ignores all Christian duties
toward them in the way of education and moral training and personal
affection? Would Jesus, if He were here today as a part of our age
and commercial industry, feel nothing, do nothing, say nothing, in
the face of these facts which every business man knows?
"What would Jesus do? Is not that what the disciple ought to do? Is
he not commanded to follow in His steps? How much is the
Christianity of the age suffering for Him? Is it denying itself at
the cost of ease, comfort, luxury, elegance of living? What does the
age need more than personal sacrifice? Does the church do its duty
in following Jesus when it gives a little money to establish
missions or relieve extreme cases of want? Is it any sacrifice for a
man who is worth ten million dollars simply to give ten thousand
dollars for some benevolent work? Is he not giving something that
cost him practically nothing so far as any personal suffering goes?
Is it true that the Christian disciples today in most of our
churches are living soft, easy, selfish lives, very far from any
sacrifice that can be called sacrifice? What would Jesus do?
"It is the personal element that Christian discipleship needs to
emphasize. 'The gift without the giver is bare.' The Christianity
that attempts to suffer by proxy is not the Christianity of Christ.
Each individual Christian business man, citizen, needs to follow in
His steps along the path of personal sacrifice to Him. There is not
a different path today from that of Jesus' own times. It is the same
path. The call of this dying century and of the new one soon to be,
is a call for a new discipleship, a new following of Jesus, more
like the early, simple, apostolic Christianity, when the disciples
left all and literally followed the Master. Nothing but a
discipleship of this kind can face the destructive selfishness of
the age with any hope of overcoming it. There is a great quantity of
nominal Christianity today. There is need of more of the real kind.
We need revival of the Christianity of Christ. We have,
unconsciously, lazily, selfishly, formally grown into a discipleship
that Jesus himself would not acknowledge. He would say to many of us
when we cry, 'Lord, Lord,' 'I never knew you!' Are we ready to take
up the cross? Is it possible for this church to sing with exact
'Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow Thee?'
If we can sing that truly, then we may claim discipleship. But if
our definition of being a Christian is simply to enjoy the
privileges of worship, be generous at no expense to ourselves, have
a good, easy time surrounded by pleasant friends and by comfortable
things, live respectably and at the same time avoid the world's
great stress of sin and trouble because it is too much pain to bear
it--if this is our definition of Christianity, surely we are a long
way from following the steps of Him who trod the way with groans and
tears and sobs of anguish for a lost humanity; who sweat, as it
were, great drops of blood, who cried out on the upreared cross, 'My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
"Are we ready to make and live a new discipleship? Are we ready to
reconsider our definition of a Christian? What is it to be a
Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as He would do. It is
to walk in His steps."
When Henry Maxwell finished his sermon, he paused and looked at the
people with a look they never forgot and, at the moment, did not
understand. Crowded into that fashionable church that day were
hundreds of men and women who had for years lived the easy,
satisfied life of a nominal Christianity. A great silence fell over
the congregation. Through the silence there came to the
consciousness of all the souls there present a knowledge, stranger
to them now for years, of a Divine Power. Every one expected the
preacher to call for volunteers who would do as Jesus would do. But
Maxwell had been led by the Spirit to deliver his message this time
and wait for results to come.
He closed the service with a tender prayer that kept the Divine
Presence lingering very near every hearer, and the people slowly
rose to go out. Then followed a scene that would have been
impossible if any mere man had been alone in his striving for
Men and women in great numbers crowded around the platform to see
Mr. Maxwell and to bring him the promise of their consecration to
the pledge to do as Jesus would do. It was a voluntary, spontaneous
movement that broke upon his soul with a result he could not
measure. But had he not been praying for is very thing? It was an
answer that more than met his desires.
There followed this movement a prayer service that in its
impressions repeated the Raymond experience. In the evening, to Mr.
Maxwell's joy, the Endeavor Society almost to a member came forward,
as so many of the church members had done in the morning, and
seriously, solemnly, tenderly, took the pledge to do as Jesus would
do. A deep wave of spiritual baptism broke over the meeting near its
close that was indescribable in its tender, joyful, sympathetic
That was a remarkable day in the history of that church, but even
more so in the history of Henry Maxwell. He left the meeting very
late. He went to his room at the Settlement where he was still
stopping, and after an hour with the Bishop and Dr. Bruce, spent in
a joyful rehearsal of the wonderful events of the day, he sat down
to think over again by himself all the experience he was having as a
He had kneeled to pray, as he always did before going to sleep, and
it was while he was on his knees that he had a waking vision of what
might be in the world when once the new discipleship had made its
way into the conscience and conscientiousness of Christendom. He was
fully conscious of being awake, but no less certainly did it seem to
him that he saw certain results with great distinctiveness, partly
as realities of the future, partly great longings that they might be
realities. And this is what Henry Maxwell saw in this waking vision:
He saw himself, first, going back to the First Church in Raymond,
living there in a simpler, more self-denying fashion than he had yet
been willing to live, because he saw ways in which he could help
others who were really dependent on him for help. He also saw, more
dimly, that the time would come when his position as pastor of the
church would cause him to suffer more on account of growing
opposition to his interpretation of Jesus and His conduct. But this
was vaguely outlined. Through it all he heard the words "My grace is
sufficient for thee."
He saw Rachel Winslow and Virginia Page going on with their work of
service at the Rectangle, and reaching out loving hands of
helpfulness far beyond the limits of Raymond. Rachel he saw married
to Rollin Page, both fully consecrated to the Master's use, both
following His steps with an eagerness intensified and purified by
their love for each other. And Rachel's voice sang on, in slums and
dark places of despair and sin, and drew lost souls back to God and
heaven once more.
He saw President Marsh of the college using his great learning and
his great influence to purify the city, to ennoble its patriotism,
to inspire the young men and women who loved as well as admired him
to lives of Christian service, always teaching them that education
means great responsibility for the weak and the ignorant.
He saw Alexander Powers meeting with sore trials in his family life,
with a constant sorrow in the estrangement of wife and friends, but
still going his way in all honor, serving in all his strength the
Master whom he had obeyed, even unto the loss of social distinction
He saw Milton Wright, the merchant, meeting with great reverses.
Thrown upon the future by a combination of circumstances, with vast
business interests involved in ruin through no fault of his own, but
coming out of his reverses with clean Christian honor, to begin
again and work up to a position where he could again be to hundreds
of young men an example of what Jesus would do in business.
He saw Edward Norman, editor of the NEWS, by means of the money
given by Virginia, creating a force in journalism that in time came
to be recognized as one of the real factors of the nation to mold
its principles and actually shape its policy, a daily illustration
of the might of a Christian press, and the first of a series of such
papers begun and carried on by other disciples who had also taken
He saw Jasper Chase, who had denied his Master, growing into a cold,
cynical, formal life, writing novels that were social successes, but
each one with a sting in it, the reminder of his denial, the bitter
remorse that, do what he would, no social success could remove.
He saw Rose Sterling, dependent for some years upon her aunt and
Felicia, finally married to a man far older than herself, accepting
the burden of a relation that had no love in it on her part, because
of her desire to be the wife of a rich man and enjoy the physical
luxuries that were all of life to her. Over this life also the
vision cast certain dark and awful shadows but they were not shown
He saw Felicia and Stephen Clyde happily married, living a beautiful
life together, enthusiastic, joyful in suffering, pouring out their
great, strong, fragrant service into the dull, dark, terrible places
of the great city, and redeeming souls through the personal touch of
their home, dedicated to the Human Homesickness all about them.
He saw Dr. Bruce and the Bishop going on with the Settlement work.
He seemed to see the great blazing motto over the door enlarged,
"What would Jesus do?" and by this motto every one who entered the
Settlement walked in the steps of the Master.
He saw Burns and his companion and a great company of men like them,
redeemed and giving in turn to others, conquering their passions by
the divine grace, and proving by their daily lives the reality of
the new birth even in the lowest and most abandoned.
And now the vision was troubled. It seemed to him that as he kneeled
he began to pray, and the vision was more of a longing for a future
than a reality in the future. The church of Jesus in the city and
throughout the country! Would it follow Jesus? Was the movement
begun in Raymond to spend itself in a few churches like Nazareth
Avenue and the one where he had preached today, and then die away as
a local movement, a stirring on the surface but not to extend deep
and far? He felt with agony after the vision again. He thought he
saw the church of Jesus in America open its heart to the moving of
the Spirit and rise to the sacrifice of its ease and
self-satisfaction in the name of Jesus. He thought he saw the motto,
"What would Jesus do?" inscribed over every church door, and written
on every church member's heart.
The vision vanished. It came back clearer than before, and he saw
the Endeavor Societies all over the world carrying in their great
processions at some mighty convention a banner on which was written,
"What would Jesus do?" And he thought in the faces of the young men
and women he saw future joy of suffering, loss, self-denial,
martyrdom. And when this part of the vision slowly faded, he saw the
figure of the Son of God beckoning to him and to all the other
actors in his life history. An Angel Choir somewhere was singing.
There was a sound as of many voices and a shout as of a great
victory. And the figure of Jesus grew more and more splendid. He
stood at the end of a long flight of steps. "Yes! Yes! O my Master,
has not the time come for this dawn of the millennium of Christian
history? Oh, break upon the Christendom of this age with the light
and the truth! Help us to follow Thee all the way!"
He rose at last with the awe of one who has looked at heavenly
things. He felt the human forces and the human sins of the world as
never before. And with a hope that walks hand in hand with faith and
love Henry Maxwell, disciple of Jesus, laid him down to sleep and
dreamed of the regeneration of Christendom, and saw in his dream a
church of Jesus without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, following
him all the way, walking obediently in His steps.
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