The Crucifixion of Philip Strong
by Charles M. Sheldon
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"Take for example the case of the Sunday paper, as it pours into Milton every Sunday morning on the special newspaper train. Now, there may not be anything in the contents of the Sunday papers that is any worse than can be found in any weekday edition. Granted, for the sake of the illustration, that the matter found in the Sunday paper is just like that in the Saturday issue—politics, locals, fashion, personals, dramatic and sporting news, literary articles by well-known writers, a serial story, police record, crime, accident, fatality, etc., anywhere from twenty to forty pages—an amount of reading matter that will take the average man a whole forenoon to read. I say, granted all this vast quantity of material is harmless in itself to moral life, yet here is the reason why it seems to me Christ would, as I am doing now, advise this church and the people of Milton to avoid reading the Sunday paper, because it forces upon the thought of the community the very same things which have been crowding in upon it all the week, and in doing this necessarily distracts the man, and makes the elevation of his spiritual nature exceedingly doubtful or difficult. I defy any preacher in this town to make much impression on the average man who has come to church saturated through and through with forty pages of Sunday newspaper; that is, supposing the man who has read that much is in a frame of mind to go to church. But that is not the point. It is not a question of press versus pulpit. The press and the pulpit are units of our modern life which ought to work hand in hand. And the mere matter of church attendance might not count, if it was a question with the average man whether he would go to church and hear a dull sermon or stay at home and read an interesting newspaper. That is not the point. The point is whether the day of rest and worship shall be like every other day; whether we shall let our minds go right on as they have been going, to the choking up of avenues of spiritual growth and religious service. Is it right for us to allow in Milton the occurrence of baseball games and Sunday racing and evening theatres? How far is all this demoralizing to our better life? What would Christ say, do you think? Even supposing he would advise this church to take and read the big Sunday daily sent in on the special Sunday train, that keeps a small army of men at work and away from all Sunday privileges; even supposing he would say it was all right to sell fruit and cigars and meat on Sunday, and perfectly proper for church members to buy those things on that day, what would Christ say was the real meaning and purpose of this day in the thought of the Divine Creator when he made the day for man?

"I cannot conceive that he would say anything else than this to the people of this town and this church: He would say it was our duty to make this day different from all other days in the two particulars of rest and worship. He would say that we owe it to the Father of our souls in common gratitude for his mighty love toward us that we spend the day in ways pleasing to him. He would say that the wonderful civilization of our times should study how to make this day a true rest day to the workingman of the world, and that all unnecessary carrying of passengers or merchandise should stop, so as to give all men, if possible, every seven days, one whole day of rest and communion with something better than the things that perish with the using. He would say that the Church and the church-member and the Christian everywhere should do all in his power to make the day a glad, powerful, useful, restful, anticipated twenty-four hours, looked forward to with pleasant longing by little children and laboring men and railroad men and street-car men as the one day of all the week, the happiest and best because different in its use. And so different that when Monday's toil begins the man feels refreshed in body and in soul because he has paused a little while in the mad whirl of his struggle for bread or fame, and has fellow-shipped with heavenly things, and heard something diviner than the Jangling discords of this narrow, selfish earth.

"If this thought of Sunday is bigotry or narrowness, then I stand convicted as a bigot living outside of the nineteenth century. But I am not concerned about that. What I am concerned about is Christ's thought of this day. If I understand his spirit right I believe he would say what I have said. He would say that it is not a right use of this day for the men and women of this generation to buy and sell merchandise, to attend or countenance places or spectacles of amusement, to engage in card parties at their homes, to fill their thoughts full of the ordinary affairs of business or the events of the world. He would say that it was the Christian's duty and privilege in this age to elevate the uses of this day so that everything done and said should tend to lift the race higher, and make it better acquainted with the nature of God and its own eternal destiny. If Christ would not take that view of this great question, then I have totally misconceived and misunderstood his character. 'The Sabbath was made for man.' It was made for him that he might make of it a shining jewel in the string of pearls which should adorn all the days of the week, every day speaking of divine things to the man, but Sunday opening up the beauty and grandeur of the eternal life a little wider yet.

"This, dear friends all, has been my message to you this morning. May God forgive whatever has been spoken contrary to the heart and spirit of our dear Lord."

If Philip's sermon two months before made him enemies, this sermon made even more. He had unconsciously this time struck two of his members very hard. One of them was part owner in a meat market which his partner kept open on Sunday. The other leased one of the parks where the baseball games had been played. Other persons in the congregation felt more or less hurt by the plain way Philip had spoken, especially the members who took and read the Sunday paper. They went away feeling that, while much that he said was true, there was too much strictness in the minister's view of the whole subject. This feeling grew as days went on. People said Philip did not know all the facts in regard to people's business and the complications which necessitated Sunday work, and so forth.

These were the beginnings of troublesome times for Philip. The trial of the saloon-keeper was coming on in a few days, and Philip would be called to witness in the case. He dreaded it with a nervous dread peculiar to his sensitive temper. Nevertheless, he went on with his church work, studying the problem of the town, endearing himself to very many in and out of his church by his manly, courageous life, and feeling the heart-ache grow in him as the sin burden of the place weighed heavier on him. Those were days when Philip did much praying, and his regular preaching, which grew in power with the common people, told the story of his night vigils with the Christ he adored.

It was at this particular time that a special event occurred which put its mark on Philip's work in Milton and became a part of its web and woof—a thing hard to tell, but necessary to relate as best one may.

He came home late one evening from church meeting, letting himself into the parsonage with his night-key, and, not seeing his wife in the sitting-room, where she was in the habit of reading and sewing, he walked on into the small sewing-room, where she sometimes sat at special work, thinking to find her there. She was not there, and Philip opened the kitchen door and inquired of the servant, who sat there reading, where his wife was.

"I think she went upstairs a little while ago," was the reply.

Philip went at once upstairs into his study, and, to his alarm, found that his wife had fainted. She lay on the floor in front of his desk. As Philip stooped to raise her he noticed two pieces of paper, one of them addressed to "The Preacher," and the other to "The Preacher's Wife." They were anonymous scrawls, threatening the lives of the minister and his wife. On his desk, driven deep into the wood, was a large knife. Then, said Philip with a prayer: "Verily, an enemy hath done this."


The anonymous letters, or rather scrawls, which Philip found by the side of his unconscious wife as he stooped to raise her up, read as follows:

"PREACHER: Better pack up and leave. Milton is not big enough to hold you alive. Take warning in time."

"PREACHER'S WIFE: As long as you stay in Milton there is danger of two funerals. Dynamite kills women as well as men."

Philip sat by the study lounge holding these scrawls in his hand as his wife recovered from her fainting fit after he had applied restoratives. His heart was filled with horror at the thought of the complete cowardice which could threaten the life of an innocent woman. There was with it all a feeling of intense contempt of such childish, dime-novel methods of intimidation as that of sticking a knife into the study desk. If it had not been for its effect on his wife, Philip would have laughed at the whole thing. As it was, he was surprised and alarmed that she had fainted—a thing he had never known her to do; and as soon as she was able to speak he listened anxiously to her story.

"It must have been an hour after you had gone, Philip, that I thought I heard a noise upstairs, and thinking perhaps you had left one of your windows down at the top and the curtain was flapping, I went right up, and the minute I stepped into the room I had the feeling that some one was there."

"Didn't you carry up a light?"

"No. The lamp was burning at the end of the upper hall, and so I never thought of needing more. Well, as I moved over toward the window, still feeling that strange, unaccountable knowledge of some one there, a man stepped out from behind your desk, walked right up to me and held out those letters in one hand, while with the other he threw the light from a small bull's-eye or burglar's lantern upon them."

Philip listened in amazement.

"Sarah, you must have dreamed all that! It isn't likely that any man would do such a thing!"

"Philip, I did not dream. I was terribly wide-awake, and so scared that I couldn't even scream. My tongue seemed to be entirely useless. But I felt compelled to read what was written, and the man held the papers there until the words seemed to burn my eyes. He then walked over to the desk, and with one blow drove the knife down into the wood, and then I fainted away, and that is all I can remember."

"And what became of the man?" asked Philip, still inclined to think that his wife had in some way fallen asleep and dreamed at least a part of this strange scene, perhaps before she went up to the study and discovered the letters.

"I don't know; maybe he is in the house yet. Philip, I am almost dead for fear—not for myself, but for your life."

"I never had any fear of anonymous letters or of threats," replied Philip, contemptuously eyeing the knife, which was still sticking in the desk. "Evidently the saloon men think I am a child to be frightened with these bugaboos, which have figured in every sensational story since the time of Captain Kidd."

"Then you think this is the work of the saloon men?"

"Who else can it be? We have no other enemies of this sort in Milton."

"But they will kill you! Oh, Philip, I cannot bear the thought of living here in this way. Let us leave this dreadful place!"

"Little woman," said Philip, while he bravely drove away any slight anxiety he may have had for himself, "don't you think it would be cowardly to run away so soon?"

"Wouldn't it be better to run away so soon than to be killed? Is there any bravery in staying in a place where you are likely to be murdered by some coward?"

"I don't think I shall be," said Philip, confidently. "And I don't want you to be afraid. They will not dare to harm you."

"No, Philip!" exclaimed his wife, eagerly; "you must not be mistaken. I did not faint away to-night because I was afraid for myself. Surely I have no fear there. It was the thought of the peril in which you stand daily as you go out among these men, and as you go back and forth to your meetings in the dark. I am growing nervous and anxious ever since the shooting; and when I was startled by the man here to-night I was so weak that I fainted. But I am sure that they do not care to harm me; you are the object of their hatred. If they strike any one it will be you. That is the reason I want you to leave this place. Say you will, Philip. Surely there are other churches where you could preach as you want to, and still not be in such constant danger."

It required all of Philip's wisdom and love and consciousness of his immediate duty to answer his wife's appeal and say no to it. It was one of the severest struggles he ever had. There was to be taken into the account not only his own safety, but that of his wife as well. For, think what he would, he could not shake off the feeling that a man so cowardly as to resort to the assassination of a man would not be over particular even if it should chance to be a woman. Philip was man enough to be entirely unshaken by anonymous threats. A thousand a day would not have unnerved him in the least. He would have writhed under the sense of the great sin which they revealed, but that is all the effect they would have had.

When it came to his wife, however, that was another question. For a moment he felt like sending in his resignation and moving out of Milton as soon as possible. But he finally decided that he ought to remain; and Mrs. Strong did not oppose his decision when once he had declared his resolve. She knew Philip must do what to him was the will of his Master, and with that finally she was content.

She had overcome her nervousness and dread now that Philip's courageous presence strengthened her, and she began to tell him that he had better hunt for the man who had appeared so mysteriously in the study.

"I haven't convinced myself yet that there is any man. Confess, Sarah, that you dreamed all that."

"I did not," replied his wife, a little indignantly. "Do you think I wrote those letters and stuck that knife into the desk myself?"

"Of course not. But how could a man get into the study and neither you nor the girl know it."

"I did hear a noise, and that is what started me upstairs. And he may be in the house yet. I shall not rest easy until you look into all the closets and down cellar and everywhere."

So Philip, to quiet his wife, searched the house thoroughly, but found nothing. The servant and the minister's wife followed along at a respectful distance behind Philip, one armed with the poker and the other with a fire-shovel, while he pulled open closet doors with reckless disregard of any possible man hiding within, and pretended to look into the most unlikely places for him, joking all the while to reassure his trembling followers.

They found one of the windows in Philip's study partly open. But that did not prove anything, although a man might have crawled in and out again through that window from an ell of the parsonage, the roof of which ran near enough to the window so that an active person could gain entrance that way. The whole affair remained more or less a mystery to Philip. However, the letters and the knife were real. He took them down town next day to the office of the evening paper, and asked the editor to publish the letters and describe the knife. It was too good a piece of news to omit, and Milton people were treated to a genuine sensation when the article came out. Philip's object in giving the incident publicity was to show the community what a murderous element it was fostering in the saloon power. Those threats and the knife preached a sermon to the thoughtful people of Milton, and citizens who had never asked the question before began to ask now: "Are we to endure this saloon monster much longer?"

As for Philip, he went his way the same as ever. Some of his friends and church members even advised him to carry a revolver and be careful about going out alone at night. Philip laughed at the idea of a revolver and said: "If the saloon men want to get rid of me without the trouble of shooting me themselves they had better make me a present of a silver-mounted pistol; then I would manage the shooting myself. And as for being careful about going out evenings, what is this town thinking of, that it will continue to license and legalize an institution that makes its honest citizens advise new-comers to stay at home for fear of assassination? No. I shall go about my work just as if I lived in the most law-abiding community in America. And if I am murdered by the whiskey men, I want the people of Milton to understand that the citizens are as much to blame for the murder as the saloon men. For a community that will license such a curse ought to bear the shame of the legitimate fruits of it."

The trial of the man with the hare-lip had been postponed for some legal reason, and Philip felt relieved somewhat. He dreaded the ordeal of the court scene. And one or two visits made at the jail had not been helpful to him. The man had refused each time to see the minister, and he had gone away feeling hungry in his soul for the man's redemption, and realizing something of the spirit of Christ when he was compelled to cry out: "They will not come unto me that they might have eternal life." That always seemed to Philip the most awful feature of the history of Christ—that the very people he loved and yearned after spit upon him and finally broke his heart with their hatred.

He continued his study of the problem of the town, believing that every place has certain peculiar local characteristics which every church and preacher ought to study. He was struck by the aspect of the lower part of the town, where nearly all the poorer people lived. He went down there and studied the situation thoroughly. It did not take a very great amount of thinking to convince him that the church power in Milton was not properly distributed. The seven largest churches in the place were all on one street, well up in the wealthy residence portion, and not more than two or three blocks apart. Down in the tenement district there was not a single church building, and only one or two weak mission schools which did not touch the problem of the district at all. The distance from this poor part of the town to the churches was fully a mile, a distance that certainly stood as a geographical obstacle to the church attendance of the neighborhood, even supposing the people were eager to go to the large churches, which was not at all the fact. Indeed, Philip soon discovered that the people were indifferent in the matter. The churches on the fashionable street in town meant less than nothing to them. They never would go to them, and there was little hope that anything the pastor or members could do would draw the people that distance to come within church influence. The fact of the matter was, the seven churches of different denominations in Milton had no living connection whatever with nearly one-half the population, and that the most needy half, of the place.

The longer Philip studied the situation, the more un-Christian it looked to him, and the more he longed to change it. He went over the ground again and again very carefully. He talked with the different ministers, and the most advanced Christians in his own church. There was a variety of opinion as to what might be done, but no one was ready for the radical move which Philip advocated when he came to speak on the subject the first Sunday of the month.


The first Sunday was beginning to be more or less dreaded or anticipated by Calvary Church people. They were learning to expect something radical, sweeping, almost revolutionary in Philip's utterances on Christ and Modern Society. Some agreed with him as far as he had gone. Very many had been hurt at his plainness of speech. This was especially true of the property owners and the fashionable part of the membership. Yet there was a fascination about Philip's preaching that prevented, so far, any very serious outbreak or dissension in the church. He was a recognized leader. In his presentation of truth he was large-minded. He had the faculty of holding men's respect. There was no mistaking the situation, however. Mr. Winter, with others, was working against him. Philip was vaguely conscious of much that did not work out into open, apparent fact. Nevertheless, when he came up on the first Sunday of the next month and began to announce his subject, he found an audience that crowded the house to the doors, and among them were scattered numbers of men from the working-men's district with whom Philip had talked while down there. It was, as before, an inspiring congregation, and Philip faced it feeling sure in his heart that he had a great subject to unfold, and a message to deliver to the Church of Christ such as he could not but believe Christ would most certainly present if he were living to-day in Milton.

He began by describing the exact condition of affairs in Milton. To assist this description he had brought with him into the church his map of the town.

"Look now," he said, pointing out the different localities, "at B street, where we now are. Here are seven of the largest churches of the place on this street. The entire distance between the first of these church buildings and the last one is a little over a mile. Three of these churches are only two blocks apart. Then consider the character of the residences and people in the vicinity of this street. It is what is called desirable; that is, the homes are the very finest, and the people almost without exception are refined, respectable, well educated, and Christian in training. All the wealth of the town centres about B street. All the society life extends out from it on each side. It is considered the most fashionable street for drives and promenades. It is well lighted, well paved, well kept. The people who come out of the houses on B street are always well dressed. The people who go into these seven churches are, as a rule, well-dressed and comfortable looking. Mind you," continued Philip, raising his hand with a significant gesture, "I do not want to have you think that I consider good clothes and comfortable looks as unchristian or anything against the people who present such an appearance. Far from it. I simply mention this fact to make the contrast I am going to show you all the plainer. For let us leave B street now and go down into the flats by the river, where nearly all the mill people have their homes. I wish you would note first the distance from B street and the churches to this tenement district. It is nine blocks—that is, a little over a mile. To the edge of the tenement houses farthest from our own church building it is a mile and three-quarters. And within that entire district, measuring nearly two by three miles, there is not a church building. There are two feeble mission-schools, which are held in plain, unattractive halls, where every Sunday a handful of children meet; but nothing practically is being done by the Church of Christ in this place to give the people in that part of the town the privileges and power of the life of Christ, the life more abundantly. The houses down there are of the cheapest description. The people who come out of them are far from well-dressed. The streets and alleys are dirty and ill-smelling. And no one cares to promenade for pleasure up and down the sidewalks in that neighborhood. It is not a safe place to go to at night. The most frequent disturbances come from that part of the town. All the hard characters find refuge there. And let me say that I am not now speaking of the working people. They are almost without exception law-abiding. But in every town like ours the floating population of vice and crime seeks naturally that part of a town where the poorest houses are, and the most saloons, and the greatest darkness, both physically and moral.

"If there is a part of this town which needs lifting up and cleaning and healing and inspiring by the presence of the Church of Christ, it is right there where there is no church. The people on B street and for six or eight blocks each side know the gospel. They have large numbers of books and papers and much Christian literature. They have been taught the Bible truths; they are familiar with them. Of what value is it then to continue to support on this short street, so near together, seven churches of as many different denominations which have for their members the respectable, moral people of the town? I do not mean to say that the well-to-do, respectable people do not need the influence of the church and the preaching of the gospel. But they can get these privileges without such a fearful waste of material and power. If we had only three or four churches on this street they would be enough. We are wasting our Christianity with the present arrangement. We are giving the rich and the educated and well-to-do people seven times as much church as we are giving the poor, the ignorant, and the struggling workers in the tenement district. There is no question, there can be no question, that all this is wrong. It is opposed to every principle that Christ advocated. And in the face of these plain facts, which no one can dispute, there is a duty before these churches on this street which cannot be evaded without denying the very purpose of a church. It is that duty which I am now going to urge upon this Calvary Church.

"It has been said by some of the ministers and members of the churches that we might combine in an effort and build a large and commodious mission in the tenement district. But that, to my mind, would not settle the problem at all, as it should be settled. It is an easy and a lazy thing for church-members to put their hands in their pockets and say to a few other church-members, 'We will help build a mission, if you will run it after it is up; we will attend our church up-town here, while the mission is worked for the poor people down there.' That is not what will meet the needs of the situation. What that part of Milton needs is the Church of Christ in its members—the whole Church, on the largest possible scale. What I am now going to propose, therefore, is something which I believe Christ would advocate, if not in the exact manner I shall explain, at least in the same spirit."

Philip paused a moment and looked over the congregation earnestly. The expectation of the people was roused almost to the point of a sensation as he went on.

"I have consulted competent authorities, and they say that our church building here could be moved from its present foundation without serious damage to the structure. A part of it would have to be torn down to assist the moving, but it could easily be replaced. The expense would not be more than we could readily meet. We are out of debt, and the property is free from incumbrance. What I propose, therefore, is a very simple thing—that we move our church edifice down into the heart of the tenement district, where we can buy a suitable lot for a comparatively small sum, and at once begin the work of a Christian Church in the very neighborhood where such work is most needed.

"There are certain objections to this plan. I think they can be met by the exercise of the Christ spirit of sacrifice and love. A great many members will not be able to go that distance to attend service, any more than the people there at present can well come up here. But there are six churches left on B street. What is to hinder any Christian member of Calvary Church from working and fellowshiping with those churches, if he cannot put in his service in the tenement district? None of these churches are crowded; they will welcome the advent of more members. But the main strength of the plan which I propose lies in the fact that if it be done, it will be a live illustration of the eagerness of the Church to reach and save men. The very sight of our church moving down off from this street to the lower part of town will be an object lesson to the people, and the Church will at once begin to mean something to them. Once established there, we can work from it as a centre. The distance ought to be no discouragement to any healthy person. There is not a young woman in this church who is in the habit of dancing, who does not make twice as many steps during an evening dancing party as would be necessary to take her to the tenement district and back again. Surely, any Christian church-member is as willing to endure fatigue, and sacrifice, and to give as much time to help make men and women better, as he is to have a good time himself. Think for a moment what this move which I propose would mean to the life of this town, and to our Christian growth. At present we go to church. We listen to a good choir, we go home again, we have a pleasant Sunday-school, we are all comfortable and well clothed here; we enjoy our services, we are not disturbed by the sight of disagreeable or uncongenial people. But is that Christianity? Where do the service and the self-denial and the working for men's souls come in? Ah, my dear brothers and sisters, what is this church really doing for the salvation of men in this place? Is it Christianity to have a comfortable church and go to it once or twice a week to enjoy nice music and listen to preaching, and then go home to a good dinner, and that is about all? What have we sacrificed? What have we denied ourselves? What have we done to show the poor or the sinful that we care anything for their souls, or that Christianity is anything but a comfortable, select religion for those who can afford the good things of the world? What has the church in Milton done to make the working-man here feel that it is an institution that throbs with the brotherhood of man? But suppose we actually move our church down there and then go there ourselves weekdays and Sundays to work for the uplift of immortal beings. Shall we not then have the satisfaction of knowing that we are at least trying to do something more than enjoy our church all by ourselves? Shall we not be able to hope that we have at least attempted to obey the spirit of our sacrificing Lord, who commanded His disciples to go and disciple the nations? It seems to me that the plan is a Christian plan. If the churches in this neighborhood were not so numerous, if the circumstances were different, it might not be wise or necessary to do what I propose. But as the facts are, I solemnly believe that this church has an opportunity before it to show Milton and the other churches and the world, that it is willing to do an unusual thing that it has within it the spirit of complete willingness to reach and lift up mankind in the way that will do it best and most speedily. If individuals are commanded to sacrifice and endure for Christ's sake and the kingdom's, I do not know why organizations should not do the same. And in this instance something on a large scale, something that represents large sacrifice, something that will convince the people of the love of man for man, is the only thing that will strike deep enough into the problem of the tenement district in Milton to begin to solve it in any satisfactory or Christian way.

"I do not expect the church to act on my plan without due deliberation. I have arrived at my own conclusions after a careful going over the entire ground. And in the sight of all the need and degradation of the people, and in the light of all that Christ has made clear to be our duty as His disciples, it seems to me there is but one path open to us. If we neglect to follow him as he beckons us, I believe we shall neglect the one opportunity of Calvary Church to put itself in the position of the Church of the crucified Lamb of God, who did not please Himself, who came to minister to others, who would certainly approve of any steps His Church on earth in this age might honestly make to reach men and love them, and become to them the helper and savior and life-giver which the great Head of the Church truly intended we should be. I leave this plan, which I have proposed, before you, for your Christian thought and prayer. And may the Holy Spirit guide us all into all the truth. Amen."

If Philip had deliberately planned to create a sensation, he could not have done anything more radical to bring it about. If he had stood on the platform and fired a gun into the audience, it would not have startled the members of Calvary Church more than this calm proposal to them that they move their building a mile away from its aristocratic surroundings. Nothing that he had said in his previous sermons had provoked such a spirit of opposition. This time the church was roused. Feelings of astonishment, indignation, and alarm agitated the members of Calvary Church. Some of them gathered about Philip at the close of the service.

"It will not be possible to do this thing you propose, Brother Strong," said one of the deacons, a leading member and a man who had defended Philip once or twice against public criticism.

"Why not?" asked Philip, simply. He was exhausted with his effort that morning, but felt that a crisis of some sort had been precipitated by his message, and so he welcomed this show of interest which his sermon had aroused.

"The church will not agree to such a thing."

"A number of them favor the step," replied Philip, who had talked over the matter fully with many in the church.

"A majority will vote against it."

"Yes, an overwhelming majority!" said one man. "I know a good many who would not be able to go that distance to attend church, and they certainly would not join any other church on the street. I know for one I wouldn't."

"Not if you thought Christ's kingdom in this town would be advanced by it?" asked Philip, turning to this man with a directness that was almost bluntness.

"I don't see as that would be a test of my Christianity."

"That is not the question," said one of the trustees, who had the reputation of being a very shrewd business man. "The question is concerning the feasibility of moving this property a mile into the poorest part of the town and then maintaining it there. In my opinion, it cannot be done. The expenses of the organization cannot be kept up. We should lose some of our best financial supporters. Mr. Strong's spirit and purpose spring from a good motive, no doubt, but viewed from a business point of view, the church in that locality would not be a success. To my mind it would be a very unwise thing to do. It would practically destroy our organization here and not really establish anything there."

"I do not believe we can tell until we try," said Philip. "I certainly do not wish the church to destroy itself foolishly. But I do feel that we ought to do something very positive and very large to define our attitude as saviors in this community. And moving the house, as I propose, has the advantage of being a definite, practical step in the direction of a Christlike use of our powers as a church."

There was more talk of the same sort, but it was plainly felt by Philip that the plan he had proposed was distasteful to the greater part of the church, and if the matter came to a vote it would be defeated. He talked the plan over with his trustees as he had already done before he spoke in public. Four of them were decided in their objection to the plan. Only one fully sustained Philip. During the week he succeeded in finding out that from his membership of five hundred, less than forty persons were willing to stand by him in so radical a movement. And yet the more Philip studied the problem of the town, the more he was persuaded that the only way for the church to make any impression on the tenement district was to put itself directly in touch with the neighborhood. To accomplish that necessity, Philip was not stubborn. He was ready to adopt any plan that would actually do something, but he grew more eager every day that he spent in the study of the town to have the church feel its opportunity and make Christ a reality to those most in need of Him.

It was at this time that Philip was surprised one evening by a call from one of the working-men who had been present and heard his sermon on moving the church into the tenement district.

"I came to see you particularly, Mr. Strong, about getting you to come down to our hall some evening next week and give us a talk on some subject connected with the signs of the times."

"I'll come if you think I can do any good in that way," replied Philip, hesitating a little.

"I believe you can. The men are beginning to take to you, and while they won't come up to church, they will turn out to hear you down there."

"All right. When do you want me to come?"

"Say next Tuesday. You know where the hall is?"

Philip nodded. He had been by it in his walks through that part of Milton.

The spokesman for the workmen expressed his thanks and arose to go, but Philip asked him to stay a few moments. He wanted to know at first hand what the man's representative fellows would do if the church should at any time decide to act after Philip's plan.

"Well, to tell the truth, Mr. Strong, I don't believe very many of them would join any church."

"That is not the question. Would they feel the church any more there than where it is now?"

"Yes, I honestly think they would. They would come out to hear you."

"Well, that would be something, to be sure," replied Philip, smiling. "But as to the wisdom of my plan—how does it strike you on the whole?"

"I would like to see it done. I don't believe I shall, though."


"Your church won't agree to it."

"Maybe they will in time."

"I hope they will. And yet let me tell you, Mr. Strong, if you succeeded in getting your church and people to come into the tenement district, you would find plenty of people there who wouldn't go hear you."

"I suppose that is so. But oh, that we might do something!" Philip clasped his hand over his knee and gazed earnestly at the man opposite. The man returned the gaze almost as earnestly. It was the personification of the Church confronting the laboring man, each in a certain way asking the other, "What will the Church do?" And it was a noticeable fact that the minister's look revealed more doubt and anxiety than the other man's look, which contained more or less of indifference and distrust. Philip sighed, and his visitor soon after took his leave.

So it came about that Philip Strong plunged into a work which from the time he stepped into the dingy little hall and faced the crowd peculiar to it, had a growing influence on all his strange career, grew in strangeness rapidly as days came on.

He was invited again and again to address the men in that part of Milton. They were almost all of them mill-employes. They had a simple organization for debate and discussion of questions of the day. Gradually the crowds increased as Philip continued to come, and developed a series of talks on Christian Socialism. There was standing room only. He was beginning to know a number of the men and a strong affection was growing up in their hearts for him.

That was just before the time the trouble at the mills broke out. He had just come back from the hall where he had now been going every Thursday evening, and where he had spoken on his favorite theme, "the meaning and responsibility of power, both financial and mental." He had treated the subject from the Christian point of view entirely. He had several times roused his rude audience to enthusiasm. Moved by his theme and his surroundings, he had denounced, with even more than usual vigor, those men of ease and wealth who did nothing with their money to help their brothers. He had mentioned, as he went along, what great responsibility any great power puts on a man, and had dealt in a broad way with the whole subject of power in men as a thing to be used, and always used for the common good.

He did not recall his exact statements, but felt a little uneasy as he walked home, for fear he might possibly have influenced his particular audience against the rich as a class. He had not intended anything of the kind, but had a vague idea that possibly he ought to have guarded some words or sentences more carefully.

He had gone up into his study to finish some work, when the bell rang sharply, and he came down to open the door just as Mrs. Strong came in from the other room, where she had been giving directions to the girl, who had gone upstairs through the kitchen.

The minister and his wife opened the door together, and one of the neighbors rushed into the hall so excited he could hardly speak.

"Oh, Mr. Strong, won't you go right down to Mr. Winter's house? You have more influence with those men than any one around here!"

"What men?"

"The men who are going to kill him if some one doesn't stop it!"

"What!" cried Philip, turning pale, not from fear, but from self-reproach to think he might have made a mistake. "Who is trying to kill him—the mill-men?"

"Yes! No! I do not, cannot tell. But he is in great danger, and you are the only man in this town who can help to save him. Come!"

Philip turned to his wife. "Sarah, it is my duty. If anything should happen to me you know my soul will meet yours at the gates of Paradise."

He kissed her, and rushed out into the night.


When Philip reached the residence of Mr. Winter, he found himself at once in the midst of a mob of howling, angry men, who surged over the lawn and tramped the light snow that was falling into a muddy mass over the walks and up the veranda steps. A large electric lamp out in the street in front of the house threw a light over the strange scene.

Philip wedged his way in among the men, crying out his name, and asking for room to be made so that he could see Mr. Winter. The crowd, under the impulse which sometimes moves excited bodies of men, yielded to his request. There were cries of, "Let him have a minister if he wants one!" "Room here for the priest!" "Give the preacher a chance to do some praying where it's needed mighty bad!" and so on. Philip found a way opened for him as he struggled toward the house, and he hurried forward fearing some great trouble, but hardly prepared for what he saw when he finally reached the steps of the veranda.

Half a dozen men had the mill-owner in their grasp, having evidently dragged him out of his dining-room. His coat was half torn off, as if there had been a struggle. Marks of bloody fingers stained his collar. His face was white, and his eyes filled with the fear of death. Within, upon the floor, lay his wife, who had fainted. A son and a daughter, his two grown-up children, clung terrified to one of the servants, who kneeled half fainting herself by the side of the mill-owner's wife. A table overturned and fragments of a late dinner scattered over the sideboard and on the floor, a broken plate, the print of a muddy foot on the white tiling before the open fire,—the whole picture flashed upon Philip like a scene out of the French Revolution, and he almost rubbed his eyes to know if he was awake and in America in the nineteenth century. He was intensely practical, however, and the nature of his duty never for a moment escaped him. He at once advanced and said calmly:—

"What does all this mean? Why this attack on Mr. Winter?"

The moment Mr. Winter saw Philip and heard his voice he cried out, trembling: "Is that you, Mr. Strong? Thank God! Save me! They are going to kill me!"

"Who talks of killing, or taking human life contrary to law!" exclaimed Philip, coming up closer and placing his hand on Mr. Winter's arm. "Men, what are you doing?"

For a moment the crowd fell back a little from the mill-owner, and one of the men who had been foremost in the attack replied with some respect, although in a sullen manner, "Mr. Strong, this is not a case for your interference. This man has caused the death of one of his employees and he deserves hanging."

"And hanging he will get!" yelled another. A great cry arose. In the midst of it all Mr. Winter shrieked out his innocence. "It is all a mistake! They do not know! Mr. Strong, tell them they do not know!"

The crowd closed around Mr. Winter again. Philip knew enough about men to know that the mill-owner was in genuine danger. Most of his assailants were the foreign element in the mills. Many of them were under the influence of liquor. The situation was critical. Mr. Winter clung to Philip with the frantic clutch of a man who sees only one way of escape, and clings to that with mad eagerness. Philip turned around and faced the mob. He raised his voice, hoping to gain a hearing and reason with it. But he might as well have raised his voice against a tornado. Some one threw a handful of mud and snow toward the prisoner. In an instant every hand reached for the nearest missile, and a shower of stones, muddy snow-balls and limbs torn from the trees on the lawn was rained upon the house. Most of the windows in the lower story were broken. All this time Philip was eagerly remonstrating with the few men who had their hands on Mr. Winter. He thought if he could only plead with them to let the man go he could slip with him around the end of the veranda through a side door and take him through the house to a place of safety. He also knew that every minute was precious, as the police might arrive at any moment and change the situation.

But in spite of his pleas, the mill-owner was gradually pushed and dragged down off the veranda toward the gate. The men tried to get Philip out of the way.

"We don't want to harm you, sir. Better get out of danger," said the same man who had spoken before.

Philip for answer threw one arm about Mr. Winter, saying: "If you kill him, you will kill me with him. You shall never do this great sin against an innocent man. In the name of God, I call on every soul here to——"

But his words were drowned in the noise that followed. The mob was insane with fury. Twice Mr. Winter was dragged off his feet by those down on the walk. Twice Philip raised him to his feet, feeling sure that if the crowd once threw him down they would trample him to death. Once some one threw a rope over the wretched man's head. Both he and Mr. Winter were struck again and again. Their clothes were torn into tatters. Mr. Winter was faint and reeling. Only his great terror made his clutch on Philip like that of a drowning man.

At last the crowd had dragged the two outside the gate into the street. Here they paused awhile and Philip again spoke to the mob:

"Men, made in God's image, listen to me! Do not take innocent life. If you kill him, you kill me also. For I will never leave his side alive, and I will not permit such murder if I can prevent it."

"Kill them both—the bloody coward and the priest!" yelled a voice. "They both belong to the same church."

"Yes, hang 'em! hang 'em both!" A tempest of cries went up. Philip towered up like a giant. In the light of the street lamp he looked out over the great sea of passionate, brutal faces, crazed with drink and riot, and a great wave of compassionate feeling swept over him. Those nearest never forgot that look. It was Christlike in its yearning love for lost children. His lips moved in prayer.

And just then the outer circle of the crowd seemed agitated. It had surged up nearer the light with the evident intention of hanging the mill-owner on one of the cross pieces of a telegraph pole near by. The rope had again been thrown over his head. Philip stood with one arm about Mr. Winter, and with the other hand stretched out in entreaty, when he heard a pistol-shot, then another. The entire police department had been summoned, and had finally arrived. There was a skirmishing rattle of shots. But the crowd began to scatter in the neighborhood of the police force. Then those nearer Philip began to run as best they could away from the officers. Philip and the mill-owner were dragged along with the rest in the growing confusion, until, watching his opportunity, Philip pulled Mr. Winter behind one of the large poles by which the lights of the street were suspended.

Here, sheltered a little, but struck by many a blow, Philip managed to shield with his own body the man who only a little while before had come into his own house and called him a liar, and threatened to withdraw his church support, because of the preaching of Christ's principles.

When finally the officers reached the two men Mr. Winter was nearly dead from the fright. Philip was badly bruised, but not seriously, and he helped Mr. Winter back to the house, while a few of the police remained on guard the rest of the night. It was while recovering from the effects of the night's attack that Philip little by little learned of the facts that led up to the assault.

There had been a growing feeling of discontent in all the mills, and it had finally taken shape in the Ocean Mill, which was largely owned and controlled by Mr. Winter. The discontent arose from a new scale of wages submitted by the company. It was not satisfactory to the men, and the afternoon of that evening on which Philip had gone down to the hall a committee of the mill men had waited on Mr. Winter, and after a long conference had gone away without getting any satisfaction. They could not agree on the proposition made by the company and by their own labor organization. Later in the day one of the committee, under instructions, went to see Mr. Winter alone, and came away from the interview very much excited and angry. He spent the first part of the evening in a saloon, where he related a part of his interview with the mill-owner, and said that he had finally kicked him out of the office. Still later in the evening he told several of the men that he was going to see Mr. Winter again, knowing that on certain evenings he was in the habit of staying down at the mill office until nearly half-past nine for special business. The mills were undergoing repairs, and Mr. Winter was away from home more than usual.

That was the last that any one saw of the man until, about ten o'clock, some one going home past the mill office heard a man groaning at the foot of a new excavation at the end of the building, and climbing down discovered the man who had been to see Mr. Winter twice that afternoon. He had a terrible gash in his head, and lived only a few minutes after he was discovered. To the half-dozen men who stood over him in the saloon, where he had been carried, he had murmured the name of "Mr. Winter," and had then expired.

A very little adds fuel to the brain of men already heated with rum and hatred. The rumor spread like lightning that the wealthy mill-owner had killed one of the employees who had gone to see him peaceably and arrange matters for the men. He had thrown him out of the office into one of the new mill excavations and left him there to die like a dog in a ditch. So the story ran all through the tenement district, and in an incredibly swift time the worst elements in Milton were surging toward Mr. Winter's house with murder in their hearts, and the means of accomplishing it in their hands.

Mr. Winter had finished his work at the office and gone home to sit down to a late lunch, as his custom was, when he was interrupted by the mob. The rest of the incident is connected with what has been told. The crowd seized him with little ceremony, and it was only Philip's timely arrival and his saving of minutes until the police arrived, that prevented a lynching in Milton that night. As it was, Mr. Winter received a scare from which it took a long time to recover. He dreaded to go out alone at night. He kept on guard a special watchman, and lived in more or less terror even then. It was satisfactorily proved in a few days that the man who had gone to see Mr. Winter had never reached the office door. But, coming around the corner of the building where the new work was being done, he had fallen off the stone work, striking on a rock in such a way as to produce a fatal wound. This tempered the feeling of the workmen toward Mr. Winter; but a wide-spread unrest and discontent had seized on every man employed in the mills, and as the winter drew on, affairs reached a crisis.

The difference between the mills and the men over the scale of wages could not be settled. The men began to talk about a strike. Philip heard of it, and at once, with his usual frankness and boldness, spoke with downright plainness to the men against it. That was at the little hall a week after the attempt on Mr. Winter's life. Philip's part in that night's event had added to his reputation and his popularity with the men. They admired his courage and his grit. Most of them were ashamed of the whole affair, especially after they had sobered down and it had been proved that Mr. Winter had not touched the man. So Philip was welcomed with applause as he came out on the little platform and looked over the crowded room, seeing many faces there that had glared at him in the mob a week before. And yet his heart told him he loved these men, and his reason told him that it was the sinner and the unconverted that God loved. It was a terrible responsibility to have such men count him popular, and he prayed that wisdom might be given him in the approaching crisis, especially as he seemed to have some real influence.

He had not spoken ten words when some one by the door cried, "Come outside! Big crowd out here want to get in." It was moonlight and not very cold, so every one moved out of the hall, and Philip mounted the steps of a storehouse near by and spoke to a crowd that filled up the street in front and for a long distance right and left. His speech was very brief, but it was fortified with telling figures, and at the close he stood and answered a perfect torrent of questions. His main counsel was against a strike in the present situation. He had made himself familiar with the facts on both sides. Strikes, he argued, except in very rare cases, were demoralizing—an unhealthy, disastrous method of getting justice done. "Why, just look at that strike in Preston, England, among the cotton spinners. There were only 660 operatives, but that strike, before it ended, threw out of employment over 7,800 weavers and other workmen who had nothing whatever to do with the quarrel of the 660 men. In the recent strike in the cotton trade in Lancashire, at the end of the first twelve weeks the operatives had lost in wages alone $4,500,000. Four strikes that occurred in England between 1870 and 1880, involved a loss in wages of more than $25,000,000. In 22,000 strikes investigated lately by the National Bureau of Labor, it is estimated that the employees lost about $51,800,000, while the employers lost only $30,700,000. Out of 353 strikes in England between 1870 and 1880, 191 were lost by the strikers, 71 were gained, and 91 com-promised; but in the strikes that were successful, it took several years to regain in wages the amount lost by the enforced idleness of the men."

There were enough hard-thinking, sensible men in the audience that night to see the force of his argument. The majority, however, were in favor of a general strike to gain their point in regard to the scale of wages. When Philip went home he carried with him the conviction that a general strike in the mills was pending. In spite of the fact that it was the worst possible season of the year for such action, and in spite of the fact that the difference demanded by the men was a trifle, compared with their loss of wages the very first day of idleness, there was a determination among the leaders that the fifteen thousand men in the mills should all go out in the course of a few days if the demands of the men in the Ocean Mill were not granted.

What was the surprise of every one in Milton, therefore, the very next day, when it was announced that every mill in the great system had shut down, and not a man of the fifteen thousand laborers who marched to the buildings in the early gray of the winter morning found entrance. Statements were posted up on the doors that the mills were shut down until further notice. The mill-owners had stolen a march on the employees, and the big strike was on; but it had been started by Capital, not by Labor, and Labor went to its tenement or congregated in the saloon, sullen and gloomy; and, as days went by and the mills showed no signs of opening, the great army of the unemployed walked the streets of Milton in growing discontent and fast accumulating debt and poverty.

Meanwhile the trial of the man arrested for shooting Philip came on, and Philip and his wife both appeared as witnesses in the case. The man was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment. It has nothing special to do with the history of Philip Strong, but may be of interest to the reader to know that in two years' time he was pardoned out and returned to Milton to open his old saloon, where he actually told more than once the story of his attempt on the preacher's life.

There came also during those stormy times in Milton the trial of several of the men who were arrested for the assault on Mr. Winter. Philip was also summoned as a witness in these cases. As always, he frankly testified to what he knew and saw. Several of the accused were convicted, and sentenced to short terms. But the mill-owner, probably fearing revenge on the part of the men, did not push the matter, and most of the cases went by default for lack of prosecution.

Mr. Winter's manner toward Philip underwent a change after that memorable evening when the minister stood by him at the peril of his own life. There was a feeling of genuine respect, mingled with fear, in his deportment toward Philip. To say that they were warm friends would be saying too much. Men as widely different as the minister and the wealthy mill-man do not come together on that sacred ground of friendship, even when one is indebted to the other for his life. A man may save another from hanging and still be unable to save him from selfishness. And Mr. Winter went his way and Philip went his, on a different basis so far as common greeting went, but no nearer in the real thing, which makes heart-to-heart communion impossible. For the time being, Mr. Winter's hostility was submerged under his indebtedness to Philip. He returned to his own place in the church and contributed to the financial support.


One day at the close of a month, Philip came into the cosey parsonage, and, instead of going right up to his study as his habit was when his outside work was done for the day, he threw himself down on a couch by the open fire. His wife was at work in the other room, but she came in, and, seeing him lying there, inquired what was the matter.

"Nothing, Sarah, with me. Only I'm sick at heart with the sight and knowledge of all this wicked town's sin and misery."

"Do you have to carry it all on your shoulders, Philip?"

"Yes," replied Philip, almost fiercely. It was not that either. Only, his reply was like a great sob of conviction that he must bear something of these burdens. He could not help it.

Mrs. Strong did not say anything for a moment. Then,

"Don't you think you take it too seriously, Philip?"


"Other people's wrongs. You are not responsible."

"Am I not? I am my brother's keeper. What quantity of guilt may I not carry into the eternal kingdom if I do not do what I can to save him! Oh, how can men be so selfish? Yet I am only one person. I cannot prevent all this suffering alone."

"Of course you cannot, Philip. You wrong yourself to take yourself to task so severely for the sins of others. But what has stirred you up so this time?" Mrs. Strong understood Philip well enough to know that some particular case had roused his feeling. He seldom yielded to such despondency without some immediate practical reason.

Philip sat up on the couch and clasped his hands over his knee with the eager earnestness that characterized him, when he was roused.

"Sarah, this town slumbers on the smoking crest of a volcano. There are more than fifteen thousand people here in Milton out of work. A great many of them are honest, temperate people who have saved up a little. But it is nearly gone. The mills are shut down, and, on the authority of men that ought to know, shut down for all winter. The same condition of affairs is true in a more or less degree in the entire State and throughout the country and even the world. People are suffering to-day in this town for food and clothing and fuel through no fault of their own. The same thing is true of thousands and even hundreds of thousands all over the world. It is an age that calls for heroes, martyrs, servants, saviors. And right here in this town, where distress walks the streets and actual want already has its clutch on many a poor devil, society goes on giving its expensive parties and living in its little round of selfish pleasure just as if the volcano was a downy little bed of roses for it to go to sleep in whenever it wearies of the pleasure and wishes to retire to happy dreams. Oh, but the bubble will burst one of these days, and then——"

Philip swept his hand upward with a fine gesture, and sunk back upon the couch, groaning.

"Don't you exaggerate?" The minister's wife put the question gently.

"Not a bit! Not a bit! All true. I am not one of the French Revolution fellows, always lugging in blood and destruction, and prophesying ruin to the nation and the world if it doesn't gee and haw the way I tell it to. But I tell you, Sarah, it takes no prophet to see that a man who is hungry and out of work is a dangerous man to have around. And it takes no extraordinary-sized heart to swell a little with righteous wrath when in such times as these people go right on with their useless luxuries of living, and spend as much on a single evening's entertainment as would provide a comfortable living for a whole month to some deserving family."

"How do you know they do?"

"Well, I'll tell you. I've figured it out. I will leave it to any one of good judgment that any one of these projected parties mentioned here in the evening paper," Philip smoothed the paper on the head of the couch—"any one of them will cost in the neighborhood of one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars. Look here! Here's the Goldens' party—members of Calvary Church. They will spend at least twenty-five to thirty dollars in flowers; and refreshments will cost fifty more; and music another twenty-five; and incidentals twenty-five extra—and so on. Is that right, Sarah, these times, and as people ought to live now?"

"But some one gets the benefit of all this money spent. Surely that is a help to some of the working people."

"Yes, but how many people are helped by such expenditures? Only a select few, and they are the very ones who are least in need of it. I say that Christian people and members of churches have no right to indulge their selfish pleasures to this extent in these ways. I know that Christ would not approve of it."

"You think he would not, Philip."

"No, I know he would not. There is not a particle of doubt in my mind about it. What right has a disciple of Jesus Christ to spend for the gratification of his physical aesthetic pleasures money which ought to be feeding the hungry bodies of men or providing some useful necessary labor for their activity?—I mean, of course, the gratification of those senses which a man can live without. In this age of the world society ought to dispense with some of its accustomed pleasures and deny itself for the sake of the great suffering, needy world. Instead of that, the members of the very Church of Christ on earth spend more in a single evening's entertainment for people who don't need it than they give to the salvation of men in a whole year. I protest out of the soul that God gave me against such wicked selfishness. And I will protest if society spurn me from it as a bigot, a puritan, and a boor. For society in Christian America is not Christian in this matter—no, not after the Christianity of Christ!"

"What can you do about it, Philip?" His wife asked the question sadly. She had grown old fast since coming to Milton. And a presentiment of evil would, in spite of her naturally cheery disposition, cling to her whenever she considered Philip and his work.

"I can preach on it, and I will."

"Be wise, Philip. You tread on difficult ground when you enter society's realm."

"Well, dear, I will be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, although I must confess I never knew just exactly how much that verse meant. But preach on it I must and will."

And when the first Sunday of the month came, Philip did preach on it, to the dismay of several members of his church who were in the habit of giving entertainments and card parties on a somewhat elaborate scale.

He had never preached on the subject of amusements, and he stated that he wished it to be plainly understood that he was not preaching on the subject now. It was a question which went deeper than that, and took hold of the very first principles of human society. A single passage in the sermon will show the drift of it all.

"We have reached a time in the history of the world when it is the Christian duty of every man who calls himself a disciple of the Master to live on a simpler, less extravagant basis. The world has been living beyond its means. Modern civilization has been exorbitant in its demands. And every dollar foolishly spent to-day means suffering for some one who ought to be relieved by that money wisely expended. An entertainment given by people of means to other people of means in these hard times, in which money is lavished on flowers, food and dress, is, in my opinion, an act of which Christ would not approve. I do not mean to say that he would object to the pleasure which flowers, food and dress will give. But he would say that it is an unnecessary enjoyment and expense at this particular crisis through which we are passing. He would say that money and time should be given where people more in need of them might have the benefit. He would say that when a town is in the situation of ours today it is not a time for any selfish use for any material blessing. Unless I mistake the spirit of the modern Christ, if he were here he would preach to the whole world the necessity of a far simpler, less expensive style of living, and, above all, actual self-denial on the part of society for the Brotherhood of man. What is society doing now? What sacrifice is it making? When it gives a charity ball, does it not spend twice as much in getting up the entertainment to please itself as it makes for the poor in whose behalf the ball is given? Do you think I am severe? Ask yourself, O member of Calvary Church, what has been the extent of your sacrifice for the world this year before you condemn me for being too strict or particular. It is because we live in such times that the law of service presses upon us with greater insistence than ever. And now more than during any of the ages gone, Christ's words ring in our ears with twenty centuries of reverberation, 'Whosoever will not deny himself and take up his cross, he cannot be my disciple.'"

Of all the sermons on Christ and Modern Society which Philip had thus far preached, none had hit so hard or was applied so personally as this. The Goldens went home from the service in a towering rage. "That settles Calvary Church for me," said Mrs. Golden, as she flung herself out of the building after the service was over. "I consider that the most insulting sermon I ever heard from any minister. It is simply outlandish; and how the church can endure such preaching much longer is a wonder to me. I don't go near it again while Mr. Strong is the minister!" Philip did not know it yet, but he was destined to find out that society carries a tremendous power in its use of the word "outlandish," applied either to persons or things.

When the evening service was over, Philip, as his habit was, lay down on the couch in front of the open fire until the day's excitement had subsided a little. It was almost the only evening in the week when he gave himself up to complete rest of mind and body.

He had been lying there about a quarter of an hour when Mrs. Strong, who had been moving a plant back from one of the front windows and had been obliged to raise a curtain, stepped back into the room with an exclamation.

"Philip! There is some one walking back and forth in front of the house! I have heard the steps ever since we came home. And just now I saw a man stop and look in here. Who can it be?"

"Maybe it's the man with the burglar's lantern come back to get his knife," said Philip, who had always made a little fun of that incident as his wife had told it. However, he rose and went over to the window. Sure enough, there was a man out on the sidewalk looking straight at the house. He was standing perfectly still.

Philip and his wife stood by the window looking at the figure outside, and, as it did not move away, at last Philip grew a little impatient and went to the door to open it and ask the man what he meant by staring into people's houses in that fashion.

"Now, do be careful, won't you?" entreated his wife, anxiously.

"Yes, I presume it is some tramp or other wanting food. There's no danger, I know."

He flung the door wide open and called out in his clear, hearty voice:

"Anything you want, friend? Come up and ring the bell if you want to get in and know us, instead of standing there on the walk catching cold and making us wonder who you are."

In response to this frank and informal invitation the figure came forward and slowly mounted the steps of the porch. As the face came into view more clearly, Philip started and fell back a little.

It was not because the face was that of an enemy, nor because it was repulsive, nor because he recognized an old acquaintance. It was a face he had never to his knowledge seen before. Yet the impulse to start back before it seemed to spring from the recollection of just such a countenance moving over his spirit when he was in prayer or in trouble. It all passed in a second's time and then he confronted the man as a complete stranger.

There was nothing remarkable about him. He was poorly dressed and carried a small bundle. He looked cold and tired. Philip, who never could resist the mute appeal of distress in any form, reached out his hand and said kindly, "Come in, my brother, you look cold and weary. Come in and sit down before the fire, and we'll have a bite of lunch. I was just beginning to think of having something to eat, myself."

Philip's wife looked a little remonstrance, but Philip did not see it, and wheeling an easy chair before the fire he made the man sit down, and pulling up a rocker he placed himself opposite.

The stranger seemed a little surprised at the action of the minister, but made no resistance. He took off his hat and disclosed a head of hair white as snow, and said, in a voice that sounded singularly sweet and true:

"You do me much honor, sir. The fire feels good this chilly evening, and the food will be very acceptable. And I have no doubt you have a good warm bed that I could occupy for the night."

Philip stared hard at his unexpected guest, and his wife who had started out of the room to get the lunch, shook her head vigorously as she stood behind the visitor, as a sign that her husband should refuse such a strange request. He was taken aback a little, and he looked puzzled. The words were uttered in the utmost simplicity.

"Why, yes, we can arrange that all right," he said. "There is a spare room, and—excuse me a moment while I go and help to get our lunch." Philip's wife was telegraphing to him to come into the other room and he obediently got up and went.

"Now, Philip," she whispered when they were out in the dining-room, "you know that is a risky thing to do. You are all the time inviting all kinds of characters in here. We can't keep this man all night. Who ever heard of such a thing as a perfect stranger coming out with a request like that? I believe the man is crazy. It certainly will not do to let him stay here all night."

Philip looked puzzled.

"I declare it is strange! He doesn't appear like an ordinary tramp. But somehow I don't think he's crazy. Why shouldn't we let him have the bed in the room off the east parlor. I can light the fire in the stove there and make him comfortable."

"But we don't know who he is. You let your sympathies run away with your judgment."

"Well, little woman, let me go in and talk with him a while. You get the lunch, and we'll see about the rest afterward."

So he went back and sat down again. He was hardly seated when his visitor said:

"If your wife objects to my staying here to-night, of course, I don't wish to. I don't feel comfortable to remain where I'm not welcome."

"Oh, you're perfectly welcome," said Philip, hastily, with some embarrassment, while his strange visitor went on:

"I'm not crazy, only a little odd, you know. Perfectly harmless. It will be perfectly safe for you to keep me over night."

The man spread his thin hands out before the fire, while Philip sat and watched him with a certain fascination new to his interest in all sorts and conditions of men.

Mrs. Strong brought in a substantial lunch of cold meat, bread and butter, milk and fruit, and then placed it on a table in front of the open fire, where he and his remarkable guest ate like hungry men.

It was after this lunch had been eaten and the table removed that a scene occurred which would be incredible if its reality and truthfulness did not compel us to record it as a part of the life of Philip Strong. No one will wish to deny the power and significance of this event as it is unfolded in the movement of this story.


"I heard your sermon this morning,' said Philip's guest while Mrs. Strong was removing the small table to the dining-room.

"Did you?" asked Philip, because he could not think of anything wiser to say.

"Yes," said the strange visitor, simply. He was so silent after saying this one word that Philip did what he never was in the habit of doing. He always shrank back sensitively from asking for an opinion of his preaching from any one except his wife. But now he could not help saying:

"What did you think of it?"

"It was one of the best sermons I ever heard. But somehow it did not sound sincere."

"What!" exclaimed Philip, almost angrily. If there was one thing he felt sure about, it was the sincerity of his preaching. Then he checked his feeling, as he thought how foolish it would be to get angry at a passing tramp, who was probably a little out of his mind. Yet the man's remark had a strange power over him. He tried to shake it off as he looked harder at him. The man looked over at Philip and repeated gravely, shaking his head, "Not sincere."

Mrs. Strong came back into the room, and Philip motioned her to sit down near him while he said, "And what makes you think I was not sincere?"

"You said the age in which we lived demanded that people live in a far simpler, less extravagant style."

"Yes, that is what I said. I believe it, too," replied Philip, clasping his hands over his knee and gazing at his singular guest with earnestness. The man's thick, white hair glistened in the open firelight like spun glass.

"And you said that Christ would not approve of people spending money for flowers, food and dress on those who did not need it, when it could more wisely be expended for the benefit of those who were in want."

"Yes; those were not my exact words, but that was my idea."

"Your idea. Just so. And yet we have had here in this little lunch, or, as you called it, a 'bite of something,' three different kinds of meat, two kinds of bread, hothouse grapes, and the richest kind of milk."

The man said all this in the quietest, calmest manner possible; and Philip stared at him, more assured than ever that he was a little crazy. Mrs. Strong looked amused, and said, "You seemed to enjoy the lunch pretty well." The man had eaten with a zest that was redeemed from greediness only by a delicacy of manner that no tramp ever possessed.

"My dear madam," said the man, "perhaps this was a case where the food was given to one who stood really in need of it."

Philip started as if he had suddenly caught a meaning from the man's words which he had not before heard in them.

"Do you think it was an extravagant lunch, then?" he asked with a very slight laugh.

The man looked straight at Philip, and replied slowly, "Yes, for the times in which we live!"

A sudden silence fell on the group of three in the parlor of the parsonage, lighted up by the soft glow of the coal fire. No one except a person thoroughly familiar with the real character of Philip Strong could have told why that silence fell on him instead of a careless laugh at the crazy remark of a half-witted stranger tramp. Just how long the silence lasted, he did not know. Only, when it was broken he found himself saying:

"Man, who are you? Where are you from? And what is your name?"

His guest turned his head a little, and replied, "When you called me in here you stretched out your hand and called me 'Brother.' Just now you called me by the great term, 'Man.' These are my names; you may call me 'Brother Man.'"

"Well, then, 'Brother Man,'" said Philip, smiling a little to think of the very strangeness of the whole affair, "your reason for thinking I was not sincere in my sermon this morning was because of the extravagant lunch this evening?"

"Not altogether. There are other reasons." The man suddenly bowed his head between his hands, and Philip's wife whispered to him, "Philip, what is the use of talking with a crazy man? You are tired, and it is time to put out the lights and go to bed. Get him out of the house now as soon as you can."

The stranger raised his head and went on talking just as if he had not broken off abruptly.

"Other reasons. In your sermon you tell the people they ought to live less luxuriously. You point them to the situation in this town, where thousands of men are out of work. You call attention to the great poverty and distress all over the world, and you say the times demand that people live far simpler, less extravagant lives. And yet here you live yourself like a prince. Like a prince," he repeated, after a peculiar gesture, which seemed to include not only what was in the room but all that was in the house.

Philip glanced at his wife as people do when they suspect a third person being out of his mind, and saw that her expression was very much like his own feeling, although not exactly. Then they both glanced around the room.

It certainly did look luxurious, even if not princely. The parsonage was an old mansion which had once belonged to a wealthy but eccentric sea captain. He had built to please himself, something after the colonial fashion; and large square rooms, generous fireplaces with quaint mantels, and tiling, and hardwood floors gave the house an appearance of solid comfort that approached luxury. The church in Milton had purchased the property from the heirs, who had become involved in ruinous speculation and parted with the house for a sum little representing its real worth. It had been changed a little, and modernized, although the old fireplaces still remained; and one spare room, an annex to the house proper, had been added recently. There was an air of decided comfort bordering on luxury in the different pieces of furniture and the whole appearance of the room.

"You understand," said Philip, as his glance traveled back to his visitor, "that this house is not mine. It belongs to my church. It is the parsonage, and I am simply living in it as the minister."

"Yes, I understand. You, a minister, are living in this princely house while other people have not where to lay their heads."

Again Philip felt the same temptation to anger steal into him, and again he checked himself at the thought: "The man is certainly insane. The whole thing is simply absurd. I will get rid of him. And yet——"

He could not shake off a strange and powerful impression which the stranger's words had made upon him. Crazy or not, the man had hinted at the possibility of an insincerity on his part, which made him restless. He determined to question him and see if he really would develop a streak of insanity that would justify him in getting rid of him for the night.

"Brother Man," he said, using the term his guest had given him, "do you think I am living to[sic] extravagantly to live as I do?"

"Yes, in these times and after such a sermon."

"What would you have me do?" Philip asked the question half seriously, half amused at himself for asking advice from such a source.

"Do as you preach that others ought to."

Again that silence fell over the room. And again Philip felt the same impression of power in the strange man's words.

The "Brother Man," as he wished to be called, bowed his head between his hands again; and Mrs. Strong whispered to her husband: "Now it is certainly worse than foolish to keep this up any longer. The man is evidently insane. We cannot keep him here all night. He will certainly do something terrible. Get rid of him, Philip. This may be a trick on the part of the whiskey men."

Never in all his life had Philip been so puzzled to know what to do with a human being. Here was one, the strangest he had ever met, who had come into his house; it is true he had been invited, but once within he had invited himself to stay all night, and then had accused his entertainer of living too extravagantly and called him an insincere preacher. Add to all this the singular fact that he had declared his name to be "Brother Man," and that he spoke with a calmness that was the very incarnation of peace, and Philip's wonder reached its limit.

In response to his wife's appeal Philip rose abruptly and went to the front door; he opened it, and a whirl of snow danced in. The wind had changed, and the moan of a coming heavy storm was in the air.

The moment that he opened the door his strange guest also rose, and putting on his hat he said, as he moved slowly toward the hall, "I must be going. I thank you for your hospitality, madam."

Philip stood holding the door partly open. He was perplexed to know just what to do or say.

"Where will you stay to-night? Where is your home?"

"My home is with my friends," replied the man. He laid his hand on the door, opened it, and had stepped one foot out on the porch, when Philip, seized with an impulse, laid his hand on his arm, gently but strongly pulled him back into the hall, shut the door, and placed his back against it.

"You cannot go out into this storm until I know whether you have a place to go to for the night."

The man hesitated curiously, shuffled his feet on the mat, put his hand up to his face, and passed it across his eyes with a gesture of great weariness. There was a look of loneliness and of unknown sorrow about his whole figure that touched Philip's keenly sensitive spirit irresistibly. If the man was a little out of his right mind, he was probably harmless. They could not turn him out into the night if he had nowhere to go.

"Brother Man," said Philip, gently, "would you like to stay here to-night? Have you anywhere else to stay?"

"You are afraid I will do harm. But no. See. Let us sit down."

He laid his hat on the table, resumed his seat and asked Philip for a Bible. Philip handed him one. He opened it and read a chapter from the Prophet Isaiah, and then; sitting in the chair, bowing his head between his hands, he offered a prayer of such wonderful beauty and spiritual refinement of expression that Mr. and Mrs. Strong listened with awed astonishment.

When he had uttered the amen Mrs. Strong whispered to Philip, "Surely we cannot shut him out with the storm. We will give him the spare room."

Philip said not a word. He at once built up a fire in the room, and in a few moments invited the man into it.

"Brother Man," he said simply, "stay here as if this was your own house. You are welcome for the night."

"Yes, heartily welcome," said Philip's wife, as if to make amends for any doubts she had felt before.

For reply the "Brother Man" raised his hand almost as if in benediction. And they left him to his rest.


In the morning Philip knocked at his guest's door to waken him for breakfast. Not a sound could be heard within. He waited a little while and then knocked again. It was as still as before. He opened the door softly and looked in.

To his amazement there was no one there. The bed was made up neatly, everything in the room was in its place, but the strange being who had called himself "Brother Man" was gone.

Philip exclaimed, and his wife came in.

"So our queer guest has flown! He must have been very still about it; I heard no noise. Where do you suppose he is? And who do you suppose he is?"

"Are you sure there ever was such a person, Philip? Don't you think you dreamed all that about the 'Brother Man'?" Mrs. Strong had not quite forgiven Philip for his sceptical questioning of the reality of the man with the lantern who had driven the knife into the desk.

"Yes, it's your turn now, Sarah. Well, if our Brother Man was a dream he was the most curious dream this family ever had. And if he was crazy he was the most remarkable insane person I ever saw."

"Of course he was crazy. All that he said about our living so extravagantly."

"Do you think he was crazy in that particular?" asked Philip, in a strange voice. His wife noticed it at the time, but its true significance did not become real to her until afterward. He went to the front door and found it was unlocked. Evidently the guest had gone out that way. The heavy storm of the night had covered up any possible signs of footsteps. It was still snowing furiously.

He went into his study for the forenoon as usual, but he did very little writing. His wife could hear him pacing the floor restlessly.

About ten o'clock he came downstairs and declared his intention of going out into the storm to see if he couldn't settle down to work better.

He went out and did not return until the middle of the afternoon. Mrs. Strong was a little alarmed.

"Where have you been all this time, Philip?—in this terrible storm, too! You are a monument of snow. Stand out here in the kitchen while I sweep you off."

Philip obediently stood still while his wife walked around him with a broom, and good-naturedly submitted to being swept down, "as if I were being worked into shape for a snow man," he said.

"Where have you been? Give an account of yourself."

"I have been seeing how some other people live. Sarah, the Brother Man was not so very crazy, after all. He has more than half converted me."

"Did you find out anything about him?"

"Yes, several of the older citizens here recognized my description of him. They say he is harmless and has quite a history; was once a wealthy mill-owner in Clinton. He wanders about the country, living with any one who will take him in. It is a queer case; I must find out more about him. But I'm hungry; can I have a bite of something?"

"Haven't you had dinner?"

"No; haven't had time."

"Where have you been?"

"Among the tenements."

"How are the people getting on there?"

"I cannot tell. It almost chokes me to eat when I think of it."

"Now, Philip, what makes you take it so seriously? How can you help all that suffering? You are not to blame for it?"

"Maybe I am for a part of it. But whether I am or not, there the suffering is. And I don't know as we ought to ask who is to blame in such cases. At any rate, supposing the fathers and mothers in the tenements are to blame themselves by their own sinfulness, does that make innocent children and helpless babes any warmer or better clothed and fed? Sarah, I have seen things in these four hours' time that make me want to join the bomb-throwers of Europe almost."

Mrs. Strong came up behind his chair as he sat at the table eating, and placed her hand on his brow. She grew more anxious every day over his growing personal feeling for others. It seemed to her it was becoming a passion with him, wearing him out, and she feared its results as winter deepened and the strike in the mills remained unbroken.

"You cannot do more than one man, Philip." she said with a sigh.

"No, but if I can only make the church see its duty at this time and act the Christlike way a great many persons will be saved." He dropped his knife and fork, wheeled around abruptly in his chair, and faced her with the question, "Would you give up this home and be content to live in a simpler fashion than we have been used to since we came here?"

"Yes," replied his wife, quietly, "I will go anywhere and suffer anything with you. What is it you are thinking of now?"

"I need a little more time. There is a crisis near at hand in my thought of what Christ would require of me. My dear, I am sure we shall be led by the spirit of Truth to do what is necessary and for the better saving of men."

He kissed his wife tenderly and went upstairs again to his work. All through the rest of the afternoon and in the evening, as he shaped his church and pulpit work, the words of the "Brother Man" rang in his ears, and the situation at the tenements rose in the successive panoramas before his eyes. As the storm increased in fury with the coming darkness, he felt that it was typical in a certain sense of his own condition. He abandoned the work he had been doing at his desk, and, kneeling down at his couch, he prayed. Mrs. Strong, coming up to the study to see how his work was getting on, found him kneeling there and went and kneeled beside him, while together they sought the light through the storm.

So the weeks went by and the first Sunday of the next month found Philip's Christ message even more direct and personal than any he had brought to his people before. He had spent much of the time going into the working-men's houses. The tenement district was becoming familiar territory to him now. He had settled finally what his own action ought to be. In that action his wife fully concurred. And the members of Calvary Church, coming in that Sunday morning, were astonished at the message of their pastor as he spoke to them from the standpoint of modern Christ.

"I said a month ago that the age in which we live demands a simpler, less extravagant style of living. I did not mean by that to condemn the beauties of art or the marvels of science or the products of civilization. I merely emphasized what I believe is a mighty but neglected truth in our modern civilization—that if we would win men to Christ we must adopt more of his spirit of simple and consecrated self-denial. I wish it to be distinctly understood as I go on that I do not condemn any man simply because he is rich or lives in a luxurious house, enjoying every comfort of modern civilization, every delicacy of the season, and all physical desires. What I do wish distinctly understood is the belief which has been burned deep into me ever since coming to this town, that if the members of this church wish to honor the Head of the Church and bring men to believe him and save them in this life and the next, they must be willing to do far more than they have yet done to make use of the physical comforts and luxuries of their homes for the blessing and Christianizing of this community. In this particular I have myself failed to set you an example. The fact that I have so failed is my only reason for making this matter public this morning.

"The situation in Milton to-day is exceedingly serious. I do not need to prove it to you by figures. If any business man will go through the tenements he will acknowledge my statements. If any woman will contrast those dens with her own home, she will, if Christ is a power in her heart, stand in horror before such a travesty on the sacred thought of honor. The destitution of the neighborhood is alarming. The number of men out of work is dangerous. The complete removal of all sympathy between the Church up here on this street, and the tenement district is sadder than death. O my beloved!"—Philip stretched out his arms and uttered a cry that rang in the ears of those who heard it and remained with some of them a memory for years—"these things ought not so to be! Where is the Christ spirit with us? Have we not sat in our comfortable houses and eaten our pleasant food and dressed in the finest clothing and gone to amusements and entertainments without number, while God's poor have shivered on the streets, and his sinful ones have sneered at Christianity as they have walked by our church doors?

"It is true we have given money to charitable causes. It is true the town council has organized a bureau for the care and maintenance of those in want. It is true members of Calvary Church, with other churches at this time, have done something to relieve the immediate distress of the town. But how much have we given of ourselves to those in need? Do we reflect that to reach souls and win them, to bring back humanity to God and the Christ, the Christian must do something different from the giving of money now and then? He must give a part of himself. That was my reason for urging you to move this church building away from this street into the tenement district, that we might give ourselves to the people there. The idea is the same in what I now propose. But you will pardon me if first of all I announce my own action, which I believe is demanded by the times and would be approved by our Lord."

Philip stepped up nearer the front of the platform and spoke with an added earnestness and power which thrilled every hearer. A part of the great conflict through which he had gone that past month shone out in his pale face and found partial utterance in his impassioned speech, especially as he drew near the end. The very abruptness of his proposition smote the people into breathless attention.

"The parsonage in which I am living is a large, even a luxurious dwelling. It has nine large rooms. You are familiar with its furnishings. The salary this church pays me is $2,000 a year, a sum which more than provides for my necessary wants. What I have decided to do is this: I wish this church to reduce this salary one-half and take the other thousand dollars to the fitting up the parsonage for a refuge for homeless children, or for some such purpose which will commend itself to your best judgment. There is money enough in this church alone to maintain such an institution handsomely, and not a single member of Calvary suffer any hardship whatever. I will move into a house nearer the lower part of the town, where I can more easily reach after the people and live more among them. That is what I propose for myself. It is not because I believe the rich and the educated do not need the gospel or the church. The rich and the poor both need the life more abundantly. But I am firmly convinced that as matters now are, the church membership through pulpit and pew must give itself more than in the later ages of the world it has done for the sake of winning men. The form of self-denial must take a definite, physical, genuinely sacrificing shape. The Church must get back to the apostolic times in some particulars and an adaptation of community of goods and a sharing of certain aspects of civilization must mark the church membership of the coming twentieth century. An object lesson in self-denial large enough for men to see, a self-denial that actually gives up luxuries, money, and even pleasures—this is the only kind that will make much impression on the people. I believe if Christ was on earth he would again call for this expression of loyalty to him. He would again say, 'So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple?'

"All this is what I call on the members of this church to do. Do I say that you ought to abandon your own houses and live somewhere else? No. I can decide only for myself in a matter of that kind. But this much I do. Give yourselves in some genuine way to save this town from its evil wretchedness. It is not so much your money as your own soul that the sickness of the world needs. This plan has occurred to me. Why could not every family in this church become a savior to some other family, interest itself in the other, know the extent of its wants as far as possible, go to it in person, let the Christian home come into actual touch with the unchristian, in short, become a natural savior to one family. There are dozens of families in this church that could do that. It would take money. It would take time. It would mean real self-denial. It would call for all your Christian grace and courage. But what does all this church membership and church life mean if not just such sacrifice? We cannot give anything to this age of more value than our own selves. The world of sin and want and despair and disbelief is not hungering for money or mission-schools or charity balls or state institutions for the relief of distress, but for live, pulsing, loving Christian men and women, who reach out live, warm hands, who are willing to go and give themselves, who will abandon, if necessary, if Christ calls for it, the luxuries they have these many years enjoyed in order that the bewildered, disheartened, discontented, unhappy, sinful creatures of earth may actually learn of the love of God through the love of man. And that is the only way the world ever has learned of the love of God. Humanity brought that love to the heart of the race, and it will continue so to do until this earth's tragedy is all played and the last light put out. Members of Calvary Church, I call on you in Christ's name this day to do something for your Master that will really show the world that you are what you say you are when you claim to be a disciple of that One who, although he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, giving up all heaven's glory in exchange for all earth's misery, the end of which was a cruel and bloody crucifixion. Are we Christ's disciples unless we are willing to follow him in this particular? We are not our own. We are bought with a price."

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