The Crucifixion of Philip Strong
by Charles M. Sheldon
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When that Sunday service closed, Calvary Church was stirred to its depths. There were more excited people talking together all over the church than Philip had ever seen before. He greeted several strangers as usual and was talking with one of them, when one of the trustees came up and said the Board would like to meet him, if convenient for him, as soon as he was at liberty.

Philip accordingly waited in one of the Sunday-school class-rooms with the trustees, who had met immediately after the sermon, and decided to have an instant conference with the pastor.


The door of the class-room was closed and Philip and the trustees were together. There was a moment of embarrassing silence and then the spokesman for the Board, a nervous little man, said:

"Mr. Strong, we hardly know just what to say to this proposition of yours this morning about going out of the parsonage and turning it into an orphan asylum. But it is certainly a very remarkable proposition and we felt as if we ought to meet you at once and talk it over."

"It's simply impossible," spoke up one of the trustees. "In the first place, it is impracticable as a business proposition."

"Do you think so?" asked Philip, quietly.

"It is out of the question!" said the first speaker, excitedly. "The church will never listen to it in the world. For my part, if Brother Strong wishes to——"

At that moment the sexton knocked at the door and said a man was outside very anxious to see the minister and have him come down to his house. There had been an accident, or a fight, or something. Some one was dying and wanted Mr. Strong at once. So Philip hastily excused himself and went out, leaving the trustees together.

The door was hardly shut again when the speaker who had been interrupted jumped to his feet and exclaimed:

"As I was saying, for my part, if Brother Strong wishes to indulge in this eccentric action he will not have the sanction of my vote in the matter! It certainly is an entirely unheard-of and uncalled-for proposition."

"Mr. Strong has, no doubt, a generous motive in this proposed action," said a third member of the Board; "but the church certainly will not approve any such step as the giving up of the parsonage. He exaggerates the need of such a sacrifice. I think we ought to reason him out of the idea."

"We called Mr. Strong to the pastorate of Calvary Church," said another; "and it seems to me he came under the conditions granted in our call. For the church to allow such an absurd thing as the giving up of the parsonage to this proposed outside work would be a very unwise move."

"Yes, and more than that," said the first speaker, "I want to say very frankly that I am growing tired of the way things have gone since Mr. Strong came to us. What business has Calvary Church with all these outside matters, these labor troubles and unemployed men and all the other matters that have been made the subject of preaching lately? I want a minister who looks after his own parish. Mr. Strong does not call on his own people; he has not been inside my house but once since he came to Milton. Brethren, there is a growing feeling of discontent over this matter."

There was a short pause and then one of the members said:

"Surely, if Mr. Strong feels dissatisfied with his surroundings in the parsonage or feels as if his work lay in another direction, he is at liberty to choose another parish. But he is the finest pulpit-minister we ever had, and no one doubts his entire sincerity. He is a remarkable man in many respects."

"Yes, but sincerity may be a very awkward thing if carried too far. And in this matter of the parsonage I don't see how the trustees can allow it. Why, what would the other churches think of it? Calvary Church cannot allow anything of the kind, for the sake of its reputation. But I would like to hear Mr. Winter's opinion; he has not spoken yet."

The rest turned to the mill-owner, who as chairman of the Board usually had much to say, and was regarded as a shrewd and careful business adviser. In the excitement of the occasion and discussion the usual formalities of a regular Board-meeting had been ignored.

Mr. Winter was evidently embarrassed. He had listened to the discussion of the minister with his head bent down and his thoughts in a whirl of emotion both for and against the pastor. His naturally inclined business habits contended against the proposition to give up the parsonage; his feelings of gratitude to the minister for his personal help the night of the attack by the mob rose up to defend him. There was with it all an under-current of self-administered rebuke that the pastor had set the whole church an example of usefulness. He wondered how many of the members would voluntarily give up half their incomes for the good of humanity. He wondered in a confused way how much he would give up himself. Philip's sermon had made a real impression on him.

"There is one point we have not discussed yet," he said at last. "And that is Mr. Strong's offer of half his salary to carry on the work of a children's refuge or something of that kind."

"How can we accept such an offer? Calvary Church has always believed in paying its minister a good salary, and paying it promptly; and we want our minister to live decently and be able to appear as he should among the best people," replied the nervous little man who had been first to speak.

"Still, we cannot deny that it is a very generous thing for Mr. Strong to do. He certainly is entitled to credit for his unselfish proposal; no one can charge him with being worldly-minded," said Mr. Winter, feeling a new interest in the subject as he found himself defending the minister.

"Are you in favor of allowing him to do what he proposes in the matter of the parsonage?" asked another.

"I don't see that we can hinder Mr. Strong from living anywhere he pleases if he wants to. The church cannot compel him to live in the parsonage."

"No, but it can choose not to have such a minister!" exclaimed the first speaker again, excitedly; "and I for one am most decidedly opposed to the whole thing. I do not see how the church can allow it and maintain its self-respect."

"Do you think the church is ready to tell Mr. Strong that his services are not wanted any longer?" asked Mr. Winter coldly.

"I am, for one of the members, and I know others who feel as I do if matters go on in this way much longer. I tell you, Brother Winter, Calvary Church is very near a crisis. Look at the Goldens and the Malverns and the Albergs. They are all leaving us; and the plain reason is the nature of the preaching. Why, you know yourself, Brother Winter, that never has the pulpit of Calvary Church heard such preaching on people's private affairs."

Mr. Winter colored and replied angrily, "What has that to do with this present matter? If the minister wants to live in a simpler style I don't see what business we have to try to stop it. As to the disposition of the parsonage, that is a matter of business which rests with the church to arrange."

The nervous, irritable little man who had spoken oftenest rose to his feet and exclaimed, "You can count me out of all this, then! I wash my hands of the whole affair!" and he went out of the room, leaving the rest of the Board somewhat surprised at his sudden departure.

They remained about a quarter of an hour longer, discussing the matter, and finally, at Mr. Winter's suggestion, a committee was appointed to go and see the minister the next evening and see if he could not be persuaded to modify or change his proposition made in the morning sermon. The rest of the trustees insisted that Mr. Winter himself should act as chairman of the committee, and after some remonstrance he finally, with great reluctance, agreed to do so.

So Philip next evening, as he sat in his study mapping out the week's work and wondering a little what the church would do in the face of his proposal, received the committee, welcoming them in his bright, hearty manner. He had been notified on Sunday evening of the approaching conference. The committee consisted of Mr. Winter and two other members of the Board.

Mr. Winter opened the conversation with considerable embarrassment and an evident reluctance for his share in the matter.

"Mr. Strong, we have come, as you are aware, to talk over your proposition of yesterday morning concerning the parsonage. It was a great surprise to us all."

Philip smiled a little. "Mrs. Strong says I act too much on impulse, and do not prepare people enough for my statements. But one of the greatest men I ever knew used to say that an impulse was a good thing to obey instantly if there was no doubt of its being a right one."

"And do you consider this proposed move of yours a right one, Mr. Strong?" asked Mr. Winter.

"I do," replied Philip, with quiet emphasis. "I do not regret making it, and I believe it is my duty to abide by my original decision."

"Do you mean that you intend actually to move out of this parsonage?" asked one of the other members of the committee.

"Yes." Philip said it so quietly and yet so decidedly that the men were silent a moment. Then Mr. Winter said:

"Mr. Strong, this matter is likely to cause trouble in the church, and we might as well understand it frankly. The trustees believe that as the parsonage belongs to the church property, and was built for the minister, he ought to live in it. The church will not understand your desire to move out."

"Do you understand it, Mr. Winter?" Philip put the question point blank.

"No, I don't know that I do, wholly." Mr. Winter colored and replied in a hesitating manner.

"I gave my reasons yesterday morning. I do not know that I can make them plainer. The truth is I cannot go on preaching to my people about living on a simpler basis while I continue to live in surroundings that on the face of them contradict my own convictions. In other words, I am living beyond my necessities here. I have lived all my life surrounded by the luxuries of civilization. If now I desire to give these benefits to those who have never enjoyed them, or to know from nearer contact something of the bitter struggle of the poor, why should I be hindered from putting that desire into practical form?"

"The question is, Mr. Strong," said one of the other trustees, "whether this is the best way to get at it. We do not question your sincerity nor doubt your honesty; but will your leaving the parsonage and living in a less expensive house on half your present salary help your church work or reach more people and save more souls?"

"I am glad you put it that way," exclaimed Philip, eagerly turning to the speaker. "That is just it. Will my proposed move result in bringing the church and the minister into closer and more vital relations with the people most in need of spiritual and physical uplifting? Out of the depths of my nature I believe it will. The chasm between the Church and the people in these days must be bridged by the spirit of sacrifice in material things. It is in vain for us to preach spiritual truths unless we live physical truths. What the world is looking for to-day is object lessons in self-denial on the part of Christian people."

For a moment no one spoke. Then Mr. Winter said:

"About your proposal that this house be turned into a refuge or home for homeless children, Mr. Strong, do you consider that idea practicable? Is it business? Is it possible?"

"I believe it is, very decidedly. The number of homeless and vagrant children at present in Milton would astonish you. This house could be put into beautiful shape as a detention house until homes could be found for the children in Christian families."

"It would take a great deal of money to manage it."

"Yes," replied Philip, with a sadness which had its cause deep within him, "it would cost something. But can the world be saved cheaply? Does not every soul saved cost an immense sum, if not of money at least of an equivalent? Is it possible for us to get at the heart of the great social problem without feeling the need of using all our powers to solve it rightly?"

Mr. Winter shook his head. He did not understand the minister. His action and his words were both foreign to the mill-owner's regular business habits of thought and performance.

"What will you do, Mr. Strong, if the church refuses to listen to this proposed plan of yours?"

"I suppose," answered Philip, after a little pause, "the church will not object to my living in another house at my own charges?"

"They have no right to compel you to live here." Mr. Winter turned to the other members of the committee. "I said so at our previous meeting. Gentlemen, am I not right in that?"

"It is not a question of our compelling Mr. Strong to live here," said one of the others. "It is a question of the church's expecting him to do so. It is the parsonage and the church home for the minister. In my opinion it will cause trouble if Mr. Strong moves out. People will not understand it."

"That is my belief, too, Mr. Strong," said Mr. Winter. "It would be better for you to modify or change, or better still, to abandon this plan. It will not be understood and will cause trouble."

"Suppose the church should rent the parsonage then," suggested Philip; "it would then be getting a revenue from the property. That, with the thousand dollars on my salary, could be wisely and generously used to relieve much suffering in Milton this winter. The church could easily rent the house."

That was true, as the parsonage stood on one of the most desirable parts of B street, and would command good rental.

"Then you persist in this plan of yours, do you, Mr. Strong?" asked the third member of the committee, who had for the most part been silent.

"Yes, I consider that under the circumstances, local and universal, it is my duty. Where I propose to go is a house which I can get for eight dollars a month. It is near the tenement district, and not so far from the church and this neighborhood that I need be isolated too much from my church family."

Mr. Winter looked serious and perplexed. The other trustees looked dissatisfied. It was evident they regarded the whole thing with disfavor.

Mr. Winter rose abruptly. He could not avoid a feeling of anger, in spite of his obligation to the minister. He also had a vivid recollection of his former interview with the pastor in that study. And yet he struggled with the vague resistance against the feeling that Philip was proposing to do a thing that could result in only one way—of suffering for himself. With all the rest went a suppressed but conscious emotion of wonder that a man would of his own free will give up a luxurious home for the sake of any one.

"The matter of reduction of salary, Mr. Strong, will have to come before the church. The trustees cannot vote to accept your proposal. I am very much mistaken if the members of Calvary Church will not oppose the reduction. You can see how it would place us in an unfavorable light."

"Not necessarily, Mr. Winter," said Philip, eagerly. "If the church will simply regard it as my own great desire and as one of the ways by which we may help forward our work in Milton, I am very sure we need have no fear of being put in a false light. The church does not propose this reduction. It comes from me, and in a time of peculiar emergency, both financial and social. It is a thing which has been done several times by other ministers."

"That may be. Still, I am positive that Calvary Church will regard it as unnecessary and will oppose it."

"It will not make any difference, practically," replied Philip, with a smile. "I can easily dispose of a thousand dollars where it is needed by others more than by me. But I would prefer that the church would actually pay out the money to them, rather than myself."

Mr. Winter and the other trustees looked at Philip in wonder; and with a few words of farewell they left the parsonage.


The following week Calvary Church held a meeting. It was one of the most stormiest meetings ever held by the members. In that meeting Mr. Winter again, to the surprise of nearly all, advised caution, and defended the minister's action up to a certain point. The result was a condition of waiting and expectancy, rather than downright condemnation of the proposed action on Philip's part. It would be presenting the church in a false light to picture it as entirely opposed, up to this date, to Philip's preaching and ideas of Christian living. He had built up a strong buttress of admiring and believing members in the church. This stood, with Mr. Winter's influence, as a breakwater against the tidal wave of opposition now beginning to pour in upon him. There was an element in Calvary Church conservative to a degree, and yet strong in its growing belief that Christian action and Church work in the world had reached a certain crisis, which would result either in the death or life of the Church in America. Philip's preaching had strengthened this feeling. His last move had startled this element, and it wished to wait for developments. The proposal of some that the minister be requested to resign was finally overruled, and it was decided not to oppose his desertion of the parsonage, while the matter of reduction of salary was voted upon in the negative.

But feeling was roused to a high pitch. Many of the members declared their intention of refusing to attend services. Some said they would not pay their pledges any longer. A prevailing minority, however, ruled in favor of Philip, and the action of the meeting was formally sent him by the clerk.

Meanwhile Philip moved out of the parsonage into his new quarters. The daily paper, which had given a sensational account of his sermon, laying most stress upon his voluntary proposition referring to his salary, now came out with a column and a half devoted to his carrying out of his determination to abandon the parsonage and get nearer the people in the tenements. The article was widely copied and variously commented upon. In Milton his action was condemned by many, defended by some. Very few seemed to understand his exact motive. The majority took it as an eccentric move, and expressed regret in one form and another that a man of such marked intellectual power as Mr. Strong seemed to possess lacked balance and good judgment. Some called him a crank. The people in the tenement district were too much absorbed in their sufferings and selfishness to show any demonstration. It remained to be seen whether they would be any better touched by him in his new home.

So matters stood when the first Sunday of a new month came, and Mr. Strong again stood before his church with his Christ message. It had been a wearing month to him. Gradually there had been growing upon him a sense of almost isolation in his pulpit work. He wondered if he had interpreted Christ aright. He probed deeper and deeper into the springs of action that moved the historical Jesus, and again and again put that resplendently calm, majestic, suffering personality into his own pulpit in Milton, and then stood off, as it were, to watch what he would, in all human probability, say. He reviewed all his own sayings on those first Sundays and tried to tax himself with utmost severity for any denial of his Master or any false presentation of his spirit; and as he went over the ground he was almost overwhelmed to think how little had been really accomplished. This time he came before the church with the experience of nearly three weeks' hand-to-hand work among the people for whose sake he had moved out of the parsonage. As usual an immense congregation thronged the church.

"The question has come to me lately in different forms," began Philip, "as to what is church work. I am aware that my attitude on the question is not shared by many of the members of this church and other churches. Nevertheless, I stand here to-day, as I have stood on these Sundays, to declare to you what in deepest humility would seem to me to be the attitude of Christ in the matter before us.

"What is a church? It is a body of disciples professing to acknowledge Christ as Master. What does He want such a body to do? Whatever will most effectively make God's kingdom come on earth, and His will be done as in heaven. What is the most necessary work of this church in Milton? It is to go out and seek and save the lost. It is to take up its cross and follow the Master. And as I see Him to-day he beckons this church to follow Him into the tenements and slums of this town and be Christs to those who do not know Him. As I see Him He stands beckoning with pierced palms in the direction of suffering and disease and ignorance and vice and paganism, saying: 'Here is where the work of Calvary Church lies.' I do not believe the work of this church consists in having so many meetings and socials and pleasant gatherings and delightful occasions among its own members; but the real work of this church consists in getting out of its own little circle in which it has been so many years moving, and going, in any way most effective to the world's wounded, to bind up the hurt and be a savior to the lost. If we do not understand this to be the true meaning of church work, then I believe we miss its whole meaning. Church work in Milton to-day does not consist in doing simply what your fathers did before you. It means helping to make a cleaner town, the purification of our municipal life, the actual planning and accomplishment of means to relieve physical distress, a thorough understanding of the problem of labor and capital; in brief, church work to-day in this town is whatever is most needed to be done to prove to this town that we are what we profess ourselves to be—disciples of Jesus Christ. That is the reason I give more time to the tenement district problem than to calling on families that are well, and in possession of great comforts and privileges. That is the reason I call on this church to do Christ's work in His name and give itself to save that part of our town."

This is but the briefest of the sketches of Philip's sermon. It was a part of himself, his experience, his heart belief. He poured it out on the vast audience with little saving of his vitality. And that Sunday he went home at night exhausted, with a feeling of weariness partly due to his work during the week among the people. The calls upon his time and strength had been incessant, and he did not know where or when to stop.

It was three weeks after this sermon on church work that Philip was again surprised by his strange visitor of a month before. He had been out making some visits in company with his wife. When they came back to the house, there sat the Brother Man on the door-step.

At sight of him, Philip felt that same thrill of expectancy which had passed over him at his former appearance.

The old man stood up and took off his hat. He looked very tired and sorrowful. But there breathed from his entire bearing the element of a perfect peace.

"Brother Man," said Philip, cheerily, "come in and rest yourself."

"Can you keep me over night?"

The question was put wistfully. Philip was struck by the difference between this almost shrinking request and the self-invitation of a month before.

"Yes, indeed! We have one spare room for you. You are welcome. Come in."

So they went in, and after tea the two sat down together while Mrs. Strong was busy in the kitchen. A part of this conversation was afterward related by the minister to his wife; a part of it he afterward said was unreportable——the manner of tone, the inflection, the gesture of his remarkable guest no man could reproduce.

"You have moved since I saw you last," said the visitor.

"Yes," replied Philip. "You did not expect me to act on your advice so soon?"

"My advice?" The question came in a hesitating tone. "Did I advise you to move? Ah, yes, I remember!" A light like supremest reason flashed over the man's face, and then died out. "Yes, yes; you are beginning to live on your simpler basis. You are doing as you preach. That must feel good."

"Yes," replied Philip, "it does feel good. Do you think, Brother Man, that this will help to solve the problem?"

"What problem?"

"Why, the problem of the church and the people—winning them, saving them."

"Are your church members moving out of their elegant houses and coming down here to live?" The old man asked the question in utmost simplicity.

"No; I did not ask them."

"You ought to."

"What! Do you believe my people ought literally to leave their possessions and live among the people?"

Philip could not help asking the question, and all the time he was conscious of a strange absurdity mingled with an unaccountable respect for his visitor, and his opinion.

"Yes," came the reply, with the calmness of light. "Christ would demand it if he were pastor of Calvary Church in this age. The church members, the Christians in this century, must renounce all that they have, or they cannot be his disciples."

Philip sat profoundly silent. The words spoken so quietly by this creature tossed upon his own soul like a vessel in a tempest. He dared not say anything for a moment. The Brother Man looked over and said at last: "What have you been preaching about since you came here?"

"A great many things."

"What are some of the things you have preached about?"

"Well," Philip clasped his hands over his knees; "I have preached about the right and wrong uses of property, the evil of the saloon, the Sunday as a day of rest and worship, the necessity of moving our church building down into this neighborhood, the need of living on a simpler basis, and, lastly, the true work of a church in these days."

"Has your church done what you have wished?"

"No," replied Philip, with a sigh.

"Will it do what you preach ought to be done?"

"I do not know."

"Why don't you resign?"

The question came with perfect simplicity, but it smote Philip almost like a blow. It was spoken with calmness that hardly rose above a whisper, but it seemed to the listener almost like a shout. The thought of giving up his work simply because his church had not yet done what he wished, or because some of his people did not like him, was the last thing a man of his nature would do. He looked again at the man and said:

"Would you resign if you were in my place?"

"No." It was so quietly spoken that Philip almost doubted if his visitor had replied. Then he said: "What has been done with the parsonage?"

"It is empty. The church is waiting to rent it to some one who expects to move to Milton soon."

"Are you sorry you came here?"

"No; I am happy in my work."

"Do you have enough to eat and wear?"

"Yes, indeed. The thousand dollars which the church refused to take off my salary goes to help where most needed; the rest is more than enough for us."

"Does your wife think so?" The question from any one else had been impertinent. From this man it was not.

"Let us call her in and ask her," replied Philip, with a smile.

"Sarah, the Brother Man wants to know if you have enough to live on."

Sarah came in and sat down. It was dark. The year was turning into the softer months of spring, and all the out-door world had been a benediction that evening if the sorrow and poverty and sin of the tenement district so near had not pervaded the very walls and atmosphere of the entire place. The minister's wife answered bravely: "Yes, we have food and clothing and life's necessaries. But, oh, Philip! this life is wearing you out. Yes, Brother Man." she continued, while a tear rolled over her cheek, "the minister is giving his life blood for these people, and they do not care. It is a vain sacrifice." She had spoken as frankly as if the old man had been her father. There was a something in him which called out such confidence.

Mr. Strong soothed his wife, clasping her to him tenderly. "There, Sarah, you are nervous and tired. I am a little discouraged, but strong and hearty for the work. Brother Man, you must not think we regret your advice. We have been blessed by following it."

And then their remarkable guest stretched out his arms through the gathering gloom in the room and seemed to bless them. Later in the evening he again called for a Bible, and offered a prayer of wondrous sweetness. He was shown to his plainly-furnished room. He looked around and smiled.

"This is like my old home," he said; "a palace, where the poor die of hunger."

Philip started at the odd remark, then recollected that the old man had once been wealthy, and sometimes in his half-dazed condition Philip thought probable he confounded the humblest surroundings with his once luxurious home. He lingered a moment, and the man said, as if speaking to himself: "If they do not renounce all they have, they cannot be my disciples."

"Good-night, Brother Man." cried Philip, as he went out.

"Good-night, Christ's man," replied his guest. And Philip went to his rest that night, great questions throbbing in him, and the demands of the Master more distinctly brought to his attention than ever.

Again, as before when he rose in the morning, he found that his visitor was gone. His eccentric movements accounted his sudden disappearances, but they were disappointed. They wanted to see their guest again and question him about his history. They promised themselves he would do so next time.

The following Sunday Philip preached one of those sermons which come to a man once or twice in a whole ministry. It was the last Sunday of the month, and not a special occasion. But there had surged into his thought the meaning of the Christian life with such uncontrollable power that his sermon reached hearts never before touched. He remained at the close of the service to talk with several young men, who seemed moved as never before. After they had gone away he went into his own room back of the platform to get something he had left there, and to his surprise found the church sexton kneeling down by one of the chairs. As the minister came in the man rose and turned toward him.

"Mr. Strong, I want to be a Christian. I want to join the church and lead a different life."

Philip clasped his hand, while tears rolled over the man's face. He stayed and talked with him, and prayed with him, and when he finally went home the minister was convinced it was as strong and true a conversion as he had ever seen. He at once related the story to his wife, who had gone on before to get dinner.

"Why, Philip," she exclaimed, when he said the sexton wanted to be baptized and unite with the church at the next communion, "Calvary Church will never allow him to unite with us!"

"Why not?" asked Philip, in amazement.

"Because he is a negro," replied his wife.

Philip stood a moment in silence with his hat in his hand, looking at his wife as she spoke.


"Well," said Philip, slowly, as he seemed to grasp the meaning of his wife's words, "to tell the truth, I never thought of that!" He sat down and looked troubled. "Do you think, Sarah, that because he is a negro the church will refuse to receive him to membership? It would not be Christian to refuse him."

"There are other things that are Christian which the Church of Christ on earth does not do, Philip,["] replied his wife, almost bitterly. "But whatever else Calvary Church may do or not do, I am very certain it will never consent to admit to membership a black man."

"But here[sic] are so few negroes in Milton that they have no church. I cannot counsel him to unite with his own people. Calvary Church must admit him!" Philip spoke with the quiet determination which always marked his convictions when they were settled.

"But suppose the committee refuses to report his name favorably to the church—what then?" Mrs. Strong spoke with a gleam of hope in her heart that Philip would be roused to indignation that he would resign and leave Milton.

Philip did not reply at once. He was having an inward struggle with his sensitiveness and his interpretation of his Christ. At last he said:

"I don't know, Sarah. I shall do what I think He would. What I shall do afterward will also depend on what Christ would do. I cannot decide it yet. I have great faith in the Church on earth."

"And yet what has it done for you so far, Philip? The business men still own and rent the saloons and gambling houses. The money spent by the church is all out of proportion to its wealth. Here you give away half your salary to build up the kingdom of God, and more than a dozen men in Calvary who are worth fifty and a hundred thousand dollars give less than a hundredth part of their income to Christian work in connection with the church. It makes my blood boil, Philip, to see how you are throwing your life away in these miserable tenements, and wasting your appeals on a church that plainly does not intend to do, does not want to do, as Christ would have it. And I don't believe it ever will."

"I'm not so sure of that, Sarah," replied Philip, cheerfully. "I believe I shall win them yet. The only thing that sometimes troubles me is, Am I doing just as Christ would do? Am I saying what He would say in this age of the world? There is one thing of which I am certain—I am trying to do just as I believe He would. The mistakes I make are those which spring from my failure to interpret His action right. And yet I do feel deep in me that if He was pastor of this church to-day, He would do most of the things I have done; He would preach most of the truths I have proclaimed. Don't you think so, Sarah?"

"I don't know, Philip. Yes, I think in most things you have made an honest attempt to interpret Him."

"And in the matter of the sexton, Sarah, wouldn't Christ tell Calvary Church that it should admit him to its membership? Would He make any distinction of persons? If the man is a Christian, thoroughly converted, and wants to be baptized and unite with Christ's body on earth, would Christ, as pastor, refuse him admission?"

"There is a great deal of race prejudice among the people. If you press the matter, Philip, I feel sure it will meet with great opposition."

"That is not the question with me. Would Christ tell Calvary Church that the man ought to be admitted? That is the question. I believe He would," added Philip, with his sudden grasp of practical action. And Mrs. Strong knew that settled it with her husband.

It was the custom in Calvary Church for the church committee on new names for membership to meet at the minister's house on the Monday evening preceding the preparatory service. At that service all names presented by the committee were formally acted upon by the church. The committee's action was generally considered final, and the voting was in accordance with the committee's report.

So when the committee came in that evening following the Sunday that had witnessed the conversion of the sexton, Philip had ready a list of names, including several young men. It was a very precious list to him. It seemed almost for the first time since he came to Milton as if the growing opposition to him was about to be checked, and finally submerged beneath a power of the Holy Spirit, which it was Philip's daily prayer might come and do the work which he alone could not do. That was one reason he had borne the feeling against himself so calmly.

Philip read the list over to the committee, saying something briefly about nearly all the applicants for membership and expressing his joy that the young men especially were coming into the church family. When he reached the sexton's name he related, simply, the scene with him after the morning service.

There was an awkward pause then. The committee was plainly astonished. Finally one said: "Brother Strong, I'm afraid the church will object to receiving the sexton. What is his name?"

"Henry Roland."

"Why, he has been sexton of Calvary Church for ten years," said another, an older member of the committee, Deacon Stearns by name. "He has been an honest, capable man. I never heard any complaint of him. He has always minded his own business. However, I don't know how the church will take it to consider him as an applicant for membership."

"Why, brethren, how can it take it in any except the Christian way?" said Philip, eagerly. "Here is a man who gives evidence of being born again. He cannot be present to-night when the other applicants come in later, owing to work he must do, but I can say for him that he gave all evidence of a most sincere and thorough conversion; he wishes to be baptized; he wants to unite with the church. He is of more than average intelligence. He is not a person to thrust himself into places where people do not wish him—a temperate, industrious, modest, quiet workman, a Christian believer asking us to receive him at the communion table of our Lord. There is no church for his own people here. On what possible pretext can the church refuse to admit him?"

"You do not know some of the members of Calvary Church, Mr. Strong, if you ask such a question. There is a very strong prejudice against the negro in many families. This prejudice is especially strong just at this time, owing to several acts of depredation committed by the negroes living down near the railroad tracks. I don't believe it would be wise to present this name just now." Deacon Stearns appeared to speak for the committee, all of whom murmured assent in one form or another.

"And yet," said Philip, roused to a sudden heat of indignation; "and yet what is Calvary Church doing to help to make those men down by the railroad tracks any better? Are we concerned about them at all except when our coal or wood or clothing are stolen, or some one is held up down there? And when one of them knocks at the door of the church, can we calmly and coldly shut it in his face, simply because God made it a different color from ours?" Philip stopped and then finished by saying very quietly: "Brethren, do you think Christ would receive this man into the church?"

There was no reply for a moment. Then Deacon Stearns answered: "Brother Strong, we have to deal with humanity as it is. You cannot make people all over. This prejudice exists and sometimes we may have to respect it in order to avoid greater trouble. I know families in the church who will certainly withdraw if the sexton is voted in as a member. And still," said the old deacon, with a sigh, "I believe Christ would receive him into His Church."

Before much more could be said, the different applicants came, and as the custom was, after a brief talk with them about their purpose in uniting with the church, and their discipleship, they withdrew and the committee formally acted on the names for presentation to the church. The name of Henry Roland, the sexton, was finally reported unfavorably, three of the committee voting against it, Deacon Stearns at last voting with the minister to present the sexton's name with the others.

"Now, brethren," said Philip, with a sad smile, as they rose to go, "you know I have always been very frank in all our relations together. And I am going to present the sexton's name to the church Thursday night and let the church vote on it in spite of the action here to-night. You know we have only recommending power. The church is the final authority. And it may accept or reject any names we present. I cannot rest satisfied until we know the verdict of the church in the matter."

"Brother Strong," said one of the committee, who had been opposed to the sexton, "you are right as to the extent of our authority. But there is no question in my mind as to the outcome of the matter. It is a question of expediency. I do not have any feeling against the sexton. But I think it would be very unwise to receive him into membership, and I do not believe the church will receive him. If you present the name, you do so on your own responsibility."

"With mine," said Deacon Stearns. He was the last to shake hands with the minister, and his warm, strong grasp gave Philip a sense of fellowship that thrilled him with a sense of courage and companionship very much needed. He at once went up to his study after the committee was gone. Mrs. Strong, coming up to see him later, found him as she often did now, on his knees in prayer. Ah, thou follower of Jesus in this century, what but thy prayers shall strengthen thy soul in the strange days to come?

Thursday evening was stormy. A heavy rain had set in before dark and a high wind blew great sheets of water through the streets and rattled loose boards and shingles about the tenements. Philip would not let his wife go out; it was too stormy. So he went his way alone, somewhat sorrowful at heart as he contemplated the prospect of a small attendance on what he had planned should be an important occasion.

However, some of the best members of the church were out. The very ones that were in sympathy with Philip and his methods were in the majority of those present, and that led to an unexpected result when the names of the applicants for membership came before the church for action.

Philip read the list approved by the committee, and then very simply but powerfully told the sexton's story and the refusal of the committee to recommend him for membership.

"Now, I do not see how we can shut this disciple of Jesus out of His Church," concluded Philip. "And I wish to present him to this church for its action. He is a Christian; he needs our help and our fellowship; and, as Christian believers, as disciples of the Man of all the race, as those who believe that there is to be no distinction of souls hereafter that shall separate them by prejudice, I hope you will vote to receive this brother in Christ to our membership."

The voting on new members was done by ballot. When the ballots were all in and counted it was announced that all whose names were presented were unanimously elected except that of the sexton. There were twelve votes against him, but twenty-six for him, and Philip declared that, according to the constitution of the church, he was duly elected. The meeting then went on in the usual manner characteristic of preparatory service. The sexton had been present in the back part of the room, and at the close of the meeting, after all the rest had gone, he and Philip had a long talk together. When Philip reached home he and Sarah had another long talk on the same subject. What that was we cannot tell until we come to record the events of the Communion Sunday, a day that stood out in Philip's memory like one of the bleeding palms of his Master, pierced with sorrow but eloquent with sacrifice.


The day was beautiful, and the church as usual crowded to the doors. There was a feeling of hardly concealed excitement on the part of Calvary Church. The action of Thursday night had been sharply criticised. Very many thought Philip had gone beyond his right in bringing such an important subject before so small a meeting of the members; and the prospect of the approaching baptism and communion of the sexton had drawn in a crowd of people who ordinarily stayed away from that service.

Philip generally had no preaching on Communion Sunday. This morning he remained on the platform after the opening exercises, and, in a stillness which was almost painful in its intensity, he began to speak in a low but clear and impressive voice.

"Fellow-disciples of the Church of Christ on earth, we meet to celebrate the memory of that greatest of all beings, who, on the eve of His own greatest agony, prayed that His disciples might all be one. In that prayer He said nothing about color or race or difference of speech or social surroundings. His prayer was that His disciples might all be one—one in their aims, in their purposes, their sympathy, their faith, their hope, their love.

"An event has happened in this church very recently which makes it necessary for me to say these words. The Holy Spirit came into this room last Sunday and touched the hearts of several young men, who gave themselves then and here to the Lord Jesus Christ. Among the men was one of another race from the Anglo-Saxon. He was a black man. His heart was melted by the same love, his mind illuminated by the same truth; he desired to make confession of his belief, be baptized according to the commands of Jesus, and unite with this church as a humble disciple of the lowly Nazarene. His name was presented with the rest at the regular committee meeting last Monday, and that committee, by a vote of three to two, refused to present his name with recommendations for membership. On my own responsibility at the preparatory service Thursday night I asked the church to act upon this disciple's name. There was a legal quorum of the church present. By a vote of 26 to 12 the applicant for membership was received according to the rules of this church.

"But after that meeting the man came to me and said that he was unwilling to unite with the church, knowing that some objected to his membership. It was a natural feeling for him to have. We had a long talk over the matter. Since then I have learned that if a larger representation of members had been present at the preparatory meeting, there is a possibility that the number voting against receiving the applicant would have been much larger than those who voted for him.

"Under all these circumstances I have deemed it my duty to say what I have thus far said, and to ask the church to take the action I now propose. We are met here this morning in full membership. Here is a soul just led out of the darkness by the spirit of truth. He is one known to many of you as an honest, worthy man, for many years faithful in the discharge of his duties in this house. There is no Christian reason why he should be denied fellowship around this table. I wish, therefore, to ask the members of the church to vote again on the acceptance or rejection of Henry Roland, disciple of Jesus, who has asked for permission to this body of Christ in His name. Will all those in favor of thus receiving our brother into the great family of faith signify it by raising the right hand?"

For a moment not a person in the church stirred. Every one seemed smitten into astonished inaction by the sudden proposal of the minister. Then hands began to go up. Philip counted them, his heart beating with anguish as he foresaw the coming result. He waited a minute, it seemed to many like several minutes, and then said: "All those opposed to the admission of the applicant signify it by the same sign."

Again there was the same significant, reluctant pause; then half a dozen hands went up in front of the church. Instantly, from almost every part of the house, hands went up in numbers that almost doubled those who had voted in favor of admission. From the gallery on the sides, where several of Philip's work-men friends sat, a hiss arose. It was slight, but heard by the entire congregation. Philip glanced up there and it instantly ceased.

Without another word he stepped down from the platform and began to read the list of those who had been received into church membership. He had almost reached the end of it when a person whose name was called last rose from his seat near the front, where all the newly received members were in the habit of sitting together, and, turning partly around so as to face the congregation and still address Philip, he said:

"Mr. Strong, I do not feel as if after what has taken place here this morning that I could unite with this church. This man who has been excluded from church membership is the son of a woman born into slavery on the estate of one of my relatives. That slave woman once nursed her master through a terrible illness and saved his life. This man, her son, was then a little child. But in the strange changes that have gone on since the war, the son of the old master has been reduced to poverty and obliged to work for a living. He is now in this town. He is this very day lying upon a sick bed in the tenement district. And this black man has for several weeks out of his small earnings helped the son of his mother's master and cared for him through his illness with all the devotion of a friend.

"I have only lately learned these facts. But, knowing them as I do, and believing that he is as worthy to sit about this table as any Christian here, I cannot reconcile the rejection with my own purpose to unite here. I therefore desire to withdraw my application for membership here. Mr. Strong, I desire to be baptized and partake of the communion as a disciple of Christ, simply, not as a member of Calvary Church. Can I do so?"

Philip replied in a choking voice: "You can." The man sat down. It was not the place for any demonstration, but again from the gallery came a slight but distinct note of applause. As before, it instantly subsided as Philip looked up. For a moment every one held his breath and waited for the minister's action. Philip's face was pale and stern. What his sensitive nature suffered in that moment no one ever knew, not even his wife, who almost started from her seat, fearing that he was about to faint. For a moment there was a hesitation about Philip's manner so unusual with him that some thought he was going to leave the church. But he quickly called on his will to assert its power, and, taking up the regular communion service, he calmly took charge of it as if nothing out of the way had occurred. He did not even allude to the morning's incident in his prayers. Whatever else the people might think of Philip, they certainly could find no fault with his self-possession. His conduct of the service on that memorable Sunday was admirable.

When it was over he was surrounded by different ones who had taken part either for or against the sexton. There was much said about the matter. But all the arguments and excuses and comments on the affair could not remove the heart-ache from Philip. He could not reconcile the action of the church with the spirit of the church's Master, Jesus; and when he finally reached home and calmly reviewed the events of the morning, he was more and more grieved for the church and for his Master. It seemed to him that a great mistake had been made, and that Calvary Church had disgraced the name of Christianity.

As he had been in the habit of doing since he moved into the neighborhood of the tenements, Philip went out in the afternoon to visit the sick and the sorrowful. The shutting down of the mills had resulted in an immense amount of suffering and trouble. As spring came on some few of the mills had opened, and men had found work in them at a reduction of wages. The entire history of the enforced idleness of thousands of men in Milton during that eventful winter would make a large volume of thrilling narrative. Philip's story but touches on this other. He had grown rapidly familiar with the different phases of life which loafed and idled and drank itself away during that period of inaction. Hundreds of men had drifted away to other places in search of work. Almost as many more had taken to the road to swell the ever-increasing number of professional tramps, and, in time, to develop into petty thieves and criminals. But those who remained had a desperate struggle with poverty. Philip grew sick at heart as he went among the people and saw the complete helplessness, the utter estrangement of sympathy and community of feeling between the church people and these representatives of the physical labor of the world. Every time he went out to do his visiting this feeling deepened in him. This Sunday afternoon in particular it seemed to him as if the depression and discouragement of the tenement district weighed on him like a great burden, bearing him down to the earth with sorrow and heart-ache.

He had been in the habit of going out to Communion Sunday with the emblems of Christ to observe the rite by the bedsides of the aged or ill, or those who could not get out to church. He carried with him this time a basket containing a part of the communion service. After going to the homes of one or two invalid church-members, he thought of the person who had been mentioned by the man in the morning as living in the tenement district and in a critical condition. He had secured his address, and after a little inquiry he soon found himself in a part of the tenements near to him.

He climbed up three flights of stairs and knocked at the door. It was opened by the sexton. He greeted Philip with glad surprise.

The minister smiled sadly.

"So, my brother, it is true you are serving your Master here? My heart is grieved at the action of the church this morning."

"Don't say anything, Mr. Strong. You did all you could. But you are just in time to see him." The sexton pointed into a small back room. "He is going fast. I didn't suppose he was so near. I would have asked you to come, but I didn't think he was failing so."

Philip followed the sexton into the room. The son of the old slave-master was sinking rapidly. He was conscious, however, and at Philip's quiet question concerning his peace with God, a smile passed over his face and he moved his lips. Philip understood him. A sudden thought occurred to Philip. He opened the basket, took out the bread and wine, set them on the small table, and said:

"Disciple of Jesus, would you like to partake of the blessed communion once more before you see the King in His glory?"

The gleam of satisfaction in the man's eyes told Philip enough. The sexton said in a low voice: "He belonged to the Southern Episcopal Church in Virginia." Something in the wistful look of the sexton gave Philip an inspiration for what followed.

"Brother," he said, turning to the sexton, "what is to hinder your baptism and partaking of the communion? Yes, this is Christ's Church wherever His true disciples are."

Then the sexton brought a basin of water; and as he kneeled down by the side of the bed, Philip baptized him with the words: "I baptize thee, Henry, my brother, disciple of Jesus, into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost! Amen."

"Amen," murmured the man on the bed.

Then Philip, still standing as he was, bowed his head, saying: "Blessed Lord Jesus, accept these children of Thine, bless this new disciple, and unite our hearts in love for Thee and Thy kingdom as we remember Thee now in this service."

He took the bread and said: "'Take, eat. This is my body, broken for you.' In the name of the Master who said these words, eat, remembering His love for us."

The dying man could not lift his hand to take the bread from the plate. Philip gently placed a crumb between his lips. The sexton, still kneeling, partook, and, bowing his head between his hands, sobbed. Philip poured out the wine and said: "In the name of the Lord Jesus, this cup is the new testament in His blood shed for all mankind for the remission of sins." He carried the cup to the lips of the man and then gave to the sexton. The smile on the dying man's face died. The gray shadow of the last enemy was projected into the room from the setting sun of death's approaching twilight. The son of the old slave-master was going to meet the mother of the man who was born into the darkness of slavery, but born again into the light of God. Perhaps, perhaps, he thought, who knows but the first news he would bring to her would be the news of that communion? Certain it is that his hand moved vaguely over the blanket. It slipped over the edge of the bed and fell upon the bowed head of the sexton and remained there as if in benediction. And so the shadow deepened, and at last it was like unto nothing else known to the sons of men on earth, and the spirit leaped out of its clay tenement with the breath of the communion wine still on the lips of the frail, perishable body.

Philip reverently raised the arm and laid it on the bed. The sexton rose, and, while the tears rolled over his face, he gazed long into the countenance of the son of his old master. No division of race now. No false and selfish prejudice here. Come! Let the neighbors of the dead come in to do the last sad offices to the casket. For the soul of this disciple is in the mansions of glory, and it shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the darkness of death ever again smite it; for it shall live forever in the light of that Lamb of God who gave Himself for the remission of sins and the life everlasting.

Philip did what he could on such an occasion. It was not an unusual event altogether; he had prayed by many a poor creature in the clutch of the last enemy, and he was familiar with his face in the tenements. But this particular scene had a meaning and left an impression different from any he had known before. When finally he was at liberty to go home for a little rest before the evening service, he found himself more than usually tired and sorrowful. Mrs. Strong noticed it as he came in. She made him lie down and urged him to give up his evening service.

"No, no, Sarah! I can't do that! I am prepared; I must preach! I'll get a nap and then I'll feel better," he said.

Mrs. Strong shook her head, but Philip was determined. He slept a little, ate a little lunch, and when the time of service came, he went up to the church again. As his habit was, just before the hour of beginning, he went into the little room at the side of the platform to pray by himself. When he came out and began the service, no one could have told from his manner that he was suffering physically. Even Mrs. Strong, who was watching him anxiously, felt relieved to see how quiet and composed he was.

He had commenced his sermon and had been preaching with great eloquence for ten minutes, when he felt a strange dizziness and a pain in his side, that made him catch his breath and clutch the side of the pulpit to keep from falling. It passed away and he went on. It was only a slight hesitation, and no one remarked anything out of the way. For five minutes he spoke with increasing power and feeling. The church was filled. It was very quiet. Suddenly, without any warning, he threw up his arms, uttered a cry of half-suppressed agony, and then fell over backward. A thrill of excitement ran through the audience. For a moment no one moved; then every one rose. The men in the front pews rushed up to the platform. Mrs. Strong was already there. Philip's head was raised. Philip's old friend, the surgeon, was in the crowd, and he at once examined him. He was not dead, and the doctor at once directed the proper movement for his removal from the church. As he was being carried out into the air he revived and was able to speak.

"Take me home," he whispered to his wife, who hung over him in a terror as great as her love for him at that moment. A carriage was called and he was taken home. The doctor remained until Philip was fully conscious.

"It was very warm and I was very tired, and I fainted, eh, doctor? First time I ever did such a thing in my life. I am ashamed; I spoiled the service." Philip uttered this slowly and feebly, when at last he had recovered enough to knew where he was.

The doctor looked at him suspiciously. "You never fainted before, eh? Well, if I were you I would take care not to faint again. Take good care of him, Mrs. Strong. He needs rest. Milton could spare a dozen bad men like me better than one like the Dominie."

"Doctor!" cried Mrs. Strong, in sudden fear, "what is the matter? Is this serious?"

"Not at all. But men like your husband are in need of watching. Take good care of him."

"Good care of him! Doctor, he will not mind me! I wanted him to stay at home to-night, but he wouldn't."

"Then put a chain and padlock on him, and hold him in!" growled the surgeon. He prescribed a medicine and went away assuring Mrs. Strong that Philip would feel much better in the morning.

The surgeon's prediction came true. Philip found himself weak the next day, but able to get about. In reply to numerous calls of inquiry for the minister, Mrs. Strong was able to report that he was much better. About eleven o'clock, when the postman called, Philip was in his study lying on his lounge.

His wife brought up two letters. One of them was from his old chum; he read that first. He then laid it down and opened the other.

At that moment Mrs. Strong was called downstairs by a ring at the door. When she had answered it she came upstairs again.

As she came into the room, she was surprised at the queer look on Philip's face. Without a word he handed her the letter he had just opened, and with the same look, watched her face as she read it.


The letter which Philip had received, and which his wife now read, was as follows:


Pastor Calvary Church, Milton:

DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—The Seminary at Fairview has long been contemplating the addition to its professorship of a chair of Sociology. The lack of funds and the absolute necessity of sufficient endowment for such a chair have made it impossible hitherto for the trustees to make any definite move in this direction. A recent legacy, of which you have doubtless heard, has made the founding of this new professorship possible. And now the trustees by unanimous vote, have united upon you as the man best fitted to fill this chair of Sociology. We have heard of your work in Milton and know of it personally. We are assured you are the man for this place. We therefore tender you most heartily the position of Professor of Sociology at Fairview Seminary at a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars a year and a preliminary year's absence, either abroad or in this country, before you begin actual labors with the Seminary.

With this formal call on the part of the trustees goes the most earnest desire on the part of all the professors of the Seminary who remember you in your marked undergraduate success as a student here. You will meet with the most loving welcome, and the Seminary will be greatly strengthened by your presence in this new department.

We are, in behalf of the Seminary,

Very cordially yours, THE TRUSTEES.

Here followed their names, familiar to both Philip and his wife.

There was a moment of astonished silence and then Sarah said:—

"Well, Philip, that's what I call the finger of Providence!"

"Do you call it the finger of Providence because it points the way you want to go?" asked Philip, with a smile. But his face instantly grew sober. He was evidently very much excited by the call to Fairview. It had come at a time when he was in a condition to be very much moved by it.

"Yes, Philip," replied his wife, as she smoothed back his hair from his forehead, "it is very plain to me that you have done all that any one can do here in Milton, and this call comes just in time. You are worn out. The church is opposed to your methods. You need a rest and a change. And besides, this is the very work that you have always had a liking for."

Philip said nothing for a moment. His mind was in a whirl of emotion. Finally he said, "Yes, I would enjoy such a professorship. It is a very tempting call. I feel drawn towards it. And yet——" he hesitated—"I don't know that I ought to leave Milton just now."

Mrs. Strong was provoked. "Philip Strong, you have lived this kind of life long enough! All your efforts in Calvary Church are wasted. What good have all your sermons done? It is all a vain sacrifice, and the end will be defeat and misery for you. Add to all this the fact that this new work will call for the best and most Christian labor, and that some good Christian man will take it if you don't—and I don't see, Philip, how you can possibly think of such a thing as refusing this opportunity."

"It certainly is a splendid opportunity," murmured Philip. "I wonder why they happened to pitch on me for the place!"

"That's easy enough. Every one knows that you could fill that chair better than almost any other man in the country."

"Do you mean by 'every one' a little woman by the name of Sarah?" asked Philip, with a brief return of his teasing habit.

"No, sir, I mean all the professors and people in Fairview and all the thinking people of Milton and every one who knows you, Philip. Every one knows that whatever else you lack, it isn't brains."

"I'd like to borrow a few just now, though, for I seem to have lost most of mine. Lend me yours, won't you, Sarah, until I settle this question of the call?"

"No, sir, if you can't settle a plain question like this with all your own brains you couldn't do any better with the addition of the little I have."

"Then do you really think, do you, Sarah, that I ought to accept this as the leading of the Spirit of God, and follow without hesitation."

Mrs. Strong replied with almost tearful earnestness:

"Philip, it seems to me like the leading of his hand. Surely you have shown your willingness and your courage and your sacrifice by your work here. But your methods are distasteful, and your preaching has so far roused only antagonism. Oh, I dread the thought of this life for you another day. It looks to me like a suicidal policy, with nothing to show for it when you have gone through with it."

Philip spread the letter out on the couch and his face grew more and more thoughtful as he gazed into the face of his wife, and his mind went over the ground of his church experience. If, only, he was, perhaps, thinking, if only the good God had not given him so sensitive and fine-tempered a spirit of conscientiousness. He almost envied men of coarse, blunt feelings, of common ideals of duty and service.

His wife watched him anxiously. She knew it was a crisis with him. At last he said:—

"Well, Sarah, I don't know but you're right. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The professorship would be free from the incessant worry and anxiety of a parish, and then I might be just as useful in the Seminary as I am here—who knows?"

"Who knows, indeed!" exclaimed Sarah, joyfully; at the same time she was almost crying. She picked up the letter and called Philip's attention to the clause which granted him a year abroad in case he accepted. "Think of that, Philip! Your dream of foreign travel can come true now."

"That is," Philip looked out of the window over the dingy roof of a shed near by to the gloomy tenements, "that is, supposing I decide to accept."

"Supposing! But you almost same as said——Oh, Philip, say you will! Be reasonable! This is the opportunity of a lifetime!"

"That's true," replied Philip.

"You may not have another such chance as this as long as you live. You are young now and with every prospect of success in work of this kind. It is new work, of the kind you like. You will have leisure and means to carry on important experiments, and influence for life young men entering the ministry. Surely, Philip, there is as great opportunity for usefulness and sacrifice there as anywhere. It must be that the will of God is in this. It comes without any seeking on your part."

"Yes, indeed!" Philip spoke with the only touch of pride he ever exhibited. It was pride in the knowledge that he was absolutely free from self-glory or self-seeking.

"Then say you will accept. Say you will, Philip!"

The appeal, coming from the person dearest to him in all the world, moved Philip profoundly. He took the letter from her hand, read it over carefully, and again laid it down on the couch. Then he said:—

"Sarah, I must pray over it. I need a little time. You will have reason——" Philip paused, as his habit sometimes was, and at that moment the bell rang and Mrs. Strong went downstairs. As she went along she felt almost persuaded that Philip would yield. Something of his tone seemed to imply that the struggle in his mind was nearly ended.

The callers at the door were three men who had been to see Philip several times to talk with him about the mill troubles and the labor conflict in general. They wanted to see Philip. Mrs. Strong was anxious about the condition of Philip's health. She asked the men to come in, and went upstairs again.

"Can you see them? Are you strong enough?" she asked.

"Yes, tell them to come up. I am comfortable now."

Philip was resting easily, and after a careful look at him, Mrs. Strong went downstairs.

To her surprise, two of the men had gone. The one who remained explained that he thought three persons would excite or tire the minister more than one; he had stayed and would not trouble Philip very long. But the business on which he came was of such an important nature that he felt obliged to see the minister if he could do so without danger to him.

So the man went up and Philip greeted him with his usual heartiness, excusing himself for not rising. The man took a chair, moved up near the couch, and sat down. He seemed a good deal excited, but in a suppressed and cautious way.

"I came to see you, Mr. Strong, to tell you about a thing you ought to know. There is danger of your life here."

"Where?" asked Philip, calmly.

"Here, in this neighborhood."

"Well?" Philip waited for more explanation.

"I didn't want to tell your wife, for fear of scaring her, but I thought you ought to know, Mr. Strong, and then you could take steps to protect yourself or get away."

"Go on; tell me the worst," said Philip, quietly, as the man paused.

"Well," the man went on in a low tone, "two others and me overheard a talk last night by the men who run the Star Saloon and den down by the Falls. They have a plan to waylay you, rob you and injure you, sir—and do it in such a way as to make it seem a common hold-up. They seemed to know about your habit of going around through the alleys and cross-streets of the tenements. We heard enough to make us sure they really and truly meant to deal foully by you the first good chance, and we thought best to put you on your guard. The rummies are down on you, Mr. Strong, you have been so outspoken against them; and your lecture in the hall last week has made them mad, I tell you. They hate you worse than poison, for that's the article they seem to sell and make a living out of."

Philip had the week before addressed a large meeting of working-men, and in the course of his speech he had called attention to the saloon as one of the greatest foes of the wage-earner.

"Is that all?" Philip asked.

"All, man alive!—isn't it enough? What more do you hanker after?"

"Of course I don't 'hanker after' being held up or attacked, but these men are mistaken if they think to frighten me."

"They mean more than frighten, Mr. Strong. They mean business."

"Why don't you have them arrested, then, for conspiracy? If you overheard their talk they are guilty and could be convicted."

"Not in Milton, Mr. Strong. Besides, there was no name mentioned. And the talk was scattering-like. They are shrewd devils. But we could tell they meant you plain enough—not to prove anything in court, though."

"And you came to warn me? That was kind of you, my brother!" Philip spoke with the winsome affection for men that made his hold on common people like the grappling vine with loving tendrils.

"Yes, Mr. Strong, and I tell you the rummies will almost hold a prayer-meeting when you leave Milton. And they mean to make you trouble enough until you do leave. If I was you," the man paused, curiously—"if I was you, I'd get up and leave this God-forsaken town, Mr. Strong."

"You would?" Philip glanced at the letter which still lay upon the couch beside him. "Suppose I should say I had about made up my mind to do just that thing?"

"Oh, no, Mr. Strong, you don't mean that!" The man made a gesture toward Philip that revealed a world of longing and of hunger for fellowship that made Philip's heart throb with a feeling of intense joy, mingled with an ache of pain. The man at once repressed his emotion. It had been like a lightning flash out of a summer cloud.

"Yes," said Philip, as if continuing, "I have been thinking of leaving Milton."

"That might be best. You're in danger here. No telling when some harm may come to you."

"Well, I'm thinking I might as well leave. My work here has been a failure, anyway."

"What! A failure? Mr. Strong, you don't know the facts. There has never been a minister in Milton who did so much for the poor and the working-man as yourself! Let me tell you," the man continued, with an earnestness that concealed an emotion he was trying to subdue, "Mr. Strong, if you were to leave Milton now, it would be a greater loss to the common people than you can imagine. You may not know it, but your influence among us is very great. I have lived in Milton as boy and man for thirty years, and I never knew so many laboring-men attend church and the lectures in the hall as during the few months you have been here. Your work here has not been a failure; it has been a great success."

A tear stole out of Philip's eye and rolled down and fell with a warm splash on the letter which lay beside him. If a $2,500 call could be drowned by one tear, that professorship in Sociology in Fairview Seminary was in danger.

"So you think the people in this neighborhood would miss me a little?" he asked almost as modestly as if he were asking a great favor.

"Would they, Mr. Strong! You will never know what you have done for them. If the mill-men were to hear of your leaving they would come down here in a body and almost compel you to stay. I cannot bear to think of your going. And yet the danger you are in, the whiskey men——"

Philip roused himself up, interrupting his visitor. The old-time flash of righteous indignation shot out of his eyes as he exclaimed: "I am more than half-minded to stay on that account! The rummies would think they had beaten me out if I left!"

"Oh, Mr. Strong, I can't tell you how glad we would be if you would only stay! And yet——"

"And yet," replied Philip, with a sad smile, "there are many things to take into the account. I thank you out of my heart for the love you have shown me. It means more than words can express." And Philip leaned back with a wearied look on his face, which, nevertheless, revealed his deep satisfaction at the thought of such friendship as this man had for him.

He was getting exhausted with the interview, following so soon on his illness of the night before. The visitor was quick to notice it, and after a warm clasp of hands he went away. Philip, lying there alone while his wife was busy downstairs, lived an age in a few minutes. All his life so far in Milton, the events of his preaching and his experiences in the church, his contact with the workmen, his evident influence over them, the thought of what they would feel in case he left Milton to accept this new work, the dissatisfaction at the thought of an unaccomplished work abandoned, the thought of the exultation of the whiskey men—all this and much more surged in and out of his mind and heart like heavy tides of a heaving ocean as it rushes into some deep fissure and then flows back again with noise and power. He struggled up into a sitting position, and with pain of body almost fell from the couch upon his knees, and with his face bowed upon the letter, which he spread out before him with both hands, he sobbed out a yearning cry to his Master for light in his darkness.

It came as he kneeled down; and it did not seem to him at all strange or absurd that as he kneeled, there came to his thought a picture of the Brother Man. And he could almost hear the Brother Man say: "Your work is in Milton, in Calvary Church yet. Except a man shall renounce all that he hath he cannot be His disciple." It mattered not to Philip that the answer to his prayer came in this particular way. He was not superstitious or morbid, or given to yielding to impulse or fancy. He lay down upon the couch again and knew in his heart that he was at peace with God and his own conscience in deciding to stay with Calvary Church and refuse the call to Fairview.


When, a few minutes later, Mrs. Strong came up, Philip told her exactly how he had decided.

"I cannot leave these poor fellows in the tenements yet; my work is just beginning to count with them. And the church, oh, Sarah, I love it, for it has such possibilities and it must yield in time; and then the whiskey men—I cannot bear to have them think me beaten, driven out, defeated. And in addition to all the rest, I have a feeling that God has a wonderful blessing in store for me and the church very soon; and I cannot banish the feeling that if I should accept the call to Fairview, I should always be haunted by that ghost of Duty murdered and run away from which would make me unhappy in all my future work. Dear little woman," Philip went on, as he drew his wife's head down and kissed her tenderly, while tears of disappointment fell from her—"little woman, you know you are the dearest of all earthly beings to me. And my soul tells me the reason you loved me enough to share earth's troubles with me was that you knew I could not be a coward in the face of my duty, my conscience, and my God. Is it not so?"

The answer came in a sob of mingled anguish and happiness:

"Yes, Philip, but it was only for your sake I wanted you to leave this work. It is killing you. Yet,"—and she lifted her head with a smile through all the tears—"yet, Philip, 'whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me and more also if aught but death part thee and me.'"

There were people in Milton who could not undersatnd[sic] how a person of such refined and even naturally expensive and luxurious habits as the minister's wife possessed could endure the life he had planned for himself, and his idea of Christian living in general. Philip could have told them if he had been so minded. And this scene could have revealed it to any one who knew the minister and his wife as they really were. That was a sacred scene to husband and wife, something that belonged to them, one of those things which the world did not know and had no business to know.

When the first Sunday of another month had come, Mr. Strong felt quite well again. A rumor of his call to Fairview had gone out, and to the few intimate friends who asked him about it he did not deny, but he said little. The time was precious to him. He plunged into the work with an enthusiasm and a purpose which sprang from his knowledge that he was at last really gaining some influence in the tenement district.

The condition of affairs in that neighborhood was growing worse instead of better. The amount of vice, drunkenness, crime and brutality made his sensitive heart quiver a hundred times a day as he went his way through it all. His study of the whole question led him to the conviction that one of the great needs of the place was a new home life for the people. The tenements were owned and rented by men of wealth and influence. Many of these men were in the church. Discouraged as he had so often been in his endeavor to get the moneyed men of the congregation to consecrate their property to Christian uses, Philip came up to that first Sunday with a new phase of the same great subject which pressed so hard for utterance that he could not keep it back.

As he faced the church this morning he faced an audience composed of very conflicting elements. Representatives of labor were conspicuous in the galleries. People whom he had assisted at one time and another were scattered through the house, mostly in the back seats under the choir gallery. His own membership was represented by men who, while opposed to his idea of the Christian life and his interpretation of Christ, nevertheless continued to go and hear him preach. The incident of the sexton's application for membership and his rejection by vote had also told somewhat in favor of the minister. Many preachers would have resigned after such a scene. He had said his say about it, and then refused to speak or be interviewed by the papers on the subject. What it cost him in suffering was his own secret. But this morning, as he rose to give his message in the person of Christ, the thought of the continued suffering and shame and degradation in the tenement district, the thought of the great wealth in the possession of the church which might be used almost to transform the lives of thousands of people, if the men of riches in Calvary Church would only see the kingdom of God in its demands on them—this voiced his cry to the people, and gave his sermon the significance and solemnity of a prophet's inspiration.

"See!" he exclaimed, as he went on after drawing a vivid picture of the miserable condition of life in the buildings which could not be called homes, "see what a change could be wrought by the use of a few thousand dollars down there. And here this morning, in this house, men are sitting who own very many of those tenements, who are getting the rent from them every month, who could, without suffering one single sorrow, without depriving themselves of one necessity or even luxury of life, so change the surroundings of these people that they would enjoy the physical life God gave them, and be able to see His love in the lives of His Disciples. O, my brethren, is not this your opportunity? What is money compared with humanity? What is the meaning of our discipleship unless we are using what God has given us to build up His kingdom? The money represented by this church could rebuild the entire tenement district. The men who own these buildings," He paused as if he had suddenly become aware that he might be saying an unwise thing; then, after a brief hesitation, as if he had satisfied his own doubt, he repeated, "The men who own these tenements—and members of other churches besides Calvary are among the owners—are guilty in the sight of God for allowing human beings made in His image to grow up in such horrible surroundings when it is in the power of money to stop it. Therefore, they shall receive greater condemnation at the last, when Christ sits on the throne of the universe to judge the world. For will He not say, as He said long years ago, 'I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat, naked and ye clothed me not, sick and in miserable dwellings reeking with filth and disease, and ye drew the hire of these places and visited me not?' For are these men and women and children not our brethren? Verily, God will require it at our hands, O men of Milton, if, having the power to use God's property so as to make the world happier and better, we refused to do so and go our ways careless of our reponsibility[sic] and selfish in our use of God's money."

Philip closed his sermon with an account of facts concerning the condition of some of the people he himself had visited. When the service closed, more than one property owner went away secretly enraged at the minister's bold, and, as most of them said and thought, "impertinent meddling in their business." Was he wise? And yet he had been to more than one of these men in private with the same message. Did he not have the right to speak in public? Did not Christ do so? Would he not do so if he were here on earth again? And Philip, seeing the great need, seeing the mighty power of money, seeing the indifference of these men to the whole matter, seeing their determination to conduct their business for the gain of it without regard to the condition of life, with his heart sore and his soul indignant at the suffering he had witnessed came into the church and flung his sword of wrath out of its scabbard, smiting at the very thing dearest of all things to thousands of church-members to-day—the money, the property, the gain of acquisition; and he smote, perhaps, with a somewhat unwise energy of denunciation, yet with his heart crying out for wisdom with every blow he struck, "Would Christ say it? Would He say it?" And his sensitive, keenly suffering spirit heard the answer, "Yes, I believe He would." Back of that answer he did not go in those days so rapidly drawing to their tremendous close. He bowed the soul of him to his Master and said, "Thy will be done!"

The week following this Sunday was one of the busiest Philip had known. With the approach of warmer weather, a great deal of sickness came on. He was going early and late on errands of mercy to the poor souls all about his own house. The people knew him now and loved him. He comforted his spirit with that knowledge as he prayed and worked.

He was going through one of the narrow courts one night on his way home, with his head bent down and his thoughts on some scene of suffering, when he was suddenly confronted by a young man who stepped quickly out from a shadowed corner, threw one arm about Philip's neck and placed his other hand over his mouth and attempted to throw him over backward.

It was very late, and there was no one in sight. Philip said to himself: "This is the attack of which I was warned." He was taken altogether by surprise, but being active and self-possessed, he sharply threw himself forward, repelling his assailant's attack, and succeeded in pulling the man's hand away from his mouth. His first second's instinct was to cry out for help; his next was to keep still. He suddenly felt the other giving way. The strength seemed to be leaving him. Philip, calling up some of his knowledge of wrestling gained while in college, threw his entire weight upon him, and to his surprise the man offered no resistance. They both fell heavily upon the ground, the man underneath. He had not spoken and no one had yet appeared. As the man lay there motionless, Philip rose and stood over him. By the dim light that partly illuminated the court from a street lamp farther on, he saw that his assailant was stunned. There was a pump not far away. Philip went over and brought some water. After a few moments the man recovered consciousness. He sat up and looked about in a confused manner. Philip stood near by, looking at him thoughtfully.


As the man looked up at Philip in a dazed and uncertain manner, Philip said slowly:

"You're not hurt badly, I hope. Why did you attack me?"

The man seemed too bewildered to answer. Philip leaned over and put one arm about him to help him rise. He struggled to his feet, and almost instantly sat down on the curb at the side of the road, holding his head between his hands. For a moment Philip hesitated. Then he sat down beside him, and after finding out that he was not seriously hurt, succeeded in drawing him into a conversation which grew more and more remarkable as it went on. As he thought back upon it afterward, Philip was unable to account exactly for the way in which the confidence between him and his assailant had been brought about. The incident and all that flowed out of it had such a bearing on the crucifixion that it belongs to the whole story.

"Then you say," went on Philip after they had been talking brief in question and answer for a few minutes, "you say that you meant to rob me, taking me for another man?"

"Yes, I thought you was the mill-man—what is his name?—Winter."

"Why did you want to rob him?"

The man looked up and said hoarsely, almost savagely, "Because he has money and I was hungry."

"How long have you been hungry?"

"I have not had anything to eat for almost three days."

"There is food to be had at the Poor Commissioners. Did you know that fact?"

The man did not answer, and Philip asked him again. The reply came in a tone of bitter emphasis that made the minister start:

"Yes, I knew it! I would strave[sic] before I would go to the Poor Commissioners for food."

"Or steal?" asked Philip, gently.

"Yes, or steal. Wouldn't you?"

Philip stared out into the darkness of the court and answered honestly: "I don't know."

There was a short pause. Then he asked:

"Can't you get work?"

It was a hopeless question to put to a man in a town of over two thousand idle men. The answer was what he knew it would be:

"Work! Can I pick up a bushel of gold in the street out there? Can a man get work where there ain't any?"

"What have you been doing?"

"I was fireman in the Lake Mills. Good job. Lost it when they closed down last winter."

"What have you been doing since?"

"Anything I could get."

"Are you a married man?"

The question affected the other strangely. He trembled all over, put his head between his knees, and out of his heart's anguish flowed the words, "I had a wife. She's dead—of consumption. I had a little girl. She's dead, too. Thank God!" exclaimed the man, with a change from a sob to a curse. "Thank God!—and curses on all rich men who had it in their power to prevent the hell on earth for other people, and which they will feel for themselves in the other world!"

Philip did not say anything for some time. What could any man say to another at once under such circumstances? Finally he said:

"What will you do with money if I give you some?"

"I don't want your money," replied the man.

"I thought you did a little while ago."

"It was the mill-owner's money I wanted. You're the preacher, ain't you up at Calvary Church?"

"Yes. How did you know?"

"I've seen you. Heard you preach once. I never thought I should come to this—holding up a preacher down here!" And the man laughed a hard, short laugh.

"Then you're not——" Philip hardly knew how to say it. He wanted to say that the man was not connected in any way with the saloon element; "you're driven to this desperate course on your own account? The reason I ask is because I have been threatened by the whiskey men, and at first I supposed you were one of their men."

"No, sir," was the answer, almost in disgust. "I may be pretty bad, but I've not got so low as that."

"Then your only motive was hunger?"

"That was all. Enough, ain't it?"

"We can't discuss the matter here," said Philip. He hesitated, rose, and stood there looking at the man who sat now with his head resting on his arms, which were folded across his knees. Two or three persons came out of a street near by and walked past. Philip knew them and said good-evening. They thought he was helping some drunken man, a thing he had often done, and they went along without stopping. Again the street was deserted.

"What will you do now? Where will you go?"

"God knows. I am an outcast on His earth!"

"Have you no home?"

"Home! Yes; the gutter, the street, the bottom of the river."

"My brother!" Philip laid his hand on the man's shoulder, "come home with me, have something to eat, and stay with me for a while."

The man looked up and stared at Philip through the semi-darkness.

"What, go home with you! That would be a good one after trying to hold you up! I'll tell you what you ought to do. Take me to the police station and have me arrested for attempt at highway robbery. Then I'd get lodgings and victuals for nothing."

Philip smiled slightly. "That would not help matters any. And if you know me at all, you know I would never do any such thing. Come home with me. No one, except you and myself and my wife need ever know what has happened to-night. I have food at my home, and you are hungry. We both belong to the same Father-God. Why should I not help you if I want to?"

It was all said so calmly, so lovingly, so honestly, that the man softened under it. A tear rolled over his cheek. He brushed his hand over his eyes. It had been a long time since any one had called him "brother."

"Come!" Philip reached out his hand and helped him to rise. The man staggered, and might have fallen if Philip had not supported him. "I am faint and dizzy," he said.

"Courage, man! My home is not far off; we shall soon be there." His companion was silent. As they came up to the door Philip said: "I haven't asked your name, but it might save a little awkwardness if I knew it."

"William——" Philip did not hear the last name, it was spoken in such a low voice.

"Never mind; I'll call you William if it's all the same to you." And he went into the house with the man, and at once made him feel at home by means of that simple and yet powerful spirit of brotherhood which was ready to level all false distinctions, and which possibly saw in prophetic vision the coming event in his own career when all distinctions of title and name would be as worthless as dust in the scales of eternity.

Mrs. Strong at once set food upon the table, and then she and Philip with true delicacy busied themselves in another room so as not to watch the hungry man while he ate. When he had satisfied his hunger Philip showed him the little room where the Brother Man had stayed one night.

"You may make it your own as long as you will," Philip said. "You may look upon it as simply a part of what has been given us to be used for the Father's children."

The man seemed dazed by the result of his encounter with the preacher. He murmured something about thanks. He was evidently very much worn, and the excitement of the evening had given place to an appearance of dejection that alarmed Philip. After a few words he went out and left the man, who said that he felt very drowsy.

"I believe he is going to have a fever or something," Mr. Strong said to his wife as he joined her in the other room. He related his meeting with the man, making very light of the attack and indeed excusing it on the ground of his desperate condition.

"What shall we do with him, Philip?"

"We must keep him here until he finds work. I believe this is one of the cases that call for personal care. We cannot send him away; his entire future depends on our treatment of him. But I don't like his looks; I fear he is going to be a sick man."

His fear was realized. The next morning he found his lodger in the clutch of fever. Before night he was delirious. The doctor came and pronounced him dangerously ill. And Philip, with the burden of his work weighing heavier on him every moment, took up this additional load and prayed his Lord to give him strength to carry it and save another soul.

It was at the time of this event in Mr. Strong's life that another occurred which had its special bearing upon the crisis of all his life.

The church was dear to his thought, loved by him with a love that only very few of the members understood. In spite of his apparent failure to rouse them to a conception of their duty as he saw it, he was confident that the spirit of God would accomplish the miracle which he could not do. Then there were those in Calvary Church who sympathized heartily with him and were ready to follow his leadership. He was not without fellowship, and it gave him courage. Add to that the knowledge that he had gained a place in the affection of the working-people, and that was another reason why he kept up good heart and did not let his personal sensitiveness enter too largely into his work. It was of course impossible for him to hide from himself the fact that very many members of the church had been offended by much that he had said and done. But he was the last man in the world to go about his parish trying to find out the quantity of opposition that existed. His Sunday congregation crowded the church. He was popular with the masses. Whenever he lectured among the working-men the hall was filled to overflowing. He would not acknowledge even to himself that the church could long withstand the needs of the age and the place. He had an intense faith in it as an institution. He firmly believed all that it needed was to have the white light of truth poured continually on the Christ as he would act to-day and the church would respond, and at last in a mighty tide of love and sacrifice throw itself into the work the church was made to do.

So he began to plan for a series of Sunday-night services different from anything Milton had ever known. His life in the tenement district and his growing knowledge of the labor world had convinced him of the fact that the church was missing its opportunity in not grappling with the problem as it existed in Milton. It seemed to him that the first step to a successful solution of that problem was for the church and the working-man to get together upon some common platform for a better understanding. He accordingly planned for a series of Sunday-night services, in which his one great purpose was to unite the church and the labor unions in a scheme of mutual helpfulness. His plan was very simple. He invited into the meeting one or two thoughtful leaders of the mill-men and asked them to state in the plainest terms the exact condition of affairs in the labor world from their standpoint. Then he, for the church, took up their statements, their complaints, or the reasons for their differences with capital, and answered them from the Christian standpoint: What would Christ advise under the circumstances? He had different subjects presented on different evenings. One night it was reasons why the mill-men were not in the church. Another night it was the demand of men for better houses, and how to get them. Another night it was the subject of strikes and the attitude of Christ on wages and the relative value of the wage-earners' product and the capitalists' intelligence. At each meeting he allowed one or two of the invited leaders to take the platform and say very plainly what to his mind was the cause and what the remedy for the poverty and crime and suffering of the world. Then he closed the evening's discussion by a calm, clear statement of what was to him the direct application of Jesus' teaching to the point at issue.

Finally, as this series drew to a close at the end of the month, a subject came up which roused intense feeling. It was the subject of wealth, its power, responsibility, meaning, and Christian use. The church was jammed in every part of it. The services had been so unusual, the conduct of them had so often been intensely practical, the points made had so often told against the existing Church that great mobs of mill-men filed into the room and for the time took possession of Calvary Church. For the four Sunday nights of that series Philip faced great crowds, mostly of grown-up men, crowds that his soul yearned over with unspeakable emotion, a wonderful audience for Calvary to witness, the like of which Milton had never seen.


We cannot do better than give the evening paper account of this last service in the series. With one or two slight exaggerations the account was a faithful picture of one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in Milton. The paper, after speaking of the series as a sensational departure from the old church methods, went on to say:

"Last night, it will be safe to say that those who were fortunate enough to secure standing-room in Rev. Philip Strong's church heard and saw things that no other church in this town ever witnessed.

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