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church can say to the lame man, rise up and walk." Reflection forces us to concede that the value of the gift is not to be measured by its cost

in money.

If, as we have seen, neither the mere act of giving nor yet the cost price of what is given, is of highest import, in determining the real worth of beneficence, can the prime factor for discerning noble giving be found elsewhere than in the purpose which underlies the gift? That purpose is most golden where it desires to be of service.

The desire to be of service which we found so clearly exemplified in Christ that it was the main feature of His giving, and His existence is then the primary characteristic of true giving in whatever aspect we look at the matter. It was this

. which animated the lives of .pagan philosophers when they knew not the light which came through Christ. It was this which led Socrates to endure hardship in his domestic affairs and calumny at the hand of his fellow-citizens. He sought to give himself in service that he might teach men his philosophy. Christ gave Himself in service that He might teach men not a philosophy, but the way of life. He gave Himself in service that religion might be to every man not merely a creed but an experience, not a restraint but an inspiration, not an insurance for the next world, but a program for this world.

As the giving of self in service was the watchword of its Founder so has it ever been the life of

Christianity. This has given Christianity life primarily because it marks it off as a call to do something rather than to believe certain hard and fast dogmas. When dealing with religion as a doctrine or as an institution the assailant often enough has a task quite to his mind but when he meets it as the sheer enthusiasm of goodness, as the organized effort for the world's betterment, there is simply nothing for him to say. By this has religion been transformed from an austere superstition, demanding a fearing obedience, into a winsome aid to the living of a true life. What opponents of the gospel have been continually forgetting is that while its histories and thought forms lie easily open to attack, its actual life from age to age has done nothing of the kind. What really has mattered through all has been the desire to give self in service, which has continued ever since the first true life. This has been the means of the presence of an unseen energy derived from the spiritual world, exhibiting itself in human characters and compelling them to action upon themselves and upon others for a higher life.



The evidence for the power derived from this giving of self in service lies all along the line in the history of Christianity. In the primitive Christian age the supreme significance is not in the theory of creation or of the final end of things held by those first believers, but in the love for Christ, in the passion for holiness, and in the longing to take up the same life of service which the Master had lived. How clearly we may see this life-giving principle shows itself in a record which a pagan writer of the third century has left to us. He says,

Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind, either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practise an extraordinary kind of life. Nor again do they possess any invention discovered by any intelligence of ingenious man, nor are they masters of any human dogma as some are. But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast and follow the native customs in dress and food and other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship is marvellous and confessedly surpasses expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them and every fatherland is foreign. Their existence is on earth but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws and they surpass the laws in their own life. They love all men and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored and yet they are condemned. They are put to death and yet they are imbued with life. They are in beggary and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonoured and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled and they bless; they are insulted and they respect. Doing good, they are punished as evildoers; being punished, they rejoice as if they were thereby quickened into life." Could there be a grander testimony to the giving of self in service?

It was this which produced that moral condition which Aristides sketches in his “ Apology” at the beginning of the second century, where he speaks of the blameless life of the brotherhood and of their immense charity; of how where there is any amongst them poor and needy, and if they have no spare food they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food; and of their consequent heavenly gladness the peace of Christ, for he continues, “And surely the race of

, Christians is more blessed than all the men who are upon the face of the earth and there is something divine mingled with it.”

The same has been the secret of life in even the most corrupt phases of the church's history. When we look at Romanism past and present, measuring the chasm between its dogmas and scientific truth, we often wonder at its long continued and fast hold upon the people. We need not, for its power has not been in these things. It is and has been in possessing within its fold multitudes of simple souls who have only a bowing acquaintance with dogma, but whose life is in loving and in giving self in devoted service.

Many were the thousands of such souls during the age of darkness when learning fled from Europe and civilization was buried beneath the sleep that overtook men's intellects. While pope and bishop busied themselves in getting the best things of this world,—not for the glory of Christ, but for the gratification of their own personal ambition,—then it was that not authoritative dogma, nor costly cathedral, nor impressive ritual kept alive the power of the church, but it was the effort in every activity of life to follow in the steps of Christ by the giving of self in service that made the Christian cause triumphant in the world. Such lives were found not only among the hermits who dwelt in the caves and cliffs of the mountains, but in the huts and hovels of the tenants on landed estates, in massive castles that sheltered rough and rugged barons. Such lives were found not always in places that gave opportunity for large renown; they existed in countless numbers where least we suspect. They gave themselves, did their part, in keeping alive true Christ-giving. They gave to the world magnificent service; though no costly mausoleum marks their resting-place, they kept alive Christianity and found for themselves the peace of Christ.

Here and there we find men of unusual gifts and qualities standing out like beacon lights along the darkened pathway of ignorance and selfishness through which Christianity has travelled during

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