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    THE CHURCH RECREANT

    “The church and its ministers can not be said to have risen in public estimation since the Civil War. Its control over education has distinctly diminished. In some of its branches it seems to cling to archaic metaphysics and morbid poetic imaginings; in others it apparently inclines to take refuge in decorums, pomps, costumes, and observances. On the whole, ... it has shown little readiness to rely on the intense reality of the universal sentiments to which Jesus appealed, or to go back to the simple preaching of the gospel of brotherhood and unity—of love to God and love to man. So the church as a whole has to-day no influence whatever on many millions of our fellow-countrymen—called Jews or Christians, Protestants or Catholics though they be.PBE 239.2

    “We still believe that the voluntary church is the best of churches; because a religion which is accepted under compulsion is really no religion at all for the individual soul, though it may be a social embellishment or a prop for the state. Yet, believing thus, we have to admit that the voluntary church in the United States has no hold on a large and increasing part of the population.PBE 240.1

    “By no positive fault of their own, but by a sort of negative incapacity, legislature, court, and church seem to be passing through some transition which temporarily impairs their power ... To redeem and vivify legislatures, courts, and churches, what agency is so promising as education?”PBE 240.2

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