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two-rarely a man; he can steal more easily; -dead from insufficient food; and when he sees, more pathetic than all this, the sad failure, the wretched futility, of charity against such odds,-he will perhaps wonder when it was that Christianity began to civil. ize the world, and how the world ever got along without it.
A few years ago it was a current question, seldom proposed, I believe, but with good results in awakened public conscience,
What would Christ do, if He came to this city ?” The answer, dictated by the temper of the men who gave it, was generally a story of universal denunciation. There is enough that deserves denunciation. Nevertheless my own feeling is that if, to speak foolishly, Christ came to Boston, He would not walk our streets without seeing much to rejoice in. He would see not a few evidences that the city had begun to follow Him, though as yet a great way off, evidences of civic Christianity, of corporate discipleship. He would recognize as such the public schools, the city's confession of
her duty in the education of her children. He would, however, very likely enquire how it was that, if we admitted the duty of beginning the education of every child, we did not also recognize the duty of doing away with conditions which make the later life of half the children such that there is no possibility of carrying that education on; such that their little glimpse into the world of light and beauty remains only a tantalizing remembrance, a sting, a breeder of disaffection and envy. He would commend us for the pictures and bits of statuary in the school-rooms, but He might ask us why, if this be a civic function, it is not also one to tear down the miserable rookeries in which many of these children live, and to demand the erection of respectable human habitations in their stead; why, if it is a municipal duty to teach the people to sing, it is not also one to give them reason to sing.
He would rejoice,-I know not in what else so much,-in that fair white temple of learning yonder, the Public Library, the chaste beauty of whose walls is the chief adornment of the city, and whose freely-poured
out treasures above all else furnish and decorate the life of the city's people, and in the fine freedom of that square in which it stands, claimed by the city for the public good, and with its surrounding public buildings witnessing to the fact that we do live, and are beginning to recognize that we live, a corporate life. He might wonder why side by side there, there need be three places of worship for those for whom His most solemn prayer was that they might be one, and why those edifices, specifically denominated “Christian," and professing to be the special exponents of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, are not, like those secular and non-religious affairs, the Art Museum and the Library,
Open Free to All." Christ was always unable to appreciate the practical difficulties that are to be met with in the world, and He might still be, as He showed Himself in Judea, quite unreasonable in declining to take account of the prevailing state of things. It is even to be feared He would be incapable of understanding why, if a Copley Square is good for the Back Bay, the North End should have only a Copp's Hill Burying Ground.
His attitude, to speak directly, would, I apprehend, be one of commendation for all the beautiful and glad things which our recognition of our community, our vital partnership, has brought into being, and of insistence that that recognition of community should go on to its conclusion,-in the effacement of unsightly spots from the city's domain, the widening of streets, the provision of parks, the diffusion of knowledge, the setting up everywhere of creations of art, so that human spirits, wherever born into the world, might open their eyes upon something of that loveliness with which God has filled it; and, that all this might be, Jinsistence that the people itself should assume the administration of — I will not undertake to say what-other public matters, as it yalready has of education and the postal service.
I decline at this point to discuss the practicability of this. I am content, not even pointing out to what extent Birmingham and Glasgow have found it practicable, to say that Christians are not bound by considerations of practicability. We profess to have embraced an ideal, and that ideal demands that we increasingly conform to it, not only in our individual lives, but also in our social life. That ideal, I do not hesitate to express my conviction, is intolerant of the cut-throat scramble which we apotheosize as
“the refining process of competition;" it knows nothing of that “deep ethical purpose " which the prevailing social economy hears “ rolling, like solemn music, through all the strain and stress of the struggle for existence.” As it is set forth in the unworldly words of Jesus which on other Friday noons we have considered, you will agree, it does not contemplate rivalry, competition anywhere, but everywhere love, the preferring of others to ourselves, the seeking of opportunities, not for success, but for self-sacrifice. It knows of struggle and stress, but of a different sort; not of men against men, but of men as a race, their cause one, their destiny one, fighting together the wars of humanity, but ministering