The World Converting the Church.
WE clip the following from the Boston Journal of March 4th.
“The Young Men’s Christian Association of Meriden, Conn., purposes to erect a new building this spring. In addition to two stores, the building will contain a bowling-alley, coffee and refreshment-room, library, conversation and amusement-room, and gymnasium. There will also be a hall arranged for private theatricals, etc. The estimated cost of the structure is $20,000, and it is thought that the rents and revenues of the establishment will nearly pay for it in ten years.”
The Young Men’s Christian Associations have doubtless accomplished much good, but if the above is indicative of the course to be generally pursued by them (which we hope it is not), then we predict their efficient labor for the advancement of the cause of Christ to be near an end. “Private theatricals” will be found but a stepping-stone to the public theatre, and though members in some respects may have “a form of godliness,” it will be manifest that they are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”
The festivals of various names connected of late years with churches of different denominations are working to the same end. Who can draw the line between the church and the world on such occasions? No thorough, enlightened Christian can be satisfied that festivals are Christ-like in which “grab-bags,” “guess-cakes,” “post-offices,” and similar means are resorted to for the purpose of raising money for church building, etc. Only imagine such a festival held in the apostolic age: Paul, for example, putting his hand into a bag and pulling out a rag-baby amid a roar of laughter; Peter paying out a few cents (for he would not be likely to have much silver and gold unless he got it by miracle, as he did the money to pay his tax) for a piece of cake—hoping to be lucky enough to find a ring in it: ” the beloved disciple” charged an exorbitant price for a letter in the church postoffice which he pays rather than to appear mean by refusing to do it; or a large number of the primitive disciples appealing to the flesh by announcing a turkey-supper, or an oyster-supper at a hotel, for the purpose of getting money out of the men of the world, and having a good time themselves! All these things have been done in our day. What has changed, Christianity or its professors? Is the church converting the world to Christ, or the world converting the church to the devil?
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” —Advent Herald.