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THE SECRETARY'S EASTER MESSAGE
work of salvation of which the supernatural participate in these meetings. The topics gospel of Easter is a synonym. Is this noth- center about the Passion. From the Twin ing to you? May the answer to this question Cities, too, come words of cheer, telling of cause you to think. It will not be without activity in that possibly greatest Lutheran motive to build up a character you will retain State in America. throughout eternity, and a purpose to stim- Phila lphia, we read, has also instituted ulate your Christian activity.
mid-day Lenten services, which are conducted The Luther League of America has entered by the Luther League of that city every upon the tenth year of its existence. These weekday from 12.25 to 12.50. Prominent pashave been years of marked advancement in tors of that city, New York, Baltimore, &c., the Lutheran Church. The Luther League are conducting these services. has had its proportionate share in this prog- Recently the General Secretary was privi
leged to address the students of the Western In organizing League work it should be Theological Seminary, Atchison, Kansas, on formed and built into the Church, so it will
“ The Work of the Luther League.” It was not die of spiritual atrophy. Regard must be the first time he had the opportunity to adhad for spiritual development and growth. dress a student body in a special period The work of the League must not divert at- was assigned, and this was made a feature of tention from the purpose of the Church, nor the term work. Many of the college students from the Church's own historic and charac- attended the lecture. The interest and attenteristic mission. The energies of the League tion was excellent, and he is grateful for the are for the welfare of the Church, and are privilege and thankful for the cordial recepnot to be dissipated in other channels. In tion tendered him. It was 25 degrees below organizing the local work the business of the zero the Sunday we spent in Hooper, NeLeague is to magnify the Church, but it is braska, and the day following the thermomenever a substitute for it. With fidelity to the
ter at the Union Pacific and Northwestern pastor and loyalty to the Church, personal
Railroad station at Fremont registered 35 piety is not to be toned down, but the Luther degrees below zero at 8 a.m. NotwithstandLeague properly conducted should augment ing this rigorous winter weather, both serspiritual power. Therefore we should rightly
vices in the German Lutheran Church at expect to find in a healthy local society of Hooper were well attended. After the evenyoung people no lack in spiritual aspiration, ing service number of the Luther grip and power.
Leaguers gathered around the stove for an From information received during the
informal conference on methods of work. , month there is a forward movement in the Two interesting services were held in Frework all along the line. From Virginia comes
mont, Nebraska. Two rallies were held, one word that a call will be issued for the pur
in the German Lutheran Church and the pose of organizing a State Luther League. other in the Danish Lutheran Church. The On the 28th of March a convention was held first rally was held during the week in the at San Jose, California, to organize a District German Church, with the Danish Church League. A number of new local organiza
uniting, and the second and largest meeting tions have also been formed.
was held on Sunday in the Danish Church, The Fox River Valley (north) District of with the German Church uniting in the meetIllinois has 668 members. The worthy
ing. The ex-Mayor of the city, who happened former President of this District, Rev. Alfred to be present at the second meeting, remarked Ostrom, of Aurora, Illinois, will go as a mis
to the Secretary: • You Lutherans have a sionary to Porto Rico about April 1. Under good many people when you get together." the auspices of the Luther League of Chi
We enjoyed the privilege of attending the cago mid-week noon-day Lenten services will semiannual session of the English Conference be inaugurated. They will begin Ash of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church at Wednesday and continue to Easter. The ser- Covenant English Lutheran Church, of Chivices will last from 12.05 to 12.50. These cago. Your Secretary was invited to address services are arranged primarily for business a large meeting the night the Conference men and women. It is desirable that as many
opened, speaking on the subject, “The Young others as can will attend these services. People's Movement." Notwithstanding it There will be seven of these services. The snowed every day during the meetings, the President of the Luther League of Chicago.
attendance was good. The discussions were has issued an announcement of these ser- interesting and practical. vices, and the Executive Committee has pub- “ Herein is my Father glorified, that ye lished a neat card giving the leader and
bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." preacher, date and topic for each service.
LUTHER M. KUHNS. Fourteen different Lutheran pastors will
Second week after Easter. May 7, 1905.
The Perfect Prayer
(James 1:1-8) Doctrinal Topic Reviewed by Rev. C. Armand Miller,
D.D. Questions to be answered in brief papers.How was the Lord's Prayer given ? (Circumstances and context.) What is the inner connection of the Prayer? Show its comprehensiveness and appropriateness. How shall we use the Prayer aright?
Lessons for Our Own Lives: 1. We should be grateful that Jesus has taught us how to pray. For we could never have learned of ourselves. He has shown us the way, and then He has sent His Spirit Who “maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered,” thus bestowing upon us the prayerful heart. The disciples were wise when they besought Him, * Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1.) No one learns to pray without teaching. Our parents taught us, first. Then our experiences have taught us. When we have been driven to feel our helplessness, and the fact that there is and can be no lielp for us from earthly sources, we have learned a most important lesson, and have taken upon our lips the request of the disciples. The Word of God is full of instruction as to prayer, and in the “ Lord's Prayer taught by the Master Himself what should ask for, and in what relation and proportion the various objects of a Christian's desire should come into His supplication. Here we have enough to furnish us with matter for meditation and practice and instruction for a lifetime the study of this prayer.
2. We should be on our guard against the formal use of prayer. It “is a pity above all pities that such a prayer of such a Master should be babbled and chattered without the least devotion all over the world.” And are you free from such profane use of the prayer? Do you enter into the meaning of the words when they are repeated in the church? Do you really desire from the heart that His Name be hallowed, His kingdom come, His will be done, when you say the words? Do you say your prayers or do you pray? To use this prayer aright there must be a clear and full understanding of its meaning We should be thankful that in our Chatechism we have the explanation which provides for this. Then there must be a deep sense of the importance of the things for which we ask, a deep longing for
Third week after Easter. May 14, 1905. Will Japan Become Christian?
(Isaiah 35 : 1.10) Missionary Topic Reviewed by Rev. C. K. Lippard, Saga,
Japan In discussing this question much depends upon what is included in the term Christian. What is a Christian nation? Does freedom of speech, freedom of the press, popular education, government by representation, laws not in conflict with the Bible, institutions of mercy, the use of all the latest inventions, etc., make a nation Christian? If so, Japan may properly be called a Christian nation to-day. In this discussion, however, the word Christian is not used in such a
Christianity is here used in contradistinction to Buddhism and Shintoism, the prevailing re
of the pire. If the question were addressed to this nation to-day—will Japan become Christianthree answers would evidently be forthcoming: The enemies of Christ would say no; the friends of Christianity would say we hope so, while those directly engaged in evangelistic work would say yes, but we cannot tell how soon 'twill be.
That the nation is moving toward Christianity is abundantly proved by facts brought to light by the crisis through which the nation is now passing. When the war broke out the missionaries were not without apprehensions that it would be used by the enemies of Christianity to stir up prejudice against them; and it is true that in some quarters some ignorant persons did try to make out that Christianity and Buddhism were arrayed against each other.
But ere long by disputations in the papers and by an energetic campaign against such an opinion by both Christian and Buddhist leaders this futile attempt was nipped in the bud. Even secular papers came into the field of discussion and proved to the public that Russian Christianity was an inferior article, and that it would not be fair to judge Christianity as a whole by Russian standards. Thus far the war has not proved a hindrance to the spread of Christianity. On the other hand, larger doors have been opened for its
The Luther League Topics, complete lessons (of which the above are outlines and reviews), in 32-page
pamphlet, covering three months, can be supplled at rates given on page 29 by LUTHER LEAGUE REVIEW, Box 876, New York, N. Y.
the orphanages, the schools, the institutions of mercy in general. The Buddhists build these as well as the Christians. Do the Christians establish Y. M. C. A. institutions ? The Buddhists establish Y. M. B. A. institutions. Do the Christians send chaplains to the army? The Buddhists send them also. These facts clearly demonstrate that the contest between Buddhism and Christianity is a sharp one. Why, then, say that Christianity will conquer ? The close observer in this country sees many reasons for such an assertion, but the best reason of all is found in the Bible itself, “ all nations shall bow before Him." We believe that promise. The splendid results attending Christianity in the Empire to-day are the earnest of the more abundant harvest to follow. In spite of Buddhism, in spite of Shintoism, and in spite of the materialistic spirit of the people and the agnosticism prevalent in every educational center, the day will come when the Christ shall be enthroned in the heart of the brave and noble people of Japan.
entrance. From all parts of the Empire come reports of enthusiastic meetings, and a calm, sober reception of the Gospel message.
As for the Lutheran Church, nothing has been lost either in respect to attendance upon divine worship or in respect to the support of the Church although many of her members have been called to the front, and those remaining at home are burdened by a heavy tax.
Now, what is the meaning of this calm, sober reception of the Gospel at a time when the whole mind of the nation is absorbed in the most important war of the ages? The answer is this, That uniform successes attending the armies of the Empire have brought to the mind of the nation the fact that it has an important mission to fulfill in the Far East, and the nation is beginning to inquire whether it is spiritually and morally fitted for the fulfillment of this mission. The nation realizes that it has been fitted for the present war by the civilization that it has imported from the West; and the natural conclusion in the minds of many is that if the civilization of the West has helped to fit them to win such splendid victories on land and sea, the religion of the West will perhaps help arm them for their spiritual struggle. The victories now being won are evidently making the Japanese, feel their responsibility in the family of great nations, and as increased victories mean increased responsibility the Japanese are beginning to examine their ethics and their religion to see if they will stand the test in comparison with Christian countries. They cannot afford to patch up their old standards as the new Buddhists are trying to do any more than they can patch up their old sailboats to meet the ironclads and the torpedo craft of the present day. Thus, from motives it must be confessed almost entirely materialistic, the Japanese are turning their minds to the study of Christianity. Whether they find the truth of Christianity or not rests largely with those intrusted with the message,
teach all nations." It is true that the forces of Christianity are confronted by a mighty host. Even Buddhism with her 101,000 priests-one priest to every 246 of population—and a grand total of 108,000 temples, is no mean force to face. Add to this the Shinto camp with 82,000 priests and 193,000 shrines and the opposition is doubled. That these forces are not dead is proved by the fact of numerous temples now being erected at a cost entirely beyond that of any Christian Church, and the strenuous efforts of the Buddhists to meet the onward progress of Christianity. No longer can Christianity lay sole claim to
Fourth week after Easter. May 21, 1905. Prayers: Form and Free; Advantages
(Ezra 9:5, 5) Doctrinal Topic Reviewed by Rev. C. Armand Miller, D D.
Questions to be answered in brief papers. -What is prayer? What constitutes formalism in prayer and how shall we guard against it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of forms of prayer, and of extempore prayer ?
Lessons for our own lives : 1. Every Christian should know how to pray in his own words. Not that the forms of prayer are not helpful even in private devotion. They are. When you go into your closet” to speak with God, and your spirit is heavy and prayer seems burdensome, it will help to pray one of the Psalms, or one of the prayerful hymns, or some of the many beautiful prayers given in
" Golden Altar,” the Church Book of Worship, or other prayer-books. private prayer is above all the time and opportunity for you to pour out your own desires, in connection with your own temptations, trials, discouragements, circumstances and aims. It is the occasion for you to speak as a child with a father, of all that is peculiar in your life and needs. Let the words be what they may, so that they bear the heart's message. There is no need to hesitate for fear of imperfection of expression. It is the beloved child entreating the affectionate parent, and the phrases do not matter, so that the heart is unburdened before the sympathizing Father. He loses much who does not know
the privilege of free, simple, spontaneous prayer in the closet.
2. Every Christian should thank God for the stately, chaste and fervent prayers that have come down to us in the Church. Here, above all, in the worship of the congregation, is the place and opportunity for the beautiful forms of prayer that are our heritage from the Christian centuries. For when we meet together to pray, it is not the time nor the occasion for the individual petitions of each worshipper, but for the precious privilege of common prayer.
Here we realize the communion of saints, the oneness of our fellowship, and of our needs, the common aims and longings of the universal Christian heart. And we are not peculiar in these desires. They are not new. Each worshipping congregation shares them with us, as each has shared them from the beginning of the life of the Church until now. And holy men, gifted with the spirit of prayer, and with the graces of expression have long ago framed these desires in fitting words, hallowed to-day with the very fragrance of devotion and of historic association. Inexpressibly dear to the intelligent and devout soul are the prayers, collects, litany, suffrages—all the treasures of devotion that we have in the Church Book or Book of Worship. He who does not appreciate them, whose soul is not uplifted in their reverent use, is an ignorant or prejudiced, and so a narrow man. Let us rejoice that we are not narrowed by the Scriptures, or by the custom of the Church, to the rejection of either of these blessed prerogatives of a Christian, the hallowed forms of prayer or the free outpouring of the soul in the words born of the moment's need and longing. Fifth week after Easter. May 28, 1905. Luther and Modern Liberty
(John 8:31-36) Historical Topic Reviewed by Rev. Adolf Hult Luther did not create modern liberty. The God of history did that. Luther opened the shut door to the dome of true liberty, at that very moment when God unlocked it with the key of his world historical wisdom, providence and grace. Only God can give “ the open door " in history. At the right moment He awakens the right man. Explain Luther's personality on the ground of mere heredity? Nonsense! Luther's life work simply as a product of the forces of history at work in his time? Historians have tried that, but they have failed. Men may be the empowered workmen in history, but God is the architect and master builder and determines the hours of work.
It is significant that the tremendous blow that Luther directed against religious and
conscience thralldom by warring with the Papacy was more far-reaching than the Reformer dreamed of himself. Luther began his public career by casting himself upon God's free mercy in Christ. “We must renounce all confidence in our natural, strength, and take the matter in hand with humble trust in God; we must seek God's help with earnest prayer, and have nothing before our eyes but the misery and wretchedness of Christendom, irrespective of what punishment the wicked may deserve,” he says, 1520, in the “ Address to the Nobility of the German Nation.” God evolved from this a stupendous reformation, bringing liberty to all spheres of life. His programme for modern liberty Luther learned gradually to understand.
Notice the two principles here--First, “trust in God,” then, “nothing before our eyes but the misery and wretchedness of Christendom.” Out of these two have been born the great modern liberty. For mark, the Papacy had no mercy with a man's conscience. For a thousand years almost conscience had been cramped, subdued, tortured, imprisoned. Did the Papacy “ trust in God”? Never as a system, though individuals of the Church did, for the Papacy was and is a diplomatic world power, a kingdom of this world. Christ
intended that His “ Church, the communion of saints”
was to be a secular polity. The Popes changed Christ's institution into a system of dependence upon a temporal hierarchy. Reformers before Luther tried to break these iron fetters, but they failed to accomplish more than a preparation for the great Reformation. When Luther took the “ sword of the Spirit,” God's full, free, unhampered word as his defense he succeeded. Spiritual and conscience liberty cannot result from any sort of human devices, plans, revolutions, struggles, but only by the word, “ If ye abide in My word ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31, 32). Luther's emphasis on God's word restored to the world the full sense of spiritual liberty, so long lost. If our age lose faith in the word, we may have "religious liberty," but spiritual liberty will be lost.
Luther seems to have had in mind a free church idea, but historical developments made the state church principle a temporary necessity, it appears. Some of our Reformed brethren confuse often spiritual liberty with confessional liberty. A state church may prevent other faiths, but not spiritual freedom. Yet even our free church system owes its life impetus to Luther, by his ceaselessly maintained distinction between the spiritual powers of the Church and the purely secular 19
GUSTAVUS VASA A GREAT SWEDISH KING
office of the State. How clear he is on this point! How vigorously he states it!
The humanistic revival of arts and letters, beginning in Italy, spreading to all Europe, known as the Renaissance, received its regeneration through Luther, who changed all arts, science and culture into handmaids of faith, the restored Scriptural faith, while before they had been slaves of the Papal hierarchy. His plea for popular education is the herald's cry to prepare a way for modern education. His great argument for general education is that it will serve faith, morals, a free and happy social life, and break to pieces all forms of slavery. I wish we could quote his own words. They overflow with bold energy, insight and practical hints.
Our modern social liberty had in him a glorious champion. His age had great battles with the land and finance trusts. "Doubtless we should also find some bridle for the Fuggers and similar companies. Is it possible that in a single man's lifetime-such great wealth should be collected together, if all were done rightly and according to God's will?” he asks. Sounds like words of a modern Marx socialist! Think again of his own marriage, which undid the old celibacy! Think of all the social influence emanating
from all the parsonages of Protestant Christendom, and the general sanctity of Christian home-life proclaimed to the world by his own example!
The Thirty Years' War, the French Revolution, the American Revolution and our Civil War have since the Reformation been the great world historical upheavals in which principles of liberty born in the Reformation have found confirmation, enlarged expression and reinforcement. Modern liberty owes to Luther not so much, the detail working out of its present complex existence, as far more that in a seasonable moment, amid overwhelming difficulties, in a superbly critical juncture in history, he raised his resistless voice by God's grace for God's right to man's free and undivided trust and service, and for man's privilege to serve God and his fellow men for the fullest temporal and eternal welfare. Luther's tracts on “ Christian Liberty,” on the “Babylonish Captivity of the Church” and “To the German Nobility,” all of 1520, embody perhaps the grandest and most forceful programme for liberty that ever seized upon the heart of mankind since the apostolic. era. Modern history possesses no such personification of true liberty as Martin Luther, from whatever point you view him.
Gustavus Vasa a Great Swedish King G
USTAVUS VASA was a great Swedish
king whose life reads almost like a ro
mance. He was born in 1495. At that time it was asserted that he was born with a red cross on his breast, and this was regarded as an omen of his future glory. As he advanced in years he showed energy and displayed the qualities of leadership. This made the nobles and peasants look to him for deliverance from their woes.
Christian, the “ Tyrant,” King of Denmark, conquered Sweden in 1520. His heart was false and cruel, and he forgot the solemn promise to the stricken people that his rule should be just and merciful. The first act after his coronation was the bloody and atrocious execution of many Swedish noblemen, among them Gustavus' father, and Gustavus himself fell into the tyrant's hands through treachery and was carried to Denmark with many others.
Weeks and months passed while he was suffering the horrors of strict confinement, and at last he sank into hopelessness and despair. At Kalloe Castle, in Jutland, lived a good man, Sir Erick Baner, who had much influence over Christian. He earnestly plead
ed to be allowed to take the young man to his home and care for him, promising to guard him carefully and to pay a fine of 500 pounds if he escaped. The King consented. Gustavus was conveyed to Sir Erick's castle. He was treated with consideration due his high rank. He ate at the old man's table and was allowed to go where he pleased within a range of six miles, having given a verbal promise he would make no attempt to escape. The heart of Gustavus was filled with love and gratitude toward Sir Erick ; nevertheless the poison and bitterness he could not cast out. He could not forget that he was a prisoner through the basest treachery. Rumors of murders and desolation came from Sweden. Hatred for Christian and a longing for revenge burned hotly in his soul. He began to cherish hopes of escape and of leading his countrymen to throw off the yoke of the oppressor. A wise secret plan was formed.
Gustavus put on rough clothes like a peasant wore, made his way out of Sir Erick’ domain cautiously, and on unfrequented roads pressed on to Lubeck, where he obtained permission from the authorities to re