Newspaper Page Text
T77E TRIUMPHS pj the CHURCH
N a mountainous country in Asia, lying on the
western slope of a broad ridge, and almost
surrounded by precipices of limestone
rock, is the ancient city of Jerusalem.
Throughout inspired writings this city
and its magnifiicent temple were types of the
Christian Church. Long ago that city fell,
and yet it is the most interesting phenomena in the
world’s history. When Rome, with its capitol, colli
seum and forum; Athens, with its Acropolis, bards
and philosophers are lost in oblivion; Jerusalem,
with its mounts, heroes and temple, will live ripe
in the memorv of mankind. Built, as it was, among
the tombs of the prophets, surrounded by hills where
the world’s battles were fought and the world’s his
tory made, having streets where angels walked, it
is endeared to every heart. Jews from every quar
ter of the globe wander over its ruins until this day,
and sit and muse and weep in the shadow of Mount
Moriah. Christians from every land dig up the
tombs of the prophets, weep on the brow of Cal
vary and praise God at the sepulchre of the World’s
Redeemer. Indeed, Jerusalem is an honored city!
And while the same angel that once guarded it from
harm and danger has now turned and smitten it
to the dust, the church of which it and its temple
were types, lives on, and rising above all castes and
creeds, has proclaimed life to a dead world.
In the first place, I want to contrast some of the
religions of the world with the religion of Jesus
Christ. Let us note their rise, career and fall. All
the great religions of the past were upheld upon
the point of the sword. When India was supreme
Brahma sat upon the throne of the world. When
India lost the scepter and it passed to the banks
of the Nile, Isis and Osiris received the homage of
mankind. Then Greece, with her valor, swept the
world, and Zeus put on the purple of authority.
With the wane of Greece’s power came Rome’s in
trepid sons, and the world trembled and shook be
neath the heavy tramp of their armed footsteps.
Jove, with mailed hand, grasped the thunderbolts of
heaven and hurled them in the face of a world. But
however important these may have once appeared,
they, like stars of the morning, have been swallowed
up by a more glorious sun. If you would find most
of man’s religions and most of his gods, you must
go through the dark and dismal cemetery of the past.
India’s temple, Brahma the golden, the scowl of
Typhon and the dead Osirus have all faded away and
left their thrones desolate.
The sun rises as of old, and his smiles kiss the
cold lips of Memnon, but Memnon opens not her
mouth. The Egyptian mummies are still waiting
for the resurrection promised by the priest, while
the traditions of this curious people are wrapped in
a language now lost and dead. The sacred fires of
the Aztecs and Persians have died away beneath the
ashes of the past and there is no one to rekindle the
holy flame. The hoop of Orpheus still hangs upon
the willow and the drained cup of Bacchus is dusty
and dry. Hushed forever are the thunders of Jupi
ter, lost are the songs of the sirens and over the
ancient religions of earth is thrown the mantle of
One by one the myths have faded from the hea
vens, one by one the phantom host has disappeared,
and one by one facts, truths and realities have taken
their places. In the march of human history every
religion whose traditions were entwined with ex
ploits of martial valor must give way to that religion
of peace, of progress, of education, of unselfish
love. Under the influence of this religion man is
tearing away from traditions, ceasing to bow to the
mandates of superstition and ignorance and is be
ginning to stand erect in the great empire of
thought. And I hail the change with gladness. I
see no reason why the dead hands of fallen sires
should reach up through the moss of centuries and
hold back their feeble progeny. It would be better
for philosophers instead of looking back through
genelogical vistas to see what apes we have been,
The Golden Age for March 1, 1906.
By C. A. Ridley
to look down the march of ages and see what gods
we shall be.
'Slowly but surely the church has broken down the
barriers between man and man, and today pleads
as never before for the Fatherhood of God, the
brotherhood of man and the sisterhood of nations.
It is the doctrine of that Man who sat upon the
Mount and preached that immortal sermon. His
point of vision was so lofty that the boundary lines
of nations were lost, and seemed but narrow streets
in the same city. It is the church’s busines to
diffuse this religion among the peoples of the
earth. Will she do it? We answer yes. For be
hind her efforts is the power of Him who freed the
shackled Demoniac and turned the fishes into the
nets of the discouraged fishermen, the power of Him
who owns all the olive groves and harvest fields that
ever shook their glittering gold over the hills of
Palestine; the power of Him who owns all the suns,
l|W'< ' -ax JWxW’ ’
C. A. RIDLEY.
and moons, and stars, and galaxies that ever sparkled
in firmamental space, and failure is impossible.
The Power of Her Influence.
In all times, in all climes and among all nations
wherever the church has raised a steeple or built an
altar, civilization has been advanced, woman re
stored to her true position, wrongs righted, suffer
ing alleviated and man brought into closer touch
with God. Along her pathway have bloomed the most
fragrant flowers of love and peace and good w'U to
men. The lives of the purest and best men of ev
ery age have added magnificence to her grandeur
and given an impetus to her mission. She has earned
the right to build her temples and declare her mes
sage. The blood of her martyrs and the prayers of
saints have ever been the price of her freedom.
When men have clamored for a fetterless brain and
a chainless future, they have ever found the church
by their side to strengthen and console. . . . And
when we think of her antiquity, of the dangers
through which she has passed, of the persecutions
of bigotry endured, of the many blows of fanaticism
she has withstood, and behold her today with the
stain of Calvary upon her breast, the glory of the
eternal promise upon her brow, the gleam of buried
centuries in her eyes, with the years so lightly rest
ing upon her unbent form, we are wont to stand
with unshod feet and uncovered head before her
queenly majesty and lay at her feet the laurel
wreath of well fought batlies and glorious victory.
Time has not dulled her ardor nor made sluggish
the blood that courses richly through her veins. Her
feet are still swift when on errands of mercy. Her
knees °re still supple to bend in prayer. Her hands,
are still ready and anxious to help, and her lips are
as willing to whisper words of cheer and comfort
in the ear of distress as in the days of her youth.
The ages have left no wrinkles in her beautiful face.
The burdens she has borne have not bent her grace
ful form. Her eyes are undimmed by age, and her
ears still open to the faintest cry of human need.
There are no threads of silver in her tresses of gold.
View Her as a Physician. \
She came into the world as a physician sent from
God with a cure for every ache and a healing touch
for every wound. Her coming was without pomp
or splendor, and silently and mysteriously as the
dews are distilled in the morning she pursues her
mission destined to become the one all powerful and
conquering influence of the world. She grows
stronger with every passing hour, and when the roll
ing cycles of the eternal ages have ground the plan
ets to dust, and the stars have fled before the
march of an all-creative God, the church will be
in its youth and its strength will never fail.
Opposition tends to strengthen her. Storms have
hurled themselves against her base, envy and malice
with all the foes of truth and righteousness have
tried to shake her from her deep-rooted place in
the love and esteem of the pure in heart, but firm
and immovable she still, stands founded upon the
Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture. She has seen
the rise and fall of dynasties, has witnessed the
birth, death and burial of nations, has been the chief
comforter of the bereaved and broken-hearted in
all ages, and stands today as the grandest institu
tion and the mightiest force for good in the world.
Her face is lifted up in prayer and her eyes radiant
with Heaven’s approving smile.
The Embodiment of All True Religion.
Voltaire sowed the dragon’s teeth from which
sprang the fiends of the French Revolution. France
abolished the Sabbath, declared the Bible was a fa
ble, enthroned a courtesan as the “Goddess of Rea
son,” and proclaimed the banishment of God from
the universe. Then it was that three hundred
butchers raised their battle axes and Paris fell—
the bloodiest page in the book of time. But when
the crimson crown was struck from the head of an
archy the white hands of the Christian religion were
on the field to wreathe with peace France’s bleed
ing brow. Human systems fail, but not so with the
church. Its central thought is Jesus Christ,
destined to rule and reign forever. He was cradled
once in a manger, but now inhabiteth eternity. Once
he stood single-handed and alone, but now His army
dead, numbers more people than were ever upon
earth at one time, and His army living, is the one.
invincible power of earth. When Judah refused to
accept His religion, Judah became a by-word among
the nations of the earth and a wanderer forever.
W hen Rome laid her mailed hand upon it her le
gions went down in blood, and it rose in strength
and beauty. ... It was driven away to the hi Is
and hollows. It cowered in caves. It smiled beneath
the ax and spear. It slew the viper envy and
brought the barbarian to his. knees. It stayed the
red hands of revenge. When it whispered peace
grim war laid aside his plume. It brightened the
face of grief, sanctified despair and touched with
glory the very gloom of th > grave. It kissed away
the tears from the fair face of Italy and wreathed
with love the swarthy brow of Spain. It lifted
Germany from gloom to gleam and tamed the Rus
sian bear. It gave new life to England’s withered
rose and glorified old Scotland’s honored thistle. It
waked dear Erin’s heart to holier time, but hung all
the glory on the Cross of Christ.
NOTE—“The Triumphs of the Church” was pre
pared for a platform lecture by Caleb A. Ridley,
one of the brightest young ministers in the South,
and is furnished THE GOLDEN AGE in response
to the Editor’s urgent request. All thinkers who
read this installment will eagerly watch next week
for its conclusion EDITOR.