Social Christianity

[Heb. 12:1]---'We are compassed about.'

Every student of the past history of religion knows well the value of loneliness to the spiritual life. The greatest essential of our faith and of our religious life is sincerity, without which no man can ever see the Lord, or look upon the face of his fellow. But sincerity is difficult, because eyes are always on us; and, without knowing it, we come into the habit of playing to our audience, and living, not straight to God and straight to conscience, but under the eyes and the criticism of our fellow-men.

The whole camp of God is glittering with lights where sentinels just such as you are standing solitary in the darkness. Remember them---the great surrounding ring of the faithful who in quiet places bear true witness to the best. There is no real solitude anywhere. You may retreat, but it will only be to some new company of witnesses.

But let us look at all of the crowd that surrounds us, the ones not particularly friendly to us. There are a vast number of people watching our lives more or less interestedly who are not in the slightest degree caring whether we succeed or fail. The eyes of multitudes of the indifferent are upon every one of us. They are looking on, mere spectators, watching one little part of the show, and you and I do not count for any more than marionettes in that. Well, let us accept the challenge. Who ever heard of a day in the Kingdom of God when the only condition on which men and women could be true and noble in the Christian life was that there were people who cared, besides God and themselves? Surely we do not want everybody to be bending their eyes over us. Surely we shall not make it a condition that the world shall back us and be eager for our success before we shall stand and bear our witness! No, but think of the stimulus of alien eyes. Think of the value to the brave spirit of the very coldness of the world. Think of the challenge to all that is in us to force an interest where there is no interest as yet. It is that way and not otherwise that the Kingdom of God has advanced in days gone by. In no great day of it has the Kingdom of God waited for, or depended upon, already existing interest. Never has it waited for the sympathy that was coming to it from others. It has set itself from the first to force, to create these, to wring them from a reluctant world, and by doing that it has lived and succeeded.

The Holy Ghost is waiting. Are there not wonderful things in the air today---new vitalities, the promise of greater things in the future, great causes, great movements? The Holy Spirit waits for faithful men to meet these great opportunities, and to send on the noblest things in the noblest form to the generations that are to come.

In Christ, timothy.